Become A Sailing Instructor

Certified ASA Sailing Instructors have demonstrated that they have excellent sailing skills and possess the ability to teach others. If you have the experience, now you can have the credentials you deserve.

By qualifying to the ASA Instructor Standards you obtain internationally recognized credentials. These credentials document your experience and level of proficiency- from Basic Keelboat Sailing to Offshore Passage making- and assist you in commanding the respect you have earned.


  • Enhancing your career development potential as a professional.
  • Qualified to teach and certify students to uniform national Standards which are internationally recognized.
  • Playing an important role in improving the quality and extent of educational opportunities for the recreational sailor.
  • A member of a professional organization which provides you with teaching materials and services, a centralized national certification authority, continuing education programs for ASA Instructors, member discounts on useful products and services, and a wide variety of other benefits.
  • Recognized internationally as a leader in sail education.

ASA Instructor Certification Standards parallel those required for students, but at a much higher level with emphasis on teaching. They are: Basic Keelboat Sailing, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, Coastal Navigation, Advanced Coastal Cruising, Celestial Navigation, Offshore Passage making, Trailerable Multihull, Cruising Catamaran and Small Boats and Boards. A sailing instructor follows this sequence of Certification, each level expands his or her skills, experience and professional standing. While you may choose to stop at any level of Certification, there are no short cuts as every ASA Instructor undergoes the same process of evaluation.

The American Sailing Association conducts Sailing Instructor Qualification Clinics (known as IQC’s) throughout the United States. If you are currently teaching sailing, or wish to teach sailing, consider becoming an ASA Instructor. If you feel your experience and sailing proficiency are presently at Certification level, we invite you to apply to an IQC near you. If you are successful, you will be awarded the American Sailing Associations Sailing Instructor Certification Seal and a Sailing Instructor’s Certificate for the highest Level achieved.

You may enroll in an IQC if you have the ambition to be a true sailing professional and:

  • Are 18 years of age or older
  • Possess at least 3 years of sailing experience
  • Have teaching experience or can demonstrate an aptitude for clearly communicating sailing to the novice and advanced sailor
  • Are capable of performing to the Standards as stated in the ASA International Sailing Log Book
  • Must have the 101 Basic Keelboat level or challenge the exam at an ASA Affiliate School

Steps to Becoming an ASA Certified Sailing Instructor

    1. Review the ASA Standards of Certification to better understand the requirements for both students and Instructors. If you feel you are fully prepared to undertake an evaluation of your competency based on these Standards, then complete the Instructor Qualification Clinic. If you feel you are fully prepared to undertake an evaluation of your competency based on these Standards, then find your Instructor Qualification Clinic based on your desired location:
      If you feel you are qualified for more than just the Basic Keelboat level then, upgrading through Bareboat Cruising Instructor is also offered at your chosen location during the same scheduled period.
    2. Enroll in one of the ASA Instructor Qualification Clinics. Following the direct contact to an ASA Affiliate School, Club or Academy to vet your ability to pass the knowledge and skills interview you will be allowed to register for the Instructor Certification Clinic. If you are admitted to the IQC, you will receive a Study Package that contains reference materials to help you prepare for your clinic. Candidates need to enroll in their intended clinic no later than fourteen days prior to the opening date of the clinic.
    3. Attend the Basic Keelboat Sailing Clinic. This two and one half day clinic is designed to verify your qualifications as an ASA Basic Keelboat Sailing Instructor. The format includes a review of sailing theory, boat handling abilities, and communication skills all leading to formal evaluation of your skill in these areas. Your competency will be compared with the ASA’s internationally recognized Standards. This is not a course of instruction as such. While you will gain valuable knowledge from your experience in the Clinic your competence as a sailor and as a teacher are presumed. You are attending for the purpose of becoming Certified. Following successful completion of your IQC, the ASA will send you your Instructor credentials and graduation letter.
    4. Progress to the next level(s) of Certification after having completed your Basic Keelboat Sailing Clinic. If you do wish to continue through the higher levels, you must have applied for and paid the required Attendance Fees in advance of continuing your Certification process at the same Clinic location. These higher levels are usually offered in the one or two days immediately following the Basic Keelboat Sailing Clinic. Check the current schedule of IQCS for details.
    5. Teach on an active basis using your knowledge and newly confirmed certified status. You are required to teach at an ASA Certified Training Facility and your credentials will serve you well in any educational undertaking you may choose. However, only those ASA Instructors who are affiliated with an ASA school may certify students to the appropriate ASA Standards. ASA is a resource for instructors and schools and can assist with providing information about available educational and employment opportunities. Find out more about having your business become an ASA Certified Sail Training Facility.

Instructor comments after completing an ASA instructor clinic

Very demanding but fair and a great experience.

John Charles, B.C. Canada

I approached this class with a complacent, smug attitude, but when finished I was genuinely proud to have passed and have the certifications.

Larry Hansz, Traverse City, MI

As an experienced sailor – both cruising and racing, I found the ASA Instructor Training Program a rewarding mechanism by which I could assess my skills, challenge certain internationally recognized standards, and hone the myriad of teaching techniques available toward becoming an excellent instructor.”

I gained much insight about a career as a professional sailing instructor.”

Deb Rigas, navigator ANTERA 95 Trans-Pac entrant.

Miscellaneous quotes about ASA Sailing Instructor evaluators

…the Instructor Evaluator of my IQC was and is one of the most professional and personable instructors I have had the good fortune to meet.

J. A. Chaney

…(Instructor Evaluator) handled one setback after the other professionally. He is an excellent and dedicated instructor…”

G. C. Daley

… a super facilitator, keeping things light, on purpose and keeping everyone motivated when we started to slack…

Peter Hunt