Nationally Approved Sailing Course

Nationally Recognized On The Water Sailing Endorsement Course

Nationally Approved Sailing Course

NauticEd takes the lead in sailing education and training in the United States

NauticEd is the first United States based sailing body offering a course which is third-party verified as complying with the On-Water Recreational Boating Skills Standard – SAIL, the newly released 2017 American National Standard for on-water instruction in entry-level recreational sailboat operation.


The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is recognized by the United States Coast Guard as an OFFICIAL national entity to serve as a third-party independent reviewer to verify power and motorized sail boating courses against the American National Standards for On-Water Recreational Boating Skills.  NASBLA has conducted a review of NauticEd’s Nationally Recognized On-The-Water Sailing Endorsement and has officially found it to comply with the American National Standard entitled: EDU 3 – Skills-Based Sailboat Standard.

See this official recognition website here!
This is the official award letter from NASBLA
And here we are listed on the US Coast Guard site as a recognized sailing course provider (note that it is not easy to get listed on this site – you might notice an american prominent old-style sailing association missing. For good reason, they are not recognized by the USCG)

To gain the Nationally Recognized On-The-Water Sailing Endorsement, a student must:

Approved instructors can be found by visiting NauticEd’s Sailing School page and viewing any school with the ANS logo next to the school.

Assessors use a series of assessment rubrics to assess the student. Typically the student will undergo a standardized multi-day on-the-water instruction designed to meet and exceed the American National Standards, although students who deem themselves competent already, may complete the online course and then do the on-the-water assessment by an Approved Assessor. Instruction and assessment can be private or with a group of students.

The NauticEd software will not issue the certificate recognizing the student for competence until the student has passed both the online multimedia course AND the practical on-the-water assessment.

Grant Headifen, Global Director of Education for NauticEd says “What we find unique and well structured about this process is that the Assessor feels no pressure to pass the student. Rather, the rubrics are a method of grading a student’s skills over a series of 37 micro tasks. At the end of the assessment, the Assessor has extensive objective information about the student’s skills and can point to areas that are perhaps critical to the safety of operation and areas needed for improvement. A student passing the Nationally Recognized On-The-Water Sailing Endorsement is thus deemed competent to Skipper a small keelboat (to 26 feet in length) and is issued a certificate recognizing such. This differs from a basic 101 type approach whereby the student is issued more of a certificate of attendance giving a false sense of security.”

Once the student has completed the online course and assessment, they are issued the NauticEd Certificate of Nautical Competence with the Verified Course badge and with the words “Nationally Recognized On-The-Water Sailing Endorsement”. The certificate looks simliar to this below.  On the Certificate, Level refers to the amount of experience the student has logged in their NauticEd electronic logbook:

  • Passed Instructor Assessment = Level I
  • 25 Days on the water = Level II
  • 50 Days on the water = Level III
  • 100 Days on the water = Level IV
  • 200 Days on the water = Level V

“Level is an important factor that is reported on the certificate,” says Headifen. “It gives the viewer a window into the student’s practical on-the-water experience which, as any instructor or yacht charter company would agree, is where real competence is created. It is something that only NauticEd captures in its certificate. And is one of the reasons, NauticEd is so respected now worldwide”.

Notice that the two logos on the badge are the United States Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. NauticEd is very proud to be the only sailing body in the United States to be able to offer a nationally recognized sailing course and to issue such a prestigious certificate of competence.

Certificate of Sailing Competence

Certificate of Sailing Competence

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My vision for NauticEd is to provide the highest quality sailing and boating education available - and deliver competence wherever sailors live and go.
Grant Headifen
Last updated on February 4th, 2023