The following information is intended to answer some common questions and help new members become more familiar with the club. For additional help, contact the club office at 613-829-6462 or info at nsc.ca
The Nepean Sailing Club (NSC) is a non-profit, volunteer based club dedicated to promoting active participation in sailing and recreational boating for the benefit of members and the community. NSC has served the National Capital region for over 40 years with a variety of innovative public and member programs, and as host to national regattas and major aquatic events. NSC’s founding objectives are outlined in the club’s Letters Patent.
Our Mission: To promote sailing and boating by providing high quality, cost effective programs and facilities in support of cruising, racing and life-long training in a culture of accessibility, volunteerism, mentorship and fun.
Now 2,000 members strong, NSC has grown to become one of the largest sailing and boating clubs in Canada. Member’s boating interests include day sailing, cruising upriver, sailboat racing, fishing, ski/wakeboarding, kayaking, and other activities. The club fleet numbers 700 member boats of all types (Keelboat, Dinghy, Power) along with a variety of personal paddle craft and the club’s own Sail Training and support boats.
NSC was established in 1979 by local sailors and the City of Nepean with a joint vision of building a modern sailing and recreational facility to take advantage of the available natural river resources. The early club members moored their boats in Graham Bay, setting up an old ATCO trailer as the first clubhouse in 1981. Over time the harbour (1983), yard (1985), and a new clubhouse (1990) were built by the city, while members constructed docks and added facilities to keep pace with growth. See the early History of NSC.
Club Colours, Insignia, Burgee
The colours of the club are green and blue. The club insignia or logo consists of the words “Nepean Sailing Club” beside an upper sail and lower wave design. The club burgee is a white triangular flag with the club insignia superimposed. See Club Brand for more details.
The club’s By-Laws and Policies outline the structure and regulations that govern the club. Members should familiarise themselves with these as they are fundamental to effective club management, as well as overall member satisfaction and well-being.
The club is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors elected annually by the members at the Annual General Meeting. The board meets monthly and oversees the club’s direction, finances, and operations. In addition to general board responsibilities, each Director has defined Portfolios for managing key areas of the club.
There are two Member Meetings held each year to manage club affairs and report on club plans and progress. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held in early December after the club’s fiscal year-end (Oct. 31st), and the Spring Information Meeting (SIM) in late April.
Along with club staff, a number of member committees support and advise the directors in managing the club’s many aspects and member interests. All members are encouraged to join any committee that interests them. See NSC Committees for general descriptions and the Director to contact for more information.
As a self-help club, volunteering is a cornerstone of NSC’s foundation and the club’s success and growth. Aside from part-time and a small professional staff, much of the club’s operations and programs rely on members contributing their time and talents. A cooperative club spirit providing social and collective benefits, while helping keep club fees affordable.
While there is no formal ‘work hours’ program, members are encouraged to become involved by ‘volunteering’ available time. Whatever your interests or skills, there are multiple opportunities to contribute. Your commitment may be for a work party, supporting an event, joining a member cooperative, or a club committee role . Look for club announcements, talk to fellow members or any Director, or visit Volunteering for more info.
Grounds and Facilities
NSC is located within Dick Bell Park in Nepean and on the Ottawa River Pathway trail. The property, harbour, and clubhouse are managed by the club under lease from the City of Ottawa. The docks, cranes, sail training and support boats, and other club facilities and equipment are club owned assets. The site and its facilities are fully accessible for persons with disabilities. See the Site Plan for an overview of the club grounds and key features.
The main clubhouse faces Carling Avenue with parking nearby in Dick Bell Park. The upper level contains the Members Lounge and Bar, The Galley kitchen, and Harbourview Hall for club functions and private parties. A large licensed outdoor deck overlooks the river and harbour providing one of the best views in the city. On the ground level, the office is located near the entrance, along with washrooms, a cloakroom, and the Sailing Meeting Room.
The harbour features Kopf Marine floating docks with slips for 500 boats, two crane wells (North and South) with masting and 10,000lb lifting cranes, and service docks near the clubhouse. Seasonal Drysail slips for trailered boats are located near the North and South cranes. NSC also boasts a large Dinghy Park with space for over 150 dinghies and catamarans as well as the club’s own Sail Training fleet.
The Sail Training Center (STC) and junior clubhouse is at the north end of the Dinghy Park and includes washrooms and changing rooms for dinghy sailors. Two dedicated dinghy launch ramps and docks on either side of the STC provide direct access to Graham’s Bay outside the main harbour channel.
NSC offers a number of flexible annual memberships for families, couples, and individuals of all ages to enjoy boating and the club. There are two general classes of memberships:
Full Memberships (Voting) – Family, Adult, Young Adults, Student
- Ideal for families, boat owners, and active club sailors.
- Full club privileges including mooring and boat services, seniority points, Sail Share boat access, youth LTS discounts, and access to all member programs and services.
Associate Memberships (Non-Voting) – Junior, Crew & Social, Out Of Town
- For individuals primarily interested in crewing and/or social activities.
- Full club access, social activities, crewing, club dinghy rentals, and other member programs. Some restrictions and select benefits apply.
See Membership Categories for complete definitions. Associate members can upgrade to a Full Membership category at any-time (e.g. Crew to Family). There is no probationary period and you need not reapply. The club also recognizes that life and family priorities can change (e.g. move out of town). Full members who anticipate being less active can switch to a Crewing or Out-of-Town membership without losing seniority points.
In addition to NSC’s prime location with full season access, modern boating facilities, and other club advantages, your club membership includes a number of member privileges and benefits, many of which are described in this guide. For a full list, see the Member Benefits cheat sheet.
For any benefit not covered here, or to learn more, please contact the office. We want you to get the most out of your NSC membership as soon as possible.
The membership year runs from November 1st to October 31st. Refer to the NSC Fee Schedule for the current year’s annual Membership, Mooring and Yard Service fees. Annual Member fees are due for payment two key dates each year.
- Membership fees are due the beginning of the Membership year on November 1st,
- Mooring and Yard fees are due before finalising the spring mooring allocations March 1st.
Invoices are emailed to members 4 weeks in advance of the due dates. If you expect to be away during either of these periods, please contact the office to arrange payment and avoid late fees. To be eligible for Winter Storage or a Summer Mooring, you must be a current Full Member.
Membership fees are annual only and non-refundable. To request a change or credit for any other fee (mooring, storage, launch, etc.), please contact the office explaining your situation.
Club Member Cards
Your club member cards provide access to the club and your membership benefits. When visiting the club, it’s recommended carrying your club member card with you at all times. Your club member cards are used to:
- Access the club security gates including the pedestrian entrance west of the clubhouse, the main docks gate, and the boatyard entrance gate.
- Access the clubhouse washrooms after hours.
- Receive member’s pricing on food and beverage, and run a chit tab in the Members Lounge.
- Identify your membership account when making reservations or payments at the office.
- Log-in to access on-line member services on the club website.
- Identify yourself as an NSC and Sail Canada member when visiting other clubs.
Adult members are each issued member cards (including photo ID) when they join. Cards for dependants of Family memberships are also available upon request. For lost cards, please notify the office so they can be deactivated and a replacement arranged.
Online Member Services
The club website contains a member’s portal under Member Services to conveniently access a variety of member services listed below. To access the private member pages, authentication (log-in) is with your Last (Family) Name and full Member Number as written on your Member’s Card.
Members’ Directory: The NSC Bluebook is an online private member’s directory service listing current NSC member’s contact, boat, and mooring location information. The directory is field searchable, which is useful for multiple applications, and updated monthly.
Personal Contact Information: Keeping your personal contact information on file up-to-date is important for communicating with you. You can review and update your Contact Information online, or contact the office anytime.
NSC Classified Ads: The club maintains an online member’s NSC Classified Ads page (publicly viewable) for buyers and sellers of boats and related nautical items. Members can post notices for free. The club also keeps a FOR SALE binder in the front lobby. Please do not post ads on any of the club bulletin boards.
Proof of Insurance: Current insurance is required for all member boats kept at NSC and to obtain a slip assignment. Members can update or validate their annual Proof of Insurance online in the spring before the March 1st mooring deadline.
Board Documents: Approved Board and annual Member Meeting minutes and documents are published and available to members online here.
NSC Parking Pass: Printable Parking Passes to identify vehicles as belonging to an NSC member when parking in Dick Bell Park. The display of parking passes is recommended when parking overnight.
Member Codes: Current Member Codes and passwords for access to the club Wi-Fi, Pinhey’s Point washrooms/showers, and other can be found here.
Sail Canada / Ontario Sailing
One of the greatest privileges of being a recognized club member is visiting other clubs when travelling, cruising, or attending regattas. As a sailor’s courtesy, most clubs will grant guest access if you identify yourself as a NSC member (bring your member card). Others may require a letter of introduction or other arrangements. Plan ahead and check the visiting club’s website or contact them.
NSC also maintains Reciprocal Arrangements with local and Great Lakes clubs frequently visited by our members. Arrangements differ by club, but members cruising by boat are often extended short-term visitor docking and other service privileges. For more info, contact the NSC Secretary.
One of the traditions of visiting sailors is to exchange club burgees. If you wish to trade burgees with your host club, contact the PR Director to obtain a NSC burgee to take on your trip. Bring back a new one to be proudly hung in the clubhouse and add to our club collection.
Clubhouse Services & Facilities
Hours of Operation
The Clubhouse is open year round with reduced service hours on holidays and during the winter off season. Please consult the Club Hours on the website for the latest current hours of operation.
The club employs two club managers (Marine & Property, Business), a small office staff, a Head Chef, and various support staff who manage the club’s core operations and services to help you enjoy your experience. See the directory of club staff for their contact information.
The club features ample free member parking just outside the clubhouse and grounds in Dick Bell Park. Except for the overflow parking area, do not park on the road shoulders or grass. If parking overnight, obtain an NSC member parking pass online or from the office to display in your vehicle. The City’s Bylaw officers will ticket vehicles not in designated spots or parking for extended periods without permits.
During the boating season, there is also member Dinghy parking in the yard near the Dinghy Park. Any parking in access ways, in front of Dry-Sail boats, or in the Dinghy Park itself (as indicated by yellow yard ropes and chains) is strictly prohibited and will be enforced if necessary. During the launch and haul-out months, the yard may be closed to vehicles.
Guests And Dress Etiquette
Members are encouraged to entertain guests at the club and social events. At NSC there is no visitor sign-in requirement. However, it is expected that guests who regularly use the club would benefit by, and are encouraged to become members. Members are responsible for their guests when on club grounds.
Dress attire in and around the club is casual unless otherwise noted for special events and even then, formal wear is optional. In the clubhouse and on the deck, shoes and shirts are required.
Bar And Food Service
“The Galley” NSC’s bar and food service is available daily during the boating season and 5 days a week in the off-season. Food and beverage can be purchased at the bar for casual dining in any of the club licensed areas including the Member’s Lounge, Harbourview Hall, the club deck, or on the West Lawn. See The Galley for current hours and menus.
The menu changes regularly with weekly specials including Friday night dinners. On popular Tuesday and Thursday race nights, a shorter ‘race night menu’ is offered. “Grab and Go” take-out meals are also available. Members receive preferred pricing (15% discount) on any club food and bar beverage purchases.
Alcohol purchased from the NSC bar (and only) must be consumed in club licensed areas. Alcohol consumption on club grounds outside of the licensed areas is not permitted. Alcohol purchased outside the club, may be brought for private consumption on member boats.
Member Chit Privileges
Chit privileges are available for members to run a tab at the bar by linking a valid credit card securely to your membership account and authorising the club to make monthly charges. See the office to set-up your chit account. Application forms are also available at the bar.
To use your member’s tab, let the bartender know when you identify yourself with your member’s card and be sure to close out the tab at the end of use. Unclosed tabs are automatically closed at the end of the night with a 15% gratuity added.
The Members’ Lounge
The Members’ Lounge is open year-round for members and guests whenever the clubhouse is open. The lounge features a warm casual atmosphere with table top and couch seating, club trophies and other memorabilia on display, fireplace, a/v screens, and a nautical themed bar (with a hand-built boat hanging above). Bar and food service is available during posted Galley hours. Outside of service hours, there’s complimentary self-serve coffee, tea, and water on hand when making use of the lounge and clubhouse.
On the east side of the upper clubhouse and bar is Harbourview Hall. The hall provides additional indoor seating capacity (up to 120) on busy club nights and is used for the many club functions and events throughout the year. When not reserved for club use or events, Harbourview Hall is available for public and private member rentals, and an important source of clubhouse revenues to support member’s bar and food service.
One of the best features of the clubhouse is the large outdoor upper deck with a fabulous view overlooking the river and harbour. Built by the members, the deck has covered protection with patio seating for 150, and access from the upper clubhouse as well as east and west stairs towards the docks. During the season, live music and entertainment is available on the deck on Friday nights and at other times.
Wi-Fi Service / Computer Access
Complimentary Wi-Fi service is available to members and guests in the clubhouse and outdoors in the harbour and grounds. See Member Codes or the bar for password access. There is also a connected computer terminal in the Member’s Lounge for member use.
Harbourview Hall is available for rentals by members and the general public for private functions weekdays during the boating season, and on weekends and select evenings during the winter. Bar service, catering, and room set-up is available and supplied in-house. For information on rental rates and availability, please contact the office or email email@example.com. Members can rent the hall at preferred member rates.
Regalia is a collection of clothing and other branded items made expressly for NSC. Sample items are on display beside the office. Purchases and orders may be placed through the office, with one of the Regalia volunteers, or custom orders placed anytime on-line. Regular stock items are periodically sold throughout the year at the club and at major events.
Dock Hauling Carts
The club provides hauling carts to transport gear to the docks and your boat. The carts are located just inside the west side gate under the deck. Carts should be returned after use.
Bags of Ice cubes and blocks are available for sale from the fridges located on the deck and the ground level on the north side. Purchases can be made at either the office or upstairs bar.
Washrooms and Showers
Changing rooms and showers are available in both clubhouse washrooms. For security, the washrooms are locked between 10pm and 8am. During these hours, members can access the washrooms from outside using their member cards. The washrooms are wheelchair-accessible.
A second set of washrooms and changing rooms is available for juniors and dinghy sailors in the Dinghy Park on the west side of the Sail Training Center.
Dogs and other personal pets are welcome on club grounds as long as they are not left unattended. Dogs should be on a leash when on club property. Dogs and other animals are not permitted on the club deck or in the clubhouse where food is served or consumed.
Bikes, Skateboards, & Other
Bicycles, skateboards and roller blades are permitted on the grounds, but not on the club deck, in the clubhouse, or to be used on club walkways. Bicycles can be parked in the bike racks in front of the clubhouse, under the west-end deck, or at the Sail Training Center.
The Nepean Sailing Club is a non-smoking facility. Smoking is not permitted inside or within 9 metres of any club building.
The club was founded not only to be a place to enjoy sailing and boating but also to socialize. There are social events and activities throughout the year both on and off-water. These are announced on the website, in the ‘Telltale’ newsletter, club posters, and on the club calendar.
Activities run the full gamut including weekly Friday night music, gathering on the deck after race nights, special functions, family fun days, work parties, social sailing, regattas, and barbeques. We like to fun!
Weekly Social Events
- Winter Speaker Series – Wednesday evenings (mid-January to April)
- Sailor’s Ritual & Trivia Nights – Thursday evenings
- Friday Dinner & Music – Friday evenings
Boating Season (May to October):
- Club Race Nights – Monday to Thursday evenings
- Friday Dinner & Music On The Deck – Friday evenings
Annual Social Events
Here’s a list of some of our more popular club annual events with a high social component to consider in your planning. See the club calendar for the current year’s dates.
- Harbour Ice Fishing Derby – February (Sunday, Family Day Weekend)
- Spring Information Meeting & Mixer – April (Last Thursday)
- THRASH Party (Thank Heavens Racing And Sailing Is Here) – April (Last Saturday)
- Commodore’s Sail Past – June (2nd Saturday)
- Nepean One Design Regatta – June (3rd Weekend)
- Easter Seals Bring On The Bay – July (2nd Saturday)
- Baskins Beach BBQ – August (2nd Saturday)
- Harbourmaster’s Race – August (3rd Saturday)
- FANFARE / NSC Pig Roast – September (2nd Saturday)
- Turkey Trot Pursuit & Feast – October (Thanksgiving Monday)
- NSC Awards Night – November (3rd Saturday)
NSC offers its members a number of sailing and boating programs for all levels of ability, ages, and common interests. Participating in club programs is a great way to enhance one’s skills and knowledge, socialize with other members, and get out and enjoy the water.
Cruising & Pleasure Sailing
Most NSC sailors and boat owners simply enjoy pleasure boating for the day, or cruising upriver. Even the ‘racers’ don’t race all the time. NSC’s offers full season harbour access to 25 NM of navigable Ottawa River upriver to Chats Falls. For the cruiser and day sailor, there are a rich array of historical sites and safe anchorages to explore and enjoy, including visiting other local clubs. Having a copy of Chart #1550 is highly recommended.
For those new to our waters or cruising, the Cruising website page contains various resources contributed by experienced members. NSC has a large cruising community with experience ranging from regular up-river trips, to long duration sails in exotic locations around the world. The NSC Winter Speaker Series program also regularly includes cruising and general boating topics and is a great way to meet and learn from other sailors.
There are also club Social Sailing events organised throughout the season that aren’t so much about the finish line, when there is one, as fun on the water and the celebration afterwards.
NSC has a comprehensive weeknight and weekend racing program for keelboats, dinghies, and catamarans. One of the more popular club activities, NSC and BYC jointly combine their Weeknight Series racing with local club fleets sharing the same courses and schedule.
- Monday Evenings: Women’s PHRF Spinnaker and JAM Keelboats
- Tuesday Evenings: PHRF Spinnaker Keelboats
- Wednesday Afternoons: RUST Cup Series (FUN, all registered boats)
- Wednesday Evenings: One Design and Handicap Dinghies, Cats, and Sailboards
- Thursday Evenings: One Design and Jib And Main (JAM) Keelboats
On weekends throughout the season, both NSC and BYC host a number of interclub distance Upriver Races, as well as club fun races. There is no program fee for NSC members, and one boat race registration covers the whole season. To learn more about the NSC sailing and racing programs and how to participate, see under Racing on the website.
NSC proudly hosts a number of annual interclub and club regattas for keelboats, dinghies, youth, and Able Sailors. With a reputation for excellence in regatta and race committee management, we also frequently host provincial and national championships.
- Ottawa Skiff & Cat Grand Prix – High Performance Skiff & Cat Sailing
- Nepean One Design – Region’s Premier One Design Regatta
- National Capital Cup Able Sail – The Nation’s Able Sail Regatta
- Nepean Fun Regatta – The Un-Regatta For Kids
- FANFARE – FAntastic Nepean FAll Regatta (Dinghies)
- The Jacques Adam River Challenge – Upriver and Back When it Blows
With an active club sailing and racing program, crewing on other member’s boats is popular at NSC and adds diversity to the sailing experience. To facilitate skippers looking for crew and crew looking for boats, the club offers a number of matching services throughout the season:
- The online NSC Crew Bank registry for sailors and skippers looking to cruise or race.
- Crew Table meet-up spots on club race nights. Race skippers are often looking for last minute spare crew, and this is a great way for sailors to connect.
- Weekend club Social Sailing events. Just show-up and organisers will help match sailors and boats. No pre-registration required.
- Join the volunteer NSC Race Committee team to get out on the water for any of NSC’s above regattas. No prior experience required, training and mentors provided.
NSC offers a full range of sail training and boat handling programs for youth, adults, and people with disabilities during the season. All courses are Sail Canada accredited using national standards, taught by certified instructors, and available to the public.
The award winning NSC Sail Training Center specialises in Youth programs and CANSail courses for ages 7 to 16 using a variety of club dinghies, and adaptive sail training for all ages. Registration starts early spring and NSC Family members are eligible for program discounts.
Adult keelboat, dinghy, and powerboat courses are offered on site by our sail training partner Advantage Boating. As well as introductory Learn-To courses, a variety of boat handling clinics and advance courses in cruising and racing are also available.
Able Sail Programs
NSC’s has adaptive sailing programs and accessible Martin 16 sailboats for individuals with physical disabilities. Our Able Sail programs cater to all levels of sailors including learn to sail courses, recreational sailing, and competitive racing. NSC is also a designated Ontario Paralympic Training Center and home to the National Capital Able Sail Association.
As well as dedicated programs, NSC Able Sail members participate in club weeknight racing, One Design regattas, and general club sailing events. See Able Sail to learn more.
Sail Share Program
NSC hosts and promotes a club keelboat sharing program called Sail Share managed by Advantage Boating. The program is ideal for those looking to sail regularly without “boat ownership”, or as a next step to develop skills and experience after completing their lessons.
Popular, safe and comfortable, entry level one-design keelboats like the Tanzer 22 and Shark 24 are used for this program. Visit the Sail Share Program web page, or see the Sail Share Program brochure located at NSC for additional information.
Club Dinghy Rentals
Marine Facilities & Services
Please see the Marine Emergencies page on this site for more information.
Page maintained by Membership Director.