Small Boat Instructor Programs

Level 3 Head Instructor


The US Sailing Small Boat Level 3 Head Instructor Certification Course, is designed to support sailing 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.

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.

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.

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.


All Level 3 Head Instructor Courses are held online online over 10 days (Fridays are Day 1, and Sunday is Day 10).

The course consists of five live webinars and includes short presentations. The other days are self-paced and consist of video content, group discussion and posts, assignments, quizzes and a final test. Students should expect to spend 20 hours on course work over the 10 days.

Attendance at all course sessions is mandatory. Absence from any portion of the course excludes the instructor candidate from evaluation.


  1. Current US Sailing Individual, College or Family Membership.
    Youth membership is not applicable, and only one instructor is allowed per family membership.
  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.  Instructor certification is not active unless SafeSport training has been completed.
  3. US Sailing Teaching & Coaching Fundamentals : Developed in conjunction with the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), this course gives the building blocks of good instructional practices for becoming an effective educator on and off the water. The fee for this course is $10.00.

Additional prerequisite for those who are not seeking certification
(i.e. for those individual do not already hold a Level 2 Small Boat certification)

  1. Sailing Experience. Participants should have some experience sailing small boats, such as prams, dinghies, multi-hulls or day sailing keelboats. Significant experience is not required, but a baseline understanding of sailing is strongly recommended.


  • Attendance at all portions of the course.
  • Current Small Boat 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.
  • First Aid and CPR Certification.
    US Sailing recognizes certification from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association or any U.S. Coast Guard approved provider. Candidates do not need to complete the CPR/First Aid Training in advance of the Level 3 course, however a certification will NOT be valid unless accompanied by current First Aid and CPR.
  • Ability to exhibit appropriate personal and interpersonal skills.
    This includes 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.


There is no corresponding student level certification to this course.


Sailing Program Management for Head Instructors is provided digitally to all attendees. Print versions are also available for purchase during the registration process.


Course fees are $355 per attendee. Registration is on a first pay basis. US Sailing will not reserve spots without full payment.


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.

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

Questions? Email: