Teach Sailing

Instructor Position Description – Volunteer and Paid

Hoofer Sailing Club

General Information: The Hoofer Sailing Club is an equal opportunity employer. We seek to maintain a wide variety of experiences, backgrounds, and identities amongst our instructional staff in an effort to better serve our membership. All employees must abide by the policies, procedures and behavioral standards of the Hoofer Sailing Club, the Wisconsin Union and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Eligibility for Wisconsin Union membership and Hoofer Sailing Club membership in good standing are prerequisites. Instructor positions are considered hourly, seasonal appointments and will terminate at the conclusion of the season.

Approximate sailing season dates (weather dependent):
: April 24 – May 28
: May 29 – August 27
: August 28 – October 29

Hours: Sailing lessons generally occur from 9am through sunset every day of the week. Most lessons are set in 2 or 3-hour blocks. Highest demand for lessons among members is for evenings (after 5pm) and weekends. Scheduling is flexible, and instructors are permitted to schedule their lessons on a week-by-week basis on the fleet(s) of their choice. All paid staff will be expected to periodically work high-demand lesson types and timeframes as assigned by the Lessons Scheduling Coordinator and Head of Instruction, as well as sign up for a minimum amount of security and/or race committee shifts. Volunteer instructors are expected to log 6-12 hours per week. Part time paid staff are expected to log 12-24 hours per week. Full time paid staff are expected to log 24-30 hours per week.

Prerequisite skills:
Instructors should be competent sailors on beginning boats or introductory windsurfers and be able to teach practical skills and sailing theory to beginning sailors. Instructors should be enthusiastic, patient, work well with others, display professionalism in the workplace, and have strong communication skills, including competency in English. Instructors will be expected to adapt to meet the individual needs of lesson participants to the best of their abilities. Instructors must manage their schedule well and always be on time for lessons, trainings and meetings.

: All instructors receive a Hoofer Sailing Club membership for the duration of their employment, although payment of the $16 Hoofer Council fee is required. Membership enables instructors to attend lessons, earn ratings, and use equipment outside of their lessons. The base hourly wage for paid staff is $15.00/hour, with raises available based on teaching experience, certifications (such as US Sailing and ASA) and other qualifications up to a maximum of $19.00/hour.

Volunteer Instructors
: Volunteer instructors are hired to teach sailing using the same criteria as those used to hire paid instructors. Your willingness to volunteer your time and knowledge is deeply appreciated.

Training: Sailing Instructors will be trained in Club-specific policies and procedures by the Head of Instruction. Attendance at Instructor Training Weekend on April 22nd (new staff) and 23rd (all staff) is required. Further instructor development opportunities will be available throughout the summer. Paid staff will earn their hourly rate for all time used on trainings and instructor development seminars. Throughout the season instructors are encouraged to further develop their sailing and/or racing skills and ability to teach on additional fleets to increase future hiring potential. Instructors are encouraged to document their sailing hours for use towards national certifications.

: The performance of instructors will be evaluated during the season by the Head of Instruction.

Instructor Application Procedure

The Application

Each instructor applicant must complete and submit either a New or Returning Sailing Instructor Application, linked below, by 5:00pm CST on Friday February 10th .

New Instructor Application

Returning Instructor Application

The Exam
New instructor applicants who have not worked for the Hoofer Sailing Club within the last three years will be asked to complete a short, written sailing exam. The exam will be held 6:30-8:00pm February 16th. The exam will test fundamental sailing knowledge including sailing terms, wind theory, effective landing and launching, righting a boat, weather helm and more. The format will be fill-in-the-blank & short-answer and will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete. A review of basic sailing information is recommended to prepare and help you do well. The results of the exam are used to help select candidates for instructor interviews. Returning applicants who have taught for the club within the last three years will not be asked to complete the instructor exam.

The Interview

Interviews will be offered to selected new applicants based on the strength of their application and the results of the exam. Selected applicants will receive email notification regarding their interview offer on February 20th. The interview is 30 minutes in length and consists of two parts. The first includes general questions regarding your background, qualifications and interests. The second portion is a short practical teaching assessment, where you will be asked to demonstrate your ability to teach a basic sailing concept (such as upwind sailing, wind clock, etc.) to a small group of your peers. The 30-minute time slot interviews will be scheduled between March 1st and March 10th. Returning instructor applicants do not need to complete an interview.

Out of Town and International Applicants

If travel to Madison is not feasible for the exam and/or interview dates or if you have a conflict, applicants should contact the Head of Instruction in advance to make alternative arrangements, such as a phone or video interview. Submitting the application early and making testing/interviewing arrangements well in advance is especially helpful and strongly encouraged in these situations.

Summer/Fall Applicants

Applications for new instructors are periodically accepted after the start of the sailing season depending on staffing needs. If you are interested in applying outside of the standard hiring dates listed above, please contact the Head of Instruction.


If you have any questions about the application process or instructor position description/expectations, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Head of Instruction by email at headofinstruction@hoofersailing.org or by phone: 608-265-3184.

2023 Instructor Selection and Training Timeline

February 10th | Friday at 5:00pm
Deadline to submit a Sailing Instructor Application.

February 16th | Thursday, 6:30 – 8:00pm
Scheduled time for new applicants to take the Instructor Exam.
Check the “Today in the Union” signs in Memorial Union for room location.

February 20th | Monday
Selected new applicants receive email invitation with instructions detailing how to schedule an interview.

March 1st -10th | TBD
Available times for new applicants to complete their 30-minute interview.
See note for out-of-town applicants on the page above.

March 13th | Monday
All applicants receive notification of their selection status.

April 22nd & 23rd | Saturday and Sunday 10:00am – 3:00pm
Instructor Training Weekend.

April 24th | Monday
Target first date for on-water lessons.
Weather dependent.