Certification Levels

Sailing Certification, Power Certification, Sailing Certificates

Celebrating teaching sailing since 1964, Offshore Sailing School is proud to have the longest running and most progressive sailing certification system in the United States. Steve Colgate who founded Offshore Sailing School, developed the curricula for our sailing certification courses, wrote our sailing textbooks, and was tapped to head the Training Committee for US Sailing, guiding a team of professional sailing educators in developing the US Sailing Certification System.

Offshore Sailing School textbooks have been fine-tuned by Steve and Doris Colgate into the best educational tools for recreational sailing and sailing certification available today. Fast Track to Sailing, Fast Track to Cruising, and Performance Sailing and Racing are all published by International Marine/McGraw-Hill. We also provide US Sailing textbooks for US Sailing Certification at all levels.

Leading the sailing education industry since 1964 has brought many awards and recognition to Steve Colgate and his team. Steve has been intimately involved in the sailing industry, national and international ruling organizations and his own love – cruising and racing. He sailed in two America’s Cup trials, the Olympics, Pan American Games, six TransAtlantic Races, 20 Newport to Bermuda Races, the list goes on. There is no other sailing school owner with such impeccable sailing credentials. And no other sailing school founder or operator inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame (seen with Gary Jobson here at the 2015 induction ceremony). Doris Colgate, Offshore’s CEO and President married Steve in 1969 and joined the Company full time in 1970, was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2022.  No other sailing school, or sailing organization, can boast these two great achievements.  It’s all about maintaining quality sailing and powerboat education programs. The benefits are yours.

Given all the ads and hype out there, many ask “what is the true value of sailing certification?” The reality is that recreational sailing certifications available in the United States are not legally required. Charter companies like charterers to present Bareboat Cruising Certification gained in our Fast Track to Cruising courses. They also require at least first-timers to fill out extensive resumes. When chartering in Croatia, Greece and other areas, you need an International Proficiency Certificate which you can order through US Sailing after passing the US Sailing Bareboat Certification exam. Offshore Sailing School is the official sailing school for The Moorings  – enjoying a partnership since 1973 with the world’s pre-eminent charter company.

All you need are strong skills, confidence and knowledge to sail your own boat or charter from a reputable company. And that is what you will always get from Offshore Sailing School. The real value in sailing certification is the personal validation you get from a job well done.

Test sails at course end are proof perfect that completing an Offshore Sailing School course is a job well done. This has been a mandate of Steve Colgate since the beginning. He is the pre-eminent sailing educator in the world, still at the helm of our company and wowing the industry since 1964.

Every course offered by Offshore Sailing School has textbooks that far exceed the depth of information found in other books for similar courses. Most gratifying are the comments that come from our graduates, many of whom are top educators, professionals and leaders with years of training experience in their own fields. We urge you to read the textbook before arriving for your course; you will be far ahead of the curve and very comfortable on your first day out if you do.

Steve Colgate Inducted Into National Sailing Hall of Fame – 2015

Sailing Certification and Power Certification Tests

You are not required to take sailing certification or powerboat certification tests proffered at the end of the Offshore Sailing School course you choose. However, most do because a US Sailing Certification provides validation of how much you have learned. All we ask is that you have the proper prior experience and skills for the course level you choose if you want to take advanced courses. No sailing or boating experience is required for Learn to Sail, Fast Track to Performance Sailing, Fast Track to Cruising, Fast Track to Catamaran Cruising and Fast Track to Power Cruising. We only ask that you have a wonderful time and learn more than you ever thought possible.

If You Have Certification From Another System

You may enter the US Sailing Certification System of sailing lessons beyond those that start with 101, by providing a resume attesting to prior course certifications achieved, types and sizes of boats you learned on, and your most current sailing experience. If you are seeking certification, during your course you may “challenge” the prerequisite course level and take that test. We highly recommend you take the Fast Track to Cruising® course if you have basic certifications and want one of our cruising courses. This will guarantee your participation on an equal level with other Offshore Sailing School participants.

International Proficiency Certificate (IPC) for Chartering Overseas

If you plan to charter in Europe or other areas overseas, you may be required to show your certification certificates and an International Proficiency Certificate. US Sailing, the governing body of sailing in the United States, will issue this certificate for a nominal fee for U.S. citizens who have achieved US Sailing Bareboat Cruising Certification and US Powerboat Certification. For more information about international sailing certifications go to https://www.ussailing.org and search for IPC under “Education.”