Perhaps you are here because you have a deep interest in history, because for you, the Age of Sail is a living thing, and you knew Niagara’s name, and you sought her out. Perhaps, though, you are here for reasons you can only dimly explain: you turned a dockside corner on a moonlit night, and there the ship was, ephemeral, a vision from another age. And you came closer to this creature of spectacle and majesty, her towering masts dancing slightly with the swell, as if in latent anticipation. And you spoke to some mariner there, who said he came here on this ship, and that he would soon go away upon it, that this was something that people did. That you could bag groceries, or peddle home insurance, you could take the cross-town bus every day, and provide adequate customer service by telephone or instant messenger. Or you could cut a wide blue swath across the wave-trammeled seas. You could practice an ageless craft in an unforgiving element.

“In any pre-industrial society, from the upper Paleolithic to the nineteenth century A.D., a boat or (later) a ship was the largest and most complex machine produced” — Keith Muckleroy Maritime Archaeology

Niagara is a singularly complex machine. It represents one of the last and most refined expressions of a technology millennia in its evolution. Yet beneath this complexity lies a willful simplicity. A sailing ship is a fugue of simple ideas and simple machines, repeated in subtle and complex variation. And as magnificent as it is, the ship is simply a tool. The purpose of a ship is the practice of seamanship, the craft and the science of making a home and a living in a hostile element. While it is no longer necessary for us to take to the sea in wooden sailing ships for the practice of war or trade or exploration, it remains necessary for us to, from time to time, take the measure of ourselves against the wilderness.

What is Niagara’s schedule?

Niagara’s year consists of four unequal seasons, varying in length from year to year. In the summer, Niagara sails throughout the Great Lakes. In the fall, crewmembers and volunteers remove the majority of Niagara’s rig using methods and technology largely unchanged in the last two centuries. The ship is then covered with a canvas superstructure to protect her against harsh Lake Erie winters. In the spring, the ship is reassembled, or up-rigged, once again using traditional methods and technology.

For information on the 2017 Training Season: Click Here
For information on Daysails in the 2017 Season: Click Here
To view the ship’s calendar of events: Click Here

How much does it cost?

Tuition for Niagara’s live-aboard sailing programs is $1,500.00 for two to four weeks, per individual student. Tuition for students enrolled in group programs organized by partner institutions (such as colleges and universities) may vary. Room and board is covered; travel to and from the vessel is not.

Trainees who wish to remain onboard after the end of their scheduled sail may do so only with the captain’s approval, and only when space is available. An additional fee of $300 per week will be charged for any time on board beyond the first four weeks. Returning trainees will receive a 15% discount on tuition during their second season, and a 25% discount if they return as a trainee during any summer sailing season thereafter. Enquire by phone or email for early registration discounts, for returning trainees who apply by December 31, 2015.

The Flagship Niagara League strives to make our sailing programs as affordable as possible, and scholarships may be available. Call for details.

How do I apply?

Go to http://ssvniagara.com/sail/2017-sail-training-programs/ to see our 2017 live-aboard schedule, application forms, and further instructions on how to apply.

You can also use our contact form or email the Director of Marine Operations, Joseph Lengieza, at marineops@flagshipniagara.org to request a hard copy of all necessary forms, or call (814) 452-2744, Ext. 214 if you have any questions