After the basics of sailing are mastered comes the process of developing the necessary skills and techniques that are required to improve.
As with most things in life, plenty of practice is required in order to become a better sailor and that is where advanced sailing courses can be useful.
The clue really is in the name, with many of the courses looking to develop existing skills and encourage them to try out new aspects of sailing.
In the long-term development of a sailor, these courses will play a fundamental part, providing them with the necessary skills to advance their potential.
Many of the skills learned will depend on the individual courses being done, but they can range from understanding how to sail in different conditions to how to launch or recover a boat.
Decision-making when sailing can also be of vital importance – a reason why many sailing courses emphasise it – as knowing what to do will make the process safer and enhance confidence in every individual.
Further courses can introduce people to racing environments and the additional pressures that it can bring, as maximising speed in a boat requires a wide mixture of skills.
Level 1 boating courses focus on the basics required to get afloat while under supervision, while Level 2 courses develop these skills further so that people can understand the essential elements of being a good sailor.
This level of ability is seen as a minimum requirement for many advanced courses as sailors who do not possess these skills are deemed unready for advanced sailing education.
Advanced courses develop the ways that sailors go about their time on the water, from slight improvements in technique to trying out new vessels.
RYA first aid courses and those focusing on survival at sea can also be tremendously useful for those trying to develop themselves into more rounded sailors.
The skills picked up on these courses can literally be life-saving, and focus on the essentials that anybody would need to know were they to face an emergency while they were out on the water.
Water can be an unknown quantity, so preparing sailors for all eventualities is the key reasoning behind these types of courses.
They can include aspects such as knowing how to recover people from the water and what essential first aid to administer – a fundamental part of rescue while at sea and a great skill to possess.
Yachtmaster courses focus on the key aspects of yachting, which vary in subtle ways from those required when sailing other craft.
Knowing how to use the various items of equipment in the boat is vital to ensuring the vessel is sailed in the correct manner. This subsequently enhances safety for both the sailor and other water-users.
Deciding which courses could be most beneficial can be tricky, but some useful guidance from The Boating Hub can be found here.
For sailors wishing to learn how to adequately skipper their own boats, day skipper courses could be a solution.
They focus on the basics of seamanship and look to teach sailors about plotting courses, navigation, electronic charts and the potential influence of tides on a journey.
The courses are very intensive and are designed to prepare people to handle their own boats confidently, providing sufficient knowledge of how to navigate well-known waters.