ASA Sail Training Courses
The American Sailing Association provides standards for progressive sailing certification programs, including:
- Keelboat Sailing
- Small Boat Sailing
- Multihull Sailing
In addition, ASA provides standards for a number of endorsements, which are intended to supplement the main certification series. These include Docking, Weather, Celestial, and Radar.
Listed below are the prerequisites and descriptions for each available course. The detailed standards for each certification may be found by clicking the title. Standards are also published in the ASA Official International Certification Log Book.
Each certification requires participants to fully satisfy both knowledge and skills standards, which will be verified through a written exam and an on-the-water practical exam.
The standards are intended to be a minimum set of requirements. ASA affiliate sailing schools and instructors may choose to include additional requirements if they wish to emphasize knowledge or skills appropriate to local waters, conditions or practice vessels.
Obtaining sailing education is an important step toward a lifetime of sailing enjoyment, yet education is just part of the process. ASA highly recommends that each certification level be augmented with a minimum of 24 to 40 hours of practice in between courses.
All participants are encouraged to become proficient in swimming, first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
The ASA "Challenge"
Knowledgeable and experienced sailors who have reviewed the ASA standards and consider themselves proficient in each area are invited to “challenge” the standards at an ASA certification facility. Each certification must be challenged successively, with corresponding prerequisites met at each level. Contact ASA or your selected ASA affiliate sailing school for more information.
ASA101 Basic Keelboat Sailing
Description: Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds 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.
Note: The United States Coast Guard has granted approval for ASA101 Basic Keelboat Sailing to satisfy certain merchant mariner credential examination requirements and safe boating training requirements.
ASA103 Basic Coastal Cruising
Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA101) certification
Description: Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged auxiliary powered (outboard or inboard engine) keelboat of approximately 25 to 35 feet length by day in moderate winds 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 forecast interpretation, safety and seamanship.
ASA104 Bareboat Cruising
Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA101) and Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA103) certifications.
Description: Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged, auxiliary powered keelboat (or catamaran, if course is conducted on such) 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. Course is conducted as a live-aboard cruise of at least 48 hours. 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.
ASA105 Coastal Navigation
Description: Able to demonstrate the navigational theory
required to safely navigate a sailing vessel in coastal or inland
waters. There is no Sailing Skills part to this Standard and practical
application of this sailing knowledge is found in the Advanced Coastal
ASA106 Advanced Coastal Cruising
Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Chartering and Coastal Navigation Certification
Description: Able to safely act as skipper and crew of a
sailing vessel about 30 to 50 feet in length. This is a day and
nighttime Standard in coastal and inland water, in any weather.
ASA107 Celestial Navigation
Description: Able to demonstrate the Celestial Navigation
theory required to safely navigate a sailboat on an offshore passage.
The practical application is conducted in the Offshore Passagemaking
ASA108 Offshore Passagemaking
Prerequisites: All previous Keelboat Standards
Description: The sailor is able to safely act as skipper or
crew of a sailing vessel on offshore passages in any weather. The
Celestial Nav. Standard is performed.
ASA110 Basic Small Boat Sailing
Description: Able to sail a centerboard or multihull sailboat
in light to moderate winds and sea conditions in familiar waters
without supervision. A preparatory Standard with no auxiliary power or
navigation skills required.
ASA113 Trailerable Multihull Standard
Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat (101)
ASA 113 may be taught in conjunction with Basic Coastal Cruising
(103) on a multihull sailboat or as an additional course after Basic
Coastal Cruising (103) has been accomplished on a monohull. In either
case, all material in both standards (103 & 113) must be taught and/or tested before 113 can be awarded.
Description: Certified sailors are able to cruise safely in
local and regional waters as both skipper and crew on an auxiliary
multihull sailboat of about 20-30 feet in length, in moderate wind and
sea conditions. The standard includes those skills different and/or
unique to a multihull, either catamaran or trimaran including folding
ASA114 Cruising Catamaran
Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat (101) and Basic Coastal Cruising
(103). The Bareboat Charter Standard (104) is also a prerequisite and
can be attained either by itself prior to BBC Multihull (114) or in
conjunction with BBC Multihull (114). In either case, all material in both standards (104 & 114) must be taught and tested before 114 can be awarded.
Description: An advanced cruising standard for individuals with
cruising experience. The individual can act as skipper and crew of a
30-50 foot multihull sailboat by day in coastal waters. The standard
includes those skills unique to a 30-50 foot multihull.
ASA117 Basic Celestial Endorsement
Description: Understand and demonstrate the use of a sextant and Nautical Almanac to determine one’s position at sea when out of sight of land. Students will learn to calculate their latitude by sighting the Sun or Polaris and determine longitude using equal Sun heights around Noon. (Sight reductions and use of the stars, planets and Moon are addressed in more advanced ASA 107 Celestial Navigation.)
ASA118 Docking Endorsement
Description: This course further develops basic docking skills, developing tehniques for handling single engine sailboats in tight quarters as well as methods of securing sailboats to docks in a variety of conditions.
ASA119 Weather Endorsement
Description: Understand and demonstrate the proper use of weather information in planning and adapting navigation during local and passage-making voyages. Demonstrate the ability to use both the latest technological tools as well as traditional maritime skills to forecast weather conditions.
ASA120 Radar Endorsement
Prerequisites: Coastal Navigation
Description: The ASA radar course teaches safe, efficient use of small-craft radar for piloting, chart navigation, and collision avoidance, including radar principles and practical matters of radar operation. A realistic PC based radar simulator is used in the course to illustrate radar measurements.