New Zealand Date/Time:
Sat, Mar 24, 2018, 12:04:08 AM
RYA Practical Courses


Powerboat training can be conducted on either one of our dedicated training vessels or on your own boat. Whether you’re just starting out, have a family member you just can’t teach, or have quite a lot of experience and want to take the next step…we have the course for you!


With a minimum age requirement of 8 years old this one day course is ideal for people completely new to boating as a general introduction to safe boat handling.


A fully comprehensive two day course covering all practical skills and background knowledge to be a competent powerboat driver which can be attended by complete beginners wanting to take the step to becoming responsible powerboat drivers, or by those who have some powerboat driving and on-water experience under their belt who wish to fine tune their skills.


This 2 day course is aimed at those with developing powerboat driving skills who would like to start exploring more of their local area and completing longer trips by day. Students should have a knowledge of navigation to CBES Dayskipper level and a valid First Aid qualification and VHF certificate are strongly recommended, along with driving skills to Level 2 standard.


Development and fine tuning of coastal navigation and pilotage skills for planing vessels during day and night passages in familiar or unknown waters. This course runs over a weekend and consists of 2 days and 1 night of training and is aimed at experienced powerboat drivers wishing to fine tune their higher level skills. Students should have a knowledge of navigation to CBES Boatmaster level and must hold a valid First Aid qualification and a VHF certificate.


An 8 hour practical on water training course developed specifically for operators of yacht club safety boats and the like.
The RYA Practical Courses on offer perfectly compliment the wide range of CBES theory courses, giving you the perfect opportunity to learn by doing, and have a great time doing it!

What types of boats are best to learn to sail on?

Younger people from 10 to 14 years wanting to learn to sail, are usually taught in an Optimist sailing dinghy.

If you are planning to sail a keelboat you should learn to sail on a keelboat and you’ll learn so much more than just the basic sailing skills. You learn how to take the yacht out of the marina and manoeuvre it on the engine. You also learn how to anchor the yacht safely and reef the sails when the wind increases.

Yachting NZ and Royal Yachting Association (RYA) sail cruising courses are recommended, as they are run by highly qualified instructors, on easy to handle keelboats, usually no bigger than 37 foot. They teach small classes, a maximum of 4 people, which ensures you receive individualised tuition.

What qualifications do I need to charter a yacht?

In the last few years charter companies have become more concerned about what qualifications you have.
Some insurance companies won’t insure the boats unless you hold internationally recognised qualifications.

RYA courses are recognised world wide and particularly in the Mediterranean, where one person on board must hold an RYA Day Skipper Practical Certificate and one person a Competent Crew Certificate. The Day Skipper Practical Certificate is achieved by completing a Coastguard Boatmaster theory course, followed by a 5 day, 4 night Practical Day Skipper course, at a RYA registered sailing school.

An International Certificate  of Competence (ICC) is a 3 hour practical assessment available for experienced sailors. This can be done at an RYA sailing school.

How much does it cost to learn to sail?

Prices for a child to learn to sail in an Optimist sailing dinghy at a local yacht club, range from $300 to $400 depending on the length of the course and yacht hire charges. To learn to sail a keelboat, the Start Yachting beginners course is 10 hours over 2 days and costs about $600. Prices for the 5 day, 4 night courses are $2,000 which includes all meals and materials used.

What is the best sailing qualification internationally?

Each country recognises their own yachting association certification. But for guaranteed internationally recognized qualifications, you need Royal Yachting Association qualifications, taught at over 2,200 schools worldwide, including NZ.

Suzanne Bourke; Sailing Instructor, Sailing Away School of Sailing, Auckland.

Sail Nelson