The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) sailing qualifications have been voted the premiere sailing accreditation for excellence and global reputation following a recent survey targeting 200 professional yacht charter companies. The professional charter companies that were surveyed own and manage in excess of 6,000 charter yachts across the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Asia.  

Seamaster Yachting Survey

This survey, undertaken by British yacht charter agency, Seamaster Yachting, was conducted in response to the growing requirement for sailing qualifications by local yacht charter authorities. Where once a very loose approach prevailed, this is now tightening considerably, particularly in the Mediterranean where some sailing holidays companies had even issued their own 'licenses'.

Consequently, there is an increasing international demand for sailing accreditations by sailors looking beyond their own local accreditations. 

The survey asked the yacht charter companies to rate the quality and international reputation of sailing accreditations from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, New Zealand, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the USA.  

Scores on the doors

On average, across all of the respondents, the British RYA regime was rated an impressive 9.28 out of 10 by the yacht charter companies, followed by the German Sailing Association (Deutscher Segler-Verband) with 8.7 out of 10. The Russian qualification scored a rating of 5.6 out of 10.  

Berni Blaha, who runs a charter company in Turkey, commented: "I have been in the yacht charter industry for eight years and recently we have seen an improvement in skippers’ abilities and qualifications, notably those charter guests with the RYA training course accreditation. Those charter guests holding an RYA qualification have significantly decreased the volume of damage on charter boats and saved our labour costs for repairs."  

Stringent requirements

Tim Anderson, managing director of Seamaster Yachting, who has worked in the UK yacht charter industry for the past decade, added: "We are seeing in the yacht charter market a transition towards a more stringent requirement for quality sailing qualifications, which can only be a good thing for the wellbeing of both boats and the people operating them. Thankfully the days of sailing holiday companies issuing their own mock certificates to even novice sailors, whereby exposing other sailors and insurance companies to unnecessary risk, are rapidly coming to an end."  

Professional yacht charter skipper, Thomas Karanatsis from Greece, said: "I chose the RYA qualification because simply, it is the most respected worldwide. Since I wasn't only interested in the Greek sailing market for professional opportunities, I knew I had to sign up to the RYA course in order to pursue a sailing career internationally."  

Quality assurance

Upon hearing the results of the survey RYA Training Manager and Chief Examiner, Richard Falk, had the following to say:  “We are very proud of the outstanding work done by our 2,500 RYA Recognised Training centres around the world. However, there is nothing quite as flattering as independent confirmation of the quality of RYA training from the companies that see so many RYA qualification holders use their services each year.  

“Our instructors are passionate about what they do and I am delighted that the quality of RYA training is as evident to those within the charter industry as it is to those who actually deliver the training.  Money and time spent on RYA training is a sound investment in ensuring you get the skills and qualifications you have paid for.”