Newcomers are often surprised to discover that no driving licenses are required for yacht skippers in Britain but the RYA believes that voluntary training encourages higher standards than compulsory certification.
The Government has been persuaded to agree with this policy because of the existence of a first class training scheme available throughout the UK which attracts thousands of yachtsmen and women to take courses in seamanship and safety each year. The need for training becomes painfully obvious to the beginner faced with the problem of simply leaving the Marina. Those brave souls that achieve this will be forcefully reminded of the hazards by the first big wave.
Choosing a School
Each year the RYA publishes a brochure listing all our recognized sea schools, Currently 121 of them. Most operate in the UK with it's tides, weather front, wind of all forces, drizzle, mist and rain as well as warm sunshine. If you can do without the vagaries of British weather you can take a course at one of the schools based overseas. You get virtually guaranteed sunshine, but less opportunity for tidal navigation. Whichever school you choose you will be taught the same syllabus to the same standards by RYA instructors on seaworthy boats. Each school is run by a yacht master instructor who has passed a rigorous test of sailing and teaching ability, ( the pass rate is only 50%) and the boats used have to conform with stringent standards laid down by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (Department of Transport). A team of inspectors checks the schools and, to ensure standards are maintained, the RYA also spot check the yachts at sea using a fast inflatable boat. The end result is a national training scheme copied throughout the world. You can check out our training yacht Silora here.
Choosing a Course
You can enter the cruising scheme at any stage according to your knowledge and experience, there is no requirement to start at beginners' level. If you are unsure whether you are, say, Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper standard, it is often easier to let your instructor advise you during the course. Whichever level you choose will be taught to the best of your ability. Be careful not to overestimate your skills and book on a course beyond your capabilities. When you successfully complete a course the school will issue you with an RYA course completion certificate. Your instructor understands that the problem with taking practical courses is that, as well as demonstrating skills you can deliver with slick efficiency, you must also attempt manoeuvres at which you may not at first succeed. But your mistakes will be corrected (along with everyone else's) and you will end up a better and safer sailor. The instructor will also be aware that you are there because you enjoy yachting and, for most people, the cruise is a holiday as well as a course. Full details of the syllabi and requirements for the courses are given in the cruising log booklets G15 sail and G18 Power. These booklets, available from RYA, all sea schools and many chandlers can be used to record your sea miles and store your certificates. All our courses are RYA certificated except pre flotilla training.
|Start Yachting||Competent Crew|
|Day Skipper||Coastal Skipper|
|Yachtmaster:- Under construction||Sailing Abroad|