Portland Sailing Center

Portland, Oregon
(503) 281-6529

Portland, Oregon • (503) 281-6529


What's the deal with certification?

Sellers of certificates will sing the praises of being "certified." They have to. They are contractually obligated to recruit you for the franchiser who wants your dues and the opportunity to sell you stuff. We will tell you we severed the tie with franchise sailing education in 2011 because the hustle was disquieting and the curriculum diluted and packaged.

It sounded plausible when it began: A privately held for-profit company in California and an east coast not-for-profit, both establishing standards and authorizing certification under their authority. The first and most obvious problem is that standardization and sailing are not a good fit. Students on the Columbia River should not expect to work from the same curriculum as students on Minnesota lakes and San Diego Bay. Over time another has appeared, one as old as humanity. When you get through the fog it appears that generating income is far too often the priority for franchisers and franchisees alike. If you have enough cash you can, in three or four days, collect a handful of certificates that declare you a competent sailor! And everyone including you knows you are not! So the paper is simply not respected by most of the sailing community.

But don't take our word for it. Talk to veteran sailors. Or better yet, ask the bareboat charter company you might want to rent a boat from. Unless they are themselves sellers of some sort of certfication (as a few are) they will tell you that their interest is in your experience: how much time have you served on what boats, on what waters, and in what capacity. They are looking for a reason to say yes to you.

So if you want paper, sorry, we can't help you, but we can help you build an impressive sailing resume'. Our classes are hands-on, not classroom, online, or video-based. All three of our big boat classes are specifically designed to build your experience, and any one of them will brighten your resume', especially Sea Trials because it covers so many miles and includes ocean sailing.

But really. Obviously. Experience trumps paper. Get out there as often as you can. Sail different boats with different people in different places in a variety of conditions. Experience builds competence and confidence, and a well maintained logbook is your affidavit of your experience.

Portland Sailing Center
3335 NE Marine Drive
Portland, Oregon 97211


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