Learn to Sail Online

A Fast Way to Prepare for Your Course or More Sailing

The Offshore Sailing School Online Learn to Sail Course covers what you learn in the OSS 101 – Learn to Sail Course. Produced in 2013 by Offshore Sailing School founders Steve and Doris Colgate and the BoatUS Foundation, our sailing lessons online are a great tool for beginners just getting into sailing or those who want to refresh their sailing knowledge. If you plan to take an Offshore Sailing School Learn to Sail (OSS 101), Performance Sailing (OSS 102), or Cruising Certification Course (OSS 103/104/114), why not jump start your sailing education with this fun online sailing course?

Sample our Learn to Sail Online Course

The Online Learn to Sail Course includes video, animated diagrams, and interactive quizzes. It is divided into three sections which parallel Offshore’s Learn to Sail Certification Course (OSS 101) curriculum, and Steve and Doris Colgate’s Fast Track to Sailing textbook. This sailing training online course takes about four hours to complete, with a Certificate of Completion awarded when you successfully pass the final exam. To view a sample of the online sailing course, click on the video to the right. To enroll in the Online Learn to Sail course, please click here.

Administered by The BoatUS Foundation

The BoatUS Foundation offered the first sailing lessons online for boating safety in 1997 and has since educated more than 500,000 boaters online. Funded primarily by the more than 600,000 members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), it offers the only free online, NASBLA-approved boating safety course recognized by 33 states.

This online sailing course mirrors our Fast Track to Sailing textbook, taking you through the intermediate level. Enrollment is valid for 90 days, and you may stop, and restart as necessary. The Online Learn to Sail Course will cover the following topics.

  • Nautical terminology
  • Rigging and sails
  • Getting underway
  • Proper winch techniques
  • Finding wind direction
  • Points of sailing
  • Tacking and jibing
  • Interaction of wind and sail
  • Wind pressure and lift
  • Heeling and stability
  • Apparent wind
  • Wind shifts
  • Sailing wing and wing
  • Stopping and starting under sail
  • Crew overboard pick-up
  • Sailing backwards
  • Rudderless sailing
  • Sail trim and sail shape
  • Boat balance
  • Hull speed
  • Mooring and anchoring
  • Docking under sail
  • Most used knots
  • Right-of-way rules
  • Grounding remedies
  • Heavy weather techniques
  • Steering with a compass
  • Weather and lee helm
  • Introduction to navigation
  • Reefing (shortening) sails

Pre-requisite for the Online Learn to Sail Course: No prior sailing experience required

Certification: Certificate of Completion is provided when you pass the final exam

The course must be purchased directly from the BoatUS Foundation.

  • Access to the Online Learn to Sail Course for 90 days
  • Theoretical and technical knowledge covered in the Offshore Sailing School Learn to Sail Certification Course
  • Video, animation, diagrams, interactive exercises
  • Quizzes to reinforce what you are learning
  • Final exam
  • Certificate of Completion when you successfully complete the course

I was quite pleased with the comprehensiveness of the course. There is a lot of information and I found it good to go back and review as I did not the time to complete it in one sitting. I think there is much there to continue to review, certainly for beginners, but suppose for well-seasoned sailors also. Thank you. Nice program.

Charlie Dixon – Ardmore, PA

The Learn to Sail online course was fantastic! It helped me build my confidence and was worth every penny!

Lisa Christman – Mankato, MN



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