Keelboat Instructor Programs

Instructors at US Sailing accredited schools possess outstanding seamanship and communication skills

All Candidates are trained in our proprietary teaching method and all are US Sailing certified professionals. They must be accomplished sailors able to sail anywhere in the United States and its waters. Those who seek US Sailing certification must be able to handle the vast range of situations and models of boats encountered in sailing courses.

Practice, study, and preparation are required by even the most gifted and experienced professional instructors. Just as with student-level courses, US Sailing offers a progression with our instructor programs which include several levels. Not sure what the USCG rules are for carrying passengers for hire, click here.

*Please note: US Sailing Certified Keelboat Instructors can only issue US Sailing student keelboat certifications via an Accredited US Sailing School.

Fill out the Looking for an Instructor course form and we will notify you when one becomes available.

Keelboat Instructor Programs

Please click on the title of any course below to learn more.

Basic Keelboat Instructor

The Basic Keelboat Instructor Course is a 3-day evaluation allowing experienced keelboat instructors to test and evaluate their teaching and sailing skills. Candidates should anticipate single-handing a keelboat while demonstrating competency in sailing off a dock, mooring or slip, tacking, jibing, stopping, backing the boat and returning to the dock, mooring or slip. Basic Keelboat Instructor Candidates must also be able to present material in a classroom environment with ease. To become a US Sailing Instructor, a candidate must be a confident and competent sailor able to sail anywhere in the U.S. and handle the vast range of situations and different models of boats encountered in sailing courses. The course runs three consecutive days and the fee is $550. You must be a current US Sailing member to enroll.

Performance Sailing Instructor

The foundations of this two-day course are applicable to non-racing and racing instructors.  For current Basic Keelboat Instructors who want to further their knowledge and ability to teach more advanced skills.  The candidate will walk away with an in-depth understanding of sail shaping, sail trim, boat handling skills, wind dynamics, and seamanship skills.  Principles and theories will be discussed on land and practiced on the water.  Basic Keelboat Instructors who complete the course will receive an endorsement. The course registration fee is $475 per candidate.

Cruising and Coastal Navigation Instructor 

The Cruising and Coastal Navigation Instructor Course is a 3-day evaluation for experienced Basic Cruising, Bareboat Cruising Instructors to test and evaluate their teaching, and sailing skills. This course includes the evaluation of the candidate’s ability to handle challenging conditions and navigational situations during daytime and nighttime, as well as their interpersonal skills in a liveaboard environment. Candidates will live and sail aboard their assigned boats. This course runs for three consecutive days and the registration fee is $550 per candidate.

Coastal Navigation Instructor

This is an exam, not a course. The prerequisite for this certification is a Basic Keelboat Instructor or Cruising Powerboat Instructor certification. The fee for the exam is $100.

To apply, please submit the COASTAL NAVIGATION APPLICATION

Cruising Catamaran Instructor

The Cruising Catamaran Instructor evaluation occurs aboard a cruising catamaran. Instructor candidates are evaluated on boat handling skills as well as their ability to maneuver using one or two engines. Candidates will cruise in a catamaran of at least 34 feet with wheel steering and twin-engine auxiliary power, while demonstrating practical skills.The registration fee is $200 per candidate.

Coastal Passage Making Instructor

The Coastal Passage Making Instructor Course is a 5-day evaluation for experienced Passage Making Instructors to test and evaluate their teaching, sailing and navigation skills. Candidates should expect to be evaluated on a wide range of criteria including but not limited to: Sail Handling, Docking, Response to Emergencies, Navigation, Boat Systems, Passage Planning, Organizational Ability, Team Building/Group Interactivity. The course registration fee is $550 per candidate.

Celestial Navigation Instructor

Demonstrate your understanding and ability to teach celestial navigation using only sextant and timepiece. This is an exam, not a course. The prerequisite for this certification is a Basic Keelboat Instructor certification.  The fee for the exam is $100. To apply, please submit the CELESTIAL NAVIGATION APPLICATION

Offshore Passage Making Instructor

For offshore sailors with documentation of an unbroken ocean passage more than 700 nautical miles. Prepare a passage plan for an offshore route assigned by the committee. The passage plan should include, but is not limited to, the following: vessel selection; crew management and health; navigation; safety plan; and heavy weather tactics.

Please click here to apply:Offshore Passage MAKING Instructor APPLICATION

Keelboat Instructor Trainer

US Sailing Basic Keelboat Instructor Trainer (IT) Course certifies qualified US Sailing Basic Keelboat Instructors to train sailing instructors to teach the Basic Keelboat student certification.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain's License Training

US Sailing is pleased to partner with Mariners Learning System to provide US Sailing members with access to U.S. Coast Guard Approved Captain’s Licensing Courses and Exams Online, Virtual FCC Tests, and a variety of other industry-leading maritime training programs.

US Sailing members receive a 10% discount on registration in Mariners Learning System’s educational resources and training opportunities. Members can access their Mariners Learning System discount, along with a host of other benefits and discounts on gear, publications, and events, by logging into Member Login to access your benefit.

Below is a listing of all instructor courses available at this time.

Courses are added to the calendar as they become available. Available spots are not necessarily guaranteed.

To Transfer into a different session:

  1. Log in to your US Sailing account here: Member Login
  2. Select the My Certs and Courses tab from the options on the left, then click the transfer link.
  3. Submit Payment details
  4. Confirm transfer

Course Transfers are not available within the week of the course start.

Let us know if you would like to be put on a contact list when an instructor course becomes available in your state. Contact List.