About our organization

Who We Are

The Blue Water Foundation is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation founded in 1992. Our volunteers and the youth we serve come from all over the San Francisco Bay Area. To achieve our mission, we work with Bay Area youth programs, school districts, law enforcement and probation departments.


All young people in the San Francisco Bay Area should experience the joy, the wonder, and the collaboration of sailing. Departing from the dock on a sailboat and seeing their city from the water as they help to sail on the Bay, aids the young person’s learning a sense of place and sense of self while engaging in active work of sailing. The Blue Water Foundation seeks to create a legacy of volunteering for one’s community through the love of sailing. Our captains and certified crew are role models who shape and enrich young people’s lives. In turn, the Blue Water Foundation encourages young people to give back to their community as an investment in the future.


Our primary objective is to provide at-risk and under-represented youth an opportunity to sail. We understand how the sea can be a mentor, as well as a challenge. 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, develop sailing competencies, and emphasize collaboration. We hope to broaden our young sailors’ perspectives and build on the capabilities they already possess.

A Brief History

In 1992 several sailors wanted to introduce San Francisco Bay Area young people to the sense of freedom, discipline, teamwork and natural wonder of sailing. Using volunteers’ boats, these sailors began to take middle and high school students sailing on San Francisco Bay with teachers and police officers on board. The goal was to have students interact with police in a non-adversarial setting. The response from students and police was so enthusiastic that soon our informal excursions became regularly scheduled trips.

Now, through our programs, over 25,000 young people from all over the Bay Area have discovered the art of sailing, experienced success through teamwork and have had fun while exploring a maritime alternative to drugs, alcohol, and gangs.

We work with every public school in San Francisco, the San Francisco Police Department, the Alameda County Probation Department, San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department, and numerous charter schools and community groups. We own two 46-foot open-ocean racing sailboats and use volunteers’ cruising boats as well.

Blue Water Foundation does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

Black Lives Matter

The board and sailors of Blue Water Foundation (BWF) feel it is necessary to directly and simply say: Black Lives Matter. We have been dedicated since our founding in 1992 to taking under-represented and at-risk youth sailing with the explicit understanding that these youth are preponderantly of color.