No trip to Salem is complete until you've been down to the sea!
There's more to Salem than just witches — this town was once one of the richest and busiest ports in North America, and maritime trade was what put Salem on the map! Ships from Salem traveled all over the globe, opening new trade routes and bringing home exotic goods.
On board the Schooner Fame, you'll sail the historic waters of Salem Sound, where fisherman, traders, pirates and privateers have been making history for 400 years.
Some of the things you may see during our sail are:
- Fort Pickering
- Several historic lighthouses
- Magnificent waterfront homes
Take the tiller, help raise the sails, or just sit back and watch the world glide past. It's a different world out on the water.
What Is Not Included?
- Food and beverages are not included, but are for sale on board at reasonable prices. We offer beer, wine, soft drinks, water and assorted snacks.
- Guests are encouraged to bring their own snacks and sandwiches, but no alcohol can be brought on board due to state regulations.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Advance purchase is recommended as sails can sell out on weekends and holidays. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please buy your tickets well in advance. Tickets can be purchased in advance with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
- Where do I go with my Zerve proof of purchase?
- Bring it to our ticket booth, located on Wharf Street outside the Victoria Station restaurant. You MUST check in at the booth to receive tickets before boarding. Don't worry if you misplace your proof of purchase; we 'll be able to look up your purchase online.
- Is there an age limit for these sails?
- No, everyone can sail and we offer a reduced price ticket for children ages 12 and under. All children (including babies and toddlers) are required to have a ticket. Toddlers are welcome, but parents are strongly urged to keep them from trying to walk by themselves on board, as they can easily lose their balance on a moving boat. Please keep in mind that strollers are not allowed on board the boat but can be safely left on the dock.
- Do you really raise the sails and turn the motor off?
- YES! Giving our passengers the experience of living in the Age of Sail is what we're all about. We only use the engine for about five minutes at each end of the trip, to help us get into and out of our slip.
- What will we see during the sail?
- Since we are really sailing, our route on each trip depends very much on the wind. Some days we will tack up to Beverly, turning around at the Hospital Point lighthouse. Other days we will hug the Marblehead shore. And then there are days we head straight out through the islands! Every trip is different, but you can count on seeing downtown Salem, the square-rigger Friendship, and Fort Pickering from the water, anywhere from three to six lighthouses, and any number of islands and handsome waterfront homes.
- What happens if the weather doesn't cooperate?
- New England weather forecasts are not entirely reliable, so we don't usually cancel trips based solely on the forecast. The captain decides whether or not to sail very close to departure time. Thunderstorms, fog, rain, and/or winds in excess of 25 knots may cause a trip to be cancelled. If the sail for which you purchased tickets is cancelled due to the weather, you can either reschedule your trip (subject to availability) or receive a credit for a future event on board the schooner.
- What happens if it rains during the sail?
- You get wet! This happens very rarely, now that our captains can view radar images on their cell phones, but keep in mind that this is a schooner, not a cruise ship! There is limited space below decks and you will be out in the weather. So dress accordingly — on sunny days, bring a hat & sunscreen; on cool days, bring a sweatshirt; if there's a chance of rain, bring a hat and a rainslicker.
- Is the sail narrated?
- There is no formal narration during our sail, but you can expect the captain to give a talk about the exploits of the original Schooner Fame. The crew will also point out places of interest as we sail past. Our crew are very knowledgeable about the history of Salem and Schooner Fame, and several of them actually helped to build the schooner. If you let them know you're interested, they'll talk your ear off! But if you prefer to relax and enjoy the view, we're not going to put a bullhorn in your ear.
- Is there a bathroom on board?
- Yes. It is below decks, accessible by descending a short ladder, so those with limited mobility may wish to do their business ashore before coming aboard. As on most traditional vessels, our bathroom uses a marine head, which is a bit different than a conventional toilet. Instructions are posted, but the crew will be happy to explain its operation.
- Is the schooner wheelchair accessible?
- We regularly accommodate people in wheelchairs on our sails, but please note the wheelchair cannot wheel directly onto the vessel. In order to get from the dock onto the boat and comfortably into your seat, our staff will need to assist you. If you have a wheelchair that folds or is light, we can actually seat you in your chair on board. For those with heavy electric wheelchairs, you will need to leave it on the dock. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please click on the "Contact SchoonerFame" link to request more information.
- Are food and drinks available during the sails?
- Food and drinks are not included in the ticket price but can be purchased on board. Snacks ($1), water and soda ($2), and beer and wine ($5) are available for purchase. Passengers are also welcome to bring their own food and soft drinks. However, coolers and alcoholic beverages may NOT be brought aboard. Please note that only cash is accepted on the boat.
- What should I wear?
- It's cooler out on the water, so bring a sweatshirt or windbreaker just in case. High heels or dress shoes will be uncomfortable and potentially unsafe — we recommend sneakers, sandals, or boat shoes. It's also a good idea to bring your cameras, sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Where can we park?
- There is free two-hour parking in the Pickering Wharf complex; metered parking on Derby Street; a municipal garage on the corner of Derby & Congress Streets; and an open lot for Pickering Wharf customers off Congress Street. In short, there is plenty of parking, but don't count on finding a spot right in front of our ticket booth. Allow time to find a parking space. Dropping off passengers at the ticket booth is often a good idea.
- Am I going to get seasick?
- Seasickness is rarely a problem on beamy schooners like Schooner Fame operating in protected waters close to shore. Nobody has ever gotten sick during one of our sails on the Salem Sound. However, those prone to motion sickness may wish to take precautions before boarding. We cannot officially advise you to take any medication, however!
- Can pregnant women attend the sail?
- Yes, expecting mothers are welcome to sail with us.
- Can I bring a pet?
- Sometimes it is possible for us to accommodate small well-behaved pets. Please click on the "Contact SchoonerFame" link to inquire with us before purchasing your tickets.
- Can I stow anything (e.g. my backpack) during the sail?
- Unfortunately, there is limited storage space on board the boat, so we cannot store larger items for you. If you are bringing a snack, please note that coolers are not allowed.
- Is there shade on the boat?
- Once raised, the sails will definitely provide shade to one side of the boat at all times, but there is no covered section of the boat.
- Can I have some more information on the Book and DVD that are available for sale with my ticket purchase?
- Absolutely! For guests who are interested in the history of the original Schooner Fame, our book "FAME: The Salem Privateer" gives an in depth look at the career of the FAME and also includes 60 illustrations such as maps, portraits and reproductions of historical documents. For those interested in the past and present, the FAME DVD includes a 50-minute documentary on not only the history of the original FAME but also chronicles the building of her full-scale replica nearly 200 years later.
- Can we purchase any FAME souvenirs?
- Yes, in addition to the FAME book and DVD, guests who want to commemorate their voyage aboard the FAME can also purchase a FAME hat or t-shirt. The t-shirts are available in three colors (blue, green and yellow) and in men's adult sizes S, M, L and XL. They include the FAME of Salem logo on the front and say "Free Trade & Sailor's Rights" on the back. The hats are khaki with colored visors in blue, green or red and have a picture of the FAME embroidered on the front.
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes, gift certificates are available and make great gifts for any occasion! Please click on the “Contact SchoonerFame” link if you’re interested in purchasing a gift certificate.
- Can I book a private charter sail?
- Yes, private sails are available. If you're interested in a private charter, please click on the “Contact SchoonerFame” link to the left of the page to make a request!
- Non-refundable, cannot be rescheduled.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.
- Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
- The activity usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. If the seller cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
- All participants are required to have tickets for this event.
- Our boat is United States Coast Guard documented for a certain amount of passengers and we cannot exceed the capacity. This means that all passengers including infants and toddlers must have a ticket.
Launched in June 2003 from the H. A. Burnham Boatyard in Essex, MA, our new Schooner Fame offers public sails on historic Salem Sound, where pirates, privateers, East Indiamen and men of war have been making history for 400 years. The Schooner Fame sails up to three times daily from Memorial Day through September and then weekends only through Halloween from Pickering Wharf Marina in downtown Salem.
The Schooner Fame also offers summer camp sessions and is available for private charters. For more information about private charters, our camp programs, or to purchase Schooner Fame merchandise, please click on the "Contact SchoonerFame" link.