ASA 101, 103 & 104 Sailing Courses

Nautilus Sailing Courses

Learn how to sail

Learning how to sail is a fantastic adventure to embark on! There are many options for making this a reality. For some, taking weekend courses near home and slowly gaining experience is the way to go.

In recent years, liveaboard sailing courses in exotic destinations have grown in popularity. These courses allow you to have a “learning vacation” on a yacht while learning how to sail. We are big fans of liveaboard sailing courses, as students spend a week immersed in the cruising lifestyle, exploring numerous islands, and gaining first hand experience on a large sailboat.

Nautilus Sailing courses can help you set out on your sailing journey, in whatever way best suits your needs.

Sailing Certification

The American Sailing Association is the leader in sailing Education in North America. They have issued over 835,000 certificates, and been in business for over 30 years. Their formal sailing certification is recognized by charter companies around the world.

If you wish to charter (rent) a sailboat, you’ll need both the formal sailing certification and experience at the helm.

We offer week long liveaboard sailing courses in the Sea of Cortez and the Grenadines (ASA 101-104 certification). We also teach weekend sailing courses in the summer in Colorado (ASA 101-103).

Which ASA certification do I need?

If you wish to charter smaller sailboats in US Coastal waters, for a day at a time (excluding overnight), you’ll need to have completed your ASA 101-103 certification and have experience on a boat that is comparable in size to the one you are planning on chartering.

If you wish to charter larger sailboats (34-50 feet) in international waters, for multiple days or a week, you’ll need ASA 101-103, as well as Bareboat Charter certification (ASA 104).


Liveaboard Courses in the Grenadines ASA 101-104

Liveaboard Courses in the Sea of Cortez ASA 101-104

Weekend Sailing Courses in Colorado ASA 101-103


American Sailing Association Information on the Sailing Certification Levels

Here is more detailed information from the American Sailing Association (ASA), about these different certification levels:

ASA101 Basic Keelboat Sailing 

Prerequisites: None


Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds and sea conditions.  Knowledge of basic sailing terminology, parts and functions, helm commands, basic sail trim, points of sail, buoyage, seamanship and safety including basic navigation rules to avoid collisions and hazards. Auxiliary power operation is not required.

Note: The United States Coast Guard has granted approval for ASA101 Basic Keelboat Sailing to satisfy certain merchant mariner credential examination requirements and safe boating training requirements.

ASA103 Basic Coastal Cruising

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA101) certification


Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged auxiliary powered (outboard or inboard engine) keelboat of approximately 25 to 35 feet length by day in moderate winds and sea conditions. Knowledge of cruising sailboat terminology, basic boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, docking procedures, intermediate sail trim, navigation rules, basic coastal navigation, anchoring, weather forecast interpretation, safety and seamanship.

ASA104 Bareboat Cruising

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA101) and Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA103) certifications.


Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged, auxiliary powered keelboat (or catamaran, if course is conducted on such) of approximately 30 to 45 feet in length during a multi-day cruise upon inland or coastal waters in moderate to heavy winds (up to 30 knots) and sea conditions. Course is conducted as a live-aboard cruise of at least 48 hours. Knowledge of provisioning, galley operations, boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, routine maintenance procedures, advanced sail trim, coastal navigation including basic chart plotting and GPS operation, multiple-anchor mooring, docking, health & safety, emergency operations, weather interpretation, and dinghy/tender operation.