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News - ASA Credentials

Get Your Sailing Dream Started Online

your first sailSailors often have to patiently wait out the capricious winds, tides, and storms, but there is one sailing ground where the conditions are always perfect: the Internet. ASA offers online sailing lessons to get first-timers, or those who need a refresher, up to speed in advance of an outing on the water!

Of course, getting outside with the wind and waves is always preferable to getting in front of a computer, but ASA’s online sailing lessons can help you prepare for that first trip out, and give you something useful to do when real sailing just isn’t possible! Our online courses are developed by the same expert sailing instructors who create ASA’s internationally recognized certification standards!

Going sailing for the first time can be intimidating. The boat is a foreign environment to most people, full of a lot of strange lingo and unfamiliar equipment. Our e-course, Your First Sail, is designed to kick start your sailing dreams by getting you comfortable with the basic concepts of sailing so that you can feel more confident right off the bat.
your first sail boat parts
Your First Sail is geared especially toward those who have never sailed before, those who have sailed a few times as someone’s guest, those who are getting ready to take a sailing class, and those who just want to be more helpful the next time they’re out on a friend’s boat. It takes about 30-45 minutes to complete, and is full of interactive games, puzzles, and diagrams to keep it fun and help you retain information.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • What do I wear?
  • The parts of the boat.
  • How a sailboat works.
  • Sailing terminology.

You can get a head start and lay a solid foundation before you ever step foot on a boat! There is no substitute for the hands-on learning of an ASA in-water sailing course, but brushing up on the basics in the comfort of your own home frees you up to get the most out of that experience. That way, you’ll go into it ready to learn and absorb, not intimidated or worrying so much about picking up the vocabulary and fundamental concepts.

After all, the reason many people sail is to experience the rush of freedom and exhilaration that comes from successfully maneuvering the boat on the open water. So take the first step toward that freedom, right here!

News - ASA Credentials

ASA launches learn to sail online system with “Your First Sail” course

your first sailStepping aboard a sailboat for the first time takes courage. The new sailor is entering a floating world where there are new rules, and even, in some cases, a new language. What happens when someone asks you to ease the main sheet, or calls out “helms-a-lee?” Well, you don’t have to be unprepared when that moment comes! Before you hit the water, you can begin to learn to sail online.

The American Sailing Association is taking its dedication to quality sailing education to a new level, launching its eLearning system and the brand new course, Your First Sail.

Who is this course for?

If any one of the following describes you, this course is for you!

  • I have never been sailing.
  • I’ve been sailing a couple of times as someone’s guest, but I couldn’t tell you the difference between a close tack and a broad reach.
  • I’m not interested in taking a sailing class at this time, but I would like to know enough to be helpful on a sailboat.
  • I’ve enrolled in a basic sailing class, but I’d like to get a solid head start before my first on-the-water lesson.

After completing this course, you’ll understand how a sailboat works, the common commands used to steer one and some basic sailing terminology. You’ll not only get the most out of your time on the water, but also be able to actively participate in the magic of sailing!

The course is a primer for ASA 101 (Basic Keelboat Sailing), covering topics such as the parts of a boat, wind direction, points of sail, and more. It even addresses what to wear and how to board the boat! Despite its thoroughness, this self-paced course only takes around 30-45 minutes to complete, and is full of interactive diagrams, videos, and pictures to keep the learning fun.
your first sail boat diagram
The course has only been live for a couple of days, but rave reviews are already coming in:

“It was extremely informative and I really enjoyed it. I was very impressed with the eCourse; every detail flowed together smoothly. I now feel that the next time I go out with friends sailing I can participate and help now that I know the basics. I learned a great deal in a relatively short time, for a basic course I feel it was GREAT!! Thank you for the opportunity to further my boating education and I look forward to sailing with my friends!” -T.W.

So don’t let yourself or anyone you know miss out on a lifetime of enjoyment in the sport of sailing. Check out Your First Sail, and when you take that first courageous step onto a boat, you’ll be doing it with confidence. Click here to get started!

News - ASA Credentials

Two Cool Videos for Sailors

A couple of videos ASA sailors should see this week:


Our latest advanced sailing tip produced in cooperation with Forespar Sailing. See this video and plenty more in July’s online “Sailing with Style” magazine.


Now this is cool. All sailors have to be keen observers of the sky (night and day) and the shifts in weather conditions. Clouds, wind direction, and color are all critical in sailing and learning to sail. Here they are on spectacular display in Spain’s Canary Islands.

“Every man needs to find a peak, a mountain top or a remote island of his own choosing that he reaches under his own power alone in his own good time.” – Alain Gerbault, In Quest of the Sun

El Cielo de Canarias / Canary sky – Tenerife from Daniel López on Vimeo.

Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter for even more videos, tips, news, etc.!

News - ASA Credentials

ASA iPhone App

We’re so excited to announce the launch of the official ASA iPhone app! The great part about this application is that it collects many great sailing resources in one place–a glossary of sailing terms, must-know knots, signal flags, a light identification guide, and how-to videos. You can also easily find ASA schools in your area using this app, and the course standards are listed as a quick reference. Our social media sites are integrated too!

We are already working on the upgrade, but this first edition is well worth checking out. It’s like having an ASA instructor in your pocket for only $1.99!

To preview the app and read early reviews, go to the store. We would love to hear what you think too!

News - ASA Credentials

Sailing Made Easy, Even Easier!

Many of you have now gotten your paws on our hot new edition of the 101 textbook, Sailing Made Easy. To supplement the text, ASA has produced a series of video shorts that clearly demonstrate key concepts from the book. New and seasoned sailors alike can learn a thing or two from these Sailing Made Easy video tips. From the proper way to raise the main to powering up with the slot effect advantage, even salty dogs will find some new nuggets of information in these succinct videos.

Below are the first handful of lessons–and more to come soon. You can catch them as they’re released on the Lats & Atts TV channel (on the Versus network) Wednesdays at 9:30am EST/6:30am PST, through Sept 22. They will live permanently on ASA’s YouTube Channel too.

Cleat Hitch:

Spring Lines:



Raising the Main:

Roller Furling:

Wind Direction:

Slot Effect:

News - ASA Credentials

National Boating Safety Week

It feels right that National Boating Safety Week falls right before Memorial Day Weekend. We love to spend the long Memorial Day weekend on our boats (with the three essentials: beer, barbecue, and buddies), but many people often overlook the real essentials: PFDs, a charged VHF radio, updated charts, etc. The confluence of National Boating Safety Week and Memorial Day weekend is also significant when you consider the grizzly statistics around boating fatalities, the vast majority of which could have been prevented by simple safety measures.

For instance, we’ve all heard this ridiculous statistic: Over two-thirds of all fatal boating accidents are by drowning, and of those victims, ninety percent were not wearing a life jacket. It’s ridiculous only because it’s so preventable! New low-profile inflatables make wearing your PFD much less comfortable than the old-school foam vests, so what’s your excuse? Another solid statistic: Ninety percent of boating fatalities occur on boats where the operator has boating safety instruction. If you haven’t already done so, consider joining an ASA certification class, or at the very least get the safety basics online with your state boating license,

This week, ASA is getting into the safe sailing spirit by hosting a Facebook and Twitter raffle for one of our brand new auto-inflatable BlueStorm PFDs. Enter your name in either site for a chance to win, and tell your friends! Most importantly, set an example on your boats this weekend. And don’t let anyone who hears the “Nature calling” to get up-close-and-personal with Mother Nature herself!

News - ASA Credentials

Boater Education Just Got Easier

A few weeks ago I headed out to Santa Cruz Island in a light breeze–a rather boring breeze in fact. I was relaxing in the sun twirling my thumbs when I heard a voice barely come through over channel 16: “Hello…I need help.” I jumped below, turned up the volume, and heard it again, impatiently singsongy, “Hello, somebody, I need help.” That was all he said.

I was about to respond to his call when the Coast Guard came in: “This is the United States Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles hailing the vessel calling for help–are you in distress?” A few seconds later, the unidentified caller responded, “Somebody…we need help…we need somebody to bring us more gas.”

Oh for the love, I thought. With nothing better to do, I eavesdropped on the rest of the conversation, which included the Coast Guard trying (in vain) to a.) get any sort of identifying information on the boat, b.) get the guy to swtich to a different channel and call Vessel Assist instead, and c.) give his position. I was almost laughing by the time the Coast Guard officer was saying “okay sir, you’re going to see a 33 number and a 118 number… I need you to tell me what those are.”

This poor fellow was only a mile or so from the beach, and clearly had no idea what he was doing. I was laughing only because I knew the Coast Guard wouldn’t let him wash ashore, but on the other hand, I was amazed that people like that are allowed to go out boating. Despite the Coast Guard’s efforts to switch to a working channel, the ridiculous conversation tied up 16 for about twenty minutes–what if someone else really had been in distress?

ASA has long made sailing education accessible, effective, and fun, but now that we’ve teamed up with, there’s absolutely no excuse for not knowing the pointy end from the square end. By taking BoaterExam’s ONLINE education course and earning your Boater Education Card, you can make our waterways safer, avoid state licensing fines, and even entitle yourself to reduced marine insurance.

So if you can’t find time for a hands-on course with ASA (although you should make time; you’re missing out!), you can still become a responsible skipper by earning your Boater Education Card from home. Find out more information at Copy that!

News - ASA Credentials

ASA Hires Social Media Writer

The American Sailing Association has hired Meghan Cleary as the new Social Media Writer. Meghan will maintain and advance ASA’s social networking platforms. Join Meghan and ASA on the new ASA Blog, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Youtube and ASA’s online member community, BoatDOC, for the latest sailing news and updates. Thank You.