Pentagon Sailing Club


These FAQs are NOT the PSC Training Policy, but merely a quick reference to help guide you toward the goals you want to achieve. The specifics of each qualification are in the PSC Training Policy and can be provided by the Training Commodore.


Q1. Should I get the Navy or American Sailing Association certifications?

A. It depends on your goals. Navy Sailing certifications are widely recognized and are the standard for checking out boats at most DoD MWR facilities; they are the most rigorous set of standards we offer. American Sailing Association is widely recognized by the commercial charter industry. There are many ASA schools around the country allowing you flexibility if you want to pursue certifications outside of Pentagon Sailing.


Q2. I want to charter a boat in the Caribbean, what certification should I get?

A. All charter companies require a "sailing resume" showing your experience and training rather than a specific certification. Either a Navy B-CSN or an ASA 104 would be good preparation and experience and shows that you have been observed and can skipper chartered boats. ASA has a special certificate called a "Certificate of Competence" which sometimes helps charter boats overseas that is available for those qualified at the ASA 104 level.


Q3. How do I get a ASA 104 or Navy B-CSN certification?

A. This is a multistep and self-paced process. First, tell the Training Commodore you wish to become a Bay Skipper candidate. Then you must do the following:

1. Complete or challenge a Navy Sailing B-KBS or ASA 101-103 basic sailing qualification.

2.  Then do one of the following:

          a. Navy Sailing: The Navy Sailing process is a three step progression, with the milestones of Senior Crew, Navigator, and B-CSN skipper. In total, you are required to have 86 day hours and 17 night hours for the B-CSN, pass 3 exams, and have two On-The-Water (OTW) evaluations. Any PSC Bay SOR may sign off a Navigation OTW. However, a PSC Cruising Instructor is required for the B-CSN. At the conclusion, you will be considered qualified to take out a 35 foot boat with inboard propulsion in benign conditions in coastal waters.

          b. ASA: Our agreement as an ASA training facility permits an ASA qualification (104, 105, 106 etc.).  Pentagon Sailing is unique in that as a volunteer organization, our sailing is almost entirely on the weekends.  You are required to have 80 hours of sailing documented prior to starting the certification, which can include the 32 hours in the PSC basic class. We can do 104 as a self-paced program over several sails, but we also designate sails as being ASA 104A and ASA104B. The ASA 104B sails will always have an ASA 204 instructor onboard. Note, you must act as "skipper" or "watch captain" during at least one ASA104B sail to complete the qualification.

3. After successfully completing everything, your observing instructors will send approval notices to the Training Commodore. For Navy Sailing and ASA, this will include copies of your On The Water (OTW) evaoluations. For ASA, it will include your ASA  ASA 104 practical skills sheets and 104 exam.


Q4. I would like to skipper a boat 36 or more feet in length on the Bay or in other coastal sailing locations, what certification should I have?

A. The PSC certifications that cover larger vessels are Navy D-CS and ASA-106. These are advanced qualifications and take a significant amount of commitment, usually two or more years:

1. Complete your B-CSN or ASA 104.

2. Complete a Navigation Exam

3. Log 56 hours underway, with night sailing included, after completing the pre-requisite qualifications.

4. Be observed by two different instructors, one on each of two On-The-Water evaluations. One observer can be a PSC Cruising Instructor and the second (a two day with overnight) must be a PSC Senior Cruising Instructor. An ASA 206 instructor must have been with you for part of these 56 hours.


Q5. How do I become a Pentagon Sailing Bay Skipper of Record?

A. You must first achieve a Navy D-CS or ASA-106 certification, teach two River Classes, have current CPR and First Aid certificates, complete a Close Quarters maneuvering class, and finally be evaluated by a PSC Senior Cruising Instructor. This allows you to skipper our training and social sails on the Bay.


Q6. I want to skipper a boat on an around the world cruise, what training should I have?

A. This is a bit beyond what PSC is currently equipped to accomplish! On the other hand, while we don't have a formal open ocean program, working up through our training program will give you a lot of experience and a chance to meet numerous sailors who have done open ocean sailing.  We have members of the club certified for open ocean sailing. However, access to an appropriately equipped boat would need to be arranged. In the past, club members have used private boats as well as Naval Academy boats for this purpose.


Q7. Who can sign me off?

A.       (1). For all bay sailing, you must keep a PSC Bay Training log book. Only PSC Bay SORs can sign off the items in that book. There are many PSC members who have achieved lower levels of qualification and have access to bay boats, but they may not sign off in your log book.

          (2). For ASA qualifications, an ASA 204 or 206 instructor must sign off the final qualification sheets for ASA. Because some of our most experienced PSC Bay SORs are not ASA certified, we have arranged with ASA that so long as a 204 instructor has sailed with you during the 204 portion of your process, it is permitted for the ASA instructor to sign you off. The same consideration extends to ASA 206.

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