The Rudder Club of Jacksonville
8533 Malaga Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32244

US Sailing Small Boat - Level 1 Instructor Certification Course

Course Goals

The US Sailing Small Boat Level 1 Sailing Instructor Certification Course, is designed to provide sailing instructors with information on how to teach more safely, effectively, and creatively. The goal of the program is to produce highly qualified instructors, thereby reducing risk exposure for sailing programs. Topics covered in the course include: classroom and on-the-water teaching techniques, risk management, safety issues, lesson planning, creative activities, ethical concerns, and sports physiology and psychology.

Register securely online using the US Sailing link here or by filling out the Small Boat Level 1 Registration Form.


Course Length
This is a 4-day, 40-hour course. Attendance at all course sessions is mandatory. Absence from any portion of the course excludes the instructor candidate from evaluation.

Minimum Age Requirement
• All Candidates must have reached their 16th birthday within the calendar year that the course is being held in. Students under 18 years of age who complete the course will be designated as a Sailing Assistant until their 18th birthday. Please be aware that forging/lying about your age is a violation of the terms of this registration and is grounds for revocation of any or all US Sailing certifications

Prerequisites for entrance into the course

1) Sailing experience
Sailing experience in small boats, such as prams, dinghies, multihulls or daysailing keelboats.

2) Current US Sailing Individual Membership.
Youth memberships are not applicable. Those with a family membership with only one (1) instructor in the family ARE eligible.

3) Experience operating a safety boat.
This skill will not be taught at the course. Instructor Candidates lacking adequate experience should either seek opportunities for practice or attend a US Sailing Safe Powerboat Handling Course. Candidates not passing this portion of the course or other tests will receive a Plan of Improvement, re-testing for which carries a fee of $75.

4) Ability to swim 50 yards both with and without life jacket.
The accepted swim strokes are: front crawl, breaststroke, side stroke, elementary backstroke, back crawl and butterfly, as defined by the American Red Cross. Floating and treading water are not considered to be swimming strokes, and sculling or finning as a way of moving through the water while floating or treading is not considered to be a swimming stroke.

5) Completed course registration form accompanied by appropriate course fees (and any late charges)

6) National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Safe Boating certification. Each state has different requirements and candidates have a responsibility to meet the boating laws of the state where the course is being held. In some states, online testing meets the criteria for NASBLA certification (Florida, for example), while other states require classroom work (Connecticut) and do not recognize online testing. If you chose to take an online course, please be certain that the course you’ve chosen is NASBLA approved. Online courses that are not NASBLA approved will not be accepted. BoatUS is one provider of online courses. Click here to see all available Boat US courses. You can also earn your certification at one of US Sailing’s Safe Powerboat Handling Courses or see a current list of approved providers. Candidates holding a current USCG full or limited Master’s or OUPV license are exempt from this requirement.

7) Complete the US Sailing Medical Form and Safety Boat Skills Self-Assessment Form. This will be provided to Instructor Trainer at the start of the course. These will be sent to you upon receipt of your course registration.

8) Ability to exhibit appropriate personal and interpersonal skills.

Requirements for Successful completion of course
• Attendance at all portions of the course.Absence from any portion of the course excludes the instructor candidate from evaluation
• Personal and Interpersonal Practical Skills: Demonstrate professional conduct, an open-minded, positive and enthusiastic attitude, appropriate appearance (clothing, footwear and tidiness), participation in discussions, collaboration skills/team player, confidence and ease of manner.
• A positive evaluation by the Instructor Trainer.

Passing all Practical Exams
1)Sailing Skills Practical Test: Execute, with comfort and confidence: Rigging, leaving a dock/beach, starting, stopping and speed control, safety position, getting out of irons, sailing backward, tacking, jibing, steering with sails and weight, proper sail trim, judging laylines, capsize and overboard rescue, returning to dock/beach, unrigging.

2) Safety Boat Operation Skills Practical Test: Execute, with comfort and confidence: system, equipment and starting checks, leaving and docking, high and low speed maneuvering, holding position upwind/upcurrent, backing, pivot turn (360 degree turn within boat’s length), anchoring and/or making fast to a mooring, overboard rescue and landing alongside a moored boat. (Tip: view animations of maneuvers)

3) Swim/Life JacketPractical Check: Swim 50 yards in instructing clothing both with and without a life jacket, tread water two minutes while performing a minor task (such as tying a knot). The accepted swim strokes are: front crawl, breaststroke, side stroke, elementary backstroke, back crawl and butterfly, as defined by the American Red Cross. Floating and treading water are not considered to be swimming strokes, and sculling or finning as a way of moving through the water while floating or treading is not considered to be a swimming stroke.

4) Marlinspike/Seamanship Practical Test: Demonstrate ability to tie the following knots and hitches: Figure-8, bowline, square knot, sheet bend, clove hitch, two half hitches, rolling hitch, cleat hitch. Also coil and throw a line.

5) Classroom Presentation Practical Skills: Demonstrate lesson preparation, with clear, logical and accurate content, good voice enunciation/clarity/volume/pace/pitch, good non-verbal communication (gestures and body language), effective visual aids, good timed presentation(s) with introduction, conclusion, demonstration, clarity and use of notes, use of multiple pathways techniques, and ease in handling questions.

6) Land Drill and Water Drill Teaching Practical Skills: Demonstrate good class positioning, control and positioning of safety boat, demonstration skills, effective on-the-water communication, evaluation, and feedback technique.

Passing all Written Exams
• Three closed-book exams on the Small Boat Sailing Instructor GuideTeaching Fundamentals for Sailing Instructors and Basic Powerboating, Safety and Rescue. All tests are multiple choice. A passing grade of 80% is required on all exams.

Course outcomes
The practical and written tests each stand on their own, and each must be passed in order to pass the course. The determination as to whether a candidate passes or fails rests with the Instructor Trainer. In addition to Pass or Fail, a third option is a Plan of Improvement. Re-testing for Plans of Improvement carries a $75 re-testing fee; re-tests are scheduled with specific representatives of US Sailing and must be performed within a specific time frame.

Training materials
There are approximately 400 pages to read, so plan on studying prior to and each night of the course.
• Small Boat Sailing Instructor Guide
• Teaching Fundamentals for Sailing Instructors (TF)
• Basic Powerboating, Safety and Rescue manual
Learn Sailing Right! Intermediate student book
• Review questions for the Instructor Guide/Learn Sailing Right, TF and Powerboating tests.
• Other handouts and course information as applicable.

Validation of Small Boat Sailing Level 1 Instructors
Validation will be for three years providing First Aid, CPR, and US Sailing Adult membership are kept current. Instructor validation is renewable. Visit the website or contact the office for more information.
• Current First Aid and Adult CPR. We will accept First Aid and CPR from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or providers approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. See the current list. Additionally, a state licensed EMT or M.D., whose CPR certification is renewed annually is also accepted.

Course Fees
Registration is on a first pay basis. US Sailing will not reserve spots without full payment.

$370if received more than four (4) weeks prior to course start date
$390 if received within four (4) weeks of course start date
$440 if received within one (1) week of course start date

Cancelation Policy
• Course fees are nonrefundable but are transferrable to another course/date if the Training office is given enough notice:
• More than four weeks before the course start date: Fee is transferable to another course.
• Within the four week of course start date: ½ half of course fee is transferable to another course
• Less than 24 hours notice of course start date (or no-show), 100% of the course fee is forfeited.


 Register securely online using the US Sailing link here or by filling out the Small Boat Level 1 Registration Form.