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processus de formation

Overview of the CANSail instructor program:

  • Gather your prerequisites
  • Attend a Fundamental Course (two amd a half-day theory course, between March and April)
  • Attend a practical course (five-day course in a sailing school, May to June)
  • Follow a module (optional)
  • Register for an evaluation (the summer after the practical course or the next)
  • Register for a re-certification (every three years)

You will find the description of these steps below:

The Fundamental Course

Instructor training starts with the Fundamental Course. It is a theory course usually taking place between March and April during a week-end. This course provides candidates with pedagogical and teaching resources. They will also learn how to plan a course, how to install and preserve a safe environment, how to supervise a group, how to make ethical decisions, etc.

The Fundamental course is a mandatory part of the training process enabling CANSail instructors to enter the NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program).

The Practical Course

During a five- day clinic taking place between May and late June, candidates learn how to teach their lesson on water, how to plan it, how to coach and advise the students.

Candidates also practice their driving skills with the coach boat. Practical sessions, theory courses, sailing, preparation, correction and group reflection on the lessons give candidates the resources and skills to teach sailing.

At the end of the clinic, the candidate is evaluated by the Learning Facilitator, and he either becomes a trained instructor or, in case he doesn’t meet the standards, he remains an instructor in training.
To try again, the candidate can register for a retake.

Due to COVID-19, the practical course has been adapted. In order to minimize face-to-face time in a closed space, an online theoretical course given in May covers the theoretical part of this training. The part on the water is always given over two weekends (from Friday evening to Sunday evening) and now includes the boating safety course.

The Evaluation: from trained to certified instructor

Once the candidates have obtained the trained status at the end of their practical course, and after having followed online modules as indicated by their Learning Facilitator, they have several essential things to do.

The first is to pay their annual Sail Canada membership by logging into their account.
It is absolutely mandatory to have their membership up to date in order to teach as a Sail Canada – Voile Québec instructor and in order to be covered by the insurance (for details concerning the insurance for Sail Canada instructors, please see: Skippers'plan - Voile Canada)

After their practical course, instructors are trained for a two-year period during which they will have to be evaluated. For their evaluation, a Learning Facilitator comes to their sailing school and attends one of the trained instructor’s lessons. From what he has observed, the Learning Facilitator certifies or not the instructor.

Be advised that beyond the two year period, instructors lose their trained status and have to follow a whole new practical course in order to get their trained status back.

An instructor is certified for a period of three years starting at the end of their Practical Course.
When that period comes to end, instructors have to pass a new evaluation to be certified for three more years only if the instructor has been active and an up to date member of Sail Canada. If not, or if the certified instructor has waited for more than three years, he will have to follow a two-day recertification or retake.

It is therefore paramount to keep an up to date status. Not doing so may have legal consequences (not covered by the Sail Canada instructor insurance), financial consequences (you will have to pay for extra-training such as the recertification), and an impact on the quality and safety of your lessons. To check that you are up to date, log into your account.

Optional Modules

Optimist Module

It takes place in a sailing school, with a group of students, and is organized by a senior Learning Facilitator. Any instructor trained or certified can attend. Future instructors can therefore register for this course and attend it right after their practical course. On this module, which will count amongst your qualifications, you will discover a whole package of resources on how to teach, supervise, and encourage your students. Along with the teaching resources, candidates will consider advanced sails trim and other specific aspects of the boat.

Windsurf Module

This two-day module provides instructors with the resources to teach windsurf. It is indispensable to already be a qualified windsurfer to join the clinic. Any instructor either trained or certified can attend the module.

Module Spinnaker and Trapeze

This module provides instructor with the opportunity to deliver CANSail Spinnaker and trapeze accreditation.

Retake and re-certification



This two-day clinic enables instructor in training who failed their practical course evaluation to retake it.


All certified instructors have to renew their certification after three years from the date of their practical course.

They can do it by applying for an evaluation at the very strict condition that the instructor has been active during these three years, that he has an up to date Sail Canada profile and membership, and that the three year period is not over. In case you have not worked for one or more year, or if you have not kept your prerequisites up to date, etc., you will apply for a recertification. In order to recertify you, a learning facilitator will attend your lessons and give you his observations during two days.

Period of validity of your certifications

CANSail Instructor trained: two years from the date of the practical course:

  • Before the end of the two-year period, register for an evaluation;
  • If you exceed the two-year period, register for a new practical course.


CANSail Instructor certified: 3 years from the date of the practical course until December 31st of the third year.

  • Before the end of the three-year period, and if you have been active and up to date with Sail Canada dues, register for an evaluation;
  • Beyond the three-year period, or if you have not been active or up to date with your Sail Canada dues, register for a re-certification or a retake.


Re-certification: 3 years from the date of the certification.

As an example, let’s consider James’ profile who has always been up to date with his Sail Canada dues and prerequisites:

  • June 26th 2013: Practical course successful, Trained Status valid until June 26th 2015;
  • July 18th 2014: Evaluation successful, Certified Status valid until December 31st 2016;
  • July 6th 2016: Evaluation Successful, Re-certified Status valid until December 31st 2019.


Each fall, the FVQ organizes a congress during which participants can attend conferences and workshops related to sailing and teaching. By attending the congress, certified instructors have their certification valid for one more year.

End faq

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