Learn to Sail

Getting Started is Easy!

By learning to sail with a US Sailing-certified instructor, you’ll learn the sailing skills that you need to be a safe, confident, successful sailor. Over 1500 Smallboat Instructors and Coaches are certified by US Sailing each year and are ready to teach you to sail at your local sailing school, yacht club, or community sailing center.

Smallboat Sailing

Small boat sailing is a simple, inexpensive way to get started in the sport. The fundamental basics of sailing are most easily learned in small boats. Many small boats are designed specifically for youth, and most provide a lifetime of enjoyment for adults as well. Generally, small boats, are under 25 feet in length. They include a wide assortment of dinghies, daysailers, multihulls, and small keelboats. Because of their size and simplicity, many small sailboats can be sailed by just one or two people.

Many instructional programs teach on and rent small boats, including a majority of community sailing programs, most yacht club junior programs, and an assortment of aquatic centers, camps, parks & recreation departments, Y’s, Scout programs, university and military recreation facilities. By learning to sail a small boat with a US Sailing-certified instructor, you’ll learn the skills you need to build your confidence and ability to sail the boat well and safely.

The Learn Sailing Right! instructional books are the industry standard for small boat education, with step by step guidance for beginner and intermediate sailors. You may become a certified Smallboat Sailor by completing the requirements in the Little Red Book, US Sailing's Small Boat Sailor Certification Record Book, supplied and validated by your US Sailing instructor. Be sure to check out all of the US Sailing Education materials available for purchase in the US Sailing Store.

Find a Sailing Program Near You

The right sailing program for you might be just down the street! Browse our Where to Sail map for listings of sailing schools, yacht clubs, and community sailing centers near you.

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Where to Sail map


Windsurfing is a fun and affordable way to experience the thrill of sailing. Fast and close to the water, windsurfing is one of the purest forms of sailing and a great way to broaden your sailing skills.

US Windsurfing partners with US Sailing to support recreational and competitive windsurfers across the country. For more information, visit: US windsurfing