Blue Water Foundation’s Ocean’s Gate Program Assists Incarcerated Youth in Gaining New Skills and Confidence

The BLUE WATER FOUNDATION was founded as an all-volunteer, nonprofit corporation dedicated to bringing the joys of sailing to San Francisco Bay Area inner city and at risk youth. In 1992 a group of sailors wanted to introduce San Francisco Bay Area young people to the joys of sailing. Using volunteers’ boats, these sailors began to take small groups of middle school students sailing on San Francisco Bay. The response from students was so enthusiastic that soon, our informal excursions became regularly scheduled trips. Now, through our programs over 10,000 young people have discovered the art of sailing, experienced success through teamwork and have had fun while exploring a maritime alternative to drugs, alcohol, and gangs.


Launched in 2013 is BLUE WATER FOUNDATION’S newest program, OCEAN’S GATE, which involves working with the Alameda County Probation Department and youth currently at Camp Sweeny, a facility in San Leandro in which convicted youth are given the opportunity in a camp like setting to make their way back to society. Our program engages in both day sails and, eventually, a multi month intensive sail training program which will “graduate” successful students by ocean sailing. The name, OCEAN’S GATE, refers to both the Golden Gate, which leads to the oceans of the world, and the open gate to the freedom of the seas that one can earn. Our motto: Wherever you are, the wind blows free!


BLUE WATER FOUNDATION’S programs fall on a continuum between lots of young people sailing for a couple of hours and a few youths sailing on a regular schedule, developing skills and confidence. We look forward to sharing with you about all our programs in upcoming blog posts. To donate or learn more, visit us on the web at If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a volunteer, please email Tim Weeg, our volunteer coordinator:


Video and photo credit: April Bell