Cruise Boat Certification

Members who are experienced keelboat sailors can be certified to use the DSSA’s larger cruise boats with auxiliary motors. Cruise boats are available for day sailing in either the Duluth Harbor or on the near shore of Lake Superior.


For safety and liability reasons, members must be certified to use a cruise boat before they can reserve it. Members can be certified either as captains or deckhands; only captains may make reservations.  Certification is boat-specific; certification for one cruise boat does not automatically extend to other boats.

Apply for Certification

To apply for certification, please submit a resume of sailing experience, and then contact us  to set up a time for in-person observation or training. During this meeting, you will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the boat you wish to reserve. There is no fee for the certification outing.


Experience and knowledge will be assessed by a designated board member, waterfront director, or staff and will be based on an individual’s sailing resume and demonstrated ability. To be certified, members must demonstrate competence in the areas outlined on the following checklist

Cruiseboat Captain Checklist


Cruise boats must be reserved ahead of time and can be reserved outside of open sailing hours. To make a reservation,

  1. Check our cruise boat reservation calender for an available date.
  2. Use our online registration form to register and pay your reservation fee. We will reply to you to let you know your reservation has been confirmed.
  3. Before you sail, submit a float plan for your trip.
  4. If your reservation is cancelled due to weather, contact us to set a new date.

Reservation Policy

  • All guests must be DSSA members. Day memberships can be purchased for visiting guests.
  • Only certified captains may request reservations.
  • The rate is $20.00 per four hours.
  • Times sailed outside of normal open sailing hours require an appointment with the waterfront director.  See the pier calendar for open sailing hours.  Email to set up such an appointment.

Boat Use Policy

In order to reserve a boat, the captain must abide and enforce the following rules and policies of use:

  • Boats must be crewed by one certified captain and at least one deck hand.  Staff have the final say in whether an individual has the experience or skills necessary to be a deck hand for a particular outing.
  • No cruise boat shall leave the mooring if winds greater than 20 knots for a following 12 hour period are forecast.
  • Crew or Captain must carry cell phone on board.
  • Nighttime operation is not permitted without special permission from the Board.
  • No person may operate any equipment under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Alcohol is not allowed on board.
  • Boat use is to be recorded in the on board log.
  • If fuel tanks are at half full or less, please report this to the staff and note in the log. Do not add fuel. This will be accomplished by staff.
  • The boat shall be clean, shipshape, and properly moored upon leaving it.
  • Incompetence or negligence in the use of equipment constitutes grounds for the Board to suspend any or all ratings of the member.
  • All government rules and regulations shall be observed by members.

If sailing on Lake Superior:  Cruising is limited to the near western area of Lake Superior as defined by the following chart.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email