Sail Training FAQ's
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. 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. An ASA 104 certification would be good preparation and experience and shows that you have been observed and can skipper chartered boats. ASA has a special certificate called an "International Proficiency Certificate" which sometimes helps charter boats overseas. It is available for those qualified to the the ASA 104 level and above. More information is available directly from the ASA.
Q2. How do I get a ASA 104 certification?
A. This is a multi-step and self-paced process at PSC. First, tell the Training Commodore you wish to become a Bay Skipper candidate. Then you must do the following:
1. Successfully complete the PSC Basic Sailing Course or challenge the ASA 101 and 103 basic sailing qualifications.
2. Our status as an ASA training facility permits PSC to train and provide examinations for ASA qualifications (104, 105, 106, etc.). We are unique in that as a volunteer organization, our sailing is almost entirely on the weekends. Candidates are required to have 80 hours of sailing documented prior to starting the ASA 104 certification, which can include the 32 hours in the PSC Basic Sailing Course. We can provide the required training 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 on-board. 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. This will include copies of your on-the-water (OTW) evaluations, ASA 104 practical skills sheets, and ASA 104 exam.
Q3. 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 certification that covers larger vessels is ASA-106. This is an advanced qualification and it takes a significant amount of commitment, usually two or more years:
1. Obtain your ASA 104 Certification.
2. Complete a Navigation Exam
3. Log 56 hours underway, with night sailing included, after completing steps 1 and 2.
4. Be observed by two different PSC qualified bay skippers/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.
Q4. How do I become a Pentagon Sailing Bay Skipper of Record?
A. You must first achieve the ASA 106 certification, teach two Basic Sailing Courses, have current CPR and First Aid certificates, complete a Close Quarters maneuvering class (ASA 118), and finally be evaluated by a PSC Senior Cruising Instructor. This allows you to skipper our training and social sails on the Bay.
Q5. 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.
Q6. 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.