ASA Certification Standards


The American Sailing Association has adopted two separate Progressive Certification Programs: a seven stage Keelboat Sailing Certification Program and a two stage Small Boat Sailing Program. The following are the general descriptions or summaries of these Standards. A candidate must have attained the stated prerequisites before they may "Challenge" or take the required ASA examination.

Basic Keelboat (101)

Prerequisites: None

General Description: Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds and sea conditions.  Knowledge of basic sailing terminology, parts and functions, helm commands, basic sail trim, points of sail, buoyage, seamanship and safety including basic navigation rules to avoid collisions and hazards. Auxiliary power operation is not required.

Note: The United States Coast Guard has granted approval for ASA101 Basic Keelboat Sailing to satisfy certain merchant mariner credential examination requirements and safe boating training requirements.  Full Standard

Basic Coastal Cruising (103)

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing Certificate

General Description: Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged auxiliary powered (outboard or inboard engine) keelboat of approximately 25 to 35 feet length by day in moderate winds and sea conditions. Knowledge of cruising sailboat terminology, basic boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, docking procedures, intermediate sail trim, navigation rules, basic coastal navigation, anchoring, weather forecast interpretation, safety and seamanship.  Full Standard


Bareboat Cruising (104)
(Intermediate Coastal Cruising)

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing and Basic Coastal Cruising Certification

General Description: Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged, auxiliary powered keelboat (or catamaran, if course is conducted on such) of approximately 30 to 45 feet in length during a multi-day cruise upon inland or coastal waters in moderate to heavy winds (up to 30 knots) and sea conditions. Course is conducted as a live-aboard cruise of at least 48 hours. Knowledge of provisioning, galley operations, boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, routine maintenance procedures, advanced sail trim, coastal navigation including basic chart plotting and GPS operation, multiple-anchor mooring, docking, health & safety, emergency operations, weather interpretation, and dinghy/tender operation.  Full Standard

Coastal Navigation (105)

Prerequisites: None

General Description: Able to demonstrate the navigational theory required to safely navigate a sailing vessel in coastal or inland waters. There is no Sailing Skills part to this Standard and practical application of this sailing knowledge is found in the Advanced Coastal Cruising Standard.  Full Standard

Advanced Coastal Cruising (106)

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Cruising and Coastal Navigation Certification

General Description: Able to safely act as skipper and crew of a sailing vessel about 30 to 50 feet in length. This is a day and nighttime Standard in coastal and inland water, in any weather.  Full Standard 

Celestial Navigation (107)

Prerequisites: None

General Description: Able to demonstrate the Celestial Navigation theory required to safely navigate a sailboat on an offshore passage. The practical application is conducted in the Offshore Passagemaking Standard.  Full Standard 

Offshore Passagemaking (108)

Prerequisites: All previous Keelboat Standards

General Description: The sailor is able to safely act as skipper or crew of a sailing vessel on offshore passages in any weather. The Celestial Nav. Standard is performed.  Full Standard

Basic Small Boat Sailing (110)

Prerequisites: None

General Description: Able to sail a centerboard or multihull sailboat in light to moderate winds and sea conditions in familiar waters without supervision. A preparatory Standard with no auxiliary power or navigation skills required.  Full Standard

Trailerable Multihull Standard (113)

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat (101)

ASA 113 may be taught in conjunction with Basic Coastal Cruising (103) on a multihull sailboat or as an additional course after Basic Coastal Cruising (103) has been accomplished on a monohull. In either case, ALL MATERIAL IN BOTH STANDARDS (103 & 113) MUST BE TAUGHT AND/OR TESTED BEFORE 113 CAN BE AWARDED.

General Description: Certified sailors are able to cruise safely in local and regional waters as both skipper and crew on an auxiliary multihull sailboat of about 20-30 feet in length, in moderate wind and sea conditions. The standard includes those skills different and/or unique to a multihull, either catamaran or trimaran including folding and trailering.  Full Standard

Cruising Catamaran (114)

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat (101) and Basic Coastal Cruising (103). The Bareboat Cruising Standard (104) is also a prerequisite and can be attained either by itself prior to BBC Multihull (114) or in conjunction with BBC Multihull (114). In either case, ALL MATERIAL IN BOTH STANDARDS (104 & 114) MUST BE TAUGHT AND TESTED BEFORE 114 CAN BE AWARDED.

General Description: An advanced cruising standard for individuals with cruising experience. The individual can act as skipper and crew of a 30-50 foot multihull sailboat by day in coastal waters. The standard includes those skills unique to a 30-50 foot multihull.  Full Standard

Basic Celestial Navigation (ASA 117)

Prerequisites: None

General Description: Demonstrate the ability to apply basic celestial navigation theory and practice to determine latitude and longitude at sea using a sextant and Nautical Almanac.  Full Standard

Docking Endorsement Standard (ASA 118)

Prerequisites: None.

General Description: This 2 day course is designed to teach basic docking skills for boats with single inboard or outboard engines. It covers the basic theory and hands-on techniques needed to dock and undock boats in an efficient manner and without damage or injury.  Full Standard

Marine Weather Endorsement (ASA 119)

Prerequisites: None

General Description: Understand and demonstrate the proper use of weather information in planning and adapting navigation during local and passage-making voyages.  Demonstrate the ability to use both the latest technological tools as well as traditional maritime skills to forecast weather conditions.  Full Standard

Radar Endorsement Standard (120)

Prerequisites/strong>: Basic knowledge of chart reading, compass use, piloting, and dead reckoning is required, equivalent to Coastal Navigation 105 or instructor’s approval.

General description: The ASA radar course teaches safe, efficient use of small-craft radar for piloting, chart navigation, and collision avoidance, including radar principles and  practical matters of radar operation. A realistic PC based radar simulator is used in the course to illustrate radar measurements.  Full Standard


The complete Standards are contained in the ASA Official International Log Book. They are minimum Standards and nothing may be deleted if a Candidate is to be awarded ASA Certification. On the other hand, schools may add to these Standards if they wish to stress or emphasize local conditions which might be encountered or particular characteristics of the boats used during instruction. It is recommended that sailors planning to follow these standards become proficient in swimming, first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and arresting bleeding.

The ASA "Challenge"

Sailors who consider themselves qualified to ASA Standards may "Challenge" the ASA Standards at any ASA Certification Facility. To challenge the Standards one must progress successfully through the ASA system of Standards.


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