Aquatic Consulting Services

Click Here for a Printer-Friendly Version of Boating Instruction & Charters (PDF format, 122KB) Updated Feb-2013

Keel Boat Sailing Lessons
Boat Handling Skills and Safety Drills
Coastal Piloting & Charting – Instruction in Navigation
Navigation Rules of the Road – Memorization Made Easy
Boat Deliveries
Pet Memorial Ceremony
Scout Badge Activities
Whale Watching
Pacific Ocean Cruises off Southern California and to the Channel Islands
Group Team Building Activities
Women Only Cruises – Mermaid Adventures
Sunset Cruises
Ocean Sailing Experience
2013 Fees: Multi-day Cruising
Boat Delivery
Day Trips
Directions to Sunroad Resort Marina
What to wear & bring along

Keel Boat Sailing Lessons

Learn to sail a cruising sailboat.  Instruction will take place on board the boat and newly acquired skills will be put to practice on the water.

Boat Handling Skills and Safety Drills

Practice docking, maneuvering in tight quarters, line handling, anchoring, overboard recovery drills, picking up a mooring, and reefing.  Rehearse using safety and rescue equipment including PFDs, tethers and harnesses, jacklines, ring buoys and heaving lines, and emergency signaling equipment.  Learn to use a VHF radio, personal locator beacon, and EPIRB to summon help.

Coastal Piloting & Charting – Instruction in Navigation

Do you depend on modern navigational technology like GPS and computer navigation systems to find your way on the water?  Many of today’s boaters either never learned or have forgotten how to use a paper chart and coastal piloting skills.  Learn to plot a position on a paper chart, lay out a course, measure distance, compensate for variation and deviation in order to correct or uncorrect the compass, solve speed, time and distance problems; determine speed or course made good, estimate time of arrival, determine position by bearings, deviation from a range, set and drift, and course to steer for a known set and drift.  Know what to do if your electronic navigation systems fail.

Many people who regularly depend on a calculator or computer to solve simple mathematical calculations, cannot perform even simple, let alone complex, arithmetic computations without an electronic aid.  Although you may have learned to do so in elementary school, when’s the last time you figured out a square root problem without the aid of a calculator?  Similarly, many of today’s boaters only learn to navigate using electronic aids to navigation, and are lost when the systems inevitably fail.  Participants will leave this workshop having learned several valuable, and possibly life saving skills.

 Workshop participants will learn fundamental skills needed for coastal piloting of a boat.  The workshop will include some hands on practice of charting and dead reckoning skills.  Basic navigational concepts and navigational tools will be introduced.  Participants will gain the confidence needed to perform routine piloting tasks in the event of electronic navigation systems failure.

Navigation Rules of the Road – Memorization Made Easy

If, like most recreational boaters, you find it impossible to memorize the 38 rules of the road and 5 annexes included in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security / United States Coast Guard Navigation Rules International – Inland you are not alone.  If two sailboats are on a collision course, do you know which one of them has the right of way?  No idea if a fishing vessel has the right of way over a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver?  Do you know what signal you must sound if you run aground?  Would you recognize the identifying light signal of a submarine running on the surface at night?  Participants in this workshop will leave with an understanding and knowledge of the rules of the road that will impress a professional mariner.

Although automobile drivers assume other licensed drivers know the rules of the road and

understand the meaning of highway sign and traffic signals, boaters do not have the same reassurance.  Most states do not require boaters to be licensed.  In many areas of the country, anyone, regardless of age or previous boating experience can rent a boat and take it out onto the crowded waterways.  Due to the difficulty in memorizing the myriad of complicated international and inland water boating rules, even many experienced boaters never attempt to learn the rules.  Whether the goal is personal knowledge and safety, or whether you are responsible for teaching units in boating safety, you will gain a sense of confidence in your understanding of Navigation Rules.

Boat Deliveries

Please call to determine availability.

Pet Memorial Ceremony

Say goodbye to your “furry friend” with a brief ceremony prior to disposing of his ashes at sea.

Scout Badge Activities

Is your troop working on a badge that involves navigation, water safety or boating skills?  We can help you complete many of the required activities.

Whale Watching

Spend an afternoon on the ocean observing and following California Gray Whales as they make their annual migration south to the warm Baja lagoons.  (Seasonal – Mid December through early March)

Pacific Ocean Cruises off Southern California and to the Channel Islands

Educational cruises lasting from 2 to 14 days can be customized to meet your desires and goals.  Trips can be ambitious covering lengthy legs of sailing, night crossings and visits to a half dozen islands, or more relaxed with days spent ashore in more leisurely pursuits.  We can anchor in remote, isolated anchorages and explore semi-deserted islands and caves, or moor in crowed harbors near shops and restaurants.  Please call to schedule in advance.

Group Team Building Activities

Come join your colleagues for an afternoon of active ocean sailing.  Assist with sail handling, drills and steering.  Limited to 6 participants.  Call for reservations


Women Only Cruises – Mermaid Adventure

Disappointed you didn’t get picked as a crew member aboard America3?  Tired of being First Mate, but you don’t have the experience or confidence to be Captain?  Need to spend some quality time with your mother or daughter?  Just want to get away with “the girls”?  Daysails, weekend cruises to Catalina Island, or one to two week long all-women offshore voyages can be arranged.  Limited to 6 participants.  Beginner sailors welcome.

Sample week long cruise – approximately 200 miles:

Sunday Sail from San Diego to Dana Point.  Spot pods of dolphins as you sail north along the Southern California Coast.  Anchor for the night in Dana Point Harbor.  Dinghy to shore at the yacht club for dinner.
Monday Sail from Dana Point to Santa Catalina Island.  Moor in Avalon Harbor.  Eat an early dinner of just-caught sand dabs at Armstrong’s looking over the busy harbor.  Go on a night-time kayak trip with an astronomer.
Tuesday Day ashore on Catalina.  Eat breakfast at Eric’s on the Pleasure Pier.  Go on island tours.  Shop.  Get a massage at the Island Breezes day spa.  Play 9 holes of golf at the famous Catalina Island Golf Course.  SCUBA dive in the Casino Point Underwater Park.  Ride the zipline.  Meet for appetizers and margaritas at a sidewalk café.  Go to the movies at the historic Casino building theater.
Wednesday Sail from Avalon up to the Isthmus at Two Harbors.  Fish along the way.  Moor at the Isthmus.  Dinghy to shore.  Hike to Cat Harbor.  Explore the Isthmus.  Enjoy wine and cheese at the Banning House overlooking both harbors.  Watch for buffalo grazing nearby.
Thursday Spend the day in Two Harbors.  Snorkel, kayak, fly kites, explore the caverns surrounding the harbor.   Eat a “cheeseburger in paradise” lunch at the Galley snack bar.  Spend the afternoon in a hammock reading and napping under a palm tree.  Sit around on the boat after dinner watching the stars, and the glow on the horizon from Los Angeles.
Friday Sail from Two Harbors to Emerald Cove.  Moor in the quiet bay.  Swim to shore, hang out on the sandy beach.  Kayak or snorkel through the kelp forest around Indian Rock.
Saturday Sail home to San Diego from Santa Catalina  Island.

Mermaids July 2006

Mermaids Sunset

Mermaids Dinghy

Sunset Cruises

Sunset cruises depart approximately 2 hours prior to sunset and return with the afterglow within an hour of sunset.  You can join in, raise sails, take a turn at the helm, handle lines, or just sit back and enjoy the ocean breezes and watch the sun sink below the horizon.

Sunset on the Mermaid

Point Loma Sunset

Ocean Sailing Experience

Have you always wanted to learn to sail, but live a thousand miles away from the ocean?  Does your previous sailing experience consist of floating around in a tippy Sunfish on a calm, flatwater lake?  Whether a landlubber or experienced sailor, come enjoy a half day of sailing with a licensed captain on a cruising sailboat on the Pacific Ocean.

Learn the basics of ocean sailing: sailboat terminology, boat handling skills, boating safety, docking, and wind awareness.  After a brief overview of the boat and a safety orientation, we will set sail.  Limit: 6 participants.  No previous sailing experience necessary.

2013 Fees:

Multi-day Cruising

Multi-day cruising fees aboard “Mermaid” are $295.00 per person per day, and a minimum of 2 and maximum of 6 paying passengers are required for a trip to fill.  Fees include the cost of the trip, the captain, instruction, 1 – 2 meals per day served on board, all dock and mooring fees, landing permits, and fuel costs.  Meals and activities ashore, and fishing licenses are not included in the base price.  Unless other arrangements are made, passengers will be sleeping on board the boat.  Since the trips are educational in nature, passengers are expected to share duties including steering, sail handling, watch standing, meal preparation and clean-up, and must agree to comply with and sign a participation agreement (PDF format, 21KB). A gear list will be sent upon receipt of your registration. Payment is by cash or check payable to Aquatic Consulting Services.

Cancellation fees for multi-day cruises:

15% if cancelled more than 30 days before the start of the trip

25% if cancelled more than 21 days, but less than 30 days before the start of the trip

50% if cancelled more than 14 days, but less than 21 days before the start of the trip

75% if cancelled more than 7 days, but less than 14 days before the start of the trip

No refund if cancelled less than 7 days before the start of the trip.

Mermaid Signal Flags


Keel boat sailing lessons and boat handling skills / safety drills can be scheduled for a minimum of 2 hours.

Private lessons: $85.00 per person per hour

2 – 6 students $50.00 per person per hour

Plus expenses


Boat Delivery

$365.00 per day (Captain)

$125.00 per day (Crew)

Transportation  costs from San Diego / Orange / Los Angeles counties to the point of departure, and to San Diego / Orange / Los Angeles counties from the point of delivery will be added to the delivery charge.

Daily fees will be charged for days spent in port for provisioning, repairs, stop overs at the request of the owner, or due to inclement weather.


Day Trips


Half day trips, including ocean sailing experience, sunset cruises, group team building activities, and whale watching trips typically last 3 – 4 hours, and one to 6 passengers may participate.  Additional hours on the water may be scheduled at $125.00 per hour.

For all other services, please call Aquatic Consulting Services for a price quote.

Alison Osinski, Ph.D.

Aquatic Consulting Services

P.O. Box 1418, 356 Sumner Ave.

Avalon, CA 90704

(619) 602-4435

USCG License / Merchant Mariner Credential Ref. # 2574253


Directions to Sunroad Resort Marina if departing from San Diego:

•   Take I – 5 south toward downtown San Diego

•   Take the Laurel Street exit.  At Laurel Street turn right and head west toward the airport.

•   Laurel Street will merge into Harbor Drive.

•   Continue driving west on Harbor Drive until you are in front of airport terminal 1.

•   Make a left hand turn onto Harbor Island.

•   Pass the first Sheraton Hotel building and follow the road to the left.

•   Just past the airport employee parking lot and before Beneteau Yacht Sales turn left into the marina parking lot

•   Park in one of the guest spots.

•   Walk to the marina gate at the far west end of the parking lot which is labeled “Slips A through D”.

•   Call (619) 602-4435 to be let through the gate

•   Walk down the gangway and turn right onto the first pier which is “D” .

•   MERMAID is the 2nd boat down on the east side of the pier in slip D-4.


What to wear & bring along for a day of sailing on the ocean:

•   Wear comfortable clothes

•   Foul weather gear or waterproof windbreaker in case of rain or heavy weather (unlikely)

•   White soled or non marking sneakers, or deck shoes

(Please do not wear sandals, flip flops, black soled running shoes, high heels, or boots)

•   Jacket

•   Hat

•   Camera

•   Dramamine (or whatever keeps you from getting seasick)

•   Sunglasses and sunscreen

•   CA fishing license if you want to do some fishing

•   You must be in moderate physical condition, have good balance and be able to climb on and off a boat unassisted



You are welcome to bring children as part of your group, unless the activity is advertised for adults only.  However, you will need to provide properly sized PFDs for the children, and per California law, the children must wear the PFDs at all times while aboard the boat.

All groups are limited to a maximum of 6 participants.  A licensed captain, and depending on the activity, a crew member will also be aboard.

is a 1993 Beneteau Oceanis 400 sloop which has been completely upgraded.  She has a fin bulb keel, draws 5’6” and has a wide 12’10” beam, has a walk-through transom, double spreaders, 2 flag halyards, 2 radar reflectors, fully battened mainsail, lazy jacks, stack pack, aluminum mast, Strong System bat cars, a roller furling 130% Genoa, 889 square feet of sail area (PHRF rating 105), a new Code 0 roller furled spinnaker, adjustable whisker pole mounted vertically on the mast, Bruce anchor with 200 feet of chain, spare aluminum Fortress anchor with weighted line and rode, windlass, saltwater washdown, 50 hp Perkins diesel engine, 120 amp alternator, fixed 3-blade prop, BBQ grill, propane locker , 4 Lewmar winches (two 30’s and two 48s), 12 Spinlock clutches, 41 gallon diesel fuel tank, two 70-gallon water tanks, four 4-D AGM batteries (220 amp engine starter battery, 660 amp house bank), Heart Interface Link 2000-R, non skid fiberglass and teak decks, anodized aluminum, and stainless steel hardware, 7 Lewmar hatches and 10 portholes, new wiring and electrical panels, Wema tank gauges, and Hunter green canvass (bimini, folding dodger, awning, screens, helm cover…).  Operations and maintenance manuals, diagrams, and operating instructions are available for all boat systems and equipment.  All lines (including reefing lines) run aft to the cockpit.

Belowdecks, there are 3 staterooms with room for 7 people to sleep comfortably, HCM innerspring mattress in Pullman berth, hanging lockers and shelves, 2 heads (electric), two 20-gallon holding tanks with macerator pumps, sinks and showers, galley (with refrigerator and freezer – 12 volt and engine driven systems, U-Line ice maker, propane oven and stove, storage and stainless sink), saloon with seating for 6, halogen lighting, 7 quiet Calframo fans, navigation station, stereo / CD / DVD player with cabin and cockpit speakers, iPod connection, and 2 flat screen TV monitors.

Navigation instruments, include Ray Marine navigation instruments duplicated at both the helm and nav stations, VHF (Ray230) radio with intercom, fog horn, speakers and hailer, 24-mile RADAR with MARPA, GPS antenna and RL70 chartplotters, depthsounder, knotmeter, water thermometer, countdown timers for racing, wind instruments, below deck linear drive ST 6001 autopilot; Watchman night watch system,

Emergency equipment includes: Iridium satellite phone, SPOT system, jack lines, fire extinguishers, ship’s bell, MOB pole, strobe light and horseshoe buoy, flares and flare guns, orange smoke, laser flares, PFDs, ditch bag, and a Winslow 6-person offshore liferaft.

A West Marine inflatable dinghy with a 3-1/2 hp outboard is used as a tender.

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