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ASA (American Sailing) Certifications

American SailingThe American Sailing Association is the predominant standards bearer and codifier in the arena of recreational sailing education in the Americas. The organization was founded in 1983 by television producer Lenny Shabes. He felt that there was no recognized educational system in place to learn the sport of sailing.  American Sailing established standards to measure a sailor’s skill and knowledge, and created a method to teach theory, and the practical skills to learn to sail.  Whether your goal is to sail a 22′ boat or skipper a bareboat charter in the Caribbean, the ASA Certifications will give you the practical skills to sail safely and with confidence.

Earning an ASA certification will become one of your prized accomplishments. Not only does it evidence your new sailing ability to the world, it gives you the confidence to maximize your experience.

Depending on the level of ASA certification you are seeking, we have several packages for you to choose from. Please note that you must be certified at each level before moving to the next.

If you have previous sailing experience and want to jump to Coastal Cruising, you must first challenge the ASA 101 Basic Keelboat written and practical exam. For details on challenges, please call us at 619-316-6430.

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Have a question? Contact us at 619-316-6430


Prerequisites: None
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.

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Basic Coastal Cruising (103)

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA 101) Certification
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…

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Bareboat Chartering (104)

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA101) and Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA103) certifications.
Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged, auxiliary powered keelboat (or catamaran, if the 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.

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Coastal Navigation (105)

Prerequisites: None
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.

There is no sailing skills requirement to this standard and practical application of this sailing knowledge is found in the ASA 106 Advanced Coastal Cruising standard.

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Advanced Coastal Cruising (ASA 106)

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA 101), Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103), Bareboat Cruising (ASA 104), and Coastal Navigation (ASA 106) Certifications
Able to safely act as skipper and crew of a sailing vessel about 30 to 50 feet in length in any conditions. This course is only offered as a liveaboard course to meet the requirements of a minimum of 48 hours of coastal cruising including night sailing.  The typical timeframe required for completion is 3 days.

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Celestial Navigation (107)

Prerequisites: None. However we recommend you complete the following prior to your course: Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA 101), Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103), Bareboat Cruising (ASA 104), and Coastal Navigation (ASA 105)

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.

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Cruising Catamaran (114)

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.

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Docking Endorsement (118)

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.

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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.

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International Proficiency Certificate

ASA is proud to offer the first International Proficiency sailing certificate available in the United States.

Once you have completed your 104 course and your tests scores have been submitted, you can apply for the International Proficiency Certificate (IPC) through the American Sailing website.  The current cost is $49 and be prepared to upload a passport quality photo.

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