Keelboat Instructor Programs

Cruising Instructor


A three-day course for experienced Basic Cruising, Bareboat Cruising Instructors to test and evaluate their teaching, sailing and navigational skills in 23′ to 45′ auxiliary powered sailboats, including wheel steering, inboard, and outboard.  The course evaluates candidates’ ability to handle challenging conditions and navigational situations during daytime and nighttime, as well as their interpersonal skills in a live-aboard environment. Candidates will live and sail aboard their assigned boats.

  • Boathandling in moderate to heavy conditions
  • Sail selection and trim
  • Operation and inspection of boat systems and equipment:
    engine, electrical, bilge pumps, head, freshwater, stoves, emergency, and safety equipment, winches, anchors, harnesses, and jacklines
  • Docking – departure, and arrival under sail and power, and adverse conditions
  • High level of seamanship skills
  • Reefing
  • Sailing under shortened sail
  • Anchoring during daytime or night, including 1 and 2 anchors, use of trip line
  • Picking up a mooring
  • Overboard rescue methods: quick-stop, quick-return, lifesling-type
  • Nighttime sailing
  • Limited visibility situations
  • Simulate procedures for engine failure recovery, sinking, fire, dismasting, grounding recovery
  • Use of VHF radio and emergency procedures: Mayday, Pan and Securite
  • Use of dinghy and outboard
  • Setting watches
  • Storm tactics



This is a 3-day, 30-hour course. Attendance at all course sessions is mandatory. Absence from any portion of the course excludes the instructor candidate from certification.


  • Current US Sailing Basic Keelboat Instructor Certification
    This is a requirement for registration.
  • Current US Sailing Individual, College or Family Membership.
    Only one instructor is allowed per family membership.
  • Applicable Experience
    Minimum 5,000nm of coastal and offshore sailing experience (relevant to Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising) on an inboard auxiliary powered sailboat equipped with stove, head, and freshwater and electrical systems. Candidates should be able to perform all commonly required Piloting Skills used in safely piloting a sailing yacht in all conditions of visibility, by day and by night, to a high degree of precision.
  • Current U.S. Coast Guard license (includes Auxiliary Sail Endorsement) or be in the process of obtaining one.


The following are required for successful completion of this courses:

  1. Attendance at all portions of the course.
  2. Successfully passing all written tests and skill evaluations.
  3. A positive evaluation by the Instructor Trainer.
    Demonstrate professional conduct, an open-minded, positive and enthusiastic attitude, appropriate appearance (clothing, footwear and tidiness), participation in discussions, collaboration skills/team player, confidence and ease of manner.

Cruising Instructor Certification is not valid unless accompanied by:

  1. First Aid and CPR Certification: from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association or and  U.S. Coast Guard approved provider. Candidates  do not need to complete the CPR/First Aid Training in advance of the Level 1 course, however a certification will NOT be valid unless accompanied by current First Aid and CPR.
  2. 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.


Cruising Instructors can sign off on Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising student certifications. Certifications may only be issued through an accredited Keelboat School


  • Basic Cruising
  • Bareboat Cruising
  • Coastal Navigation Book
  • Coastal Navigation Chart 1210TR
  • Cruising Instructor Manual**
  • CoNav Instructor Manual**
  • Review Questions**

** Materials are delivered digitally - Access is available here:


The course registration fee is: $550*. Registration is on a first pay basis. US Sailing will not reserve spots without full payment.

*Please note that an additional boat fee may be charged in some circumstances. This course is underwritten by candidates’ fees and a major subsidy from US Sailing. There is also a provisioning fee that will be charged at the dock.


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

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. Registration closes one week prior to the course start date.

Reminder: In order to register for this course, you must hold a current Basic Keelboat Instructor certification.

If your organization is interested in hosting an Level 2 Instructor Course, please fill out the online "Host a Course Form."

Questions? email:

**The calendar below shows both Basic Keelboat and Cruising Instructor courses**