ASA Certification & Sailing Courses

The American Sailing Association (ASA) is an association of sailing academies, sailing clubs, charter companies and professional instructors. With over half a million people sailors certified, the ASA is the most widely accepted keelboat sailing certifier in the US.

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ASA certification is viewed by charter companies as credible evidence of capability. In other words, if you wish to rent/charter a sailing boat, it is worth looking at a list of ASA sailing courses to find one that is relevant. ASA courses all run through the same syllabus. This means whether you do your sailing course in the US, Virgin Islands, Croatia or Tahiti, the ASA qualification is the same.

The ASA provides eight main levels of certification, from Basic Keelboat (101) to Offshore Passagemaking (108). The Bareboat Cruising level (104) is typically the level at which charter companies accept a sailor’s competence to charter a boat in protected waters during daytime, for a week.

Sailing Virgins can award up to two ASA levels in one fast track week of instruction. The Beginner Courses learn the 101/103 syllabus, and the Intermediate courses learn the 103/104 syllabus. More information on ASA levels can be accessed here.

How the ASA Courses Work

When you book your course, we will mail you the relevant course material to study. The ASA textbooks clearly present sailing concepts, allowing you to understand the theoretical fundamentals prior to your course. It is important to read this material, so you can spend your course concentrating on the practical skills of sailing. If during your course, your instructor deems you ready to take the exam for a given level, you will take the exam towards the end of your week.

How you use your ASA Certification

Upon completion of your course, you will receive a Sailing Virgins certificate and be entered into the ASA system. The ASA will then send you out a sticker for your logbook (see below), verifying successful completion of your level. When you speak to a charter company and they ask for evidence of your sailing skill, you will be able to send them copies of the Sailing Virgins certificate plus your ASA logbook.

Sailing Logbook

It is important to keep a log of all the days you have sailed. If you ever wish to progress your sailing to 106 or beyond (or the RYA equivalent of Yachtmaster), the days and miles you have spent at the helm, and being able to recount those experiences, become very important to the assessor. You will receive a logbook along with your course material.

Head to our Courses page to find the course relevant to you.