The Royal Yachting Association is the foremost organisation in Britain for all things boating related.
They connect sailors with boats, crews with captains and buyers with sellers – but one of their most important functions is the courses they offer, which cover a variety of different boating skills. RYA courses allow both beginners and advanced sailors to build both general sailing skills and competence in specific vessels or situations.
Here’s an overview of some of the most popular RYA courses.
This is the definitive course to take for anyone who wants to build a foundation of sailing skill as the captain of a yacht.
The Day Skipper course is an internationally recognised certificate, and will open up sailing opportunities for you around the world in countries that require compulsory certification for yacht skippers.
The course emphasises the captain’s role, and the focus is on teaching you how to take charge of the ship, call the shots and handle all the responsibility that entails.
The course does require some previous yachting experience, alongside basic navigation and sailing skills.
Day Skipper courses are tailored to either sail or motor boats, and performed and certified in either tidal or non-tidal waters, depending on your preference.
If you’d love to live and work as a crew member on a luxury yacht, or if your dream is to one day sail competitively, then the RYA Competent Crew course is a great choice.
Over the course of five days, you’ll be thoroughly trained in the essential on-board skills, including handling of sails, ropes and steering, and you’ll build an intimate knowledge of the boat and its components.
The course is a great choice for anyone who wants to sail as a crew member competitively – the competent crew certificate is your ‘table stakes’, and serves to send a clear signal to discerning captains that you know your way around a ship.
The Coastal Skipper course picks up where the Day Skipper course leaves off, and takes things to the next level with advanced offshore training.
It nicely sets you up to navigate coastal waters and offshore passages.
The course briefly revisits the basics, and then swiftly moves on to more advanced techniques, such as the plotting of weather systems and position finding with electronic equipment. It also covers customs and excise regulations which may be relevant when cruising in foreign waters.
If you intend to sail on the open water, then it pays to become familiar with best practice for survival at sea.
The RYA Sea Survival course gives you a thorough grounding in how to use the safety equipment on board your boat. It covers liferaft contingencies, and gets you familiar with the use of lifejackets and equipment. You’ll come away with an understanding of basic medical procedures and search and rescue techniques.
The course also includes a practical session in a swimming pool, which allows you to experience the challenges of entering a liferaft first hand – so that should the worst happen at sea, you’ll be thoroughly prepared to handle it.
We’ve covered the more general courses offered by the RYA, but they also offer a host of short, specialist courses too. You can take an RYA course that builds your competence on particular vessels such as dinghies, multihulls or powerboats, and you can also undertake competitive race training.
Naturally, all these courses can be booked through The Boating Hub, for trainings around the UK and Europe. Have a browse through our course listings for locations and dates.