Boating Courses

Boating courses

Why go boating?

If you want to get away from the daily grind of the modern world, there is nothing as satisfying as taking to the water and the options are endless. From the slow pace of a narrow boat on the canals, to the social scene of relaxing with friends on a luxurious cruiser, experiencing the excitement of sailing a yacht, or the exhilaration of a power boat, there is something to suit everyone.

Whether you are a complete novice, someone who wants to brush up on old skills or add to those already learned, or simply to add more theoretical knowledge to your practical capabilities, the range of boating courses is vast, with numerous training centres and charter companies based all over the world. Here are some of the most popular courses which they supply:-

The RYA (Royal Yachting Association) courses are recognised world wide as a yardstick of competence and most of the reputable sailing schools offer these courses. They include courses on:-

  • Sail Cruising – living on board, coastal and offshore cruising. Courses range from basic ones for complete novices such as "Start Yachting" and "Competent Crew", through "Day Skipper" to "Coastal Skipper" and "Yachtmaster" for those who wish to skipper a boat on longer offshore passages.
  • Motor Cruising – for new boat owners, first timers and more experienced skippers. The Helmsman's course covers the basics of boat handling, engine checks and safety, while there are also Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster courses specifically for power boats.
  • Navigation and seamanship theory – shore based courses, available on line or in the class room. These range from an introductory course, through to those which complement the Day Skipper, Coastal and Yachtmaster practical courses, as well as a theoretical Ocean Yachtmaster course.
  • Inland waterways – hands on course with a minimum of theory. This Helmsman's one day course assumes no prior knowledge and is designed for those on small cruisers, narrow boats and barges.
  • Power boating – courses in small powerboats including RIBs, sports boats and small launches. The courses range from teaching the basics in Level 1 and 2, through to Intermediate and Advanced for those who want to use their boat, day or night, in unfamiliar waters and challenging conditions.
  • Small boat sailing – dinghy, keel boat and multi-hull courses for beginners, intermediate and advanced sailors, designed for both children and adults.
  • Specialist short courses – usually one day courses, these are designed to stand alone or to complement other practical and theory courses. They range from training in diesel engines, marine radios, sea survival, radar, safety, working commercially and first aid.
  • Windsurfing – courses designed for all ages, from beginners to advanced windsurfers.
  • Personal watercraft – one day courses designed for Jet Ski riders, ranging from first timers to the experienced rider.
  • Commercial endorsements – these are for those have the required qualifications and who wish to take their sailing to a more professional level and work in the industry.

UKSA, (United Kingdom Sailing Academy) based at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, is a charity involved in personal development and maritime education. It is run as an Academy, with onsite accommodation. Their courses are focused in four areas:-

  • Career training – courses leading to maritime certificates of competence, academic qualifications and employment.
  • Schools and groups – helping to develop personal and social skills through water sports.
  • Disability – providing opportunities for disabled people to experience yachting and water sports and to develop skills and confidence.
  • Yacht racing – giving opportunities for young people to develop the team skills and personal confidence needed for the challenge of high performance racing.

The ASA, (American Sailing Association) is the leading authority on sailing instruction in the United States. It has a network of certified sailing schools and instructors, offering basic sailing lessons, right through to advanced courses and including electronic and astral navigation and advanced passage making. Their Bareboat Skipper course is the most popular and they also offer courses specifically for catamarans.

The sheer amount of information and range of boating courses might be inclined to intimidate a novice with no previous experience. Don't be afraid to have a go. The beginners' courses are designed for people just like you and not only will you learn, but you will make new friends and have great fun. Similarly, if you are rusty and out of practice, there are "brush up" courses to fill in the gaps that you have forgotten or might never have known. Basically, if you need a course, then there is the right one somewhere to suit your needs. It is easy enough to search the websites for the course that suits you and then find a friendly and helpful sailing school to provide it. Good luck!

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