Why Teaching Sailing is Bad Business

Posted on 12. Sep, 2012 by in Opinion

Over the past two summers I have taught Sailing at Nepean Sailing Club. First in White Sail, then in Bronze. The following is an account of why I don’t think teaching sailing is a good summer job (unless of course you are going into education and are really just looking for something to put ion your resume). The biggest issue with teaching sailing really two-fold. First there is a very high initial investment of time and money required to get to the point where you can even teach sailing. Secondly as a university student who finishes school in May, sailing schools are only running 2 out of the 4 months you are available to work.

The minimum requirement for teaching sailing at the lowest level (CANSail 1 &2) is CANSail 3 (though that will soon be CANSail 4), that totals 3 months of sailing school instruction needed to get to that level. Nepean Sailing Club has some of the lowest rates for learning to sail while BYC has some of the highest so I will use both to come up with a reasonable average.

If we are to use the cost of $450 per two week Lear-to-Sail session then $450 x 6 = $2700 is the cost of getting the required levels to teach CANSail 1&2.

The next step in becoming an instructor is getting certified to instruct. The cost of the 5 day (2 weekends) CANSail 1&2 instructor course is $600, as there is no guarantee that you live close to the course (I did not), there is ~$180 in gas costs and $300 in hotels. This totals $1080 for the course as a whole.

The new trend for instructor clinics is to leave the instructor as “Trained” so that they can go teach but still have to be re-evaluated in a classroom setting, to confirm their skills (at the additional cost of $100).

Along with your instructor certifications most clubs require (and the CYA is moving to mandate this as well) that all instructors have valid Standard First Aid, and some form of water rescue certification (Boat Rescue, Bronze Cross, Bronze Medallion, etc.). All of this comes at a cost. The costs for those courses are all around $150.

Finally there is the CYA instructor fee of $160 which covers course material, certificates, programs, and their instructor insurance (probably the only good thing about that fee).

All in all there are many fees involved in becoming a sailing instructor. By the ball-park calculations I have done here the cost total comes out to ~$4200. This is of course only half the story as one tends to forget the man-hour cost; 3 moths of summer you put in as a kid and the months of weekend you put in as an aspiring instructor to get the correct certifications.

Using the cost of $4200 we can then compare that to what your average sailing instructor would make in a season. At about $11.75/hour working 40 hour weeks for 8 weeks a year you make $3760 in your first summer. Thus your first summer teaching sailing you will spend recouping you cost and will end up with $440 less than what you started with.

So in conclusion, if you are going into education, don’t think you will be able to find a better paying, more enjoyable job, and are prepared to work for only part of the time you are off school then by all means, teach sailing. For the rest of us who don’t fall into that category, well, don’t waste your time.

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