The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. This means that the Santa Barbara Sea Shell Association is continuing its 60-plus-year tradition of teaching children ages 8 to 15 to sail in the Santa Barbara Harbor.

The Santa Barbara Sea Shell Association is an all-volunteer organization that teaches young new skippers with little or no experience to race sailboats in the best way possible: by putting them on the water, by themselves, in their very own boats. More experienced skippers learn the sport of sailboat racing.

The SBSSA sails in the Santa Barbara Harbor near Stearns Wharf nearly every Sunday from noon until 4 p.m., from April through October, and usually includes three children’s races and one adult race. Skippers are placed in four groups according to their ability, and parents are always welcome to sail with their children.

All newcomers and returning families are invited to attend an introductory meeting at 6 p.m. Friday, April 8 in Mountain View Elementary School’s Multipurpose Room, 5465 Queen Ann Lane in Goleta. Families are also welcome to come to the Harbor launch ramp at noon on Sunday, April 10 to learn more about Sea Shells and catch a ride with an experienced skipper.

Registration for the 2011 season is now available online. Click here. The cost is $100 per family plus $10 per skipper.

Sailing with the Sea Shells is a great way for families to spend a Sunday afternoon.

— Harriet Whaley represents the Santa Barbara Sea Shell Association.