Below are a selection of Frequently Asked Questions – if you have additional questions not answered below, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Sail Scheduling Coordinator at

Frequently Asked Questions

Passenger safety is Hudson River Sloop Clearwater’s highest priority. Relying on the determination of the vessel’s Captain, Clearwater may cancel any Onboard Program if: in the judgment of the Captain, weather conditions or forecasts or any other circumstances pose safety risks relating to the Onboard Program or the vessel, or any other circumstances beyond the reasonable control of Clearwater make the Onboard Program impossible, inadvisable or impractical.

Clearwater reserves the right to end any program or sail prior to the listed end time for any reason, including failure of any passenger to cooperate with any reasonable requests of the Captain or crew or to maintain a reasonable standard of behavior. Passengers acknowledge that they are responsible for the behavior of all passengers in their respective groups and are responsible for intervening when behavior is deemed unsafe or may be in violation of the vessel Captain’s determination.

Passengers will also respect the personal boundaries and space of all crew members and fellow passengers in order to ensure a sail that is safe and enjoyable for everyone. What does this look like? If you need help from a crew member or fellow passenger, make sure to ask first. Of course, this also means no pushing, shoving, grabbing, or horseplay. Crew will provide additional guidance about maintaining safe boundaries on the day of your sail.

Each individual or group (including, but not limited to individual ticket holders, charterers, members, student participants, chaperones, and teachers) acknowledges that the vessel’s Captain has full authority to determine rules of behavior aboard the vessel and other matters relating to activities and conditions aboard the vessel. Each passenger assumes full responsibility for ensuring that they or their group cooperate with the requests of the Captain and Crew. Passengers must acknowledge that the vessel’s Captain reserves the right to terminate an Onboard Program at any point in the event that the Group is unable to comply with the rules of behavior aboard the vessel.

Participating in a Clearwater program involves inherent risks and other risks that can cause or lead to death, injury, illness, or property damage. Passengers agree to assume all of the risks of the activities of the Clearwater program, whether inherent or not, and even if not described by the Captain and crew onboard.

As always, we are committed to providing you a safe, unforgettable sailing experience on the Hudson River. We have many COVID-19 protocols in place, including, but not limited to the following:

  • All crew members are required to be vaccinated (including boosters) against COVID-19.
  • On public and charter sails, passengers will be permitted below decks ONLY if they are masked. 5 passengers will be allowed below decks at a time.

We will make sure to discuss these and other protocols with you in our pre-trip communications and will communicate any changes in our policies per state and federal guidance.

We sail under most weather conditions except for those that are deemed unsafe, such as thunder/lightning, sheeting rain, and/or extremely high winds, so please check the forecast the day of your sail and be sure to dress for the weather.  We do not cancel sails based on weather forecasts, so cancellations usually occur the day of the scheduled sail, although we make every effort to provide as much notice as possible of a cancellation.

For public sail passengers: Should the weather be questionable, you may call 845-265-8080 x7142 to check on the status of your sail. In case of a weather-related cancellation, you will be contacted by a crew member at the cell phone number you provided. Should we cancel a sail due to weather, your sail fee will either be refunded or your reservation transferred to another sail of your choosing, and as availability allows.

For group sails: Should the captain cancel your sail, you will be contacted at the number you provided on your sail program information sheet. You will then have the option of participating in a dockside education program (at a 40% discount of your sail rate, and weather dependent); having your sail rescheduled (as availability allows during the same season or the following season); or of receiving a full refund. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule rain dates in advance. Should you choose to cancel your sail due to concerns about the weather and our captain deems the weather safe to sail, you will not receive a refund or be eligible for a rescheduled sail.

Here is the list of docks we typically sail out of (North to South): Rensselaer, Coxsackie, Hudson, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Beacon, Cold Spring, Ossining, Piermont, Yonkers, NYC (W79th St Boat Basin).

Have a look at our Sloop Tracker to see in which town the boat is currently docked. Clearwater’s crew is always happy to say hello, and loves to show folks around the decks as time allows, but please note that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, visitors will not be able to step aboard for a deck tour. Please do not approach the crew without a mask on. 

To find out the most convenient time for a deck tour, please contact the Sail Program Coordinator.

The marina is preparing to undergo a complete reconstruction projected to be completed in 2025. In the meantime, we hope you join us at our docks upriver, most of which are accessible by Metro-North Rail and Amtrak. Clearwater is excited to visit the new and improved, climate resilient 79th Street Boat Basin Marina in 2025, which will expand access for boaters and waterfront education in Riverside Park. Learn more about the reconstruction here.

In our 2023 sailing season, we will accommodate up to 45 passengers per sail. 

The Clearwater‘s passenger capacity is determined by the United State Coast Guard. Carrying more passengers than permitted by the certificate of inspection is a federal crime.  These the passenger count must include all teachers, chaperones, caterers, musicians, and infants, regardless of age or type of participation.

As it is generally a few degrees cooler out on the water than it is on land, but there is very little shade on the decks of Clearwater, we recommend dressing in layers and wearing plenty of sun protection- Hats, sunblock, and sunglasses are all useful. In case of rain, rain jackets are preferable to ponchos, as they are less problematic in the wind. Flat, comfortable footwear is recommended.

Hydration is extremely important while sailing: We strongly suggest that all passengers bring reusable water bottles when they come onboard.  There are no refreshments available for purchase onboard. For public sails and private charters, you are welcome to bring whatever you’d like to eat or drink on your sail, including wine or beer. Please note that all alcohol consumption takes place at the captain’s discretion.

All of our sails, unless otherwise noted, depart from and return to the same dock. Which direction we sail in and how far we travel is dependent on the tide, current, and wind. Sailing onboard Clearwater centers the experience of being on the water and experiencing the Hudson River from that perspective.

It is very rare for passengers to become seasick while onboard. Clearwater was designed to navigate the kinds of inland waters we sail in. Broad of beam and very low to the water, the sloop is extremely stable.

In the event of motion sickness, the medical officer on duty is available to provide assistance.

For educational group sails, the youngest children we sail with are fourth-graders. We do provide educational group sails to mixed-age groups, but children younger than the fourth-grade level must not make up more than one quarter of the total number of passengers, and extra chaperones may be required.

For public sails, children of all ages are welcome onboard with proper adult supervision. Clearwater has a limited number of infant/toddler life jackets onboard: Please verify their availability with the Outreach and Engagement Manager prior to sailing, or feel free to bring your child’s own P.F.D.

You are in good hands when onboard! Clearwater’s professional crew has been selected to combine the talents of a competent sailing team with those of a trained education staff. Volunteers and interns augment the work of Clearwater’s licensed captain, crewmembers, and educators. The ratio of crewmembers to passengers on any sail is approximately 1:4, which means that you and/or your child will be very closely supervised at every point during your time onboard.

Clearwater is a sub-chapter T United States Coast Guard inspected vessel. Clearwater is subject to and complies with all USCG and Federal Communications Commission regulations, and is inspected for safety annually: the inspection examines the ability of the crew to respond properly to an emergency and assesses the appropriateness of the vessel’s safety equipment, including fire extinguishers and personal flotation devices. Clearwater is also inspected by the US Coast Guard bi-annually to gauge the integrity of the vessel itself by examining the hull and other physical features of the vessel.

The Coast Guard does not require Clearwater’s passengers to wear flotation devices during their trip, but Clearwater always carries enough P.F.Ds for our maximum number of passengers.

All passengers boarding Clearwater are given a thorough safety talk by the captain prior to departure. This talk includes the setting of boundaries on the deck, the proper method for climbing the ladders leading below decks, and the location of and method for putting on life jackets.

Many of our docks have public facilities on site, and we encourage our guests to avail themselves of them prior to boarding. Below decks spaces, including the two heads (boat toilets) on Clearwater will NOT be available during the 2022 season.  

Clearwater’s head, or boat toilet, is more like an outhouse than a bathroom, with a barrel of wash water for hand washing on deck.

People with disabilities sail with us often. Some areas of the boat are not accessible to people with limited mobility or those in wheelchairs, as they are accessed via ladders or steps. These areas are: Below decks (including the heads, not available in 2022), and the quarterdeck. Please note that, although Clearwater’s crew is comfortable assisting people with disabilities as they board and disembark, not all of our docks are fully accessible to wheelchairs or people with limited mobility. Please check with the Vessel Logistics Manager via email at to find out which docks would be most appropriate and to find out how we can accommodate people with disabilities aboard all of our sails.

We do not offer group discounts, and ask that groups larger than 12 wishing to sail together for a special event instead consider a private charter.

With every season comes change to the river and to Clearwater. After twenty-three wonderful years of coming to the Hudson to provide an additional platform for our unique education programs, the Mystic Whaler’s captain-owners have a new destination in mind: retirement.  It has been an honor to work with John, Pat, and the Mystic Whaler over the years and we at Clearwater wish them a happy retirement.