The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 spurred the growth of Buffalo, and the influx of yachtsmen from the East Coast nurtured the formation of the Buffalo Yacht Club. Early in August 1859, a small group initiated this action, and on August 10, 1860, they adopted a constitution and by-laws naming John S. Newkirk as the first Commodore. The BYC has a proud heritage as perhaps the third oldest yacht club in continuous operation in the United States.
The club's current fleet includes some three hundred vessels of all descriptions. Over the years, members have successfully competed in the American Powerboat Association Cup, the Erie Dover or Interclub Cruise, the Lake Erie Race, and the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit. The 1913 Commodore, Dr. Elisha Hussey, pointed out decades ago that our most important membership category is the junior member. Recognizing this, the club has offered a fine junior sailing program that has, since 1956, developed many young sailors proficient in seamanship and racing, even at the international level.
To aid further in encouraging a love of seamanship, the Buffalo Yacht Club Foundation was created in 2010 and has made donations to organizations like the Buffalo Maritime Center , City Honors crew team in the form of a new rowing skull, as well as contributing to the purchase of the Buffalo Harbor Sailing Club's committee boat.
History has helped make the Buffalo Yacht Club what it is today and every new member contributes to the strength of the club.