To foster small-watercraft education, access, safe recreation, and marine stewardship on Bellingham Bay.
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
View Employment opportunities and Internships available at the CBC.
For employment opportunities, it is best to come and introduce yourself in person. Please bring in your resume and a cover letter. We conduct our annual hiring process in February, but accept resumes throughout the year, and keep them on file for reference at our next hiring period.
Our crew is one of our most valuable assets. Together, we use passion and community engagement to achieve the Community Boating Center's mission every day. The individuals below were carefully selected with an emphasis on character, competence, and dynamic thinking. Every task, no matter how small it may seem, is important at the CBC, and each crew member wears many hats. We're proud to introduce you to the staff who make the CBC happen.
Don has sailed and kayaked the Salish Sea for more than 30 years. He’s an experienced guide, instructor, and director with a passion for educating children and young adults in outdoor skills and environmental stewardship. He’s worked for the Student Conservation Association, the Forest Service and his own charter boat company. He has a BA from Fairhaven College, a Masters degree from Evergreen State College, and a USCG Masters license. Don’s enthusiasm for outdoor recreation started at 17, when he hiked the entire Appalachian Trail alone. His wife, daughter, and son share his love of being on the water.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest Erica learned a strong appreciation for salt water bodies and their denizens. While working on her bachelor's in Creative Writing at Western Washington University, the myriad forms of water in the PNW served as a constant source of inspiration to her. Erica came to the Community Boating Center first as a sea kayaking student and then as a volunteer, before joining our team as a staff member in 2015. Erica is honored to work as part of the CBC's community; she finds great reward in working with such a high caliber team of passionate and dynamic individuals. Helping to enable locals and visitors to better access and engage with the Salish Sea is deeply fulfilling to her. When she is not working, Erica can be found on the water or in the woods.
Emily grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and is a Pacific Northwesterner and Oregon Duck at heart. From a young age, Emily took a keen interest in the ocean world, coercing her parents to take her on many trips to the Oregon coast. Emily continued her love of the ocean at the University of California at Santa Cruz where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. From hiking, swimming, fishing and kayaking in the summer to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, Emily is eager for any reason to spend time outside. After spending 6 years living the island life on San Juan Island, Emily, along with her Aussie Cora, have made the move to the big city of Bellingham. Emily is excited to explore the shores of Bellingham Bay and spend time getting to know her new home.
Greg was born and raised on Guam, where he gained a deep love and respect for sailing and the ocean. When he moved to the Pacific Northwest toward the end of high school, he joined his high school sailing team in Portland, OR while also teaching sailing camps at various sailing clubs around the Portland area. Greg went on to Western Washington University to study geology, while also teaching and sailing at WWU's Lakewood Student Facilities before finally landing at the Community Boating Center in 2014, where he taught summer youth camps. He has since taught numerous sailing courses at the Boating Center before becoming the CBC's resident Fleet Manager. He is excited to provide the public with safe, fun, and reliable water recreation on beautiful Bellingham Bay. When Greg is not at the CBC, he is either on the water, in the woods, or playing music.
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.
Sam Tanner is a Pacific Northwest local, born and raised in Bellingham. He loves to be in the outdoors doing activities from mountain biking to backcountry skiing at Mt. Baker. His passion for the outdoors shines bright as he is always planning for the next adventure. You will commonly see Sam riding his bike around town rain or shine. After attending Western Washington University in recent years, Sam will be graduating this Fall with a major in Environmental Policy and a minor in Business Administration. This will be his first year the Community Boating Center and he is excited to be a part of such a collaborative nonprofit organization. With much paddleboard experience, Sam would like to try something new this summer and has his sights set on learning to sail.
2018 Summer Intern - WWU
Shelby is passionate about the outdoors. Originally from Southern California, Shelby has lived the past eight years in Hood River, Oregon before relocating to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University. She will be receiving her Bachelors in Environmental Policy at the end of 2018. She is constantly striving to be outside and appreciating the beautiful landscapes that the world has to offer. She loves to snowboard, hike, paddleboard, and dirtbike in her free time when she is not studying or enjoying a really good home cooked meal. Shelby has been fortunate to spend some time traveling after graduating community college, and she spent two months backpacking throughout Central America - months which consisted of hiking, snorkeling, zip lining, swimming, and enjoying the culture of countries like Costa Rica and Panama. As she finishes up her last quarters at Western, she is thinking of traveling to Asia before settling into a career. She hopes to work for an organization that is passionate about cleaning, fighting for, and protecting our environment for future generations.
Sail, Paddle, & Youth Instructors
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!
Burke Okrasinski has spent most of her life on or around the water like many northwest kids. Her parents are both avid white water kayakers and taught her how to appreciate currents from a young age. She paddled outrigger canoes for many years before getting her first job teaching sailing in Seattle. While working she met many close friends that became her future teammates when she moved to Bellingham and began sailing for Western Washington University. On the team she was the women’s varsity skipper for two years and loved the competition. Now she looks forward to continue sharing her love for sailing with others while taking in the natural beauty of the northwest!
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.
Christina Lilleston is an outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Outdoor Recreation and recently became a certified EMT. In the past, she worked for a non-profit organization in Darrington, WA, called Glacier Peak Institute, that focuses on outdoor education and taking at-risk youth on outdoor excursions. Working in the Outdoor Industry, she hopes to provide opportunities to educate and empower others to safely go out on their own outdoor excursions. A future career for her may be working for Ski Patrol during the winter and working for an organization that provides outdoor education for the community during the summer. You may find her outside in any weather either walking her dogs in a park, in or on the water, riding a bike, running through the mountains with a giant backpack, or volunteering for a local ambulance company. Cheers to getting outside!
Katie is happiest whenever she is in or on the water. After graduating with a B.S. degree in Environmental Biology & Marine Science, she worked as an environmental educator for various organizations throughout the country, including: Coastal Ecology near Boston, Botany at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, Marine Science on Catalina Island, and Forest Ecology in the North Cascades. She is also passionate about scuba diving and recently took a trip to see the pristine coral reefs of Bonaire. Katie spent a couple summers as a kayak guide out in the San Juan Islands and shared her love for the local marine environment with visitors from all over the world. When not on the water she enjoys hiking with her dog Wrigley and teaching Jazzercise classes.
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.
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.
Community Boating Center Board of Directors
The CBC is guided by a dedicated and passionate Board of Directors.