Everything You Need To Know about the RYA Competent Crew Course

Time5 Days, can be split into either 2 sessions (2 days and 3 days), or 3 sessions (2 days each).
PrerequisitesNone required
Min. AgeMinimum age is 12
ExamNone/continuous assessment with your instructor
AimYou will learn about personal safety, seamanship, and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful member of the crew of a cruising yacht.

What Is the RYA Competent Crew Course

The goal of the RYA Competent Crew course is to introduce the complete beginner to sail cruising. You will learn about personal safety, seamanship and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful member of the crew on a cruising sail yacht.

What Does the RYA Competent Crew Allow You To Do?

The RYA Competent Crew course is aimed at being a 5 day live aboard sailing course that teaches you to become a useful crew member on a sail cruising vessel.

Every week will be different as there are so many different ways that the learnings can cover, which can make your specific course, lovely and unique.

Who Can Do an RYA Competent Crew?

The RYA Competent Crew course is open to anyone, including those who have never set foot on a boat before. The only criteria is those under 12 are unfortunately not eligible for the course completion certificate.

If you are a complete newbie to sailing, then this is the course for you.

How Long Does Comp Crew Take?

The RYA Competent Crew is a 5-day live-aboard course, however, some schools may choose to split this over weekends, or indeed, even extend it.

Nobody will become a sailing expert overnight on these RYA Competent Crew courses, but these early crewing skills taught will enable you to progress to future challenges, safe in the knowledge that your initial learnings were taught by an experienced instructor.

Is There a Set RYA Competent Crew Syllabus?

There is indeed a syllabus. Each of the following topics represents a specific part of the learnings that will be covered on an RYA Competent Crew course in varying levels of detail.

Sea terms, parts of a boat, rigging and sails, sail handling, ropework, safety onboard, personal safety equipment, man overboard, emergency equipment, manners and customs, rules of the road, tender usage, meteorology, seasickness, helmsmanship and general duties detail the various aspects of the syllabus.

Read on to learn in a little more detail about how each of these is covered in a little more detail.

A crew member learning the ropes and safely using winches.

What Might I Learn on a Comp Crew Course?

To begin with, students will be instructed on the basic safety areas and methods to be aware of onboard, how to look after yourself, both in moving around the boat and in what safety equipment to wear and of course, what to do in the event of an emergency situation.

The main task throughout the week will be learning and becoming proficient at all the deck work tasks, understanding all the nautical terms and names of the parts of the boat and understanding the basic safety measures on board while doing this.

You will learn all about the sails, how to handle them, learning to understand the different points of sail you can steer the vessel on and other basic sailing principles. Then, of course, there will be the exciting task of learning to helm the vessel under sail. This will include steering both by compass and steering by tell tales while learning to understand how they work.

Throughout the week, other tasks such as learning to tie knots, how to handle the ropes and how to use these to secure the boat when berthing either on a dock or on a mooring.

Other aspects such as the general duties that should be performed as active crew members will be covered, how best to do these to make them as efficient as possible and gaining an understanding of practices and customs we must abide by when sharing our community with other boaters.

While under way you will learn the importance of keeping a lookout, how you can actively carry this out and how you will know if there is a risk of collision with another vessel. You will also be encouraged to keep an eye on the sky and the sea in order to help with the beginnings of your meteorological knowledge.

Finally, during the week you will be instructed on the correct use of the vessel’s tender, a small dinghy, and given the chance to practice and fine tune handling the dinghy under oars.

What Is the Cost of an RYA Competent Crew Course?

As ever, many schools differ in price. We would recommend that you take a look around at the various options and find what suits your needs the best. Cheapest is not often better.

This can range from knowing if you will have to share a cabin while onboard to whether food and berthing charges are included to how many other students you will be sharing your week with.

Where Should I Do My RYA Competent Crew Course?

There are many thoughts on where is best, but to be truthful, it is what works for you best. 

One thought is to do it in an area that you plan to sail in in the future, that way, any specific learnings you take on your RYA Competent Crew course will be incredibly valuable to your future sailing. Another is to consider those factors above, such as berthing costs, food and sleeping situations.

Finally, it is important to know where you might be sailing to. Ideally, you want to be staying in different ports or anchorages each night and even using different methods each night too. For instance, one night on anchor, one on a mooring, one in a port and one long lined ashore. Ideally, you do not want to be returning to the same home port every night.

What Is the Pass Mark for the RYA Competent Crew Course?

There is no specific pass mark as such but very few students fail to reach the competent crew safety level. Even if it turns out you are seasick on the rough days, you can still complete your competent crew course.

A successful pass is achieved so long as you are not a danger to yourself or your fellow crew members whilst onboard and during your RYA Competent Crew course.

What Comes After RYA Comp Crew?

After your RYA Competent Crew, we suggest going on to do your RYA Day Skipper Theory. This is the pre cursor to the the RYA Day Skipper Practical Sail which will advance your RYA Competent Crew skills and progress you to start learning skippering skills.

Ardent Training provides the RYA Day Skipper Theory as an online course where we take you through all the theoretical knowledge to take your sailing skills to the next level. This is done via a combination of video and written lessons aimed at allowing you to learn at your own speed from the comfort of your own home with the added benefit of direct contact with our experienced instructors.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.