Small Boat Instructor Programs

Small Boat Level 3 Head Instructor Trainer



The US Sailing Small Boat Level 3 Head Instructor Trainer (IT) Course certifies qualified US Sailing Program Directors and Instructors to run Small Boat Level 3 Head Instructor courses. The focus of the Head Instructor course is to support instructors and program managers that are either making the transition to a leadership role in their programs or growing their management skills in their current role. Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance.

The Level 3 Head Instructor Trainer Course is conducted by Master Trainers who are experts in the field of sail training and have substantial experience as coaches.

The goals of the Level 3 Head 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 Head Instructor Trainer candidates with the information, tools, and confidence to conduct a successful Small Boat Level 3 Head Instructor Course.

Topics covered during the course include:

  • Classroom and on-the-water teaching techniques
  • Risk management
  • Safety issues
  • Curriculum planning
  • Advanced team building techniques
  • Ethical concerns


The format for this course is still being finalized as it has not been taught in an online-only format (which matches the Instructor course format). The prior format was a 2-day, in-person, classroom-based course.


  • 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 3 Head Instructor Certification
  • Current Small Boat Level 2 Instructor Trainer certification. Current certification includes a valid SafeSport certificate,  completion of Teaching and Coaching Fundamentals Online (TCFO), and completion of Heads Up concussion training as well as current CPR and First Aid.
  • Suggested minimum age is 24 years old
    Consideration will be given to younger candidates depending upon experience, training and teaching ability.
  • Program management experience
    Candidates should have at least three years of sailing program management experience in an approved sail training program. Preference will be given to candidates who managed different types of programs, in different geographic locations.
  • Teaching experience
    Candidates should have at least three years of 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. Head 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 Head Instructor Trainer Trainer.


  • Successfully demonstrating practical skills
  • Successfully passing written test
  • A Final Evaluation by the Master 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 3 Head 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.


Small Boat Level 3 Head Instructor courses.


The following course materials are included:

  • Sailing Program Management for Head Instructors
  • Small Boat Level 3 Head Instructor Trainer Manual and supporting documents
  • All Head Instructor Trainer candidates should also download the US Sailing 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 3 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 3 Head Instructor Trainer course every few years, 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. Candidates will be notified no later than three (3) months before the start of the course.

Questions? Please contact Peri Burns at