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American Sailing Association (ASA) Sailing Courses & Certifications with Course Descriptions

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Founded in 1983 and with over 300 affiliate schools, The American Sailing Association (ASA) has been the leader in US sailing education for nearly two decades. Through the sailing classes, ASA will help you learn sailing, safely & with confidence. ASA Certified Students can go from basic sailing lessons to advanced sailing courses, enjoying sailing experiences around the world. Over one-million sailors have come through the American Sailing Association learning system.

Driven by a clear need for uniform sailing teaching standards and increased access to sailing activities, the American Sailing Association (ASA) is the standards bearer and codifier in the arena of recreational sailing education in the Americas. The association has grown to include an international network of 300 plus professionally accredited sailing schools.

The American Sailing Association is also an avid promoter of the sport of sailing and they are an active contributor in social media and sponsor an app called GO SAILING that enables sailors to connect anywhere they happen to be in the world.ASA is instrumental in establishing national sailing education standards through the work on the National Association of State Boating Law Administrator's Education Committee.

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ASA Certifications


ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing

  • Able to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds (up to 15 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of basic sailing terminology, parts and functions, helm commands, basic sail trim, points of sail, buoyage, seamanship and safety including basic navigation rules to avoid collisions and hazards. Auxiliary power operation is not required.

ASA 103 Basic Coastal Cruising

  • Able to skipper a sloop-rigged auxiliary powered (inboard or outboard engine) keelboat of approximately 25 to 35 feet length by day in moderate winds (up to 20 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of cruising sailboat terminology, basic boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, docking procedures, intermediate sail trim, navigation rules, basic coastal navigation, anchoring, weather interpretation, safety and seamanship.

ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising

  • Able to skipper a sloop-rigged, auxiliary powered keelboat of approximately 30 to 45 feet in length during a multi-day cruise upon inland or coastal waters in moderate to heavy winds (up to 30 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of provisioning, galley operations, boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, routine maintenance procedures, advanced sail trim, coastal navigation including basic chart plotting and GPS operation, multiple-anchor mooring, docking, health & safety, emergency operations, weather interpretation, and dinghy/tender operation..

ASA 105 Coastal Navigation

  • Able to apply the navigational theory and practices for safe navigation of a sailing vessel in coastal and inland waters. On-water coastal navigation skills elements are contained in the ASA103, Basic Coastal Cruising, ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising, and ASA 106, Advanced Coastal Cruising, in progressively increasing levels of detail.

ASA 106 Advanced Coastal Cruising

  • Able to safely act as skipper and crew of a sailing vessel about 30 to 50 feet in length in coastal and inland waters, in any conditions.

ASA 107 Celestial Navigation

  • Able to apply celestial navigation theory and practices for safe navigation of a sailing vessel in offshore waters. On-water celestial navigation skills elements are demonstrated in ASA 108, Offshore Passagemaking.

ASA 110 Basic Small Boat Sailing

  • Able to skipper a non-ballasted centerboard/daggerboard monohull or multihull sailboat of approximately 8 to 20 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds (up to 15 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of basic sailing terminology, sail trim, points of sail, crew responsibilities, seamanship and safety including capsize avoidance/recovery and navigation rules to avoid collisions.

ASA 114 Cruising Catamaran

  • Able to skipper an auxiliary-powered sailing cruising catamaran of approximately 30 to 45 feet in length during a multi-day liveaboard cruise upon inland or coastal waters in moderate to heavy winds (up to 30 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of catamaran structure, components and features, performance under sail and power, boat systems, seamanship and safety, heavy weather operation, and emergency response.

ASA Endorsements

ASA 117 Basic Celestial Endorsement

  • Able to apply basic celestial navigation theory and practice to determine latitude and longitude at sea using a sextant and Nautical Almanac.

ASA 118 Docking Endorsement

  • Able to safely and efficiently dock an auxiliary powered (single inboard or outboard engine) sailboat. Knowledge of basic auxiliary power theory, engine and steering controls, proper use of dock lines, crew communication and safety.

ASA 119 Marine Weather Endorsement

  • Able to observe and forecast weather conditions using traditional maritime skills and modern technology. Knowledge of weather information for planning and adapting navigation during short duration and extended voyages.

ASA 120 Radar Endorsement

  • Able to properly use small-craft radar (or radar simulator) for piloting, navigation, and collision avoidance. Knowledge of radar principles and practical matters of radar operation.

ASA Free Online/Video Lessons

  • Your First Sail
  • ASA’s Sailing Challenge App
  • Docking Made Easy Videos
  • Sailing Made Easy Video Tips
  • Knots Made Easy Videos
  • Bite Sized Lessons
  • Online Sailing Quizzes
  • More information on online/video lessons

You may also read: Online Sailing Certifications & RYA Skipper Theory

LAST UPDATED ON Oct 20, 2018

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