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Course FAQ’s: ASA 108 Offshore Passagemaking

What will you get out of the course?

The ASA offshore Passagemaking course will enable the experienced coastal sailor to take the leap into oceanic sailing. This might be for a passage to Bermuda from New England or from CA to Hawaii, as well as longer routes across the Atlantic, Pacific and beyond.  

How much does the ASA 108 Offshore Passagemaking course cost including exam fees?

The course will typically cost around $5,500 (approx. £3,575 or 4,870 EUROS) depending on where you take it, and the time of year you do it.

What are your limits on passing the ASA 108 course?

This is one of the top courses in the American Sailing Association scheme. You will be able to sail a vessel as mate or skipper on a route requiring celestial navigation.

Is the course theory or practical based?

This is a heavily theoretical course done afloat. You will be expected to take sun and star sights from the boat, as well as show a high level of sailing ability and prove yourself capable of sailing in most weather conditions.

Where can you take it?

You can take it at any ASA accredited sailing school with the facilities and accreditation to offer the course. 

Can you do this in another country?

Yes, ASA accredited schools can be found in many countires around the world.

What are the prerequisites for this course?

You will need to have completed all of the the ASA sailing courses from ASA 101 to ASA 107. These are shorebased and practical courses and you should have gained a considerable amount of sailing experience to achieve them.

How long does the course take?

20 days, though you must complete a 3 day offshore passage as well upon completion of the course and keep a log of sun and star sights in order to get the final certification. This must be completed within 12 months of the course being completed.

What does the ASA 108 Offshore Passage Making course involve?

A full description of what you will learn on the course is available on the ASA website here. Essentially, from a world where you can relatively easily get the help you need from emergency services ashore, you will be prepared for a passage where you will have to be largely self sufficient. This requires a high level of preparation for such a passage, as well as an awareness of how to fix most issues that arise.

One of those issues is finding where you are when your electronics have gone down and when too far offshore to get a fix on the land. This is where celestial navigation comes in. If you’re closer to Bermuda than the East Coast when it happens then Bermuda is the safer bet, but is easily missed with inaccurate celestial sights…

How do you progress once you complete the course?

This is the top ASA certification. It is recommended that you consider some auxiliary courses offered by the ASA to get your skills to as high a standard as possible.

Does it give you international accreditation?

Unfortunatley, no! But it should provide the skills to help you gain accreditation in most countries.

Where can I learn more about the ASA 108 Passagemaking course?

Further Resources;

Have a look at the ASA website for details as to what the course entails, or take a look at this webpage for a more detailed insight into the knowledge and skills you will learn.

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