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ASA Certification: What to Expect

The more you know, the safer you are in the water. Securing an ASA certification creates a solid foundation of sailing knowledge and skills for any time when you're out on the water. Whether you own your own boat or occasionally rent a boat, getting ASA certification will increase your skills, confidence, and ability to safely bring your vessel and any passengers back to shore safely. At Top Tier Sailing School, we provide in-depth courses, resources, and learning opportunities so you always feel ready to be out on the water. Take a closer look at the different ASA certifications available so you can select the right one for your sailing journey.

Certification Levels Offered by ASA

The American Sailing Association (ASA) provides a varied curriculum for people who want to specialize in different types of sailing. Along with options for keelboats, small boats, and multi-hull vessels, they offer supplemental endorsements for specialty skills and niche applications. Depending on your current level of knowledge and certification, you can choose between the basic and advanced level certifications.

Basic Level Certification

ASA coursework gives students a basic understanding of sailing in ASA 101: Basic Keelboat Sailing. Learn the basics of sailing in mild sailing conditions and a sailboat of up to 27 feet. You'll learn key information such as:

  • Navigation

  • Safety

  • Helm commands

  • The elements of sailing boats

  • Foundational terminology 

  • How to manage the sail itself

Once you complete this certification, you will be able to use it to show other sailors, boat rental businesses, and other third parties that you have a foundational understanding of sailing.

Additional basic courses provided by ASA include the following: 

  • ASA 102: Keelboat Sailing 2

  • ASA 103: Coastal Cruising

  • ASA 104: Bareboat Cruising

  • ASA 114: Catamaran Cruising  (The perfect vessel for sailing lessons in the BVI)

Advanced Level Certification

ASA also sets the standards for advanced-level coursework. These courses provide the skills for managing complex tasks, bigger boats, and more dangerous settings.  These include:

  • ASA 105: Coastal Navigation

  • ASA 106: Advanced Coastal Cruising

  • ASA 107: Celestial Navigation

  • ASA 108: Offshore Passagemaking

ASA endorsements offer advanced learning opportunities covering celestial navigation, docking, radar skills, marine weather forecasting, and more.

Course Requirements for ASA Certification

To complete each level of certification, students must pass a written exam and a practical exam on the water. It's important to note that ASA standards establish a bare minimum of knowledge at each level. Affiliated instructors and schools may pose additional learning sections and requirements based on the area, their philosophy, or the needs of their students. 

Additionally, every subsequent course beyond ASA 101 may require prerequisite courses. For example, ASA 102 generally requires completion of ASA 101.

Benefits of ASA Certification

Completing your ASA certification through an affiliated sailing school offers several benefits, including: 

  • Confidence: Know you have the skills and knowledge you need to successfully complete sailing tasks.

  • Branding: If you run a sailing business, you can show that you and/or your employees have the certifications and expertise to provide fun, safe services. 

  • Grow Your Skills: ASA courses provide in-depth, supplemental learning opportunities. You can grow your skills as a sailor and be ready for more complex scenarios, vessels, and outings.

  • Practice Skills in the Right Environment: Most practical sailing skills require hands-on practice. Your school will provide the necessary resources, from sail rigging to the right vessels, so you build those physical skills properly.

Reach Your Full Sailing Potential With ASA Certification From Top Tier Sailing School

At Top Tier Sailing School, our team of instructors and sailing experts are committed to ensuring our students have the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to pass the ASA 101 test. Sign up for your first course today, or contact us to learn more about our courses.

Featured Image: FamVeld/Shutterstock

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