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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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Learn How To Sail Online

Learn how to sail online: 8 Proven Ways to Learn

Learning to sail is a super rewarding experience, and it is a great thing to do. Sailing skills can give you freedom on the waters and gives you new experiences in your life, add sailing skills and practice maneuvering skills to your resume, and a fun new way to let loose. 

However, much like learning to drive a car, a bike, or how to fly a plane, you have to take free sailing courses, and learn sailing that how to do so properly as being on the water is hardly a naturally safe thing to do. 

Even if you are sailing on a calm lake, you can still capsize a boat, end up in cold waters, or injure yourself. Proper practical training and sailing training is required to ensure that you are safe on the waters and so you do not hurt yourself. 

So, where can you learn to sailor where can you learn absolutely essential maneuvering skills? Can you learn to do it online, or even get some of the learning process done properly online?

We have all the answers for you, to ensure that when you learn how to sail online, what sailing terminology really means and know the importance of boating safety, and are safe when you do get out on the water. 

What Are Your Options? 

If you do not own a boat, but you really want to learn to sail, there are plenty of ways you can do so. 

Here are some options that you can look into which we found: 

  • Two free sailing Courses with NauticEd. 
  • “The Skipper Rank” Course from NauticEd. 
  • “The Sailing Basics” Course from Udemy
  • 1-day free mini sailing course.
  • 2 sailing lessons.
  • Chartering a boat.
  • Join a qualified crew member course.
  • Become a ship’s mate.

Sailing is a good skill, it needs plenty of practice. You cannot properly learn to sail just by reading about it, and while online sailing courses are great, and you can learn a fair bit online, you cannot sail without actually getting proper experience. 

Online learning can only do so much. You need to go out on a boat and actually practice. 

That being said, the first steps you take into sailing are often the cheapest, and this is where you can apply online learning and online courses.

Later on, things get more expensive, but this is really where you need to be taking proper lessons, and actually go out on a boat. 

It is the best way to do this. Look at online learning, take docking course, and find out if sailing is for you this way before you start spending a tonne of money on lessons on a boat trying to sail. 

You do not want to spend a load of money on learning to sail, only to find out that it is not what you thought it was, and it is not quite for you. 

So, applying online learning before you do any physical learning will provide you with much more understanding of what sailing will entail, and give you better insight. 

Try Out Some Free Courses To Test The Water

So, by this logic the best thing to do is start off by learning how to sail online with a free storm tactics course. Giving you insight into whether sailing is ideal for you. 

You want to check ut some good online free sailing courses. 

One of the best free great refresher course that you can get is the NauticEd free online sailing course. 

Let’s take a look:

Try NauticEd

NauticEd is probably one of the better-known names in sailing education for online sailing. They offer you introductory courses. 

Free NauticEd Online Sailing Courses

The basic sail trim and the rules of prevention of collision at sea free course are the courses you will gain access to. 

These two courses that offer you all you need to know before you get onto a boat

Paid NauticEd Courses

However, learning to sail cannot be free forever, so you will need to end up taking a paid electronic navigation course. It is best for you to start off by taking the ‘Skipper Rank’ course. 

This online sailing course will give you a lot more advanced material, and it talks you through how you can go about sailing a medium sized sailing boat, which would be around 23ft to 50ft.

It is a very good comprehensive course and practical training that introduces you to a more in depth view of sailing.

It essentially goes over the very core of sailing theory: Anchoring and Mooring, clear point weather and Sea Conditions, Communications & Navigation, Slip Departure & Return, and Sailing, as well as others. 

It will provide you with over around 20+ hours of content, and it provides you with at least the most basic sailing knowledge that is needed for you to give real world sailing a try. 

Once you have taken an online course like this, you will want to start planning genuine real-world sailing lessons.

Doing this is vital, because as good as the information you will get in an online course can be, you need to be competent in applying it to real world scenarios. 

It is ideal to get a minimum of 2 lessons to really get a feel for what it is like to be out on the water, and to better understand the basic concepts of sailing. But, we will talk about this a bit more later on.

What About Udemy Courses?

Udemy’s courses are not a bad idea. However, taking the Sailing Basics course they have on Udemy can really help you gain a bit more knowledge about sailing before you take to the water. 

It is not really as in-depth as the NauticEd Skipper course, but it is priced, and it is a decent value for money. However, it is important to remember that none of the courses on Udemy are accredited. 

Most of the time you will be able to get the Udemy discount rate, but, if you cannot get it then the Skipper course is probably a better value for money.

Sailing In The Real World – The Only Real Way

Right, so, once you have started things off and managed to learn the basics of sailing through an online course, it is time to get out on the water. 

No matter how much you think you have learned from an online course, you still need to learn how to sail a boat, on a boat. 

Learn How To Sail Online

You need to get a feel for the boat, the wind, the sea, the lines, all of it. You will also need to encounter situations which will be applicable for some of your knowledge.

Otherwise, your knowledge can easily fade away, or when you end up sailing yourself, in the future, it is easier to make mistakes. 

You need to spend proper time with another intermediate sailors to properly learn how to sail in a real life experience, and apply the knowledge you have gained from your online courses. 

Take A Couple Of Lessons

You will have a series of different options available to you. You can register for a comprehensive sailing lesson through the NauticEd website. Although, you can also hire your very own instructor. 

There will be a required sailing lesson available, each of which could range from $60 to $600 in costs, although this will generally be true for any of these. 

However, do not private lessons are usually much more expensive, but some you could start off at $100 per half day. Though this does vary. 

If you learn quickly, a few sailing lessons can help you a lot, at speed, which will also be accelerated since you will have learned a major part of the theory from your online courses already. 

It is probably best to take at least 2 lessons however, as this will cover the most important basics to sailing. However, it depends on how serious you are about sailing.

If this is something you really want to pursue then you may want to take more lessons. 

1-Day Courses

You may be able to get some all-inclusive 1-day sailing courses which are available to you. You could also simply rent out a boat as well as your instructor, which will be your captain. 

You will need to get out to the bay or lake where the boat is, however. 

These days can be quite expensive overall, as a majority of rates will be between $200 and perhaps $2000, which is quite a lot of money, but you do pay for what you get. 

That being said, you are also renting the boat for the whole day, and a majority of the time, you can also bring your friends along. A majority of sailing boats will easily be able to carry between 4 and 6 people. 

If you split the costs between a few of you, even if you just wanted to spend a day out on the water, it is not that bad of a price overall. 

However, before you start taking all of your friends with you on one of these trips. You will need to double-check with the captain prior if there is a restriction on how many people you can take with you.

While you will pay out quite a bit of money for a sailing course like this, the average course will be all that it is worth, these all-in-sailing courses are not cheap, but they are worth the money that you pay for them. 

You could actually learn more in an entire day, sailing on the waters with one of these courses, than you ever would from sailing on your own for 10 hours. 

Ship-Mate Experiences

Alternatively, you could always become a ship’s mate. This might sound a bit bold, to simply go off and be a ship’s mate, but ideally, you should know someone who owns a boat. 

If you don’t, it can be a bit trickier, however, you can always place requests on a sailing forum, or at a sailing school, looking to learn while in the role and sail at a school. 

Not all sailors will enjoy the company of someone else being on their boat, learning. However, for an advanced sailor, having an extra pair of hands is the ideal thing to give him help is just what he needs. 

You just need to find the right person. So, where can you find some places to get a captain who may want your assistance? Here are some ideas? 

  • Posting a request on Craigslist. 
  • Using a Facebook group or Facebook marketplace to place a request.
  • Sending requests to local schools or sailing clubs. 
  • Pinning messages to harbor boards, supermarket boards, or even in the town center. 
  • Placing requests at online forums. 

Join A Ship’s Crew

There is also the option of joining a ship’s crew. There are essentially two industries in which skippers will be keeping an eye out for good crew all the time. These are: 

  • Inland & Coastal Water Tourism. 
  • Sailboats get delivered worldwide by specialized crews. 

You can always apply to join sailboats delivery crews, but note, so many people want to do this. But, if you already have a bit of experience in the bag, you will be one step ahead of everyone else. 

Of course, you could just ask around in the local harbor. There are many boats down there who may be willing to take someone on, but it is always best if you have a bit of experience. 

How Much Will All This Cost?

While all of this sounds super expensive, it is less expensive than you might actually think. Overall, it is likely to all cost less than $500 to get all the online lessons, and real world sailing experience as well! 

To Conclude, Are Online Sailing Lessons Worth It? 

Online sailing lessons can be worth it. However, online sailing courses, and online lessons alone do not make you qualified to drive a boat or to sail. 

They can help you get ahead in getting sailing lessons, and can make it easier for you, and frankly, cheaper for you to get sailing lessons.

Getting ahead means you spend less money on real-world lessons, and it is easier to get real world experience too. 

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