ASA enacts moratorium on new sailing schools

LOS ANGELES – The American Sailing Association (ASA) will no longer accept applications for new sailing schools, beginning Sept. 15, it reported in a recent statement.

The association said this is the first time in its 24-year history that it has enacted a moratorium on accepting applications for new sailing schools within the United States. The moratorium, which will last at least one year, is part of a dedicated effort to continue to improve quality at the 270 professionally accredited sailing schools currently affiliated with ASA worldwide, according to the association.

ASA’s six-member board of directors unanimously made the moratorium decision at a recent meeting in Marina Del Rey, Calif. During this moratorium, ASA will continue to certify instructors and students at schools affiliated with ASA. Schools already accredited with ASA before the Sept. 15 deadline will not be affected.

“We take seriously our mission to continue to improve quality control among our existing schools,” said ASA Executive Director Charlie Nobles. “This moratorium will provide important time to concentrate our efforts on enacting a comprehensive new program of quality control initiatives. By not bringing in new affiliates after September 15, our organization’s staff and resources will be available to fully support these quality control goals.”

ASA’s new online certification system will provide a key component of ASA’s new quality control efforts. The system streamlines the process for instructors to gain certifications for their students, according to the association. Instead of submitting multiple pages of paperwork via mail or fax, ASA’s new online system allows instructors to file qualifying paperwork online.

“Our new system also quickens the time it takes for students to receive their ASA certifications to only a few days after an instructor has submitted the request to ASA online,” said Nobles, who spearheaded the project in collaboration with the ASA board of directors.

The new system forms the cornerstone of the new quality control system by allowing ASA to e-mail every graduating sailing student a customer survey questionnaire, the association stated. Once completed, the forms are e-mailed back to ASA, allowing staff to identify in real time any practices that do not conform to the organization’s standards.

According to Nobles, “The online student feedback system is a substantial improvement over the paper questionnaires students must mail back to the ASA. It will improve both the participation rate among students and the depth of the information gathered. Should we detect a potential problem area, we follow-up with a phone call to any school that merits concern to discuss the situation.”

Nobles urged sailors interested in establishing an ASA-affiliated school to submit their applications before the September 15 moratorium deadline. He said exceptions to the moratorium may be made for applicants starting a school in an area that is underserved and has no other sailing schools nearby or for schools located outside the United States.

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