All the professional training
programs do is gear
you up to take the relevant USCG exams. It's an exam cram course designed to cover all the written material on the test. It covers a great deal of technical material depending on the exam. There isn't any practical hands on training
The recreational ASA
courses includes time on the water
with a boat
and instructor and cover boat
handling skills as well as regulations
and other technical information. ASA
instructors have to be certified by ASA.
I've never attended any of their classes
but the recreational training I have had I think it comes down to the quality of the instructor. I would call them on the phone
and set up a time to speak with the actual instructor. While the school
has a 30 year reputation you want to know about the instructor more than who they work
for. They may have more than one. You might as well get the one you like best. If you are going to travel all that way it's worth the up front effort.