Mission

To foster small-watercraft education, access, safe recreation, and marine stewardship on Bellingham Bay.

sup with kelp

Our Story

The Community Boating Center is a grassroots, volunteer-driven, charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering safe small-boat recreation on Bellingham Bay. The Boating Center was founded by a core of local small-watercraft enthusiasts in 2006 and began services to the public in 2007. The Boating Center is not a club. There are no memberships and no dues. Programs and services are available to all. Much-appreciated tax-deductible donations, season-pass sales, dry-moorage fees and rentals of sailboats and human-powered watercraft enable the CBC to provide the safety and skills education that is the core of the organization’s mission. Volunteers are integrated into all aspects of the organization from maintaining boats, skippering public sails, teaching educational classes, tabling at events, and serving as board and committee members.

Join Our Crew

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Our Crew

Steve Walker

Steve is a Washington native with a professional career as a program administrator, land manager, and outdoor educator.  He joined the Community Boating Center staff in September 2012 and is delighted to be part of a vibrant grass-roots organization engaging Whatcom County citizens in safe and rewarding small-craft saltwater experiences.  While his primary boating activity is sea kayaking, he is a recreational generalist who particularly enjoys mountain pursuits, cycling, and Nordic skiing.  Steve has an undergraduate degree in physical education and taught and coached in London, England.  For over 20 years he provided oversight for the Outdoor Center at Western Washington University where he also initiated the school's Challenge Program.  While at WWU he secured a master's degree in adult education.  Early in his career he worked as a ranger for Washington State Parks and, more recently, as the property steward for Whatcom Land Trust.  Steve and his wife Sue live with their canine companion only a few blocks from the CBC in the Fairhaven neighborhood.

Andrea Reiter

Born and raised in the Evergreen State, Andrea is most at home when she is on the water. Andrea has a master’s degree in environmental education from Western Washington University as well as a Certificate in Leadership and Nonprofit Administration and a Northwest Naturalist Certificate both from the North Cascades Institute. Prior to coming to the Community Boating Center, Andrea worked for other nonprofit organizations within Washington running a summer camp and environmental education programs. Andrea enjoys sailing, scuba diving, fishing, and kayaking throughout the Salish Sea; as well as traveling throughout the world and experiencing new places, oceans, and seas.

Erica grew up in the Pacific Northwest and has a deep appreciation for saltwater bodies and their denizens. While working on her Creative Writing degree at Western Washington University, the myriad forms of water in the PNW served as a constant source of inspiration to her. Erica is honored to work as part of the CBC's community; she finds great reward in working with such a high caliber team. Helping to enable locals and visitors to better access and engage with the Salish Sea is supremely fulfilling to her. When she is not working, Erica can be found on the water or in the woods, or in a local coffee shop.

Miles Johannessen

Miles is a Bellingham native currently studying accounting at Western Washington University. He has spent most of his life around the water and has sailed since a young age. Beginning in high school Miles took up racing sailing dinghies in the youth racing circuit. Now he spends most of his time racing sailboats both locally and nationally. Before working for the Community Boating Center, Miles worked teaching sailing and coaching youth racing teams.

Paddle Staff

Brandi is a true water girl raised in beautiful Bellingham. She has a degree in Communications, a TESL endorsement, and is an avid paddle boarder. Some of her favorite life adventures include: fishing on a gillnetter in Alaska, surfing the Gold Coast of Australia, and spending several years as a circus performer in Seattle. Brandi moved back to Bellingham in 2009 and became an instructor at Bellingham Technical College. In her free time, she enjoys naps in her hammock, yin yoga and playing in the water.

Kestrel is a born and raised islander, hailing from the nearby San Juan Islands. The daughter of a fisherman, surfer, and wooden boat fanatic, Kestrel had also embraced the love of anything ocean based by a young age. Kestrel grew up sailing and boating around the Salish Sea, Puget, and Gulf Islands. Kestrel then worked as a kayak guide for two years out of Roche Harbor on San Juan Island after graduating university. Kestrel has also spent time working with a youth training program on a tall ship in the Aegean Sea. This is Kestrel's third summer working as part of the Community Boating Center team. She is very passionate about seeing folks fall in love with the sea, and learn how to safely and joyfully access and sustain the Salish.
In her "spare" time Kestrel also runs her own photography business, and works another semi-full time job doing social services in downtown Bellingham. In all of these endeavors, Kestrel is able to combine her passion for working with people of all backgrounds and identities.

Liz became an “outdoorsy person” while she was a student at WWU. During summer breaks she worked at summer camps on the Puget Sound and on a cute little lake in Oregon. Those places gave her plenty of opportunities to spend time on the water, like kayaking through bioluminescence on the Sound and swimming in the lake. After graduating from Western, she spent a summer river guiding on Wenatchee River before returning to Bellingham. She discovered a group playing kayak polo on Bellingham Bay on a stormy spring evening and has been paddling ever since. She’s joining the CBC for her second season of paddle instruction and is stoked to work with such lovely people.

Growing up in Bellingham, North had the opportunity explore the Northwest’s water in many forms; in the mud on trails, in the creeks and lakes, in the snow on skis, and by kayak on the Bay and among the islands. In his school and work he traveled throughout the country building skills as an outdoor educator in a variety of settings with a breadth of activities; backpacking in the mountains, climbing in the desert, and whitewater kayaking on rivers. Through it all he never let his love and skills as a sea kayaker fade. He has paddled extensively on the Sea of Cortez, trained on the open coast of Baja and Southern California and led trips through the surf of Malibu and through the San Juan Islands. North returned to Bellingham to plant his roots with his growing family and pursue graduate school. He is excited to instruct for the CBC for a second season.  

Growing up on Maui, Ian developed a very close relationship with the ocean, spending much of his time playing in the waves at a beach or paddling off shore in a canoe. At age 12, when he moved to Washington, he and his family were determined to keep the sea in their lives. They continued to paddle, finding love for the cold water of the Northwest, and occasionally even made surf trips to the coast. In high school Ian immersed himself in the technical sport of crew. He learned about its deep history and was thankful every moment he could be a part of it. Rowing showed him the competitive side of boating, and all its mechanisms that make it such a challenging technical sport. After finishing his rowing career and starting his education at Western, he began his next chapter on the sea at the Community Boating Center, a place that brought him back home to the true culture of the sea. He is thankful every day that he is able to assist in people’s adventures on the water, and even more thankful to have found a place where he can share his passions with so many similar people.

Shana has lived within a mile of the ocean since she was born, and has inhabited the Northwest since kindergarden. Thus, the ocean and the bay are her natural playgrounds. She loves kayaking: she has been volunteering for CBC since 2014 assisting with waterfront operations, boat repair, and kayak trips. She also worked in 2008 for Shearwater, a kayak company in Orcas Island, and has paddled on many of their kayaking tours of the islands. She graduated from Fairhaven College with a self-designed degree in holistic health and creative arts.  Currently, she participates in a local workers' cooperative doing elder care, and works in her garden growing medicinal herbs, her other oasis in nature. When not grounded in the garden or floating on the water, she loves doing yoga and adventuring locally and far-away. She has been on bike tours from Canada down to Mexico, and simply loves bicycling the streets of good ol' Bellingham.

This is Alasia's second season teaching sea kayaking with Community Boating Center. She has been kayaking since 1993; growing up in Durango Colorado, she spent her summers whitewater kayaking on the Animas River and other rivers in the area. She began racing whitewater slalom in 1995; this meant that she started kayaking year round and traveling around the country to pursue kayaking opportunities. She moved to Bellingham in 1998 to attend Western Washington University and continue kayaking on the Nooksack and the Chilliwack rivers. It was in Bellingham that she was introduced to sea kayaking. She has taught both whitewater and sea kayak classes and has found differences and similarities in each that she equally enjoys; she is grateful for the opportunity to pass her knowledge and love of kayaking on to others. Besides kayaking, she enjoys anything outdoors; hiking, biking, and skiing especially. She is currently having a blast watching her two year-old son grow and discover the world literally at his doorstep.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Liberty has been consistently kayaking and working on ships since 2011. She has kayak guided in Australia, Alaska, and the San Juan Islands, and earned her 100 Ton Master Captains license two years ago. She moved from Southern Oregon to Bellingham nine years ago, and while she follows her nomadic heart around the world, Bellingham is her home-base, where she lives aboard her sailboat. As a kayak instructor, she loves sharing her passion for paddling and the ocean. This is her second season instructing for the Community Boating Center.

Sail Staff

William was born in California and raised on a sailboat. With his family's support behind him he raced sailboats competitively from a young age until college. While in school and land-locked in Arizona and Colorado he would become as fond for land as he was for water. After a decade-long education he decided to find a place in this world that could fulfill his love both for snowboarding and sailing. He moved to Bellingham in 2015 and found his muse. William enjoys sailing, surfing, snowboarding, paddle boarding, and all the PNW has to offer!

The Puget Sound and the Inside Passage have been Erika's stomping grounds since the start. A seasoned Bristol Bay (AK) commercial fisherman, Erika worked aboard the F/V Centaur. Summer time not spent fishing was spent sailing on Seattle's lakes or cruising the San Juan Islands. After receiving a degree in Political Economy and Social Entrepreneurship, she took a position as Program Coordinator for the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County. Teaching sailing (and working in waterfront operations!) at the Community Boating Center, however, is Erika's favorite job.

Elsa Balton

Elsa grew up in the Pacific Northwest. She is a student at Western Washington University where she studies Biology and Spanish, and is pre-med. She started racing sailboats in high school and competitive sailing is still a big part of her life. Besides racing, Elsa finds happiness by playing outside as much as possible, whether it is on a boat, on skis, on rocks, or on foot. She is excited about combining her love for science with her love for the outdoors and sharing those passions with others.

Youth Program Staff

Breyanna Waldsmith

Breyanna thrives when she is laughing, learning, or adventuring in the outdoors with others. She was drawn to the mystique of the Pacific Northwest nearly 3 years ago when she decided to compromise between her love for the open blue waters she fell for as a child on the Great Lakes, and the copious amounts of powder snow that stole her heart during her years in northern Colorado. Breyanna has earned an Associates degree in the art of outdoor education from Colorado Mountain College, and is currently pursuing a Bachelors’ in environmental science from the Huxley College at W.W.U. She loves boating, skiing, mountain biking, camping, scrambling, messy s’mores, and feeling dog-tired from an extensive day outside. As a young girl, her mentors were essential in pushing her to chase the dreams that she gets to live today. This motivates her—in hopes that she will embody those unique qualities herself, in order to inspire young seekers.

For the majority of the year Bridget teaches 7th and 8th grade math, but in the summer she loves nothing more than being on the water. She has been sailing most of her life, and began sailing competitively in 7th grade. She continues to compete on Bellingham Bay and elsewhere. She prefers to sail dinghies, lasers, 420s, and FJs, but she is currently having a blast getting used to a Melges 24. She is passionate about the water and about encouraging a love of the water in young people.

Chai was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and fell in love with watersports at a young age. He lives by Lake Whatcom, where he enjoys sailing and kayaking. Chai currently attends Bellingham High School. Ever since taking his first sailing lesson in 2008(ish) he has been committed to the sport. Chai began his involvement with the Community Boating Center when he attended a youth summer camp several years ago. He not only returned to the following year's summer camp, but went on to become a Youth Camp Assistant Instructor in later years. When not helping out at the CBC, sailing or kayaking or at school, Chai enjoys spending his time hiking with his dog, biking on Galbraith, or playing hockey or guitar.

CBC Board

The CBC is guided by our Board of Directors, View our Board of Directors now