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SAIL American National Standard


Boat Characteristics: Small keelboat or sailing dinghies to include daysailers, centerboard/daggerboard boats, or multihulls at a maximum of 26 feet with tiller steering and no auxiliary power in operation.


Wind/Water Conditions: 10 knots or less; maximum 12 knot gusts; 2 feet or less waves.


Operation Conditions: Daytime with no restricted visibility or threatening weather. 

The same team of recreational boating experts that produced the American National Standard (ANS) for On-Water, skills-based sailboat instruction has developed a SAIL Standard - Technical Support Document (TSD).  The free 160-page document contains the most complete set of information and tools available to assist education providers, including:

  •  Information about the national skills standard for sailboat operation, why it was developed, and why education providers should use it in their sailing instructional courses and programs


  • Tips and recommendations from recreational boating experts across the country for how to use the national standard to design, develop and implement courses, curricula, syllabi, and lesson plans that deliver high-quality On-Water, skills-based sailboat instruction


  • Guidelines for using performance assessment rubrics to design specific behaviors into programs that result in skilled entry-level sailboat operation, and


  • Resources that will help design instruction that integrates recreational boating skills and knowledge. 


This guide has been designed to help education providers ensure that their skills-based instructional courses are not only of the highest quality, but also meet the ANS for entry-level sailboat instruction.  


All recreational boating safety education providers, large and small, national or local, are encouraged to use the materials contained within the SAIL TSD to develop or enhance their On-Water instruction. All are also encouraged to share this news with family members, friends, and colleagues.  By taking an active role in raising the overall quality and availability of skills-based training and instruction for entry-level recreational sailboat operation, all can help create a culture of safety in recreational boating that reduces accidents and saves lives on our nation’s waterways.


Click here for a free download of the SAIL Standard TSD.


2010 - present

2010 - present

On-Water Recreational Boating Skills Standard – Sail, or EDU-3 On-Water Sailboat Standard.  The U.S. Coast Guard’s National On-Water Standards (NOWS) grant management team and The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) are pleased to make available On-Water Recreational Boating Skills Standard – Sail, formally approved as an American National Standard on of May 25, 2017.

A free download of the SAIL Standard is available here on our website.

SAIL Standard and Rubrics Evaluation Checklist

National Field-Testing Program (FINAL)

SAIL Standard & Rubrics (PS&R)

National System of Standards for Recreational Boat Operation - Water Standards Grant III (SAIL)


This document contains the script used to conduct the On-Water portion of the National Validation Program Data Collection Sessions. It includes the language used to guide Boat Operators through the sequence of procedures and maneuvers. It also contains the Rubrics descriptions Data Collectors (Standard Evaluators) used to make observations about the proficiency with which Boat Operators engaged in those procedures and operations.


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