Frequently Asked Questions

Are there other students in our course?

No, we offer only private instruction. Our student to instructor ratio is 2 to 1.

What should I bring?

It's not about how much you bring, it's about bringing the right gear. If you own boating gear you should bring it, if you don't, get it in San Diego where it is plentiful. The boating is cool, so a wind breaker and medium weight fleece is always a good idea. Clean, non making shoes should be worn. Hats and sunglasses are a must. It's warm in the summer 70-80's and cool in the winter 60-70's. If you have foul weather gear, you should bring it. If you don't and you need it, you can get a great deal here.

Where are you located?

Our base is at the Kona Kai Resort B Dock on Shelter Island, San Diego Bay, California. Our physical address is:
1551 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, California 92106.
- We do not accept mail at this address. Meetings by appointment only.

Our mailing address is:
2907 Shelter Island Drive #256, San Diego, California 92106.

Aerial view of Kona Kai resort in San DiegoAlternat angle, aerial view of Kona Kai resort

What is the weather like?

Nice. Seriously.

Do you offer courses all year? Which is the best month?

Yes, of course, classes are offered 12 months a year in San Diego. We are called "Americas Finest City". The best month depends on where you are from. May-November is when we get students from States where it is hot. (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Utah etc.) November-May, we get students from Europe, the East Coast, Mid West and Alaska. We operate in a thermal sea breeze here. You'll see pretty much the same conditions year round. It's cooler in the winter, warmer in the summer. There really is no bad month.

What about Hurricanes?

We are lucky and don't have them.

Do we take Wednesday off as a free day to go to the zoo?

No, we get underway every day.

What type of boats do you use?

We offer professional powerboating instruction aboard our Offshore 48, Bayliner 3388, Boston Whaler 13 classic.

What are your instructor's qualifications?

All our instructors are licensed yachtmasters, and certified powerboating instructors. Our tenured instructors have over twenty years of year round teaching experience with Our newest instructor has worked here 15 years.

How do I make a reservation?

Please call 619-299-9247 or 800-441-8672. Select an available week and provide us with a 50% deposit.

How far in advance do I need to make a reservation?

We typically book about 45-60 days in advance. However, if you need a reservation sooner than that, please check with us for availability. If you have specific dates in mind, it is never too early to reserve exactly what you want. We do accept reservations up to a year in advance.

What are the payment terms?

To make a reservation a 50% deposit is required. Your balance is due upon your arrival. We accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express and your personal check is welcome.

What is your refund policy?

Your deposit is non refundable. If you need to reschedule your course, you may do so for a fee:
90 days out      $150
60 days out      $250
30 days out      $350

Are there any other fees associated with our course?

No, tests and certification are included in your tuition. The yacht will be supplied with a full tank of fuel.

If I am a current member of a yacht club, do I have reciprocal privileges with SDPBA?

Yes, we welcome current yacht club members and we will gladly extend reciprocal privileges.

What types of accommodations are there?

Typically, our students make an independent reservation at the Kona Kai Resort & Spa. If you choose to stay at the Kona Kai, you will be afforded a special discount as a client of the San Diego Powerboating Academy.

Whichever accommodations you chose, as a client of San Diego Powerboating Academy, all of the Kona Kai Resort amenities are available to you!

Kona Kai room interior and harbor view.

The Kona Kai Resort & Spa offers casual island luxury accommodations including health club, spa, pool and Tiki bar. The Vessel Restaurant & Lounge serve SoCal cuisine, steaks and seafood and the bar offers a daily happy hour and free live entertainment Thursday thru Sunday. Take note: The Kona Kai Resort offers the only privately owned beach in San Diego, complete with gas fire pits and private cabanas.

Kona Kai resort pool.Kona Kai beach cabanasKona Kai resort room interiorKona Kai restaurant and bar

Are provisions included?

Lunch is provided on our three day course.

Are there restaurants or nightclubs in walking distance of the marina?

Yes, Shelter Island has several bars and restaurants within walking distance. In fact, the Kona Kai has an excellent Happy Hour from 2-6 pm and delicious nightly meal specials right here at the marina.

Is there a place to park my car?

Yes, there is one parking space provided per group.

Can we add a person to our course?

Yes, however the larger the group the less individualized the instruction. There is a flat $750 additional person fee added to any course tuition.

Can we bring a ride along person who will not take lessons?


Is there somewhere I can check my email?

Yes, the Marina has free, secure Wi-Fi.

Can I bring my pet?

No. Sorry.

Are there other desirable locations in the area to anchor overnight?

Glorietta Bay and LaPlaya Cove are two highly desirable locations for overnight anchorage. Glorietta Bay laps at the shores of Coronado Island, one of the most sought-after vacation destinations in California. In fact, Coronado's beach has been designated a "Best Beach" by the Travel Channel. La Playa is adjacent to both the San Diego Yacht Club and the Southwestern Yacht Club and affords boaters a classic San Diego vacation with views of historic Point Loma and downtown San Diego.
What about hotel and marina guest slips for overnight anchorage?

There are several private and public slips available around San Diego. Here are a few we recommend:

Downtown San Diego Marriott - Near the bustling Gaslamp Quarter. Easy walk to food and entertainment.

Glorietta Bay Marina - across from the historic Hotel Del Coronado.

Also, if you belong to a yacht club you may have reciprocal privileges at many of the San Diego yacht clubs.

Can you do this course on my boat?

Yes, click the link for "on your boat instruction".

My son/daughter is only 14. Can he/she get certified too?

The age for minimum certification is 16. If your child meets this criteria you and your child may complete the course together.