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What Does a Sailing Instructor Do?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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A sailing instructor teaches people how to operate various types of marine vessels. Many instructors are self-employed individuals who are affiliated with sailing industry associations. Other people employed in this field work for government agencies, travel companies, sports resorts or educational establishments.

In many nations, a sailing instructor must be licensed and experienced sailors acquire this type of certification after completing an extensive training course. Typically, course candidates must have several years of sailing experience including time spent on various different types of sailboats. For legal reasons, instructors normally have to be adults and in some instances, licensees may have to pass a physical examination. These courses for instructors normally consist of classroom based lectures and practical training sessions. At the end of the course, prospective instructors must pass a written examination that covers maritime rules and procedures and in many instances, students are also required to pass a practical examination.

A licensed sailing instructor arranges training classes for individuals who have varying levels of sailing experience. In some countries, teenagers who have yet to reach legal adulthood are able to take part in training courses that involve small vessels. Experienced sailors can enroll in classes during which students are taught to operate complex and high-powered types of sailboats. A self-employed sailing instructor may assess a per student fee during these classes while other instructors are normally paid a flat salary so the instructor's salary remains the same regardless of the number of class attendees.

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Aside from teaching individuals skills such as techniques for repairing rigging or tips for navigating boats, a sailing instructor is also responsible for providing class attendees with safety information. This includes teaching people how to use dinghies and other types of on board equipment as well as providing students with tips on how to handle medical emergencies. In many instances, instructors are required to attend first aid training certification courses. Having completed such a course, an instructor can teach other individuals how to perform basic medical techniques such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Many sailing instructors are focused on training people to operate recreational sailboats but other instructors teach people to sail boats for professional purposes. In some countries, members of the navy or the armed forces are required to attend sailing instruction lessons while some colleges and educational centers employ sailing instructors to teach students how to operate marine craft. Additionally, professional sailors often prepare for boating races by working with instructors who are often retired sailors that once competed in similar events.

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