Boating Career Paths – Becoming A Sailing Instructor

Posted on March 12, 2013 by Lee under Competent Crew, RYA, Sailing, Sailing Training Courses Comments Off on Boating Career Paths – Becoming A Sailing Instructor

Some get into the world of boating just for the sheer fun of it, but for others it becomes the gateway to the most incredibly enjoyable and prosperous career they could have ever imagined. And more often than not, the first career path that comes to mind for millions is that of the sailing instructor – having been inspired by their own instructors and now intent on sharing their own teachings.

So, what does the job of the sailing instructor involve and who can apply for such a role?


sailing instructor

The ‘Sailing Instuctor’ Job

The job of a sailing instructor is, unsurprisingly, teaching a person or group of people how to sail small and large boats on various waterways and in the open sea. There are thousands of variations in terms of instructor specialisms or limitations, but most will teach the more common variants of sailing which include yachting, powerboat driving, windsurfing and dinghy sailing.

The best resource for advice and information on all varieties of boating and countless roles performed by the sailing instructor is the official RYA website.

Working Hours

Self-employed sailing instructors are able to pick and choose their own hours, but those working for clubs or training centres will usually find that anything goes, seven days a week. Chances are that evenings and weekends will often prove some of the busiest times as learners fit their lessons into their standard working schedules. Also, depending on the place in the post is taken it, it could very well prove that work is only offered on a seasonal basis as no lessons are carried out during the colder months of the year.

That being said, theory courses are run all year – as too are safety and First Aid courses which also take place indoors.


Wages vary exponentially depending on the position itself, the experience of the instructor and also the area in which they are posted. Nevertheless, powerboat and dinghy sailing instructors usually earn in the region of £13,000 to £20,000 a year, while those teaching for Yachtmaster qualifications may be looking more at £50 to £100 per day.


In order to become an officially certified sailing instructor, a person must first have completed all necessary and recognised RYA courses. Exactly which courses will of course vary depending on the career path chosen, but will for all include abundant theory, the accumulation of sufficient miles at sea and the essential First Aid training. All applicants must be at least 16 years of age, able to swim strongly, in good physical health and competent in all aspects of small boat piloting.

Once all of the above boxes are ticked, there are several RYA instructor training courses to choose from in order to take the next step toward becoming an instructor.

Further Training

It is however highly recommended that no person entering the industry ceases their training and development once they themselves become a qualified tutor, as there are limitless opportunities out there for further RYA training and certification  –  all of which can add huge benefits to an already blossoming career.

Are you interested in a sailing instructor career? Leave your thoughts below.


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