top of page

Previous Class < ASA 103 >  Next Class

Sailing in the bay towards the Bay Bridge and San Francisco

ASA 103
Basic Coastal Cruising

ASA 103 Basic Coastal Cruising-Day Skipper

The gateway to bay area sailing, successful completion of ASA 103 allows use of Afterguard boats up to the south side of the Bay Bridge. 


Learn to skipper a 25 to 35 ft sloop-rigged keelboat in moderate winds and sea conditions. Gain knowledge of cruising sailboat terminology, basic boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, docking procedures, intermediate sail trim, navigation rules, basic coastal navigation, anchoring, weather interpretation, safety, and seamanship.

1 Evening Lecture, 4 Full Days Sailing, 2 practice sail (post class)

Member: $1040

Non Members: $1250

What's Included

Find a date that works for you

Need a different date? Give us a call (510) 535-1954

Before the Course

Purchase the ASA 103 textbook. Available at our office (hardcopy) or on ASA website (as ebook or hardcopy).

Read the book and complete the quizzes throughout to prepare you for the course and the terminology used.  

What to expect

Schedule and Crew:

  • Meet at Afterguard Sailing Academy, 1285 Embarcadero (Oakland CA 94606)

  • This is a three-day Weekend Course, Friday 6pm-8pm lecture. Saturday-Sunday 9:30am to 4:30pm Class spent mostly on the boat on the water sailing. (Weekday schedule can be arranged for the lecture after sailing the first day.)

  • The written exam is at the end the 2nd day on the water. Must pass the hands-on skills before being allowed to take the written test.

  • The course max is four students per boat with 1 instructor

What Boats are Used:

In this ASA Course, you will be learning to sail on one of our Ranger 23s unless there is special need for a larger vessel. We have 5 Ranger 23's with outboard enginers and 2 Cal 2-25s with inboard engines.

What to wear:

  • Layers! Look up the weather for that weekend or weekday series. Dress in layers according to the weather predictions. Vests are a good under/over layer. Use a base layer per the weather and add to it up to a wind-breaker. If raining - bring a waterproof over layer for top and bottom.

  • Footwear: Soft soled shoes for traction on the deck. Non-marking required or will be scrubbing decks of black marks dark soles leave behind. No bare-feet, open toed or flip-flops. Broken toes are painful and your responsibility. This is a sincere warning.

  • Headware: Recommend a brimmed hat with a keeper that will not blow off your head, for your time on the water. If cold - bring a warm hat or perhaps a warm ear covering headband.

  • Hands: Garden gloves with rubberized palms and without finger tips are a plus. If cold warm gloves as well.

What else to bring:

  • Bring a lunch for both Saturday and Sunday, including water or other liquids to stay hydrated. If you bring a refillable bottle, please make sure you take it with you at the end of your course. Next to sunglasses, they are the most popular item in our Lost&Found pile!

  • Always bring sunscreen, chapstick and sunglasses. Keepers for glasses and hats can save you lots of money.

Additional info:

There are bathrooms at our facility and on the boats. Please make sure to check in with your teacher about how to use the 'head 'on the boat, before leaving the docks!

Must purchase and read your ASA 103  course book, Coastal Cruising Made Easy by ASA. Can find it at our office (hardcopy), ASA website or on-line as an ibook or android google play book.

The first evening workshop (6pm-8:30pm) starts the ashore knowledge with review of the book quiz questions. Following morning, begin at the boat with pre-cruise check sheet to prepare the boat for 2 full days of sailing. Second section has an evening of introduction to Navigation before the last 2 days of hands on training. A favorite, and Afterguard's unique part of the last 2 days, is a 'zero visibility' exercise to prepare for fog on SF Bay waters.

Very comprehensive course for new SF Bay Skippers or new boat owners. For those with years of self-taught sailing, we recommend challenging ASA 101, then start your professional training with part or all of the ASA 103 course. It fills in holes in skills and knowledge common to miss when learning on your own, from friends, or by racing.

I.e.:  mis-positionning your hands on the lines when pulling them -is a main culprit for lots of sailors' shoulder & lower back pains or hand injuries! Thumbs toward your heart is key :).

 COB options, sail trim, jibing arc, docking techniques, anchoring ... Once passed the on-the-water skills at 100%, will be allowed to take the 100 multiple choice questions written exam for graduating the ASA-103 course.  Holder of an ASA-103 certification is qualified to sail up to 31' boats in semi-protected waters, accepted world-wide. For San Francisco Bay sailing, ASA 103 allows sailing in SF Bay's semi protected micro climate close to our base. This area includes up to, but not beyond South/East of the Bay Bridge!

As you begin your ASA 103, now is the time to begin preparing your own 'sea bag' of sailing gear. Start the collection by aquiring real sailing gloves, a waterproof top layer (aka weather-proof or foul weather gear) and pants or bibs are great, but waterproof sailing boots/shoes are recommended for the top of your list. These help to keep you dry when sailing year round! Look for your personal floation. Suggest an inflatable lifevest, preferably with a harness built in, best kind does not use metal near the heart. Also a 6' tether. Best kind of tether are made with a built in bungie. For brands or links, contact the office. Dress for this class acording to the weather reports - might need a tech shirt to wick perspiration away from the skin, or a warm underlayer. Can view current or by the month predictions with links from our website front page.

After graduation:

~ your teacher will sign your official Logbook for ASA103 certification

~ ASA will mail you the ASA103 certification sticker to add in your official Logbook

~ can schedule the included free independent half-day practice session (4h) with your classmates, on one of our Ranger 23' -- to get the free boat rental: A. must be scheduled within 30 days of class graduation, B. have at least one of your classmates joining you. This half-day bonus is per class (not per student) & independent practice  means no teacher onboard :) If feel you need more coaching or support from a teacher, call the office to arrange. Can be the same or a different teacher from the instructor in your course. Area you can sail is up to South and East of the Bay Bridge!

!!! Need 104 to cross under the Bay Bridge for sailing in Central Bay or sailing up to the GG Bridge. To be able to take ASA 104, must log 6 practice sails as skipper or an active crew member. Afterguard member/student's options: 1st Sunday Bay Sails; volunteer as a BK1 first mate (reinforce what you have learned by sharing with others your best version of how to be a qualified first mate); join the afternoon/evening Group Practice Sails (weekly on Thursdays and Sundays); as a school member, can join the Afterguard Crew Group for more sailing opportunities with fellow members. Afterguard provides many low cost ways to log six practice sails to settle the volume of course information you've gathered so far. Helps to prepare for ASA 104.

~ To charter Afterguard boats, up to 31', for half or full day, ASA 103 Certified Charter Skipper must have:

1. Boating and Waterways CA Boater's Card.  Card cost is $10 after you have passed a 6 part on-line course. Free with the Boat US towing insurance, otherwise pick a provider for the course from Boating and Waterways. Required license for driving a boat in CA, if 40 or under in 2021, 45 for 2022, 50 in 2023… but all Afterguard Charter Skippers must have one. Why not? Our courses make getting one easier.

2. Their own salt water towing insurance (Boat US Vessel Assist is one of the most utilized in the area). All of SF Bay waterways are salt water not fresh water. Boat US unlimited annual Cost is $165. A single tow cost averages $350-800. USCG does not tow. Call Afterguard, we can talk you through much, but the Bay is too big for Afterguard staff to travel more than one mile to assist your boat. Get an anchor down and Boat US can be to your boat in 20 min to an hour. We do not get a commission on this. We need you to be safe when operating on SF Bay, with ready back up if ‘things' don’t go as planned.

3. Certified Competent Crew (BK1 or ASA courses) designated as First Mate onboard. For your charter contract, list the names and contact numbers for all aboard the boat for the charter outing.

(On request, the office can help you find Competent Crew, amongst our members/students. If interested in joining the Crew Group, let the office know via a call or email. If new to sailing, finding needed capable crew is an area we can help :)

​When You Complete this Course:

Passing this course allows you to rent/charter the boats from our fleet  for sailing in the Oakland Estuary. ASA 103 is required to sail outside the Estuary in open Bay waters. ASA 101 international certification certifies the sailor is prepared for protected waters for vessels 25' and under on light to moderate winds and flat seas. In San Francisco Bay waters, the only place near our fleet that fits that definition is the Oakland Estuary.

ASA 103 - Course Description

Able to skipper a sloop-rigged auxiliary powered (inboard or outboard engine) keelboat of approximately 25 to 35 feet in length by day in moderate winds (up to 20 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of cruising sailboat terminology, basic boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, docking procedures, intermediate sail trim, navigation rules, basic coastal navigation, anchoring, weather interpretation, safety, and seamanship. For more details on what you learn in this course go to —

Find a date that works for you

Great course for an introduction into sailing in the bay!

This was the perfect way to become comfortable with sailing. By the end of the course I was confident in all the terminology and functions of the boat and understood how to make adjustments to the sail. I look forward to more time on the water with Afterguard!

Hannah R. (ASA 101 course July 2023) 

What's covered in the ASA 103?


#### Cruising Sailboat Terminology
1. **Parts & Functions:**
   - Turnbuckle
   - Chainplate
   - Stemhead Fitting
   - Rudder Post
   - Transom
   - Compass
   - Binnacle
   - Cockpit Locker
   - Emergency Tiller
   - Saloon
   - Companionway
   - Galley
   - V-berth
   - Auxiliary Engine
   - Bilge
   - Bilge Pump
   - Seacock
   - Ground Tackle
   - Windlass
   - Hatch
   - Through-hull Fitting
   - Self-bailing Cockpit

#### Safety Equipment & Procedures
2. **Federally Required Equipment for 33-foot Vessel**
3. **Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s):**
   - Wearable (Life Jackets)
   - Throwable
4. **ASA Recommended Safety Equipment**
5. **Securing Gear & Equipment**
6. **Safety Harness & Tether Use**
7. **Safe Refueling Procedures**

#### Navigation & Weather
8. **Coastal Navigation:**
   - Tools
   - Navigation Charts
   - Depth Soundings
   - Hazards
   - Aids to Navigation
   - Latitude / Longitude
   - Magnetic Direction
   - Distance Measurement
9. **Preventing Magnetic Influence on Compass**
10. **Dangers of 'Lee Shore'**
11. **Marine Weather Impact & Forecasting**
12. **Understanding Cumulonimbus Clouds**
13. **'Small Craft Advisory' & 'Gale Warning'**

#### Sail Plan
14. **Sail Combinations for Various Wind Conditions**
15. **Sail Reduction Procedures**
16. **Heaving-to Benefits & Procedures**

#### Seamanship
17. **Skipper & Crew Responsibilities**
18-23. **USCG Navigation Rules & Regulations**

#### Emergencies
24. **Stages & Treatment of Hypothermia**
25. **Water Rescue Methods**
26. **Fire & Explosion Prevention/Response**
27. **Urgent Situation Responses**


#### Preliminaries
30-33. **Equipment Compliance & Readiness Checks**

#### Navigation
35-36. **Harbor Navigation & Compass Steerage**

#### Under Power
37-39. **Engine Inspection & Maneuvers**

#### Under Sail
40-42. **Anchoring & Sail Handling**
43-49. **Sailing Maneuvers & Crew Actions**
50. **Sail Lowering & Stowing**

#### Return to Dock/Slip
51. **Docking Procedures**

#### Knots
52. **Knot Construction & Purposes:**
   - Figure-8
   - Square (Reef) Knot
   - Clove Hitch
   - Round Turn & 2 Half Hitches
   - Cleat Hitch
   - Bowline
   - Sheet Bend
   - Rolling Hitch

bottom of page