ASA 103 Basic Coastal Cruising – What You’ll Learn

By: Learn To Sail

You have taken ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing, and you are confident to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds (up to 15 knots) and sea conditions.

Now what?

ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising, is your next step in advancing your sailing education. Soon you will be on your way to a bareboat charter vacation where you’ll skipper a vessel on a multi-day cruise upon inland or coastal waters in moderate to heavy winds (up to 30 knots) and sea conditions (ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising). First, you’ll need some more instruction on the cruising basics.

What you’ll learn in ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising:

You’ll expand on your sailboat terminology by getting a good understanding of these terms:

Rudder Post
Cockpit Locker
Emergency Tiller
Auxiliary Engine
Bilge Pump
Ground Tackle
Through-hull Fitting
Self-bailing Cockpit

In ASA 103, you will familiarize yourself with safety equipment and procedures.

Among other things, you will be able to:

  • List the federally required equipment for a 33-foot recreational vessel equipped with an inboard diesel engine.
  • List the ASA recommended safety equipment for a recreational sailing vessel.
  • Describe safe refueling procedures for a vessel equipped with an outboard engine using gasoline or a diesel engine using diesel fuel.

Navigation Quiz

You will learn Navigation and Weather terminology and practices in ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising.

Some of the topics you will cover in ASA 103:

  • Essential navigator’s tools
  • Use of navigation charts and symbols
  • Aids to navigation
  • Latitude / Longitude
  • Determining magnetic direction
  • Measuring distance

ASA 103 will familiarize you with the importance of understanding a Sail Plan and using it effectively to sail safely. Students will learn how to utilize varying sail combinations in different wind conditions up to 33 knots. Students will also be able to describe the benefits of, and procedures for, heaving-to and reefing.

While studying Seamanship in ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising, you will be able to describe the primary responsibilities of skippers and crew. Through this course, you’ll learn the applicable rules for a 33-foot recreational sailing vessel, as found in the USCG Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook. These rules cover, among other things:

  • Proceeding at a safe speed (Rule 6)
  • Determination of collision risk (Rule 7)
  • Taking early and substantial action to avoid collision (Rule 8)
  • Sailing vessels (Rule 12), overtaking (Rule 13), and power-driven vessels in head-on (Rule 14) and crossing (Rule 15) situations.
  • Actions to be taken when operating a vessel in restricted visibility such as fog or haze, including adaptation of speed and use of sound signals. (Rule 22)
  • Basic maneuvering and warning signals (short and prolonged whistle blasts) for inland waters. (Rule 23)

ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising covers 52 skills that must be completed to earn certification. Skills in navigation, as well as operation of a sailing vessel under power and under sail and emergencies, must be mastered.

Upon earning your ASA 103 certification, you will also be able to demonstrate the ability to ensure vessel / crew readiness and use the auxiliary engine to bring the vessel smoothly and under control to a stop next to a parallel dock or into a slip as well as secure the vessel using appropriate lines and fenders.

Take a look at all the skills that you will master in the ASA Certification page:

Find a school to earn your ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising Certification.: