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Learn To Sail With 2 Free Sailing Courses From NauticEd

free sailing courses

NauticEd has been around since 2008, and I have known about their sailing education for a while. But when I heard that they offer to get two free sailing courses upon registration, I couldn’t resist checking them out!

I have been sailing and skippering for years, crossing oceans and sailing on several continents. I know a thing or two about boats and cruising and went into the courses with a critical eye and high expectations.

About NauticEd

  • NauticEd launched in 2008 and is recognized by the US Coast Guard and NASBLA as meeting the American National Standards.
  • Their international sailing education program blends technology, advanced learning techniques, and practical on-the-water training.
  • The program is globally recognized and developed in collaboration with leading educators and accredited sailing schools worldwide.
  • NauticEd offers courses that provide a comprehensive mix of knowledge, skills, and experience.
  • Once registered, you’ll get a free online logbook and resume tool.
  • The two free courses include the Basic Sail Trim and Navigation Rules Clinics, with interactive animations and multimedia technology for those who want to learn to sail.

As a NauticEd affiliate, we may earn a commission from products purchased through our links at no extra cost to you.

Why you should choose the online sailing courses from NauticEd

NauticEd blends digital technology and advanced learning techniques in a globally recognized program. It’s not just about reading theory. You will experience interactive simulations that mimic real-life sailing scenarios. The best part is that you’ll get two courses for free to test the platform and NauticEd’s unique learning style before committing to their more comprehensive paid courses.

If you’re sailing your own boat, the laws of your home country dictate what license you need to operate your vessel legally. But if you plan on chartering a boat, the charter companies will require a resume with your experience, courses, AND a license. Free courses are obviously a great place to start your resume.

If you plan on getting certified in the US, the SLC is your option. If you’re in Europe, you’re looking at the ICC. If you do the RYA Day Skipper course or any higher grades, you’ll also get the ICC, which is an excellent way to qualify for bareboat chartering.

The RYA is highly regarded worldwide for its high-quality training and requires practical lessons and a theoretical course. NauticEd can provide the theoretical course and has a network of partnered sailing schools worldwide to get you in contact with your nearest sailing school, allowing you to complete the practical training necessary.

Read more about how to obtain the SLC and ICC certification here.

The advantage of starting with free online courses

Starting your journey with NauticEd’s free sailing courses gives you a risk-free opportunity to discover if their unique approach to sailing education is the right fit for you. Who doesn’t love free stuff, especially when it’s knowledge-packed online sailing courses designed to help you learn to sail?

Here are some key advantages:

  • No Financial Commitment: You won’t have to worry about spending money on a sailing lesson that may not suit your learning style. NauticEd’s free courses give you a chance to test the waters first.
  • Complementary Tools: You’ll get a free Logbook and a resume tool. These features enhance your learning experience by tracking your progress and showcasing your sailing experience.
  • Convenience: The Logbook and resume tool are cloud-based, making them easy to access anytime, anywhere. 

A closer look at NauticEd’s two free sailing courses

Let’s take a moment to explore NauticEd’s free ‘Basic Sail Trim’ course and the ‘Navigation Rules Clinic.’

Both courses offer essential sailing knowledge free of charge and are available to you immediately upon sign-up. 

Free course 1: Basic Sail Trim – Learn how the sails work

When you sign up for and complete NauticEd’s free Basic Sail Trim Course, you will gain a good understanding of the basics of trimming sails.

The Basic Sail Trim Course takes 1-2 hours to complete and offers:

  • Interactive animations to help you understand how the wind works on a sail
  • How to trim the sails for optimal performance
  • A bonus module discussing the America’s Cup Winged Sail configuration
  • An online test to assess your acquired knowledge

This course is a valuable resource for both beginners and more experienced sailors. It isn’t perfect and doesn’t go into every element of sail trim, but it will give you a good start. One of the big focuses in this course is identifying how the wind affects the sail by analyzing the behavior of the telltales.

I have sailed for many years, but I managed to pick up a few new things from this course and would definitely recommend anyone who wants to get into sailing to complete the course. It is free; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain! 

Visit the course page at NauticEd here: Basic Sail Trim Course

Free course 2: Navigation Rules Clinic – On-the-water traffic rules for boats

Next up from the Basic Sail Trim Course, you’ll find immense value in NauticEd’s free Navigation Rules Clinic. The content in this course is mandatory knowledge for anyone operating a vessel on the water. Did you know you don’t always have the right of way, even when sailing?

The Navigation Rules Clinic takes 3 hours to complete and offers:

  • Terminology related to navigation and the principles of “Stand On” and “Give Way.”
  • The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea – ColRegs
  • Multiple practical examples are explained with video and interactive animations.
  • Guidance on your responsibility to make correct decisions when navigating a boat.

It’s a comprehensive and engaging course that is easy to follow, and you will enjoy it if you plan on spending any time at the helm of a boat. I will go as far as saying that no one should navigate a vessel without knowing these rules. Even experienced skippers should re-fresh their knowledge and run through this content occasionally.

Here is a little quote from the course that I fully agree on:

“By the time you reach the end of this course, we guarantee at least one thing – you will be wishing that before you go out boating next time, EVERY vessel master out there on the water has taken this course.”

Visit the course page at NauticEd here: Navigation Rules Clinic

NauticEd’s paid course offerings

Now, let’s turn your attention to NauticEd’s paid courses. When you sign up, you’ll get the option to set your goals. The tool will then recommend courses based on what you wish to achieve, whether you want to skipper your own boat, crew on someone else’s, or take a vacation with a charter boat.

NauticEd offers a range of options, including the Introduction to Sailing Course, Qualified Crew Member Course, and the Skipper Large Sailboat Course.

Introduction To Sailing course

Introduction To Sailing Course

The ‘Introduction to Sailing’ course is a comprehensive option perfect for beginners aiming to master the fundamentals of sailing. This course is designed to give you the competence required for a sailing vacation or prepare you to take a sailing license with little prior knowledge.

The ‘Introduction to Sailing’ course costs $27.50 and takes 3-4 hours to complete.

Course ContentBenefit
Terminology and CommunicationUnderstanding basic sailing terms
Sailing the BoatPractical skills in sailing
The Rules of Giving WayLearning navigation rules for safety
Maneuvering the Boat in the MarinaSkills in boat maneuvering in confined spaces
KnotsMastery of essential sailing knots
AnchoringTechniques for safe anchoring
WeatherUnderstanding weather patterns for sailing
Safety on BoardEnsuring safety while sailing
The table shows the content and benefits of NauticEd’s “Introduction To Sailing” online course.


Not only will you learn the basics, but $20 of your course fee can be used to upgrade to more advanced courses.

Visit the course page at NauticEd here: Introduction To Sailing Details

Qualified Crew Member course

Qualified Crew Member Course

The Qualified Crew Member Course is a program for those who wish to contribute as a crew member on small and large sailboats. This may be an excellent place to start if you’re going on a sailing trip with friends or want to step up and join a sailing team.

The ‘Qualified Crew Member’ course course costs $37.50 and takes about 7 hours to complete. 

Course ContentBenefit
Weather and Sea ConditionsUnderstanding sailing conditions and weather
Electrical SystemsKnowledge of the boat’s electrical systems
Auxiliary PowerManaging the engine
Standing and running riggingFamiliarity with the boat’s rig
Rules of the RoadNavigational and safety rules
SailingBasic sailing skills
Communications & NavigationEffective communication and navigation skills
Anchoring and MooringAnchoring and mooring techniques
Coping with EmergenciesEmergency response skills
The table shows the content and benefits of NauticEd’s “Qualified Crew Member” online course.

If your ambitions extend beyond just being part of the crew on a sailboat, however, you’re better off jumping straight to the Skipper Course.

Visit the course page at NauticEd here: Qualified Crew Member

Skipper Large Sailboat course

If you’re ready to take your sailing skills to the next level, the Skipper Large Sailboat Course is a step up from the Qualified Crew Member Course. It offers advanced training tailored explicitly for handling sailboats larger than 26 feet. Everything covered in the previously mentioned courses is included here, so If you’re serious about sailing, this may be an excellent place to start your sailing education.

The ‘Skipper Large Sailboat’ course is comprehensive, costs $67.50, and takes 20 hours to complete. 

Course ContentBenefit
Weather and Sea ConditionsKnowledge of sailing conditions and weather safety
Electrical SystemsUnderstanding of the boat’s electrical components
Auxiliary PowerProficiency in managing auxiliary power systems
Rigging: Standing and RunningSkills in rigging and sail handling
Rules of the RoadMastery of navigational and safety rules
Slip Departure and ReturnTechniques for dock departure and return
SailingFundamental sailing skills
Communications & NavigationEffective communication and navigation skills
Anchoring and MooringProficiency in anchoring and mooring techniques
Coping with EmergenciesPreparedness for handling sailing emergencies
The table shows the content and benefits of NauticEd’s “Skipper Large Sailboat” online course.

When you combine this course with the ‘Maneuvering Under Power‘ course, you are awarded the NauticEd Skipper Certificate and Rank. You’ll be well on your way with your sailing resume, which can be used with yacht charter companies worldwide!

Visit the course page at NauticEd here: Skipper Large Sailboat

Overlapping course content

While you’re browsing through the NauticEd sailing courses, you’ll notice that several of them contain overlapping content. For instance, if you’re interested in becoming a crew member, you’ll find modules in the crew course that are also in the skipper course. 

Remember to read the course descriptions carefully, and use the “Select My Goals” tool to identify which course or bundle of courses best fits your needs.

Accessing the two free courses

You can easily access Nauticed’s free sailing courses online right from the comfort of your home. I recommend taking them both, but if you only have time for one, do the “Navigation Rules Clinic.” All you have to do is fill in your information in the form below.

Each course you take is recorded in your personal logbook and resume. Remember that once registered, the courses are only free for 30 days. After that, you’ll have to pay the regular price. 

Bonus: When you complete one or both free courses, you get $10 off on your first paid course! 

Final words

So, you’ve got nothing to lose! Give NauticEd’s free sailing courses a try. You’ll get quality education, flexibility, and a unique learning experience. I’ve only done the free courses myself. But from the quality and format of the e-learning, NauticEd’s coursework and sailing education is a great starting point for anyone wanting to get into sailing. Along with the excellent free guides on this website, of course!

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