RYA vs ASA Sailing School: What’s Best?

RYA or ASA - Unsure about which is best for you?

Unsure if RYA courses or ASA sailing instruction is right for you? Both Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and American Sailing Association (ASA) offer sailing instruction that will boost your confidence, increase your safety, and lower yacht insurance premiums.

Catamaran Guru has offered and recommended ASA sailing instruction for decades, and still does. However, we have recently decided to offer RYA training which is internationally recognized and is best for sailors who plan to explore international waters.

Rare US-based RYA Training and ICC Certification​

Because there are only a small handful…yes, you can count them on one hand…of RYA instructors in the United States, it is not easy for a US-based sailor to acquire an ICC certification. But, now, it is easier as Catamaran Guru’s South Florida seaschool offers top-notch RYA sailing instruction. And, our qualified RYA instructor can help you acquire an ICC aboard a catamaran. We are the second and only other facility offering catamaran instruction and assessment for an ICC. During our week-long courses students can complete their:

  1. RYA Competent Crew Certification: The aim for this course is to introduce a complete beginner to cruising under sail, equipping the novice sailor with skills required to be an active, useful crew member, i.e., knowledge about sea terms and parts of the boat, sail handling, rope work, fire precautions and prevention, personal safety equipment, man overboard, emergency equipment, meteorology, seasickness, helmsman-ship, general seamanship and manners, able to keep a lookout and handle all sails.
  2. RYA Day Skipper’s license: Sailing experience and basic boat handling knowledge is required. This 7-day course will give you the tools to become a confident skipper. Included will be things like pilotage, boat handling, seamanship and navigation. It will allow you to skipper or rent a yacht in familiar waters by day.
  3. ICC (International Certificate of Competency): See explanation below.

Sail With Us to Learn

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Week-Long Liveaboard Courses
Rare RYA Classes & Certifications

Catamaran Guru’s real-life practical methods combined with up-to-date sailing theory in lessons aboard recent model catamarans…or your own boat! 

Prepare for certifications or take the first step aboard to embark on your dream life of boat ownership or cruising

Classes in S Florida and the Bahamas.

Compare the RYA & ASA Certifications​

comparison of rya and asa sailing courses
Click to enlarge image.


The RYA courses can lead to a commercial endorsement, the ASA training courses cannot. 

If your end goal is to operate commercially, then you should consider going with RYA.

If your main goal is to sail recreationally then either one will do just fine, but if you plan to sail foreign waters, seriously consider RYA.

What is the ICC (International Certificate of Competency)?

If you are sailing foreign waters, you need an International Certificate of Competence (ICC). Not every country requires it, but why risk a changing itinerary due to your cruising whims or an emergency set your course into a country that requires and ICC and you do not have it. Also, note, most yacht charter companies will not charter a boat to you without an ICC or equivalent such as the ASA International Proficiency Certificate (IPC).

The ICC is recognition that a minimum standard of sailing expertise has been achieved. Requiring the ICC is an effort to promote safe, competent sailing in foreign waters. It is much like having a valid US drivers’ license when renting a vehicle in a foreign country…the fact you have the license is accepted as you having had knowledge and experience to safely operate a car.

Paths to Acquiring the ICC Certification

Five-Day Practical Course

Complete a 5-day practical course to acquire or review theory and practical skills. If less experienced or need a refresher, especially on the regs, opt for the 5-day ICC course.

Note you may request private instruction to prepare for a 1-day assessment if you require less help to prepare.

One-Day Practical Assessment

Engage in a 1-day practical assessment with an RYA instructor, ONLY if you:

  1. can sail well,
  2. know the COLREGS
  3. know the IALA buoyage system 
  4. have practical navigation experience.

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Got Questions? Contact Steele Greyling


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