2021 Season Updates:

  • US Sailing instructor certification courses: All of the prior four-day Level 1 instructor certification courses have been converted into two sections because of COVID-19: a guided online portion for 10-days, followed by an in-person evaluation for 2-days. Some of the other instructor courses may still be found as in-person courses but are subject to possible change.
  • Recruiting Tips: Instructor Candidates and Club Employers will find lots of good information about interviewing and hiring in the JSA Sailing Instructor Recruiting Tips sheet.

Instructor Certification Process

  • All instructors at JSA member programs must successfully complete a US Sailing Small Boat Level 1 Instructor Certification Course. They must also maintain valid certificates for other training required by US Sailing (such as US Sailing online Teaching and Coaching Fundamentals, US Olympic online SafeSport training, state Safe Boating education, First Aid and Adult CPR. See A) below
  • Each instructor at a JSA member program who is taking the Level 1 course for the first time must also successfully complete the US Powerboating Safe Powerboat Handling Certification Course. See B) below
  • Equivalent international certifications may be accepted for non-US resident instructors.
  • Because of the COVID-19 disruption on training course schedules,  the JSA has temporarily accepted completion of the online US Sailing Level 1 and the relevant state powerboat training as sufficient to start work as a first-year instructor, to be followed by the completion of Level 1 in-person evaluations and US Safe Powerboat Handling on water evaluation later in the year, when facilities are available.

It is important that junior program leaders direct as many of their new Level 1 hires as possible to the available courses that are scheduled earlier on the calendar. If instructor candidates delay their course registration, there may be insufficient slots available for them on the remaining course dates.

Course registration is done on a first to pay basis, so please encourage early registration. And each course requires a minimum number of students to be registered two weeks prior to the start date, otherwise the course may be cancelled.

A) US Sailing Instructor Training Course schedule for western Long Island Sound and nearby regions

The list below is a guide to help instructor candidates find the dates and locations for US Sailing Small Boat Sailing Instructor Courses Levels 1, 2 and 3, Sailing Counselor and Reach (STEM).

To learn more about the courses and to register for them, candidates must use the US Sailing website for instructor training certification:

  • Select “Small Boat Instructor Programs” then click on the title of the course you wish to take.
  • Read the detailed course description to learn about the course prerequisites.
  • Go to the “Course Calendar” located below the course description to find available dates. Read the directions carefully. Register for the course.

If you need additional help enrolling or have other questions, call or e-mail the Regional Training Coordinator listed below. We strongly recommend that each Instructor Candidate does the work listed above rather than delegate it to a parent or other person. Candidates doing this work will gain firsthand knowledge of the preparation required before the course begins, as well as an idea of the serious nature of the job for which they are about to be trained.

Alex Helfand is the US Sailing Small Boat Regional Training Coordinator [RTC] for the western Long Island Sound region (north shore of Long Island, the Bronx, Westchester and Fairfield counties). Alex is happy to answer questions you may have, or refer you to a source that has the answers you need. He can be reached at or at 917-488-3234.

Reach (STEM) Educator Course is a professional development/training opportunity for teachers and sailing instructors to learn how to implement US Sailing’s STEM program and curriculum called Reach. The Reach modules feature inquiry-based learning and engineering by design processes to provide youth with hands-on integrated learning opportunities that inspire interest in fields of study including physics, marine biology, robotics, technology and more. Modules include on the water and classroom based activities, for easy implementation in multiple settings. The Reach modules are a great teaching resource to your classroom, sailing center, yacht club, summer camp, or after school program. Organizations implement Reach on rainy days, no-wind days, and as part of the day to day curriculum in sailing courses. New for 2020, US Sailing will be running all STEM Educator Courses online. The online course is spread over 10 days (Friday, Day 1 through Sunday, Day 10). Read full details on the US Sailing website.

Sailing Counselor Course is a one-day preparation for young teens who will be junior instructors in training, assisting certified instructors.
Sailing Counselor courses are not currently scheduled in the Long Island Sound region

Small Boat Level 1 Course for new instructors: topics covered in the course include: classroom and on-the-water teaching techniques, risk management, safety issues, lesson planning, creative activities, ethical concerns, and sports physiology and psychology. The Level 1 course is presented in two sections: a guided online portion for 10-days (time commitment approximately 10-12 hours), followed by an in-person evaluation for 2-days that is scheduled later (time commitment approximately 18-20 hours). Register now for the online section of the course; access to the in-person evaluation will be provided after completion of the online section. Read full details on the US Sailing website.

Small Boat Level 2 Courses for instructors with one or more years of experience: focuses on developing knowledge and skill in teaching sail theory, sail controls, introductory management skills, spinnaker and trapeze use (and instruction) and powerboat operation for emergency situations. Safety awareness is a major component of this course, with instruction on how to address capsize recovery, or prevent entrapment while operating a powerboat.
     Level 2 courses are not currently scheduled in the Long Island Sound region

Small Boat Level 3 Race Coach Course provides coaches with information on how to effectively develop performance boat handling and racing skills and instill in athletes the importance of ethical behavior and sportsmanship in the sport of sailing. Topics include race management procedures, team management and logistics and drills. [# seats remaining at May 10]
     Level 3 courses are not currently scheduled in the Long Island Sound region

Small Boat Level 3 Head Instructor Course is for instructors who are making the transition to a leadership or management role in their programs. Also available for parents and volunteers wanting to better manage their sailing programs but do not need to receive a certification. The course contains information on how to manage more effectively, problem solve, continue to create a quality learning environment for their students and sailing staff. Topics included are classroom and on-the-water teaching techniques, risk management, safety issues, curriculum planning, advanced team building techniques, ethical concerns, and much more. New for 2020, all Level 3 Head Instructor Courses will be online, spread over 10 days (Friday is Day 1 and Sunday is Day 10). Read full details on the US Sailing website.

 B) US Powerboating Courses for Long Island Sound and nearby regions
Powerboating courses in Bronx NY at SUNY Maritime may be viewed here as they are scheduled after the campus is reopened in the late winter. Or get a group of 6-12 people interested in improving their powerboat handling and schedule a class at your own club. Certified instructors can come to your club, or your group can come to the SUNY Maritime Campus on a convenient date. Contact SUNY Maritime Waterfront department at or 718-409-2447.  Or hire a local trainer from this list of certified powerboat instructors.
Other powerboating courses in New York and Connecticut will be listed on the JSA calendar as we learn about them – view this upcoming course list.

The powerboat course types include:
– Accelerated Safe Powerboat Handling 1-day course provides on-the-water training for anyone who already has a state-issued boating safety certificate and wants additional experience to safely operate a small powerboat and improve their boat handling skills. The Safe Powerboat Handling certificate is issued after successful completion of the course.
– Safe Powerboat Handling 2-day course with classroom and on-the-water training provides a) State Boating Safety certificate and b) Safe Powerboat Handling certificate [Note: because of COVID-19, the JSA expects that these 2-day courses may be rescheduled as a 1-day Accelerated Safe Powerboat Handling course that is preceded by a state approved Boating Safety Course taken online.]
– Launch Tender Package is same as the Safe Powerboat Handling course, above, but also includes a written test that prepares a student if they wish to apply for a Launch Driver/Tender license [known as the US Coast Guard Limited OUPV/Master license].
– Safety and Rescue Boat Handling 1-day course for those who use powerboats to perform safety and rescue functions, such as on-the-water sailing instructors and coaches and regatta personnel. Includes methods to quickly right an inverted boat, and towing of boats astern as well as alongside.

[US Powerboating courses in nearby regions of Eastern Connecticut, Eastern Long Island and New Jersey may also be viewed in the powerboat Course Calendar.  The one-day State Boating Safety Courses are held regularly throughout the year in many locations (However, in-person classroom training has been postponed because of COVID-19.  NY has online courses available, and CT has allowed courses to be delivered by interactive videoconferencing). View the course providers here:
– New York courses.
– Connecticut courses.]

Here are some questions that program leaders may use to guide their instructors through the powerboat certification process:
1) Are you taking Level 1 course for first time this year?
Yes: Safe Powerboat Handling certificate is required by JSA, see 2)
No: Safe Powerboat Handling certificate is not required by JSA, see 3)
2) Do you already have a safe boating certificate that is valid in the state you plan to work?
Yes: Take the one-day Accelerated Safe Powerboat Handling course to receive your Safe Powerboat Handling certificate
No: a) take the two-day Safe Powerboat Handling course, or b) take a one-day state boating safety course during the fall or winter and a one-day Accelerated Safe Powerboat Handling course in the spring. Either method will provide both the State Boating Safety and the Safe Powerboat Handling certificates.
3) If you received your Smallboat Instructor Level 1 certification in a prior year, the Safe Powerboat Handling course may still be required by your employer as part of its own safety and risk management policy. And JSA does encourage you to get the SPH certificate regardless of your experience. Consider how capably you drive a powerboat, especially in emergency situations. To upgrade your skill certification you may a) take the one-day Accelerated Safe Powerboat Handling course, b) take the two-day Accelerated Safe Powerboat Handling + Safety and Rescue course, or c) prove your skills through being tested by a certified powerboat instructor (about 3-hours) to get your SPH certificate.