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RYA training for professional crew

Professional qualifications that stand out as a badge of quality wherever you want work in the world.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the UK’s National Governing Body for boating and works with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to provide safety guidance and training to small craft users. 

The RYA has the worlds most recognised and comprehensive training and certification system for leisure and small commercial craft users for motorboats, sailing yachts and small powerboats offering courses at over 2,000 RYA Recognised Training Centre’s worldwide.  Their qualifications are known are respected the world over and are recognised by most national authorities and commercial operators.  The RYA Yachtmaster is the ultimate aim of many skippers - both professional and amateur.  It is regarded as the gold standard by many in yachting, and with a commercial endorsement it enables you to professionally skipper a yacht up to 150miles offshore.  Of course, different sailing jobs within different operating limits will require differing levels of expertise and RYA training has qualifications to suit every level.

The training system is very flexible and allows you to dip in and out and pick the correct course for your level of experience whether you are a complete beginner or seasoned seafarer. Their are shorebased courses covering navigation, meteorology, tides and collision regulations and practical courses that put the theory into practice - working on practical crewing, skippering and boathandling. Courses are offered for sailing yachts, motor cruisers and small powerboats.   Each course has its own level of assumed knowledge or pre-course experience. Yachtmaster Offshore requires 50 days at sea, 2,500 miles including at least 5 passages over 60 miles, acting as skipper for at least two of these passages.

You are unlikely to progress far in the industry without the relevant qualifications.

Shorebased courses are standard and cover all types of boats. These courses can be done online or in a classroom.  These are shown in BLUE.

Practical courses are more specific to the type of boat. 

Courses that can be used commercially are in RED

Introductory level

These courses are ideal for anyone new to the sailing who would like to crew or for getting some experience before looking for crewing work in the industry.

Essential Navigation and Seamanship
Two-day introduction to chartwork, vessel systems, safety and maritime terms.  Great for all newcomers and crew.

Powerboat Level 1 & 2

One or two day course for anyone driving a small powerboat and useful for anyone driving a tender. 

Competent Crew
Five-day residential sailing course getting to grips with sailing, safety and living onboard.  

Start Motorcruising/Helmsman 
One or two day courses covering steering, deckwork and helming a motorboat.

Start skippering

These courses are ideal for those with boating experience who are looking to skipper a boat on short passages.

Day Skipper
Five-day navigational foundation training if you skippering a yacht or motorboat on short passages

intermediate Powerboat 
Two-day course covering pilotage and boathandling

Day Skipper for Motor or Sail
Five day courses covering practical application of navigation, skippering and boathandling onboard a boat. 

Advanced Skippering

These courses are fo​r experienced skippers many of which will be looking at working in the industry.

Coastal Skipper Yachtmaster 
In depth training using advanced navigational techniques and often required for commercial work as a skipper - 5 day course.

Advanced Powerboat
Two day course covering day and night navigation and pilotage and rough weather techniques. 

Coastal Skipper motor/sail
Four or five-day course covering night pilotage, advanced boathandling and coastal passage making.

Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore and Powerboat Advanced
These are certificates of competence that are examined by an RYA/MCA examiner, often at the end of a short preparation course at a training centre. These are required for most offshore skippering jobs and some provide entry into the bigger boat qualifications.

Yachtmaster Ocean 
Celestial navigation and ocean weather - 5 day course. Often required for long distance skippering jobs. 

RYA short courses

The RYA offers a host of short courses, some which are good to have and others that are required for commercial use. Courses include: VHF Radio, First Aid, Sea Survival, Radar, Diesel Engine Maintenance and Professional Practices and Responsibilities. 

Commercial Endorsements

A commercial endorsement is required for work on board British flagged vessels subject to the MCA's codes of practice for small commercial vessels.

A number of additional training courses and medical fitness certificates are required to be eligible for a commercial endorsement.

The MCA's codes of practice categorise British flagged commercial yachts according to the type of yacht and the waters in which they operate. It is this categorisation that determines which certificates you will need. 

For a standard commercial endorsement you will need
A commercially endorsable RYA qualification (see above in RED)
Professional Practices and Responsibilites certificate 
An ML5 or ENG1 medical fitness certificate
RYA Basic Sea Survival certificate or STCW Personal Survival Techniques
RYA First Aid Certificate or other acceptable first aid certificate 
RYA SRC Certificate 

Further information on RYA courses and qualifactions is available on their website.
Simon Jinks is a partner in Searegs LLP. His specialisation is in the MCA commercial codes of practice, RYA training and accreditation. He formally managed the Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster programme.   Simon is a Yachtmaster Instructor Examiner and a fellow of the 
Royal Institute of Navigation.



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