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FAQ's: RYA Personal Watercraft (PWC) Proficiency Course

How much will the RYA PWC Proficiency course cost including exam fees?

Typicaly prices start at £149 (approx. $225 or 208 EUROS) including fuel, use of the vessel and safety equipment.

What will you get out of it?

Jet skis are a lot of fun, with the ability to fly across the water at speed, and surf big waves. They are the watercraft of choice for lifeguards, and are used by government and military alike, and are even used to help surfers get enough speed to surf the biggest waves in the world.

In the UK you don’t need any qualifications to go afloat. Personal Watercraft (PWCs or Jet Skis) have endangered this tradition because of some very high profile accidents where people have been seriously injured by irresponsible users of PWCs.

This course teaches you how to use such a craft safely and responsibly, showing you where you can and can’t go, and what to do if you have a problem. 

What are your limits on passing the PWC Proficiency course?

You will be better equipped to take a jet ski out in most conditions, as well as learning what those safe limits are.

Is it a shorebased theory course, practical or both?

There is an element of theory but a lot of the one day course will be afloat (practical). You will learn maritime laws and safety techniques ashore, but will also go out on the water to learn how to manoeuvre safely.

Can you take it in another country?

Yes. You can take this Personal Watercraft course anywhere in the world that is accredited by the RYA to teach it. 

What level of experience do you need before you begin it?

None, there are no prerequisites required.

How long does this take to complete?

It only takes one day.

What does the course involve?

The course is roughly half shorebased and half theory.


  • You will learn the parts of the boat, and basic safety checks
  • You will also cover the Rules of the Road, and basic pilotage and navigation skills.


  • You will learn about launching the vessel and low speed manoeuvres.
  • You will cover piloting the boat as you navigate up a waterway.
  • You will cover courtesy to other water users, and high speed manoeuvres.
  • You will finally learn about safety techniques such as what to do in a capsize or when you’ve fallen off, as well as towing a jet ski that has broken down.

How do you progress after?

Once you have completed this course you should consider a more advanced RYA Powerboat course for better navigation and safety skills.

Does the PWC proficiency course give you international accreditation?

You automatically qualify for an International Certificate of Competence for a PWC upon paying a small fee to the RYA. Consider getting this should you wish to go abroad with your jet ski as other countries are a bit tougher on jet ski users than UK authorities.

Further Resources - Where to learn more.

Check out the official RYA page.  You can also take a look at the syllabus here.

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