On the Water Adventures


On the Water Adventures at the Maritime Museum of San Diego

Looking for on the water adventure? We have that covered. Enjoy one of our many options to feed your adventurous side.

Sail aboard Californian

Tall Ship Adventure is a three-hour adventure history sail aboard the schooner Californian.

The Californian is a replica of a gold rush era revenue cutter and the Official Tall Ship of the State of California.

Join the crew in sailing a traditionally rigged tall ship. Passengers will be invited to haul a line, man the helm and end their day with a cannon salute. Watch the crew as they scamper up and down the rigging to set and furl the sails. Listen as the Californian’s crew relates the history of sailing and exploration in San Diego, tales of whaling and sea otter trade, local sea battles, the art of ship’s gunnery, life at sea and more.

Book now! Tall Ship Adventure Sail aboard Californian.

2017 tickets are now available.

  • Tall Ship Adventure is 3 hours
  • Check-in ends at 11:30am*
  • Tall Ship Adventure ticket includes museum admission.
  • You can check-in as early as 9:00 am, enjoy the Museum before or after your sail.
  • Return to museum at 3:00 pm
  • Tickets range from $60.00 to $44.00

*Schedule is subject to change. Any new times will be noted on ticket.

Sailing aboard San Salvador

Pacific Heritage Tour 2017 is in the works.

We are planning two tours, spring and fall of 2017. Dates and port information is not yet available. If you are interested and would like tour information as it becomes available Please Click Here.

To learn about the San Salvador and her past 2016 Pacific Heritage Tour:

Click here to read about the adventures of San Salvador during her Pacific Heritage Tour.
Click here for main Pacific Heritage Tour page, includes information of the Ports of Call tour stop legs, sailing legs, and pictures of guest bunk area and the San Salvador under sail.
Click here for EXPLORE page, includes lesson plans, down-loadable San Salvador paper models, and the interpretive text panels used during her Ports of Call tour stops.

75 minute tours aboard a Historic Swift Boat

Swift Boat
Feel the history & power of the twin 12 cylinder Detroit Diesels as you take a behind the scenes 75 minute tour of San Diego’s military history. Enjoy this unique one of a kind adventure aboard our historic Swift Boat, PCF-816. Be a part of history. Tours began Memorial Day 2014.

Two tours daily: Saturday, Sunday.
Check-in time ends: 10:30 am and 1:00 pm.
Tour route heads under Coronado Bay Bridge, Naval Base San Diego, and then Naval Amphibious Base. It then heads back by the aircraft carrier basin and Naval Air Station North Island before returning to the Museum.

This is a narrated tour describing PCF 816 ‘s role in the U.S., Malta, Viet Nam, Swift Boat sailors, and the above establishments on the Bay.

Tours are $10.00 per person (Or take the 2 for one special, Swift Boat Tour plus the Historic Bay Cruise aboard Pilot for only $13.00 – this special is only available at the museum), plus Maritime Museum of San Diego admission.

Book now! Swift Boat Bay Tour.

45 minute Historic Bay Cruises aboard Pilot are held most days

Launched in 1914 to her removal from regular service in 1996, Pilot enjoyed an active career as San Diego’s chief pilot craft – assisting almost every one of the thousands of major commercial ships to enter or leave the bay during that time.

Restored by the Maritime Museum of San Diego and relaunched in 2002, Pilot now hosts school groups on “Economy and Ecology” voyages, where students help with navigation and perform water quality experiments while exploring the Bay, in addition to her public day cruises.

This is a add-on activity, tickets are $5.00 plus Maritime Museum admission. Tickets are only sold at the Maritime Museum of San Diego on a first come first serve.

Daily boarding times for Pilot are 11:15am, 12:45pm, 1:45pm, 2:45pm and 3:45pm.

Please note there are no restrooms aboard Pilot.

Whale watching

Whale watching in San Diego

Whale Watching schedule TBD

What to bring on a Day Sail
  • Sunscreen or sunblock
  • Closed toed shoes with non-slip soles
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat for sun protection and or warmth (should stay on in a stiff breeze)
  • Jacket that will protect you from cold and wind (the wind chill factor can be 15 degrees cooler then the land temperature.)
  • Camera and a smile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sea sickness an issue?
We recommend that if you have any doubt, you take preventive measures before hand. (Bonine, Dramamine, etc.)

Can I bring my own drinks and food?
Glass containers, coolers, strollers, folding chairs and alcohol are not permitted onboard. Californian has ice chests if you need refrigeration. We have water, soft drinks and light snacks. Passengers are allowed to bring a bagged lunch.

What happens in the case of bad weather?
Wind and weather are not under control and the trip may be rescheduled or cut short should conditions prohibit safe passage. If weather conditions are poor on the date of your sail, please call for updates.

How many guests are on board?
At max capacity: Californian – 40, PCF-816 Swift Boat – 25, Pilot – 30.

Can I participate in Sailing the ship?
Aboard Californian YES! We encourage participation. It’s up to you, your ambitions, abilities and attitude. The captain will have ultimate control of the ship and its crews movements. Pilot & Swift Boat is a sit back and enjoy the ride with narration, but you can get up and move around.

What do you do when you have a baby on board (a 1-year-old)?
For safety reasons, we suggest you hold the child. This might create some problems in going below deck, as the stairs are steep. But crew members and docents are available to help, if needed.

Does everyone wear life jackets, including the baby?
No, they are up to you as an individual to determine whether you want to wear one. Just ask as you board, if you prefer to wear one. Life jackets are provided as required by the U.S. Coast Guard. Coast Guard regulations require us have life jackets available, but they are not required to be worn.

Can you go below deck, or does everyone stay above the whole time?
This is completely up to you. Most persons enjoy the topside areas of the sailing experience, but the *restrooms and *snack bar are below deck (*Californian only).

Restrooms aboard?
Californian has restrooms (heads in boat speak). Pilot and PCF-816 Swift Boat do not.