Blue Goose Chesapeake Bay Trawler Yacht Charter

Baltimore Harbor, Maryland
Chesapeake Bay
Mother Goose Trawler School

Trawler training on Chesapeake Bay

Mother Goose Trawler School

No one offers better, trawler specific training than Blue Goose. Certain competitors' talk can be cheap. Others' slick brochures and spiffy websites are often deceiving. We have been training clients aboard our trawlers for more than 20 years, and really know what we are doing when it comes to trawlers. Our Baltimore Harbor location on the Chesapeake Bay offers a superb, forgiving, yet challenging, environment in which to learn to operate diesel trawlers. We will properly prepare you and your crew for a safe and pleasurable trawler experience. You will find that the quality of our tailored training is unsurpassed, at any price, particularly with regard to single-screw dockmanship. If all you need is a certificate, you can obtain that from any number of places. We cannot guarantee your success but remain confident that we can enable you to successfully transition to trawlers if you maintain a proper and receptive attitude. So,  if you want hands-on training that will instill in you a sense of confidence and skill, please give us a try. Please remember that all of our training is conducted by licensed, master mariners who have acquired their recreational boating experience, time and expertise specifically on trawlers. We really care about our training operation. We think we are among the very best when it comes to trawler training. Trawlers are what we do. Despite our small size, we are fortunate to have two of the very best trawler instructors on the East Coast. Just ask around.

 Please consider the following:

  • Compare our rates. They are the most favorable in the business.
  • You receive tailored, personalized support to suit your special needs.
  • Training is trawler specific and hands-on.
  • You will very likely end up chartering the boat you are training on.
  • Overnight afloat accommodations are included. Extra hotel room fees are unnecessary.
  • You will be operating in a "user-friendly" environment with superb marina facilities.
  • Our private training is just for you, or you and your first-mate.
  • Previous experience is not necessary. We will hold your hand from the time you arrive.
  • All training is performed by experienced, licensed Masters who care.
  • We actually understand what we are doing! We do not make stuff up. We really know our boats.
  • Mother Goose is the lead trainer for each and every training commitment.
  • The Chesapeake Bay provides you with one of the finest cruising grounds in the world.
  • Baltimore, especially the surrounding neighborhood of Canton, offers excellent "liberty" options.

Our  training priorities are as follows and as necessary:

  •  Dockmanship (Especially Single-Screw)
  •  Piloting
  •  Navigation
  •  Safety
  •  Collision Avoidance
  •  Energy Management
  •  Communications
  •  Weather
  •  Anchoring 
  •  Knots
  •  Chesapeake Bay
  •  All Others

Cruising With the Big Boys

Everyone who charters or trains with Blue Goose goes through the Mother Goose Trawler School, and  receives at least one of the following:

  • Pre-Charter Check-Out

  • Hands-On Training Combined with Follow-on Charter

  • Hands-On Training Only

  • Trawler Owners Training Aboard Their Vessel

  • Specialized Women's Training

And this just in ......

Hi Bill,

I want to thank you again for the thorough training weekend. You are very good at what you do, and many of the principles you taught are very clear in my mind. My brother, Vince, is still away, so we won't begin talking about a charter date for another week or two. I plan to get the dockmanship book you recommended, & also NIMITZ CLASS by Patrick Robinson. Thank you again, Bill. I had a great time, and received the type of training I wanted. If you would like to use me as a reference for any prospective clients, I would be very proud to relate my personal satisfaction with your training classes.

Mike Hoban

(1) Each experienced charter skipper receives three and one half hours of familiarization aboard the chartered vessel. This includes underway time. There is no charge for this, provided it is conducted in conjunction with a charter of four or more days. If the checkout proceeds beyond the normally allotted time, there is an additional charge of  $35.00 per hour. To repeat, this option is only available to experienced skippers and/or repeat clients. It is a check-out session only and assumes the requisite knowledge and experience.

(2) For inexperienced clients,  specialized training is available.  Normally, this training is combined with a follow-on bareboat charter, for a total of at least four days, and is conducted aboard the same vessel that the client wants to subsequently take out on his or her  own. Typically, the tailored training lasts one or two days, sometimes extending into the third day, or even the fourth morning, to cover any loose ends. Training is computed at $35.00 per hour of actual training received,  for up to two people, over and above the respective charter fee, fuel and charter fee taxes, or $275.00 for an 8-hour day. For example, the five-day daily rate for Blarney Goose, before taxes, is $265.00. Eight hours of training would cost an additional $275.00. During this training period, you continue to have full use of the boat and its amenities, including remaining on board overnight. This is a bargain when you compare these combined figures with the following sub-paragraph. There are additional charges of $125.00, plus meals, for any overnight training away from home port that involves one of our captain instructors, and $10.00 per hour of training for each additional person brought aboard for training, over and above the first two people. Our add-on hourly rate makes it easier for the client to compute in advance the overall cost of the endeavor. It also allows the client to stand down during the training if he or she needs some time off to regroup. Clearly, the best way to go for the most value is to combine your training with a follow-on bareboat excursion, for a total of five to seven days. Training fees are not currently taxed in Maryland.

(3) Hourly training aboard one of our vessels, but not in conjunction with a charter,  is also available. The fee for this is $50.00 per hour, with a four hour minimum, or $395.00 per eight hour day for one or two people. This type of training is generally limited to dockmanship, primarily, with some underway, close-quarters seamanship, and includes a mandatory one hour, pre-underway session covering the handling characteristics of the trawler being utilized for the hands-on training. Other training is available, as necessary, including sessions for more than two people. This fee includes fuel. There is no tax. As an option, client(s) can often remain aboard the  vessel overnight for an additional charge of $125.00 per night, plus tax, for one person or a couple, instead of staying ashore.

Another happy student

I again want to thank you for your time and persistence in training me to operate the trawler. I really had no idea what to expect. I know that I was just "another trainee" in your 18 years of operating your business but you made me feel both special and that I was your first and only trainee. The very detailed attention and caring for the development of my knowledge and skills were great.

The two weeks on the Bristol Goose were terrific. I know this was just another charter at the end of a long season for you, but for me it opened up a new world. To be able to escape life's normal grind and spend two weeks on the water (with my sons) was almost life altering. You are very fortunate to have a business that brings so much pleasure to your customers. The "Mother Goose" approach to making sure that everything is just right for cruises makes it that much more special.

Best wishes for you and your family in the future. I'm very much looking forward to returning for another charter (and training update). Also please thank "CJ" for her great support.

Best Regards

George Remeta

(4) Training aboard a client's vessel is sometimes an option. The fee is  $40.00 an hour if the training takes place in Baltimore Harbor. There is a four hour minimum. There is no tax. This option also includes a mandatory one hour discussion of the vessel's handling characteristics.  This training is not normally conducted at other locations because of operational and scheduling constraints. Rates for underway training in conjunction with a vessel delivery would be determined on a case basis. Please read the following:

Dear Bill and Carol (CJ),

Just a note to say "thank you" for making our first summer of trawler ownership most enjoyable and rewarding.  Your expert training gave us the confidence and ability to go from a 19' sailboat to a 41' trawler, able to dock and maneuver with the best of the "old salts".

Our trip from Baltimore to Newburgh, NY went flawlessly.  After several days at home, we headed out for 12 days to Burlington, VT up through the Champlain Canal (24 locks total) and back.  We changed our marina and are now at the Rondout Yacht Basin in Kingston, NY.  We're looking forward to next summer and plan to do the Erie Canal, Oswego Canal, Rideau Canal etc.  It sure is a fun way to travel and meet nice people.

I'm sure that you don't need more testimonials regarding the success of your training regimen, but should you find the need, please feel free to have people call us. When we're in Baltimore visiting our son, we'll stop by to say Hello!

Thanks again.


Jim & Nancy

New Adventure  (41' DeFever)




And this one is a favorite:

Captain Bill, Last week I docked my boat at the inside dockage of a local restaurant. The situation at departing left no option of going forward nor aft. I had to cause the boat to swing at least 80 degrees without going fore or aft. I thought of the "Trawler Docking" technique you taught me, and slick as could be I went forward on the bow spring, pointing the stern (ed. - away from the pier) to a clear path among the outlying finger piers (ed. - while pointing the bow towards the pier). I  only wish a crowd had been there to see it. Thanks for the lesson, Bill. Have a Happy New Year!! Paul

Specialized Women's Training. Please see below.

There is no set curricula for any of the training options discussed, nor is there any formal classroom instruction. All training is specifically tailored to the individual client(s) needs. Certain training tapes and power point presentations are available if the particular training situation warrants.

Marvin and Sarah Neuwirth and  their Monk 36 at the Baltimore Harbor Trawler School
*  *  *   *  *



What are the principal objectives of the Blue Goose training program?
Question: Who has the best trawler specific training program?
Question: Who normally attends the Mother Goose Trawler School?
Question: If a client doesn't know much about boating, will he or she be able to charter with Blue Goose?
Question: Is there class room instruction, a fixed set of curriculum, or scheduled group sessions?
Question: When is training available?
Question: How might a typical training scenario go?
Question: What about training specifically for women?
Question: How does one determine if he or she might need some training prior to chartering?

Question: What are the principal objectives of the Blue Goose training program?

The primary objectives are as follows:

(1) Learn to successfully operate a trawler. We want to enable a client to successfully and independently operate one of our diesel trawlers in a safe and confident manner.
(2) Build an information base. We want to assist the client in forming a sufficient information base upon which to enhance and refine his or her trawler related knowledge and skills, both during the initial training period and thereafter.
(3) Establish a Support Mechanism. We want to establish a mutually beneficial and supportive relationship between ourselves and the client when it comes to trawlers. This interaction would include information exchange, follow-on training, float planning, subsequent discounted charter bookings, and, perhaps,  buyer support in the event a client were to decide to purchase a trawler.

Question: Who has the best trawler specific training program?

Let's just say that no one is better than we are and leave it at that. This is especially true with regard to single-screw dockmanship, the true art and essence of successful trawlering.

Question: Who normally attends the Mother Goose Trawler School?

Everyone who operates a trawler in conjunction with Blue Goose receives some level of training from us, whether it be an underway pre-charter checkout,  tailored, individualized training in preparation for a bareboat charter, or special assistance to a new trawler owner. Our training clients run the spectrum from complete novices, through sailboaters and runabout operators desiring to transition to trawlers, to experienced boat handlers and professional mariners. Everyone, it seems, ends up learning something.

Question: If a client doesn't know much about boating, will he or she be able to charter with Blue Goose?

The answer is " YES!" However, it makes little sense to us for a client to spend his or her time and money learning NAVIGATION, PILOTING, or RULES OF THE ROAD from us. These subjects are better studied on one's own with an edition of CHAPMAN PILOTING, SEAMANSHIP, and SMALL BOAT HANDLING, or through one's local U.S. Power Squadron or U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Further, we do not cover FIRST AID, which is best left to one's local Red Cross or similar agency. All other pertinent areas can be covered by Blue Goose, as needed, with special emphasis on HELMSMANSHIP, DOCKMANSHIP and "TRAWLER 101".

Question: Is there class room instruction, a fixed set of curriculum, or scheduled group sessions?

Not really. Normally, all of the training is conducted on the boat, on the pier, or on the water. The content of the instruction is tailored to the individual needs of the client.

Question: When is training available?

Training is available during the period May 1st through October 31st, and is dependent upon the availability of a training vessel, and of the primary instructor, Mother Goose.

Question: How might a typical training scenario go?

It might go as follows if everything is flowing correctly:

1. Day One - Arrive about 5PM. Remain on board that night (and every night).  No charge for early boarding.
2. Day Two - Training starts at 9AM on board the vessel. Afternoon out on-the-water. Finish by 6PM.
3. Day Three - Training starts at 9AM. On-board and on-the-water sessions. Possible navigational exercise on the Bay, starting and ending in Baltimore. Finish by 6PM.
4. Day Four - Training starts at 9AM. Loose ends including dockmanship final. Underway bareboat solo for Rock Hall after lunch. Remain Rock Hall overnight. Helmsman can be provided for an additional fee.
5. Day Five - Return to Baltimore from Rock Hall.

Question: What about training specifically for women?

Blue Goose specializes in training for women. We have successfully placed several women at the helm, including qualifying them as captain on one of our charters. More than one wife has opted to receive training from Mother Goose without the husband along. It seems to work better sometimes. Of some interest, perhaps, it was Mother Goose who inaugurated the "Women's Hands-On Training" program for the Marine Trader Owners Association (MTOA), the largest trawler club in America. A similar dockmanship program was recently introduced to the women members of the Great Harbour Trawler Association, at the club's rendezvous in Baltimore. This effort was featured in the "News and Notes" section of the February 2004 edition of PassageMaker magazine. We also have available on staff  a very experienced female trawler captain, C. J. Loomis, to assist with the training as necessary. Quite frankly, Mother Goose is tired of reading about various women's training programs, run by women, who profess to specialize in training women. What irks Mother Goose the most is their claim that men yell and are a bunch of "know-it-alls".  Further, they prey on women's fears and preach the idea that women can only learn from other women. They even imply that somehow they are better at this sort of thing. Tell that to the next female fighter pilot that you meet, who, no matter how good she is, undoubtedly received some or all of her training from one of those nasty male fighter pilots. The bottom-line is this. If you are a female and want to learn about trawlers from the very best, consider Blue Goose. We guarantee that you will be well taken care of, you will be made to feel secure, and, above all, you will learn about trawlers in an intimidation-free environment. This is our pledge to you.

Question: How does one determine if he or she might need some training prior to chartering?

One approach might be to wait until the underway check-out with Mother Goose. A  less disconcerting way might be to first rate yourself in the following categories, using a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).

Chesapeake Bay
Damage Control
Diesel Engine Room
Energy Management
First Aid
Float Planning
Knot Tying
Line Handling
Rules of the Road
Wind, Weather & Tides

If you scored less than 65, you might want to consider some special training. As you can see, Blue Goose views the entire trawler experience as a complex and integrated task, but not necessarily a complicated one. We do not, for example, view the undertaking as akin to Rocket Science. There are certain basic requirements, however, that absolutely must be understood. Thereafter, the greater the knowledge and skill on the part of the client, the more enjoyable the trawler endeavor becomes, and the easier Mother Goose sleeps at night.

Here's what some of our clients have to say...

"Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience. After our course completion, I felt my wife and I had made a team effort and attained a competency in boating skills and navigation. My opinion is that if Mother Goose trains you, believe me, you have been trained. Again, Bill, thanks for an enjoyable three days and your patience with us."
Jack and Sandy Barkholz
Reese, MI

"The check-out procedure is the finest we have encountered in 20 years of chartering. We are proud to be 'graduates' of the Mother Goose School of helmsmanship and seamanship."
Dave and Nancy Drenan
Congress Lake, OH

"I particularly appreciated Blue Goose's refresher instruction to update my skills, which resulted in a more relaxed and enjoyable charter. Bill's patience was most appreciated. Incidentally, the condition of our charter boat was impeccable."
Milo Hewitt, D.D.S.
Sacramento, CA

And another letter,

Dear Bill,

We went to Ft. Myers as planned for a long weekend charter a few weeks ago aboard a 36' Grand Banks with a single screw/bow thruster combination. I wanted to let you know that the training I did with you in October served as a wonderful preparation for the boat handling we had to do on the charter. We had good weather overall, but experienced some moderate cross wind docking situations that proved to be easy to handle using the techniques you taught me. The thruster was a nice extra a few times but the basic single screw maneuvering worked great.

I obviously need lots more experience to feel proficient at this, but the confidence I gained with your instruction really added a lot to our charter by minimizing our anxiety over boat handling. Your combination of conceptual and hands on teaching made getting the boat on and off the docks a predictable and well controlled exercise every time. For that, we are all very grateful!

Have a great season and best of luck to you with the trawler school and charter service. Count me as a happy student and a willing reference, if that sort of thing ever comes up. Thanks again.

Sam Spalding

And finally,

Dear Mother Goose,

Thank you again for the terrific charters we have enjoyed on the Bristol Goose. Your care and attention to every detail of the charter is unexcelled. The Bristol Goose is a work of art and living evidence of hours of tender loving care. We always enjoy our visits with you and we especially appreciate the help you generously give to make every charter a success. You are also a gentle and patient teacher capable of turning novices into captains through your trawler school.

Feel free to quote us or copy this letter. We will also gladly talk with anyone who wants to hear about the Blue Goose experience first hand. You and your fleet are simply the best.


Terry and Susan McDonald
Pitman, NJ

For more information:

Bareboat Charter Info | Captained Cruises Info

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