The American Sailing Association was founded in 1983 with a simply stated mission: to teach people to sail safely and confidently. To achieve that goal, the ASA set out to establish standards against which to measure a sailor’s level of knowledge and skill, the first such unified standards in the U.S. to apply to sailors in keelboats.
After studying programs offered in other countries, the founders of the ASA selected the Canadian Yachting Association’s (CYA) “learn to Cruise” program and licensed it for use in the U.S. With this strong heritage behind it, the ASA has continually improved and expanded its educational system by drawing on valuable input from the ASA school network.
Today, the ASA is an association of sailing schools, charter companies, professional sailing instructors, and sailors, with over 300 affiliated sailing schools located throughout the U.S., as well as in Europe, Japan, Central America, Taiwan, China, and other far eastern countries. These accredited schools offer ASA certification to individuals who meet the requirements for a given level. To date ASA schools have certified nearly half a million sailors!
The ASA system has eight primary levels of student certification from Basic Keelboat all the way to Offshore Passagemaking. Whether your goal is to skipper a bareboat charter in the Caribbean or to crew confidently on a short weekend sail, the ASA’s sailing-education system will guide you as you learn the theory behind sailing, practice the skills needed to handle a sailboat, and build the foundation of knowledge that will enable you to navigate a vessel safely and within the law.
By establishing national standards for sailing education, the ASA has provided a way for more people to take part in the sport safely, with the proper training and respect for their responsibilities as boaters, ensuring that sailing will be safer, smarter, and more fun for everybody.