How do I become an instructor?

For more than two decades, boating instruction standards have been developed by Sail Canada to ensure safety, consistency and enjoyment for all students across the country. BC Sailing provides Sail Canada instructor development and provides support materials to schools and instructors in British Columbia.
The CANSail Program promotes the growth of safe and fun small-boat sailing. BC Sailing offers CANSail Learn-to-Sail Instructor and Coach Development Courses throughout the year.

5 Steps to Becoming a Certified Sailing Instructor

1. Completing Prerequisites

2. Fundamental Clinic (the Fundamental course must be taken prior to the technical clinic)

3. Technical Clinic

4. Evaluation

5. Pay your annual instructor dues to Sail Canada in order to deliver CANSail programs, obtain insurance and access CANSail resources.

For more information, see Sail Canada’s pathway to becoming a CANSail Instructor.


All prerequisites must be scanned and emailed to BC Sailing prior to registering with Sail Canada as a coach. This can be done before or after the coaching clinics.

All CANSail instructors must be turning 16 or older in the calendar year. One exception is for community instructors who must be at least 14 years old.

Pleasure Craft Operator Card

Standard first aid with CPR C from a nationally recognized provider

Coach Boat Safety course offered through BC Sailing. Cost is $100 + tax ($75 + tax for re-certification)

Enhanced police information check (if 18 years of age or older). This can be done in person at your local police station or online.

Sailing Certificate:
• CANSail 1 & 2 Instructor – minimum CANSail 4
• CANSail 3 & 4 Instructor – minimum CANSail 5
• CANSail 5 & 6 Instructor – minimum CANSail 6
• Spin & Trap Instructor – minimum CANSail 6 + Spin & Trap 2

BC Sailing & Sail Canada require Safe Sport Training every 5 years. See Safe Sport page for more info.

BC Sailing recommends that instructors continue to upgrade their sailing levels through CANSail courses, race team training and spending time on the water to remain current with their sailing knowledge.

Fundamental Theory Clinic

Cost: $285 + tax

Prerequisite Courses: None

The CANSail Fundamental Theory Clinic is the required theory portion and is a prerequisite for all future instructing and coaching courses. This course covers coaching theory, including professionalism, ethics, risk management, safety, skill development, teaching methods and planning a practice.

Making Ethical Decisions Module: This online module is offered by the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) This ethics module is introduced during the CANSail Fundamental course. Instructors and coaches are required to take the online module and exam prior to registration with Sail Canada.

Technical Clinic

Cost: $325 + tax

Prerequisite Courses: Fundamental Clinic

The CANSail Technical clinics are very hands-on. These are practical courses that utilize theory learned in the Fundamental Clinic. This course covers the on water delivery of CANSail Material, class management and engagement.

There are three CANSail Technical Clinics to choose from:

1. CANSail 1 & 2

2. CANSail 3 & 4

3. CANSail 5 & 6

Typically, CANSail 1 & 2 and CANSail 3 & 4 technical clinics are run together (CANSail 1-4 clinics). CANSail 5 & 6 instructors can only teach CANSail 5 & 6 unless they are also trained or certified in other levels. The courses are not linear. Please contact our Programs and Communications Manager to find what certification level is right for you.

Upon successful completion of the technical clinic, instructors are trained. Trained instructors can register with Sail Canada and coach alongside a fully certified coach. Trained instructors must complete an evaluation within two years of becoming trained. Once instructors are successful in their evaluation, they are certified for four years from the date of their technical clinic.


Cost: $100 + tax

Instructors must complete an evaluation within two years of becoming trained to become a Sail Canada-certified instructor or coach. Contact BC Sailing to arrange an evaluation with a Learning Facilitator (Evaluator).

Registration & Insurance

Trained and certified instructors must register with Sail Canada and submit the annual coach/instructor dues to the Sail Canada office. These annual dues cover instructor liability insurance as well as contributing to program development.

Responsible Coaching

BC Sailing is a champion of the Responsible Coaching Movement. Part of ensuring a safe sport experience for participants is ethics training for instructors and coaches. In addition to the NCCP Making Ethical Decisions module and online test, there are additional ethics training courses available online. Both of these courses are recognized by Sail Canada and the Coaching Association of Canada. These courses are optional at this time.

Respect in Sport (3 PD points) – the link to this course is found by logging in to your Sail Canada profile

Commit to Kids (3 PD points)