The Onondaga Yacht Club was founded in 1883 and chartered February 3, 1886, making it one of the oldest boating organizations in New York State. After many years of activity, the Club fell dormant for a period of time.In 1934 a group of people interested in promoting boating activities on the lake organized, in Liverpool, New York, the Onondaga Lake Yacht Club. The first election of Officers and the Board of Trustees was held on April 17, 1934.
In July 1934 the first home of this reactivated organization was in the Griffin Field House, in space rented from the Onondaga County Planning Board. During 1934 the club Burgee was designed.
In making application for Incorporation it was found that an Onondaga Yacht Club already existed. A meeting was held May 8, 1935 with remaining members of that organization. As a result of this meeting the Onondaga Lake Yacht Club merged with and took the name of Onondaga Yacht Club.
In 1937 the marina was completed and put into operation by the Onondaga County Planning Board. OYC rented the "C" section of the marina from the County for use by its members.
In 1937-38 a lease agreement was made with the County for the present clubhouse site. Construction of the first unit was started in the Spring of 1938; it was formally opened July 23, 1938. In 1942 the "Men's Locker Room" was added and the kitchen enlarged. The Summer of 1947 saw the addition of the lake-side screened-in porch. The North side lounge was added in 1956 and formally opened June 16 for the Spring Meeting. In 1948 OYC hosted the Syracuse Centennial Invitational Regatta. In 1962 and 1966 the club hosted the Northeastern International Snipe Championships, in 1981 the National Sports Festival Surfboard Sailing Exhibition, and in 1984 the Empire State Games sailing events. Currently OYC hosts an invitational Handicap Regatta and a Lightning Regatta each year.
The last several years have seen significant refurbishment activities, including a kitchen ceiling with new lighting, replacement of the roadside porch roof and ornamentation, painting of the locker room and installation of storage racks for sailboat masts, trophy cases and general painting. In 2002 a new commercial stove with hood and fire suppression system was installed.
In 2015 a new handicap ramp was installed on the lakeside of the club.
OYC is a friendly community of boaters with a wide variety of activities for its members.