9 Best Sailing Courses for Beginners (Anyone Can Take)

Written by Sophia Roa in Learn to Sail

Whether you prefer learning to sail online for free, investing in an affordable online course, or gaining hands-on experience with in-person lessons, the opportunities are endless. In this article, we've compiled the nine best sailing courses for beginners to help you achieve your sailing goals of exploring new waters or sharpening your skills.

The best sailing courses for beginners include NauticEd's free and paid courses, ASA 101, and RYA Day Skipper Theory. ASA’s First Sail is designed to familiarize you with the basics of sailing in a fun and engaging way. Udemy courses, BoatUS Foundation Courses, and Offshore Sailing School complete the list.

NauticEd's courses cater to both free and paid learning preferences, while the American Sailing Association and other institutions provide comprehensive programs to suit your needs. What makes their courses the best? Let's find out.

Summary

  • You can explore affordable online options from NauticEd and Udemy.
  • American Sailing Association also offers a wide range of sailing courses.
  • In-person sailing courses are available to provide hands-on experience.
  • These top nine courses offer a comprehensive sailing education and equip students with the necessary skills to become confident sailors.

Top Sailing Courses for Beginners

Here's a list of the nine best sailing courses anyone can take:

  • NauticEd - Skipper Rank
  • Udemy - Sailing Basics
  • American Sailing Association's Your First Sail
  • NauticEd - Qualified Crew Member
  • BoatUS Foundation Courses
  • Udemy's Beginner Sailing Courses
  • American Sailing Association (ASA) - ASA 101
  • Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training centers - RYA Day Skipper Theory
  • Offshore Sailing School

The right sailing course ensures you build a solid foundation in sailing basics, enabling you to progress faster and sail safely.

A well-rounded curriculum caters to individual learning preferences. For instance, some people might enjoy theory-based learning, while others benefit from hands-on experience. If you carefully analyze the available course options, you can find a suitable match for your specific needs and aspirations.

Investing in a quality sailing course is an investment in yourself. So, choose a course that resonates with your goals and gets you closer to your dreams of sailing the open seas.

Free Online Courses

  • NauticEd - Skipper Rank course: This free online course offered by NauticEd covers the basics of sailing for beginners and helps you earn your Skipper Rank. This course teaches basic sailing concepts, including sail trim, steering, and safety tips. It is perfect for beginners who want to earn a certification recognized by charter companies worldwide. The course is self-paced and can be completed on your own time, making it convenient for those with busy schedules.

  • Udemy - Sailing Basics: This free course on Udemy introduces beginners to sailing fundamentals, basic knots, boat handling, sail trimming, and safety procedures, making it a valuable starting point. This online course is a great option for those who are just starting out in sailing. It is designed for complete beginners and covers the basics of sailing in an easy-to-understand way.

  • American Sailing Association's Your First Sail: This short, online course familiarizes you with the world of sailing, sailboat workings, common commands, and basic sailing terminology. The course takes only 30–45 minutes to complete and is perfect for those who are new to sailing and want to get a taste of what it's like on the water.

Cheap Online Courses

  • NauticEd - Qualified Crew Member course: With only $39, this course teaches essential sailing skills, improving crew competence at an affordable price. The course covers topics such as sail trim, boat handling, safety procedures, and navigation, making it a valuable resource for those who want to become competent crew members. It is a self-paced course that can be completed on your own time, making it convenient for those with busy schedules.

  • BoatUS Foundation Courses: The BoatUS Foundation has several inexpensive online courses ideal for beginners, including boating safety, navigation, and boating skills. These courses are affordable, with prices ranging from $19 to $39. The courses are self-paced and can be completed at your own pace, making them convenient for those with busy schedules.

  • Udemy's Beginner Sailing Courses: A variety of affordable sailing courses ranging from sailboat selection to sailing basics and navigation, with prices starting at $14.99. These courses are perfect for beginners who want to learn at their own pace and on a budget. The courses are designed for complete beginners and cover the basics of sailing in an easy-to-understand way.

In-person Sailing Courses

  • American Sailing Association (ASA) - ASA 101: Beginners can start with their ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing course, which teaches essential sailing skills and terminology, to equip you with the skills to helm a keelboat confidently. The ASA 101 course provides hands-on sailing education for all skill levels and is available at various ASA-certified sailing schools. The course is typically taught over several days and includes classroom instruction and on-the-water training.

  • Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training centers - RYA Day Skipper Theory: This RYA course is designed for novices looking to learn essential navigation, meteorology, and safety procedures, regardless of their sailing experience. The course is typically taught over several days and includes classroom instruction and practical exercises. RYA training centers offer a range of sailing courses for beginners and experienced sailors alike, making them a great option for those looking for a comprehensive sailing education.

  • Offshore Sailing School: The Offshore Sailing School offers a variety of in-person sailing courses designed for beginners. Their Learn to Sail course covers basic sailing skills while providing hands-on experience and expert instruction. With multiple locations across the United States, you have the opportunity to learn sailing in a convenient and picturesque setting. This renowned school provides comprehensive learn-to-sail programs in various locations across the United States.

How free, paid, and in-person courses differ

Accessibility: Free online courses are accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Paid online courses are also accessible to anyone who is willing to pay the course fee. In-person courses are often limited by location and availability.

Flexibility: Free online courses and paid online courses are often self-paced, allowing students to complete the course in their own time. In-person courses, on the other hand, are often scheduled at set times and require students to attend classes in person.

Learning style: Online courses are often more suitable for those who prefer to learn at their own pace and in their own environment. In-person courses are often more suitable for those who prefer hands-on learning and interaction with instructors and other students.

Cost: Free online courses are, as the name suggests, free of charge. Paid online courses and in-person courses often require a fee, with in-person courses often being the most expensive due to the cost of materials and instructors.

Course content: Free online courses may not offer the same level of depth and detail as paid online courses and in-person courses. In-person courses often offer the most comprehensive and hands-on learning experiences.

Certification: Free online courses may not offer a certification upon completion, while paid online courses and in-person courses often offer a certificate or diploma. In-person courses often offer the most recognized certifications.


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