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United States Sailing Association (US Sailing) Sailing and Powerboating Certifications & Instructor Courses and Other Programs

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Originally organized as the North American Yacht Racing Union (NAYRU) in 1897, United States Sailing Association (US Sailing) encourage and promote yacht racing, and unify the racing and rating rules in the United States and Canada and throughout the yachting world.

For first-time sailors, US Sailing ensures that they will learn from experienced and certified instructors who follow national guidelines and are trained using a nationwide curriculum.

For sailing programs and one-design sailing organizations, US Sailing hosts networking events and symposiums that bring together experts who address the latest developments in these areas of the sport.

Young sailors who are just starting out in the sport can learn about sailboat racing through one of many USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals organized by US Sailing and host organizations every year.

For racing sailors, US Sailing provides an equal level playing field by training and certifying race officials, judges, and umpires and by ensuring standardized rules and sailing instructions.

For sailboat owners who enjoy competing in offshore events, US Sailing provides rating certificates such as IRC and ORR to enable boats of various sizes to compete against each other.

US Sailing also host over 14 National Championships at sailing organizations around the country. These championships offer various disciplines of racing so sailors can test their skill level at a national level.

us sailing programs

US Sailing Certifications



Adult Sailing Certification Courses

  • Basic Keelboat On-Water & Online: Everything you need to know before you set sail. Gain a true understanding of every part of the boat, what they do, and how to handle yourself out on the water. Basic Keelboat Online can be taken by anyone, whether preparing for an on-water course at a US Sailing school or for those interested in learning more about the sport. It works in conjunction with the Basic Keelboat course and is not a replacement for the certification.
  • Performance Sailing: This course will help you learn to analyze, adjust, and shape your sails for maximum speed. How to adjust the boats backstay and jib leads for optimum performance.
  • Basic Cruising: The Basic Cruising graduate will have successfully demonstrated the ability to responsibly skipper and crew an auxiliary powered cruising sailboat, during daylight hours, within sight of land in moderate wind and sea conditions.
  • Bareboat Cruising: The Bareboat Cruising graduate will have successfully demonstrated the ability to skipper and crew an inboard auxiliary powered cruising sailboat within sight of land and bring it safely to anchor during daylight hours. 
  • Cruising Catamaran Endorsement: The Catamaran Endorsement requires the successful completion of a set of knowledge and skill requirements. These requirements are expected to be performed safely with confident command of the boat with a wind of at least 10 knots.
  • Coastal Navigation: The Coastal Navigation graduate will have demonstrated the art of traditional navigation techniques and the ability to integrate electronic navigation tools into the navigation plan.
  • Coastal Passage Making: Coastal Passage Making graduates will have successfully demonstrated their ability to responsibly skipper and crew an inboard auxiliary powered cruising sailboat during passages on coastal waters, in all weather conditions, including all levels of visibility and all hours of the day and night.
  • Celestial Navigation: Celestial Navigation graduates will have mastered the techniques of open ocean position fixing using sextant and timepiece. They will be able to apply their knowledge of sight reduction methodology to enable them to reduce a sextant sight to a plotted line of position using any celestial body found in the Nautical Almanac.
  • Offshore Passage Making: Offshore Passage Making graduates will have successfully demonstrated the ability to responsibly skipper and crew an inboard auxiliary powered cruising sailboat to any destination worldwide.

US Powerboating Courses

  • Safe Powerboat Handling: This 16-hour hands-on, on-the-water course is for anyone who wants to learn how to safely operate a small motorboat and improve their boathandling skills. The US Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) have approved this course and an increasing number of states have recognized it as meeting their requirements for a State Boating Education Certificate.
  • Cruising Powerboat: The  Basic Powerboat Cruising course will teach you how to responsibly operate a powered cruising vessel during daylight hours within sight of land in light to moderate wind and sea conditions.

Other Courses

  • First Sail
  • Get Inspired
  • Get Started
  • Sailing Basics
  • Adaptive Sailing
  • Instructor Workshop
  • Siebel Sailors Program

Small Boat Instructor Courses

  • Level 1 Instructor
  • Level 2 Instructor
  • Level 3 Coach
  • Level 3 Head Instructor
  • Instructor Trainer

Keelboat Instructor Courses

  • Basic Keelboat Instructor
  • Performance Sailing Instructor
  • Cruising Instructor / Coastal Navigation Instructor
  • Catamaran Instructor Endorsement
  • Coastal Passage Making Instructor
  • Celestial Navigation Instructor
  • Offshore Passage Making Instructor
  • Other Instructor Courses
  • Adaptive Sailing Instructor Workshop
  • Powerboat Instructor

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

LAST UPDATED ON Jan 7, 2020

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