RYA Training Scheme

At present there are no statutory qualifications required for those of us who sail in small boats for leisure purposes in the UK.

Increasingly it can be an advantage to have a recognised qualification for insurance or chartering purposes, but despite the potential introduction of compulsory qualification it remains possible, albeit foolhardy, for anybody to step on board and skipper a boat with little knowledge and no experience. The situation overseas is more complicated with many countries insisting on some written evidence of competence.


The RYA training scheme is an attempt to counter both these problems by persuading people of the benefits of formal tuition whilst providing internationally recognised certificates of competence.

Shorebased and practical courses

Learning to sail is a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. It is of little use to be able to manoeuvre a boat sideways out of a marina if, when at the lock gate, the skipper cannot plot and set a course. Conversely, knowing the difference between an Alpine Butterfly knot and a Constrictor hitch may be academically fascinating but of little practical use if you are unable to tie a clove hitch to secure a fender.

The RYA courses are thus intended to complement one another - the shorebased (theory) courses will give you the knowledge, and the practical courses will give you the opportunity to apply that knowledge at sea under qualified guidance.

With the exception of the Competent Crew course, it is assumed that students attending practical courses will have a good knowledge of navigation and meteorology so that the instructor will be able to concentrate on practical aspects of the syllabus.

Although the courses are progressive, there is no requirement to possess an earlier certificate before enrolling in a later course. For example, if you have a basic knowledge of navigation and seamanship, you may consider enrolling for the Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster course. This is perfectly acceptable and you are not required to have first achieved Day Skipper qualification.

To see the recommended progression through courses, click on the arrow. arrow


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