Sailing schools and sailing clubs can work together to guide you
through the learning curve from beginning sailor to confident
skipper or crew. Sailing schools provide the education, and sailing
clubs provide the boats on which to practice what you've learned.
It's important to enroll in the school that best meets your
needs. There are national, for-profit schools that cover every
aspect of sailing, usually in intensive, weekend or week-long,
eight-hours-a-day sessions; and there are nonprofit, community-based
programs, with sessions after work and on weekends, that teach the
basic boathandling skills needed to get started sailing. When
choosing a sailing school, make sure to get answers to the following
How are instructors trained and/or certified? Are instructors
certified by U.S. Sailing (the national governing body of sailing)
or the American Sailing Association (ASA)?
What type of certification system is used for students? Will the
certification be recognized by charter companies or sailing clubs?
Both ASA and U.S. Sailing use standardized methods of teaching
sailing and certifying graduates that are becoming widely
What type/size boat will be used in the program? Make sure the
boat suits the type of sailing you'd like to do.
Does the school provide textbooks, instructional videos, and
classroom training? It's important to have references to study away
from the water.
How many students per class? More than four students per
instructor minimizes crucial personal attention.
How long has the school been in business? Also, check that the
school is accredited and insured.
Will the school provide graduate references? Talking with recent
graduates is the best way to get an unbiased look at the school and
see if the program delivers what is promised in the brochure.
How much can you learn? Are there advanced courses?
Will the school help you continue sailing by recommending a club or
supervised flotilla charters?