Block Island Club ("Club") Policies

Welcome to the Block Island Club.  We hope you enjoy your time sailing, swimming, playing tennis or just relaxing.  To ensure that members and their guests enjoy the Club and stay safe, the following policies are in place.  Please make sure to review these before participating in any Club activities.

General Policies

  1. Prior to using the Club, all members must complete the required membership forms, including the waiver of liability.  Parents (or other responsible adult) enrolling a child in a class must complete the Medical Release form prior to a child’s participation in any Club class or other type of activity.

  2. Payment for Club membership is due at the time of registration.  Members are responsible for any fees that are incurred due to bounced checks or returned payments.  Please consult the Membership section of the Club website for membership types and fees.

  3. Members are welcome to use the Club building and facilities, as well as the docks and grounds during Club operating hours.

  4. The Club building and office are open daily from 9am to 6pm Monday through Saturday. 10am-4pm Sundays during the summer months.

  5. All members and their guests must comply with the Club’s policies contained herein and on the Club website.

  6. Members can host a guest for up to 3 days. If more than 3 days, the guest must become a member. This pertains to all club activities including keelboats.

  7. Grandparents who have purchased an Adult Individual/Couple membership may bring their children and grandchildren (18 years or younger) to the Club and have them take lessons for a total of five (5) days. Grandparents whose grandchildren will use the club in excess of five (5) days (and whose adult children have not purchased a Family Membership) should purchase a Family Membership or a Block Island Year-Round Resident Membership for themselves and their grandchildren. Adult children of members should purchase their own Family or Adult Individual/Couples membership if they (and their children) plan to use the club in excess of five (5) days. In such instances, a 25% discount shall apply to the Adult child’s membership. This discount applies only to parent/adult children memberships and not to two or more memberships purchased by siblings.

  8. Membership and class tickets will be refundable up until June 15th for the year that they were purchased.

  9. All personal property, including boats, sails, lifejackets, and other equipment stored on the Club premises are the owner’s responsibility. The Club is not liable for lost, damaged or stolen property.

  10. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or other responsible person over the age of  15 unless the child is participating in a class.   Children age 12 and older may use the Club outside of a class, during Club hours, without a supervising adult.

  11. The Club reserves the right to suspend any member or their guest’s use of the Club or its facilities and equipment if they fail to obey the Club’s policies or otherwise pose a danger to themselves or others, or are a threat to Club property or the property of others located at the Club.

  12. To ensure that all members and guests feel comfortable at the Club and enjoy their experience, the Club’s membership is non-discriminatory and no bullying is tolerated.  We expect all members, including children, to treat everyone with respect and courtesy.      

  13. No illegal drugs may be possessed, used or sold on Club premises.  Any possession or use of marijuana that is legal under the laws of the state of Rhode Island is also prohibited on Club premises.  Any conduct of this type shall result in cancellation of one’s membership.  

Although possession and responsible use of alcohol on Club premises is allowed by anyone 21 or older, the following policies apply to alcohol consumption on Club premises and while using Club property.

  1. No one under the age of 21 may consume alcohol on Club premises.

  2. Anyone sailing a Club keelboat, boat, kayak or paddleboard shall not consume alcohol while doing so and be below the legal intoxication limit prior to taking out a Club boat.

  3. Although all swimmers swim at their own risk when no lifeguard is on duty, swimmers should refrain from drinking alcohol while swimming and should not swim if they have been drinking.

  4. No alcohol may be consumed on the docks or near the swimming area.

Policies for use of all types of BIC Boats
(Colgate 26 and other keelboats, other sailboats, other motor boats, kayaks and paddleboards)

Life jackets:  While in a keelboat, motorboat, sailboat, kayak or on a paddleboard, a life jacket must be worn at all times by adults and children without exception.  

Who can use BIC boats outside of a class:

  1. Membership requirements: Anyone wishing to use a boat must be a member of the Club or a guest (see Membership section on the Club website) and be the required age.  Boats and crews must be signed in and out at the Clubhouse office according to boat check-out procedures.   Members can reserve a boat up to two weeks in advance.

  2. Age requirements:  A member or guest must be at least 18 years of age and approved by the head sailing instructor to captain a keelboat.  A member or guest must be at least 15 years of age to sail a 420 without the presence of an adult on board, unless an exception is made by the head sailing instructor.  A member or guest must be at least 12 years of age to use a kayak or paddleboard without an adult on board or nearby to supervise and provide assistance if required.

  3. Sailing competency:  A person may not sail a Club boat unless they have demonstrated the ability to competently rig, launch and safely land the boat without verbal or physical assistance from a BIC instructor.   In order to be certified to use a kayak or paddleboat, the user must demonstrate the ability to transport the kayak or paddleboat to and from the water’s edge, launch it and safely land it.  

  4. Restrictions on areas of use:   Opti sailboats, kayaks and paddle boats may not leave the Great Salt Pond.  Motor boats, Colgate 26 keelboats and 420 sailboats may be sailed into the ocean with approval by the head sailing instructor.   Kayaks and paddleboards should not go in the channel lanes leading to and from the opening of the Great Salt Pond into the Atlantic.  Boats are not to be sailed unreasonably close to moored and anchored boats, moving boats, launches, docks or buoys. Boats are not to be sailed up onto the beach and boats are not to be purposefully capsized.

  5. The Head Sailing Instructor and designated assistants may suspend the sailing/kayaking privileges of any member or their guests if they fail to obey these rules or otherwise pose a danger to themselves or others, or are a threat to Club property or the property of others.

Sailing and returning of boats:

  1. Rigging and unrigging requirements:  Those using a Club boat are responsible for rigging and unrigging the boat, returning the boat to its proper location, and returning boat equipment to the proper location in the Clubhouse.  If the boat checked out is already rigged and on the beach or dock, the person is still responsible for de-rigging the boat, returning all equipment and hauling the boat to its proper location.  Boats are not to be dragged.  Club members and their guests are responsible for any equipment that is lost, damaged or destroyed due to their own negligence, carelessness, recklessness or poor seamanship.

  2. Equipment pairing with boats:  Riggings, rudder/tiller assemblies, centerboards and sails are numbered.  The numbered items are to be used only with the hull of the corresponding number.  Borrowing of shackles, pins, lines etc., from boats on the premises is NOT permitted.  If any item is missing from your assigned boat, please see a Club staff member for assistance.

  3. Boats are not to be sailed unreasonably close to moored and anchored boats, moving boats, launches, docks or buoys.  

  4. Sailboats are not to be sailed up onto the beach or purposefully capsized.  

  5. Procedures for removing boats from the water:

    1. Optis: returned to rack and properly derigged

    2. 420s: returned to rack and properly derigged

    3. Keelboats: returned to mooring and properly derigged, written instructions will be provided.

    4. Kayaks: Kayaks should be paddled to the water’s edge.  They must then be emptied of water, carried to the kayak area, and turned upside down.  Paddles are to be returned to the storage area on the beach side of the Clubhouse.

    5. Paddleboats: Paddleboards should be paddled to the water’s edge.  They must then be carried to the paddleboard area. Paddles are to be returned to the storage area on the beach side of the Clubhouse.

  6. Safe Behavior: To ensure everyone’s safety:

    1. No diving from docks or boats.  

    2. No running or roughhousing on docks.  

    3. No items made from glass shall be carried onto the docks or into the boats.

    4. No sailing alone without following safety procedures and permission from the Head sailing Instructor.  

  7. Weather Conditions or Needs for Classes: The head sailing instructor or designated assistants may, at their discretion, restrict the use of boats, kayaks and paddleboards in certain weather conditions or if boats are needed for scheduled lessons and races.  The manager, head sailing instructor or designated assistants may also, at any time, based on their own opinion and experience, cancel sailing for all or a portion of a day due to weather, an emergency or other unforeseen circumstances.  

  8. Poor Boating Conduct: The head sailing instructor or designated assistants may suspend the sailing, kayaking or paddleboarding privileges of any member or guest if they fail to obey any Club policy or otherwise pose a danger to themselves or others, or are a threat to Club property of the property of others.  No refunds of rental fees will be granted in such situations.

  9. Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability:  As indicated above in the General Policies section, anyone sailing or riding on a Club boat must sign the required forms, including a waiver of liability, available at the office in the Clubhouse.

Additional Policies for Use of Club’s Colgate 26 Keelboats

In 2016, the Club obtained six Colgate 26 keelboats as surplus property from the U.S. Coast Guard.  Additional policies apply to the use of the Colgate keelboats due to level of sailing skill required to sail them and the cost of maintaining them.  Please see the Keelboats section on the Club website for the additional policies that apply to renting and using these boats.

Additional Policies for Thursday Night Races and Family Saturday Morning Races  

The Block Island Thursday Night Yacht Racing Association organizes and runs Thursday Night Races during the summer, in which the Club participates.  These events are not strictly a Club event.  The Club also holds Family Saturday Morning Races. Please see the Keelboat/Racing and Regattas section of the Club website for details.

Prior to using a Club boat for these races, all people on board must have signed the required forms, including a waiver of liability.  Forms are available from the desk in the Clubhouse.

Policies for Storing Personal Boats, Kayaks, Paddleboards and Other Types of Water Equipment on Club Property

Club members may store their personal boats, kayaks, paddleboards and other large water equipment (“Boating Property”) on Club premises to the degree space is available.  Availability is on a first come, first serve basis each summer.  Use of space during one summer is not a guarantee that space will be available the following summer.  The following rules apply to personal Boating Property stored on Club premises.

  1. Summer storage is available only to members and must be secured through a form from the office in the Clubhouse.  Winter storage is available to non-members.  Please do not leave your boat without first completing the form.  The Club reserves the right to remove its permission to store Boating Property on Club premises if such property is improperly stored or used while on Club premises.

  2. Boat owners assume all risk of loss or damage for any Boating Property stored on Club premises.

  3. Summer storage is from May 1-Oct. 1 and Winter storage is from Oct. 1-May 1.  In the event Boating Property is not paid for or removed before the designated time period, the Club reserves the right to have the property removed or otherwise disposed of at the owner’s cost.

  4. Use of one’s own Boating Property, including the responsibility for sailors and passengers’ swimming and sailing competency, rests solely with the owner.  The Club is in no way responsible for the Boating Property, how it is used and who uses it.

Swimming Policies

The Club only provides a lifeguard during formal swim classes and designated supervised swim times, which are posted in the Clubhouse.  AT ALL OTHER TIMES, THERE IS NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY AND SWIMMERS SWIM AT THEIR OWN RISK.

  1. NO ONE SHOULD EVER SWIM ALONE.  If you plan to swim when there is no lifeguard on duty, please make sure you do so with a buddy.

  2. Children under the age of 18 must be supervised by an adult while near or in the water unless they are taking a formal swim class or have signed up for and are participating in a supervised swim time for which there is a lifeguard on duty.

  3. Parents assume all risks associated with a child’s activities in the water when there is no lifeguard on duty and the child is not participating in a swim class or a supervised swim time.

  4. There is NO DIVING from the docks, water’s edge or off of boats.

  5. When sailing classes are in session, swimming on the Club waterfront is confined to the roped off swim area.

  6. Weather and Other Conditions: The Club manager, swimming instructor or designated assistant may, at their discretion, restrict or deny access to the water in certain weather conditions, emergencies, other unforeseen circumstances, or when a person’s conduct is unsafe to themselves or to others.

Tennis and Tennis Courts Policies

  1. All members are entitled to use the tennis courts, which are open daily from 8:00 am until dark.  

  2. Smooth, rubber soled tennis shoes are required on the courts at all times.

  3. The tennis courts may only be used for tennis. There is no skateboarding, rollerblading or biking allowed on the courts.

  4. No food or alcoholic beverages are permitted within the fenced tennis area.

  5. Reservations:  Court availability can only be assured through a reservation.  Reservations can be made through the Clubhouse office, in person or by phone.   Reservations should be cancelled if the court cannot be used for the reserved time.  Members are limited to two reserved hours per day and courts must be turned over at the end of the reserved session, regardless of the status of the game or set.  If a reserved court is not claimed by the reserving member 15 minutes into the reserved time, the Club may reassign the court to a member who is on premises and ready to play.

  6. Clinics:  The Club offers tennis clinics that are open to members and their guests.  Please sign up for these, in person or by phone, before attending.  Payments for clinics are in cash; tickets are not accepted.  Minimum age and skill requirements may apply to certain clinics.

Policies for Classes

The Club offers sailing, swimming, tennis and arts and crafts classes.  Members who have paid their membership fee may enroll their children in classes or attend our adult classes.  Guests of members are permitted to take classes as well consistent with our membership policies.  Please consult the Membership section on the Club website.  

Please consult the Classes section for details on classes and any restrictions or requirements applicable to the specific class.  Summer-long and Island-Resident members may pay for individual classes through their credit card on-file with the club. For all other memberships, classes must be paid for in weekly instalments. Please see the fees page for more details.

Private classes with Club instructors can be arranged through the office in the Clubhouse.  Scheduled private lessons must be cancelled at least 24 hours in advance to avoid a cancellation fee (unless cancelled due to weather).

  1. Swimming Competency: Before any person may take a sailing class, he or she must pass the swim test administered by the head sailing instructor, waterfront director, or designated assistant.  If the swim test is failed, the person may not participate in the class. The exception to this rule is the Guppies class, where kids  will be given a swim “check” with their life vest on.  

  2. Swimming level:  To determine the appropriate level swim course for a child, the swim instructor or designated assistant shall assess the swimming competency of the child.  Class assignment is at the discretion of the instructor.  The Club reserves the right to deny participation in a swim class if it is determined that the child’s lack of water competency makes it inappropriate for the child to take the Club’s beginner class.

  3. Sailing and Tennis Competency: To determine the appropriate level sailing or tennis course for a child, the head sailing or tennis instructor (or designated assistant) shall assess the child’s skills.  Class assignment is at the discretion of the instructor.

  4. Class conduct:  Appropriate class conduct is required of all class participants.  This includes the wearing of proper attire, good listening, and compliance with all instructions by the Club staff and Club policies.  The Club reserves the right to dismiss a child from a class if the child’s behavior is inappropriate, disruptive or dangerous to the child or other class participants.  If dismissal occurs more than 15 minutes into a class, no refund will be provided.

  5. Class Participation and Waiver of Liability:

    1. Prior to taking a class, a parent (or other responsible adult) must register the child for the class.  We ask that parents (or other responsible adult) accompany their child to their first class to provide the required tickets and ensure that the instructor knows that the child is participating in the class.  If such child is staying for consecutive classes, then the parent only needs to accompany the child to the first class but should inform the instructor that the child will be staying for a second class.  Children under the age of 12 must be picked up from class at the end of the designated class time by a parent or other responsible adult.

    2. Prior to a child being permitted to take a course, the child’s parent or legal guardian must sign the applicable waiver of liability form.  If a parent or legal guardian will not be on Block Island while their child is taking a class, the waiver form may be filled out and submitted on the BIC website.

  6. Come to Classes Prepared: Please remember to come to classes prepared for the heat and sun.  Please bring water and apply sunscreen to all exposed areas.  Hats, sunglasses, t-shirts and shorts are strongly recommended.  All class participants  should come to class with appropriate footwear.  Appropriate sneakers are required for tennis (see Tennis and Tennis Court Policies section above) and closed-toe shoes, aqua socks, Crocs, old sneakers or similar footwear is required for sailing lessons.  

  7. Class oversubscription:  Sailing, Swimming and Tennis class sizes are limited.  To ensure a space in sailing classes, children can be registered for a Kids Weekly Program.  Please see this section under Classes on the Club website for details.  Otherwise, space is available on a first come, first serve basis.  

Driving and Parking

Please drive very slowly when entering and leaving the Club premises.  The Club road is only one way and children are often on the premises.  Parking is restricted to the area at the end of the access road sectioned off by the wooden fences.  The parking area above the parking area at the end of the access road is usually used for parking by staff but may be used by members if the lower lot is full.  Please be careful backing out of any parking spot since people are often in the parking area.  If you need to drive your car into the Club area where the boats are stored to deliver or remove a boat, please consult with Club staff prior to doing this.