Small Boat Instructor Programs

Level 3 Head Instructor

The US Sailing Small Boat Level 3 Head Sailing Instructor Certification Course, is designed to provide help to sailing instructors that are making the transition to a leadership or management role in their programs.


This course is also available for parents and volunteers that want to better manage their sailing programs but do not want to receive a certification.  This course contains information on how to manage more effectively, problem solve, continue to create a quality learning environment for their students and sailing staff, and where to find additional resources.

Topics covered in the course include: classroom and on-the-water teaching techniques, risk management, safety issues, curriculum planning, advanced team building techniques, ethical concerns, and so much more.

This course can be taken as part of the US Sailing certification program or audited by someone who has no prior involvement with US Sailing’s training programs.


This is a two-day, 20-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 Adult Individual Membership.

Youth memberships are not applicable. Those with a family membership with only one (1) instructor in the family IS eligible.

Completed course registration form accompanied by appropriate course fees

(and any late charges)

National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Safe Boating certification.

Each state has different requirements and candidates have a responsibility to meet the boating laws of the state where the course is being held. In some states, online testing meets the criteria for NASBLA certification (Florida, for example), while other states require classroom work (Connecticut) and do not recognize online testing. If you chose to take an online course, please be certain that the course you’ve chosen is NASBLA approved. Online courses that are not NASBLA approved will not be accepted. BoatUS is one provider of online courses. Click here to see all available Boat US courses. You can also earn your certification at one of US Sailing’s Safe Powerboat Handling Courses or see a current list of approved providers. Candidates holding a current USCG full or limited Master’s,  OUPV license, is US Sailing Level 1 Certification are exempt from this requirement (in the case of Level 1 the exemption is because they will have completed the requirement already).

Complete the US Sailing Medical Form and Safety Boat Skills Self-Assessment Form.

This will be provided to Instructor Trainer at the start of the course. These will be sent to you upon receipt of your course registration.

Completed USOC Safesport Training

(please bring your certificate of completion to the course).


  • Current Smallboat Level 2 Instructor certification.
  • Experience Teaching Sailing
    Candidates should have 1 to 3 years of experience teaching sailing. Experience in a leadership role within their organization is preferred.
  • Review of Teaching Fundamentals for Sailing Instructors and completion of the Self quiz in the text.
  • Sailing Experience
    Participants should have some experience sailing small boats, such as prams, dinghies, multihulls or daysailing keelboats. Significant experience is not required, but a baseline understanding of sailing is strongly recommended.


Attendance at all portions of the course.

Absence from any portion of the course excludes the instructor candidate from evaluation

Demonstrate appropriate personal and Interpersonal Practical Skills.

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. A positive evaluation by the Instructor Trainer is also included in this component.


Please plan on reviewing materials prior to the course as they include the foundation topics for the Workshop. Materials include:

  • Sailing Program Management for Head Instructors


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

  • $325 if received more than four (4) weeks prior to course start date
  • $345 if received within four (4) weeks of course start date
  • $395 if received within one (1) week of course start date


  • Course fees are nonrefundable but are transferable to another course/date if the Training office is given enough notice:
  • More than four weeks before the course start date: Fee is transferable to another course.
  • Within the four week of course start date: ½ half of course fee is transferable to another course
  • Less than 24 hours notice of course start date (or no-show): 100% of the course fee is forfeited.


In order to register, I understand that I must have completed the prerequisites.