The three-day Basic Keelboat Instructor Certification Course is an extremely intensive evaluation of your ability to teach sailing to the US Sailing Keelboat Certification System Standard. This standard is the most rigorous in the country and requires practice, study and preparation by even the most gifted and experienced professional instructors. We are evaluating in great detail everything about your teaching and sailing knowledge, skills and ability.  Please note ;  certified US Sailing instructors can only issue US Sailing student certifications through a certified US Sailing school.

Extensive experience sailing and teaching on keelboat.
Current Standard First Aid and CPR certifications from a U.S. Coast Guard approved program.  The most available programs are from the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association.
Current US Sailing membership.
You must be 18 or turn 18 in the calendar year you are taking the course.
Current NASBLA Safe Boating Certification, (if you are already a US Sailing Level 1 Instructor, this not needed) or current USCG full or limited Master’s or OUPV license.

***NEW***  SAFESPORT: Beginning on 1/1/2018.  This program, developed by the US Olympic Committee, is required training for all Instructors. This requirement is also being put in place for other National Governing Bodies. This free online training course must be completed every 2 years. Instructor certification is not active unless SafeSport training has been completed.

  1. Go to: 
  2. Enter your US Sailing member number, if you need to find it click here:
  3. Complete all the modules


The course allows you to log in and out so you DO NOT have to complete it all at once

Evaluation Length:
Three days. Absence from any part of the course will exclude the Instructor Candidate from evaluation. 

Successful completion of the course includes passing the following:
Demonstrate competency in:
Boathandling, Mooring, Shortening Sail, Docking, Navigation Rules (Rules of the Road), Heave to/Lie to, Marlinspike Seamanship, Aids to Navigation, Overboard Rescue. Instructor Candidates should anticipate singlehanding on a keelboat. In addition to many of the skills listed above, this will include demonstrating competency in sailing off the dock, mooring or slip, tacking, jibing, stopping, reefing, backing the boat and returning to the dock, mooring or slip.

Sailing skills test – BKIC Eval Sample*

Marlinspike Seamanship test – Practical*

  1. Demonstrate the ability to tie a Figure 8.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to tie a Clove hitch.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to tie Two Half hitches.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to tie a Bowline.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to tie a Sheet bend.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to tie a Cleat hitch; there is a ¾ turn around base. It is finished with a half hitch. The final result is two parallel lines (over the top of the cleat) crossed by one.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to tie Square knot (sail lashing).
  8. Demonstrate the ability to tie a rolling hitch.
  9. Throw a coiled line.

Demonstrative and communication ability – Practical

Basic Keelboat Instructor Exam – Written

Basic Keelboat Student Exam – Written

The Instructor Trainer’s evaluation

All candidates shall submit proof of their ability to swim 50 yards at the course. If a candidate has US Sailing Small Boat Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification, or US Sailing Level 1 Windsurfing Instructor certification will suffice as proof. US Sailing will accept swimming certificates issued by the American Red Cross, YMCA, NAUI or PADI. US Sailing will also accept its Proof of Swimming Ability Verification form completed and signed by a swimming instructor certified by the American Red Cross, YMCA, NAUI, PADI, or a lifeguard certified by the American Lifeguard Association or U.S. Lifesaving Association.

**All candidates, who do not meet the criteria above, must bring a completed Swim Verification Form to the course.** This form will be sent with your course paperwork.
*The marlinspike seamanship test will be given to Instructor Candidates by the Instructor Trainer (IT) at the course.

Written tests will be handled in the following manner:
Instructor Candidates will be provided with study questions in advance. These questions can be used for open book studying prior to testing.The actual tests will be closed book. Questions on the Basic Keelboat Instructor Exam are based on the reading material.Practical and written tests each stand on their own. Each test must be passed and each practical skill demonstrated in order to successfully pass the course. The Instructor Trainer determines whether the Instructor Candidate successfully completes the course. Absence from any part of the evaluation session will exclude the Instructor Candidate from evaluation.

Course Outcomes:
Passing: The Instructor Candidate performed all teaching and practical skills to the Instructor Trainers’ satisfaction. The Instructor Candidate passed all written exams. Absence from any portion of the course excludes the Instructor Candidate from evaluation.

Plan of Improvement: The Instructor Candidate has not yet successfully completed what is required and has been given a specific Plan of Improvement to complete. This Plan of Improvement must be satisfied within 90 days from its date of issue. Arrangements for completing the Plan of Improvement must be done through the US Sailing training office. The responsibility for arranging completion of a Plan of Improvement rests solely with the Instructor Candidate. The Instructor Candidate will get only one chance to pass their Plan of Improvement; should they be unsuccessful at this attempt, they will have failed the course. The fee to complete an “on the water” Plan of Improvement is $75.00. Written make-up tests are administered at no charge. The Instructor Candidate is responsible for any additional expenses.

Failing: Any Instructor Candidate who does not successfully complete any written or practical testing will be failed. The Instructor Candidate, who fails an evaluative course and would still like to become certified US Sailing Instructor, may re-apply for a future course, at full cost, one year from the original course date.

Plan of Completion: US Sailing and US Sailing Instructor Trainers assume no responsibility for lack of wind or other acts of nature. If the Instructor Trainer’s were unable to complete the evaluation, Instructor Candidate’s are issueda Plan of Completion. Arrangements to fulfill the Plan of Completion must be done through the training department within 90 days from its date of its issue. There is no fee for completing a Plan of Completion. The Instructor Candidate is responsible for any additional expenses. 

For more information about the Instructor Certification Course, please contact us.