Boating Safety Courses | Boating Safety

Boating Safety Courses

Whether you're an experienced boater or not, it's always a good idea to brush up on your skills.

Many boating safety courses are offered throughout the country, for all types of recreational boats and for boaters of all ages. Qualified instructors in national associations, local schools, clubs and community centers provide a full range of programs, from beginner-level introductory courses to comprehensive boating-skills programs.

The On-Water Boating Skills Courses listed below are boat-based and delivered primarily on the water for beginner-level boaters. Aligning with the National On-Water Standards (NOWS), these courses follow national best practices for providing on-water instruction to develop the skills and experience needed to safely operate recreational boats. In-Classroom or Online Boating Safety Courses are also available. Also listed below, these courses provide basic knowledge related to boating safety. Choose boating safety courses from the lists based on your needs.

 

On-Water Boating Skills Courses

national on water standards boating courses
powerboat NVP event on the water

On-water courses provide boaters with fundamental skills.

NOWS

The following courses have been self-assessed and declared by their providers to be aligned with the NOWS. They provide fundamental skills and experience to safely and confidently operate recreational powerboats, human-propelled craft (such as canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards), and sailboats. Click each listing for a specific link to the course offering.

Abaco Sailing: ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing
Learn to skipper a 20' - 27' sloop-rigged keelboat by day, in light to moderate winds and sea conditions. Learn 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.

American Sailing Association: ASA 101 - Basic Keelboat Sailing
Learn to skipper a 20' - 27' sloop-rigged keelboat by day, in light to moderate winds and sea conditions. Learn 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.

American Sailing Association: ASA-110 Basic Small Boat Sailing
Learn to sail a centerboard or multihull sailboat in light to moderate winds and sea conditions. Learn basic sailing terminology, sail trim, points of sail, crew responsibilities, seamanship and safety including capsize avoidance/recovery and navigation rules to avoid collisions.

The Brendan Sailing Program for Youth with Learning Differences (Brendan Sailing)
The Brendan Sailing program’s mission is to build pathways for self-confidence and personal growth in children with learning differences ages 14-18 through individually tailored experiential instruction in sailing. The Curriculum covers an introduction to sailing including parts of the boat, maneuvers, navigation, and Rules of the Road that follow the National On-Water Standards.

Gulf Coast Sailing & Cruising School: ASA 101 - Basic Keelboat
Learn to skipper a 20' - 27' sloop-rigged keelboat by day, in light to moderate winds and sea conditions. Learn 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.

R&R Charters and Sail School: ASA 101 - Basic Keelboat
Our ASA 101 Basic Keelboat provides students with all the necessary skills and safety instructions for them to sail a small keelboat (24'-32') in moderate conditions on the Chesapeake Bay.

Sail Hawaii International: ASA Basic Keelboat 101 course
Sail Hawaii International offers basic to advanced sailing and navigation instruction in Hawaii. Based in Honolulu with sailing adventures charted all around the islands, courses are taught both in classroom and with on-water instruction, leading to American Sailing Association certification.

Saint Croix Sailing School: Youth Optimist and 420 Sailing Programs
Saint Croix Sailing School's youth sailing programs teach kids, aged 7-17, the skills to safely operate a club 420 or Optimist dingy. In this one-week session students learn about on the water safety, tacking, gybing, sail trim, and boat handling.

Saint Croix Sailing School: Adult Club 420 Sailing Program
Saint Croix Sailing School's Adult Club 420 sailing program teaches adult sailors the basic skills involved in safely operating a club 420 sailboat. Skills include taking off/landing, tacking, gybing, mark rounding, and safety mangroves.

Spirit of America Foundation: America’s Premier Youth Boating Education Programs
A unique, safe and comprehensive water-based educational and recreational program, the Spirit of America Foundation provides powerboating, sailing and paddling craft instruction that instills confidence and fosters the Spirit of teamwork in our nation’s youth. Our underlying goals also include developing self-esteem while nurturing responsible behavior and positive, lifelong ambitions. ‘Teaching the way our children learn’

In-Classroom or Online Boating Safety Courses

The following courses take place in classroom or online settings and provide important information for safely operating a boat. They cover many aspects of boating safety, from reading the weather to planning a trip, as well as a "Water 'n Kids" class and courses on electronic-navigation skills. The most popular basic courses generally have from six to 13 lessons to provide a foundation of operational and safety instruction.

NOWS

Boating course.

Boating safety courses

American Boat Operators' Course
Offers online boating safety courses with online certification tests for a number of states.

American Canoe Association
Comprehensive resource to find skills courses, assessments, and instructor certification courses for kayak, canoe, raft, safety & rescue, and adaptive paddling.

BoatEd
Offers online boating safety courses with online certification tests for a number of states.

BoaterExam.com
Offers online boating safety courses with online certification tests for a number of states.

Boatsafe
Offers an online Basic Boating Certification Course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and a Coastal Navigation Course.

Boat/U.S. Foundation Courseline
The Courseline is a searchable database of current boating safety courses around the nation.

Commander Bob
An award-winning website that advances boating education

PWC Safety School
Offers online courses and certification for PWC operators in several states

Safe Boating America
Safe Boating America classes meet the State Educational Requirements for operating a Boat or PWC and also meet the requirements for a Youth Operator.

State Courses
Many states offer boating safety courses. The National Association of State Boating Boating Law Administrators' online Directory provides contact information for state boating agencies.

United States Power Squadron
"America's Boating Course 3rd Edition" the most comprehensive boating safety
course available. It includes a course book, a narrated student CD and a
digital charting DVD. ABC 3 is available as a classroom, home study or
online course.

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Local flotillas offer a variety of safety classes, including basic/introductory boating courses and safety courses, navigation, sailing and personal watercraft safety, among others.

U.S. Sailing
Programs offer instruction in small and large sailboats, windsurfers, and powerboats. All levels of instruction are available around the country for beginner to advanced skills. Information on courses and instruction is available on the web.

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The U.S. Coast Guard is asking all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage, and associated healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. Essential steps include: wearing a life jacket at all times and requiring passengers to do the same; never boating under the influence (BUI); successfully completing a boating safety course; and getting a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) annually from local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons(r), or your state boating agency's Vessel Examiners. The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters to "Boat Responsibly!" For more tips on boating safety, visit uscgboating.org.