Unravelling the RYA Cruising Scheme: Choosing the Right Course for Your Yachting Adventures

A man studying a chart and plotting his route. This represents you planning your journey through the RYA Yachting qualifications.

Hello there, future sailors and seasoned sea dogs alike! As a professional RYA instructor, I am thrilled to guide you through the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) Cruising Scheme, both Sail and Motor. This structured scheme is designed to help you step confidently into the exciting world of boating, irrespective of your skill level. Let’s embark on this voyage together, as I detail each course, its prerequisites, and the qualifications you’ll gain.

Starting Your Journey

Start Yachting (Sail) and Start Motor Cruising (Motor)

These entry-level courses are perfect for beginners looking for a short introduction to sailing or motor cruising. No previous experience is needed; just bring your enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn.

You’ll earn the Start Yachting or Start Motor Cruising certificate, symbolising your initiation into the maritime world and your ability to be a helpful crew member under supervision.

Building Fundamental Skills

Essential Navigation and Seamanship (Sail and Motor)

This theory course is an excellent progression from the Start courses. It provides essential knowledge about navigation and safety, beneficial for every crew member. No prerequisites are needed.

The Essential Navigation and Seamanship certificate will validate your basic theoretical knowledge, laying a foundation for safe navigation in familiar waters.

Competent Crew (Sail) and Helmsman (Motor)

These practical courses are aimed at individuals who have completed the Start Yachting or Start Motor Cruising courses or have equivalent experience.

The Competent Crew certificate (Sail) or Helmsman certificate (Motor) you’ll earn signifies that you have the essential skills to be an active crew member and can handle and sail a yacht or motor cruiser under supervision.

Taking the Helm

Day Skipper Shorebased (Sail and Motor)

This theory course is best if you have some basic understanding of navigation (like from the Essential Navigation and Seamanship course) and some practical experience (like from the Competent Crew or Helmsman course). However, it does start from the basics so it could be taken with no prior knowledge.

The Day Skipper Shorebased certificate will authenticate your understanding of basic navigation, meteorology, and seamanship theory, preparing you for skippering a yacht in familiar waters. With the Day Skipper Practical certificate it not only provides you with a licence which can be used to charter vessels or skipper vessel abroad, but will also automatically entitle you to an ICC (International Certificate of Competence).

Day Skipper Practical (Sail and Motor)

You’ll need to have completed the Day Skipper Shorebased course or have equivalent knowledge before enrolling in this course.

With the Day Skipper Practical certificate, you can confidently skipper a small yacht or motor cruiser in familiar waters by day. Moreover, it allows you to skipper in most countries around the world, charter vessels, and combined with the theory course it qualifies you to apply for an International Certificate of Competence (ICC), often required for bareboat charter in Mediterranean countries.

Why not take the first step to being the captain of your own vessel? We offer a free trial of our Day Skipper Shorebased course! Sign up today and start your journey to mastering the seas.

Advanced Navigation and Skippering

Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore Theory (Sail and Motor)

This advanced theory course is designed for those with Day Skipper level knowledge.

By gaining the Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore Theory certificate, you confirm your in-depth theoretical knowledge, preparing you for more challenging coastal and offshore passages.

Aspiring for a prestigious maritime career or just want to explore the thrill of extensive offshore sailing? Our Yachtmaster Offshore Theory course is just the stepping stone for you! Don’t miss the chance to experience a free trial of this course. Dive into this unparalleled learning experience today!

Coastal Skipper Practical (Sail and Motor)

Having completed the Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore Theory course, or having equivalent knowledge, is a prerequisite for this practical course, along with 15 days at sea including 300 miles, 8 night hours, and 2 days as skipper.

As a holder of the Coastal Skipper Practical certificate, you can skillfully skipper a yacht or motor cruiser on coastal passages, navigating by day or night, and handling the vessel in various weather conditions. This also provides an upgraded licence to the Day Skipper.

Expert Level Certificates

Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence (Sail and Motor)

To qualify for this examination, you must have considerable experience as a skipper, along with 30 days at sea including 800 miles, 12 night hours, and 2 days as skipper.

With the Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence, you can confidently skipper a yacht or motor cruiser on passages up to 60 nautical miles from a safe haven. This certificate is recognized by many maritime authorities worldwide and is often used professionally.

Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence (Sail and Motor)

To reach for this prestigious certificate, you need extensive skippering experience, including significant time offshore, along with 50 days at sea including 2,500 miles, and 5 days as skipper.

This globally recognized Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence empowers you to skipper a yacht or motor cruiser for passages of any length, up to 150 nautical miles from shore, anywhere in the world. It is most often required for professional work on yachts.

Master of the Seas

Yachtmaster Ocean Theory (Sail and Motor)

For those aiming for the pinnacle of maritime qualifications, this theory course requires a strong base of skippering and navigation experience.

The Yachtmaster Ocean Theory certificate certifies your understanding of global passage planning and celestial navigation.

Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence (Sail and Motor)

This exam necessitates substantial ocean-passage experience as a skipper or mate, and a Yachtmaster Offshore certificate.

The Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence signifies that you are competent to make ocean passages as a skipper or mate, a recognition that carries significant prestige and is recognized globally.

The RYA cruising scheme provides a clear pathway for anyone looking to step into the world of boating. Every certificate gained along the way is a testament to your abilities and dedication. Whether you’re an enthusiast seeking personal growth or someone pursuing a career in maritime, these RYA courses will help you navigate your course to success.

For more personalised advice or further information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our experienced advisors are more than happy to guide you in choosing the right course for your maritime dreams.

Happy sailing!

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