UPDATED 2021

Sailing CertificationTest Guide

The Sailing Certification Test Guide
What: Sailing exams lead to certification in particular sailing skills.
Who: Sailing classes are offered for people of all ages and sailing skills.
Where: Sailing schools can be found throughout the United States.
When: Sailing classes and exams are offered year-round; schedules depend on the particular school.
How: Sailors will be asked to demonstrate knowledge in terms, parts of a boat and sailing ability.
Type: Tests are written and hands-on.
Why: Sailing certification helps one to demonstrate that they understand the operational and safety procedures of a sailboat.
Time: Exam times vary depending on the certification level and organization administering the exam.
Language: English.
Preparation: In addition to taking the required courses, sailing students can purchase textbooks, instructional videos and study guides to help prepare for the exams.
Cost: The cost of courses and exams vary depending on the certification level and location.

By Erin Hasinger, Tests.com

There are many ways to learn how to sail, including enrolling in a course that leads to sailing certification. Certification is a great way to ensure that sailors have met a national set of standards of sailing knowledge and safety practices. Most sailing schools require certification in basic sailing before admitting students to more advanced courses.

One of the major sailing certifying organizations is the American Sailing Association (ASA). Founded in 1983, ASA offers certification programs in keelboat and small boat sailing. ASA offers courses for beginners as well as advanced sailors who have met prerequisites.

Basic Keelboat, or ASA 101, is a course that teaches people to sail a 20-foot boat in familiar waters under light to moderate wind and sea conditions. Following this course, students will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of sailing terminology, identify sails and parts of a sail, describe the functions of sailboat items, understand and apply navigation rules, and demonstrate sailing skills, including the use of gear and equipment, lowering and folding sails, crew overboard procedure and knots.

Basic Small Boat Standard, or ASA 110, is a course that teaches sailors to sail a centerboard or multihull sailboat in familiar waters under light to moderate winds and sea conditions. This course uses sailboats less than 20 feet in length without a fixed weighted keel. Following this course, for certification, students will be asked to identify and describe parts of a boat, define sailing terms, identify sails and parts of a sail, understand navigation rules and demonstrate skills such as using sailing gear, applying steering rules, demonstrating capsize and recovery, and tie knots.

Other courses and certifications from ASA – most of which require either the Basic Keelboat Sailing or Basic Small Boat Standard certification – include:

·         Basic Coastal Cruising

·         Bareboat Chartering

·         Advanced Coastal Cruising

·         Celestial Navigation

·         Offshore Passagemaking

·         Trailerable Multihull Standard

·         Cruising Catamaran

In addition to the courses and certifications offered, ASA offers endorsements to accompany sailing certification. Endorsements include:

·         Basic Celestial

·         Docking

·         Weather

·         Radar

ASA certification courses are offered in sailing schools in 36 states in the nation. Course lengths and prices vary. Most sailing school programs range from introductory workshops that only last for an hour to weeklong cruises. Prices range from about $150 for the introductory course to over $2,000 for a weeklong intensive. To find a local sailing school affiliated with ASA, visit http://www.american-sailing.com/find_a_sailing_school.html.

Another major sailing certification organization is US Sailing. A non-profit group, US Sailing was founded in 1897 and selects and trains US Olympic sailing teams. They also offer training and certification in keelboat sailing.

US Sailing offers seven levels of certification:

·         Basic Keelboat

·         Basic Cruising

·         Bareboat Cruising

·         Coastal Navigation

·         Coastal Passage Making

·         Celestial Navigation

·         Offshore Passage Making

The Basic Keelboat program is similar to ASA’s program, though the program works with boats of up to 27 feet in length. Each certification program builds off each preceding program.

US Sailing programs are offered in 73 accredited sailing schools throughout the United States. To find a US Sailing-approved program, visit http://www.sailingcertification.com/Site/FINDASCHOOL/tabid/54/Default.aspx. Prices for courses vary widely, hitting as much as $4600, depending on the skills being taught and length of time of the course.

To learn more about sailing certification and to find certification exam study materials, visit the Sailing Certification Test Directory.