CERTIFIED SAILORS: THE COUNT IS GROWING
Thirty-five years, 350 schools worldwide, half a million “Keelboat 101” grads. Since 1983, more than 507,000 people have learned to properly handle a 20- to 27-foot sloop-rigged sailboat during the day in moderate conditions via the American Sailing Association (asa.com) curriculum.
That April 2018 announcement from the group tells only a part of the larger success story. The multilevel ASA certification system includes textbook study, hands-on education, opportunities for active participation, and testing. Including 101, a total of a million certifications have been issued to graduates of course levels 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising) and 104 (Bareboat Cruising), standards that convey the ability to sail and charter boats up to 45 feet in length.
As one of several educational options available in the recreational marine market today, the ASA’S network of affiliated schools, teachers and charter companies gives enthusiasts the tools to become competent, repeat sailors and charterers aboard monohulls and multihulls in domestic and international waters.
Critical to the organization’s long-term viability are its 2,000 dedicated instructors. “Our schools are key drivers of issuing more ASA certifications because they are located on the front lines of student acquisition,” says Charlie Nobles, ASA executive director. “By illustrating that sailing is fun, exciting, safe, easy to learn and surprisingly affordable, our schools will remain at the core of our business strategy.”
It’s also good for business overall, adds Lenny Shabes, ASA founder and chairman of the board. “Going over the 500,000-certified-sailors mark is also good news for the sailing industry,” he says. “More sailors on the water signals an increased demand for boats, sailing apparel, sailing gear and other marine-related products and services.”
The ASA First 22, by Beneteau, is specially designed for sail training. The large cockpit can fit an instructor and up to four students, and the hull is stiff and stable.