The Waukegan Yacht Club is distinguished among the oldest yacht clubs in the USA, operating on its existing site since its origins on a modest houseboat named Genevieve in 1927. Through booms, recessions, wars, a devistaing fire, and pandemic, the members and mentors of the Waukegan Yacht Club prevail – bringing education and entertainment for all who are interested.


As it was in 1927, our purpose is the promote boating and water related activities. Mentoring for recreational boating safety on our beautiful lake is a serious responsibility. We share experiences and we hold each other accountable for following best practices for boater courtesy and to keep eachother and the property around our boats safe.  Whether you are cruising, fishing, foiling, paddling, sailing, or racing in any of its formats we are here to help. We host distance races to and from many other clubs each season, including  the second largest sail race on Lake Michigan – the Chicago to Waukegan Race – run for over 90 years! Together with the other great businesses and resources of our harbor, we host Lake Michigan’s travellers.

Membership is Inclusive

If the harbor calling you – if you are interested in the water related activies of Waukegan Harbor and Marina, then you are eligible to be a member in the Waukegan Yacht Club.

The only element of our purpose that has been revised over our greater than 95 years of existance is awareness of and ongoing expansion of our understanding of equality. As our world changed, so have we – inviting, embracing, and celebrating diversity in all of its definitions – as the world learns of the need to re-define inclusion, so do we. 

Our eldest mentors tell amazing tales of the history of our club trailblazing in diversity of leadership. Regardless of how each those proposals were accepted in the short term, our club has a history of challenging any claims that there are LIMITS to who can enjoy boating or lead in our organization! There are no limits.

If you love the water, boats, an active social calendar, and meeting wonderful people, you will feel at home in the Waukegan Yacht Club. Join us today – the harbor is calling you!

Visiting WYC

As a member of the National Association of Yachting Clubs, visiting members of other clubs are welcome. 

Our entertainment activities begin in early spring after we perform a deep clean and repairs and reinstall equipment, we look forward to increasing our dining hours and social activities. Among those activities our Membership and Social Committees are collaborating for planning regularly scheduled Open House events – tours, entertainment, and menu tastings to learn about membership and education opportunities.

We endeavor to be a contributing member to our harbor community and to the City of Waukegan. If you are a leader or planner for a local organization, please contact us about holding your meetings and events at the Waukegan Yacht Club.

Proud History

The Waukegan Yacht Club was founded in 1927 to promote yachting, yacht racing and “good fellowship among yachtsmen on Lake Michigan.” The club has grown from its original home, a 20 ft x 60 ft houseboat, to its present one-story, full-service facility in Waukegan Harbor. The club was built by members and entirely paid for through membership activity and volunteerism. Children have been learning to sail with club mentors at the Waukegan Yacht Club since 1952 and with dedicated instructors since 1966.


The club is governed under membership Bylaws with a Board of Directors and Officers elected each year by the members. All directors and officers are volunteers, giving their leadership and time to staying the course on our purpose. Our Bylaws are governed by IRS 501(c)(7) Nonprofit Social Organization, which requires memberships within our shared interests and to keep careful track of member, guest, and non-member spending in the club. Membership meetings are held quarterly in March, June, September and December. Members are also welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the Board of Directors which are held on the fourth Thursday of each month.

Social Events

The Waukegan Yacht Club offers many boating and social events to its members. All events are organized and run by volunteer member committees and typically include: a New Year’s Eve Party, St. Patrick’s Day Party, Blessing of the Fleet, Chicago to Waukegan Sailboat Race, Milwaukegan Race, and the Commodore’s Ball. Other events fill out a full schedule of activities for the participation and enjoyment of the membership and their families.

Sailing Activities

The Waukegan Yacht Club is well known for its diverse sailing, learn to sail, and sailing instruction programs which run all year except when the harbor is frozen over.

  • The club promotes a Junior Sail Program for children ages 5 to 17 years. Participants in this program learn sailing theory, seamanship, self-reliance, and sportsmanship.
  • The adult sail program is held on Wednesday nights, starting in April.
  • A new woman-only adult sail program is being planned for Thursdays, also starting in April.
  • Frostbiting in Waukegan Harbor during the winter rounds out our programs.
  • There is a host of club racing venues to join –
    • Wednesday night summer “beer races”
    • Saturday Fall course events
    • Port-to-port events
    • Regional Regattas

Cruising Activities

The club also offers both sail and power cruising activities:

  • Power yacht owners frequently plan informal cruises to near-by harbors as well as to harbors across the lake. More ambitious cruises to other ports of call are commonplace among members of the power yacht fleet.
  • Sail cruisers join together for several trips ranging from single-day “lunch cruise” to “long-distance kick-off” cruises.

Club Amenities

The Waukegan Yacht Club offers excellent dining and lounge facilities for members and their guests.  The atmosphere lends itself to casual and formal dining as well as parties and special occasions. Our professional galley and serving staff offer a quality culinary experience at reasonable prices. Dinner is served on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights during the boating season.

Club Rental

The Club’s facilities and restaurant, along with its unique waterfront location and spectacular views, are available for private, fully catered events and meetings. Club rental is discounted to members.

Click on the “Find Us – Directions” link for directions to the club.