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Blue Water Foundation & BYC

At December’s Change of Watch Party, Blue Water Foundation was awarded the Victoria Day Memorial Boating Safety Award, which is named after a member, Victoria Day, who was swept overboard while racing. The award recognizes those who contribute to boating safety. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce our organization to all members of the Berkeley Yacht Club.

The Blue Water Foundation is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation founded in 1992. We have never had any paid staff. Our primary objective is to provide at-risk and under-represented youth an opportunity to sail and see life through a different lens. Through our sailing programs, we offer young people the experiences of learning, leadership and trying unfamiliar, challenging activities. We provide formative learning opportunities that enhance self-confidence and develop sailing competencies while working as part of a team.

We use three sailboats for our programs. Two are located at the Berkeley Marina: Aleta is a 46ft Peterson custom racer berthed at “K” dock and Benjamin Walters is a 43ft Hans Christian cutter berthed at “O” dock. Our third boat is a 46’ Frers- designed racing sloop located in San Francisco. We organize two to three sails per week, taking out various groups from the San Francisco School District, San Francisco Police Department and the juvenile probation departments of Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado and in the past San Francisco. We also work with a dozen community groups, ranging from Huckleberry House to Epileptic Foundation. We are currently working with blind sailors and launching a blind sailor racing team.Our sailing opportunities range from educational field trips to teaching incarcerated students sailing over a three-month period. We are expanding our work to include formerly incarcerated individuals transitioning back into society.

In November 2023, we took out students from Paul Revere Middle School in San Francisco. We received a very nice thank you letter from the teacher supervising the children:

"I want to thank each of you for an amazing day Thursday. We had a fantastic time on many different levels. My principal and I were absolutely exhausted on the bus going back to school. What I shared was that we were so relaxed and had three hours of mindfulness and quiet, that we were exhausted in every wonderful day. A couple of the students with us made real powerful changes from who they were before they came and who they were when they left. I always want to do things to help students overcome fear, challenges, trauma and this sail supported my dreams of such.

Personally, I had a beautiful time. I love the motion of the water, the distance and calm from being removed from every day. I am so grateful you were kind enough to put us on the schedule even before sign up started. In forty years, I have never had a principal join on any field trip. It was fantastic to have him join us. We spoke the next day and there was recognition of the value and importance of such experiences. This is important as our students don’t typically have such opportunities. Thank you!

To all the crew, I want to extend appreciation for your volunteerism. The work you do is a gift to those receiving. I want to also express gratitude for the encouragement and kindness you offered my students. This will be unforgettable".

We are always seeking more volunteers to meet the overwhelming need. We train our volunteers for the unique challenges that taking children to sea requires, including live overboard day and night drills. If one wishes, one becomes first certified crew and if desired, certified second and first captains as one learns the boats. Training students is an effective way to improve one’s own skills.

For more information on our program, volunteer opportunities or if you would like to donate towards our cause, please visit

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