Keelboat Instructor Programs

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.

Course FORMAT & Length

This is a three-day, 24-hour course. Absence from any part of the course will exclude the Instructor Candidate from evaluation.


  1. Extensive experience sailing and teaching on keelboats.
  2. Current US Sailing membership.
  3. Meeting the minimum Age
    Candidates must be at least 18 years old, or turn 18, in the calendar year of the course.
  4. Current NASBLA Safe Boating Certification
    A current USCG full or limited Master’s or OUPV license. is also acceptable.
  5. Ability to swim 50 yards at the course.
    US Sailing will accept swimming certificates issued by the American Red Cross, YMCA, NAUI or PADI within the last 3 years. Certificates issued more than 3 years before the start of the course will not be accepted. US Sailing will also accept a Proof of Swimming Ability Verification form completed and signed by a swimming instructor certified by the American Red Cross, YMCA, NAUI, PADI, or a lifeguard certified by the American Lifeguard Association or U.S. Lifesaving Association.**All candidates, who do not meet the criteria above, must bring a completed Swim Verification Form to the course.** This form will be sent with your course paperwork.
  6. Valid SafeSport Certificate. This program, developed by the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, is required training for all Instructors. This requirement is also being put in place for other National Governing Bodies. This free online training course must be completed every 2 years. Instructor certification is not active unless SafeSport training has been completed.
  7. Completion of US Sailing Teaching & Coaching Fundamentals (TCFO). This approximately 90-minute online course is $10.00 (Registration is independent of the instructor course registrations). A guide on how to complete the course can be found here and a few Frequently Asked Questions are answered here. Candidates who have not completed TCFO will not be allowed to participate in the online section of Level 1. ***During account creation make sure to include you US Sailing member number to receive completion credit.


Learn about all potential course outcomes by CLICKING HERE

  1. Successfully demonstrate Sailing Competency:
    Instructor Candidates should anticipate single-handing on a keelboat and  demonstrating competency in the following: Boathandling, Mooring, Shortening Sail, Docking, Navigation Rules (Rules of the Road), Heave to/Lie to, Marlinspike Seamanship, Aids to Navigation, Overboard Rescue. Instructor Candidates should anticipate single-handing on a keelboat. Specific skills evaluated will include: sailing off the dock, mooring or slip, tacking, jibing, stopping, reefing, backing the boat, and returning to the dock, mooring or slip.An example of the criteria evaluated can be found here: BKIC Eval Sample.
  2. Successfully demonstrate Marlinspike Seamanship-Practical test
    Demonstrate the ability to tie the following: Figure-8, clove hitch, two half hitches, bowline, sheet bend, cleat hitch, square knot (for sail lashing), rolling hitch and also throw a coiled line.
  3. Demonstrative and communication ability – Practical
  4. Successful completion of both the Basic Keelboat student and Basic Keelboat Instructor exams.
  5. The Instructor Trainer’s positive evaluation.
  6. Current First Aid and CPR.
    Certifications issued by the American Red Cross (ARC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) are accepted, as well as those courses approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. A state-licensed EMT, registered nurse, or physician is accepted as having met US Sailing's First Aid and CPR requirements. Candidates do not need to complete the CPR/First Aid Training in advance of the course, however,certification will NOT be valid unless accompanied by current First Aid and CPR.


Basic Keelboat student level certifications.

Please note: Certified US Sailing instructors can only issue US Sailing student certifications through a certified US Sailing school.


Registration materials include the following:
Basic Keelboat, Basic Keelboat Instructor Manual, Basic Keelboat Instructor Candidate Booklet and the Official Logbook.

Course Fees

The course registration fee is $550.00 per candidate. Registration is on a first pay basis. US Sailing will not reserve spots without full payment.

Cancellation Policy AND TRANSFER POLICY

Course fees are nonrefundable but are transferable to another course up to one (1) week prior to the course start date. Course transfers are not available within the week of the course start. Fees are not transferable to another candidate. The fee for all transfers is $25.00.

To transfer into a different session:

    1. Log in to your US Sailing account here: MyUSSailing
    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
    5. Course Transfers are not available within the week of the course start.

US Sailing reserves the right to cancel, postpone, abandon or change the venue, date and time of the course should unforeseen circumstances occur or course minimums are not reached. In the event the course is unable to proceed, a course credit will be made available which is good for one (1) year or you may choose a refund.


Please select  "Enroll Now" to see a full list of prerequisites and to register. Please note that this calendar includes both Basic Keelboat Instructor and Cruising Instructor courses.

If you are interested in hosting an Basic Keelboat Instructor Course, please fill out the online "Host a Course Form." If you are interested in becoming an accredited keelboat school, please visit our School Accreditation Page.

Questions? email: