Small Boat Instructor Programs

Level 1 Small Boat Instructor Trainer


The US Sailing Small Boat Sailing Level 1 Instructor Trainer Course certifies qualified US Sailing instructors to train Small Boat Level 1 Instructor candidates to teach beginning sailing.

The Level 1 Instructor Trainer Course is conducted by Master Instructor Trainers who are experts in the field of sail training. The ideal Instructor Trainer candidate must have current Small Boat Level 1 Instructor certification, and will be a sailing career professional with experience running multiple programs. A background in education is a plus, as are additional US Sailing certifications.  Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance.

The goals of the Level 1 Instructor Trainer Course are as follows:

  1. To train professionals in the methods and theories of the US Sailing Instructor Training Program;
  2. To provide Instructor Trainer candidates with the information, tools, and confidence to conduct a successful Small Boat Level 1 Instructor Course.

Topics covered during the course include:

  • Practical sailing skills demonstrations
  • Communicative and interpersonal skills
  • Team building techniques
  • Sports psychology/physiology
  • Development of training aids
  • Evaluation techniques
  • Video feedback on teaching styles
  • Lesson/program planning
  • Record keeping
  • Problem solving skills
  • Marketing for the Small Boat Level 1 Instructor Course and legal concerns.


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


  • Current US Sailing Individual, College or Family Membership.
    Youth membership is not applicable, and only one instructor is allowed per family membership.
  • Current Small Boat Level 1 Instructor certification or higher. Current certification includes a valid SafeSport certificate and completion of Teaching and Coaching Fundamentals Online (TCFO).
  • Suggested minimum age is 24 years old.
    Consideration will be given to younger candidates depending upon experience, training and teaching ability.
  • Teaching experience
    Candidates should have at least three years teaching experience in an approved sail training program. Exceptions to this requirement may be granted if the candidate has taught three years outside the sailing environment and possesses adequate sailing experience to transfer these teaching skills to sailing.
  • Significant experience sailing on dinghies and/or day sailing keelboats.
    A high level of sailing skills is expected. Instructor Trainer candidates should be competent in any boat in any situation.
  • Two (2) references
    Submission of the names of two references who are familiar with the candidate’s recreational activities covering sailing, teaching and general employment pertinent to becoming an Instructor Trainer.

Additional notes:

While not a prerequisite, US Sailing gives preference to candidates who are located in geographic areas where there is the greatest need and/or no current Instructor Trainers, and to those ITs who have Availability to run multiple Level 1 courses annually.

Additionally, US Sailing requires that all accepted candidates successfully complete a background check prior to attending the course. This is a condition of employment for all current ITs as well.


  • Practical evaluation in the following areas: Sailing skills, safety boat handling skills and teaching and communication skills
  • Written testing on the following materials/topics: Small Boat Sailing Instructor Guides, sailing theory test, Boating Basics
  • A Final Evaluation by the Master Instructor Trainers, Director of Education, and/or Education Committee Representative.
  • Co-Teaching a course with a Senior Instructor Trainer.
    Before certification each IT Candidate must co-teach one Small Boat Level 1 Instructor Course with a currently certified Senior IT and at an approved facility, which are both selected by the US Sailing Education Department.


Validation of an Instructor Trainer will be for one year and continues at the recommendation of US Sailing. The Instructor Trainer is expected to maintain the highest level of professionalism and teaching quality and to support the US Sailing Training Program. The Instructor Trainer is hired by US Sailing as a temporary consultant and receives compensation only for instructor courses conducted, including associated responsibilities.

To remain active, an Instructor Trainer must teach a minimum of one course every two years and maintain current First Aid, CPR, SafeSport certification and US Sailing membership.


Sailing Counselor and in-person Level 1 Instructor courses.


The following materials will be delivered prior to the course:

  • Small Boat Level 1 Instructor Course Guide
  • Small Boat Level 1 Instructor Trainer Manual
  • Candidates should also download the Skill Up App.


The course fee is $350, due upon acceptance into the course.
If accepted, payment must be received by US Sailing no more than three (3) weeks prior to the course. Late payment is subject to a $25 fee.


Level 1 IT applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, regardless if a course is currently listed on the schedule. On average, US Sailing runs one Level 1 Instructor Trainer course per year either on the east coast, or west coast. Please note that submission of an application does not constitute acceptance to the course. Applications are reviewed by the IT Candidate Selection Committee and those candidates who are selected will be invited to attend.

Candidates not selected will be notified in writing. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until four (4) months before the start of the course date.