RYA training is now delivered at some 2,400 RYA recognised training centres in 58 countries worldwide. So whether you�re just starting out or looking to refresh old skills, there�s an option to suit every ability and location.
�Practical training like the RYA Powerboat Level 2 course is all about getting hands on experience. There�s a set syllabus, but there are always opportunities to learn from what�s around us and obviously location has a significant impact,� says Rachel Andrews, Chief Instructor of the RYA Powerboat Scheme.
�Things like weather, sea state and marine traffic change day-to-day regardless of location and every course will be different, hopefully teaching students how to cope with a variety of conditions. But for some training centres things like marine wildlife, extreme heat and local weather patterns are more common than others.�
Here, we speak to RYA training centres across the globe to find out what sets them apart from the rest.
Cape Town, South Africa
Credit: Sail and Power SA
Principal of Sail and Power South Africa, Peter Daly, has been delivering RYA training both in the UK and further afield for more than 20 years. Now based in Cape Town, South Africa, he�s fallen in love with the friendly people, abundant wildlife and diverse conditions.
�My favourite thing about working here? Where to begin!� says the RYA Powerboat Advanced Trainer and Advanced Powerboat Examiner. �South Africa and the Western Cape is an incredible cruising area and probably one of the most beautiful and diverse in the world. The ocean provides an endless supply of exhilarating spectacles, with almost daily sightings of dolphins, seals, penguins, whales, blooms of jellyfish and night-time bioluminescence.�
The wildlife is a big part of what makes South Africa so appealing, but it can also be disruptive, as Peter explains: �We always have to think about animal welfare and human interaction. This can include everything from keeping a safe distance from whales, to avoiding swimming at anchor due to the Great White Sharks, or it might be chasing seals off of the pontoons, sometimes even the boat!�
Credit: Sail and Power SA
And it�s not just the local wildlife that students need to watch out for, the conditions can be unpredictable too: �In general the weather is pretty amazing,� says Peter. �Imagine the South Coast of England, but with an extra ten degrees. We see a range of conditions, but have to keep an eye out for the south easterly wind that funnels down from the mountain ranges around Cape Town. This can change a flat calm day into 30 knots rather quickly.�
The verdict? �I�ve been so lucky to conduct RYA training in many locations around the world but Cape Town is without doubt the most interesting,� Peter explains. �There�s so much to see and do out on the water and around the coast, I can�t recommend it enough.�
The West Coast of Scotland
The Firth of Clyde on the Western Coast of Scotland is one of the largest areas of sheltered deep water in the British Isles. The perfect playground for boaters and one of the most beautiful cruising destinations in the world, Rod Smith an RYA Powerboat Trainer, says the best part is the stunning scenery.
�There�s a real variety of places to visit, from the larger cities like Helensburgh, to secluded anchorages on the Kyles of Bute. It�s my home stomping ground, but I�m frequently discovering places I�ve never been before,� says Rod.
Kyles of Bute
The range and diversity of destinations is an enormous benefit when conducting courses, as Rod explains: �The conditions can change very quickly but whatever the weather, there�s always somewhere you can go. Whether it�s taking advantage of flat water behind the islands or the more challenging conditions on the open water � from a training perspective, it�s fantastic.�
Also known for the local wildlife, Rod says it�s easy to become complacent: �There�s so much wildlife, we forget how lucky we are to see it. It�s normal to see dolphins, porpoises and seals on a daily basis, in fact, I�d be surprised if we didn�t see any. In the last year I�ve also seen a pod of Orca and more recently a Sea Eagle picking up a Salmon right infront of us � that was very cool.�
But aside from the local wildlife, Rod says the picturesque cruising grounds are often very quiet and it�s not uncommon to be the only boat out on the water. Would he recommend it? �Absolutely, yes!�
Credit: Rachel Andrews
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Having based himself in Florida for the last 26 years, Principal of The Ocean Academy, Steven Jakeway, says there�s nowhere better.
�South Florida is one of the best boating locations in the world,� says the former Yacht Captain. �We have easy access to the Atlantic Ocean as well as hundreds of miles of well-maintained inland waterways with towns, cities and superb facilities along the way. The variety means that even when the Ocean is too rough for smaller boats, there�s always somewhere you can go.�
Of course the climate helps: �The weather is definitely the best part about operating here,� explains Steven. �Other than the occasional hurricane (very rare!) and the usual challenges that come from living and working in a tropical environment, we can generally offer courses all year long, usually in shorts and t-shirts!
It might sound good, but the extreme temperatures can be a challenge too, as Steven explains: �In the summertime especially, heat and sun exposure can be an issue and we have to address this by providing cover on all our training vessels, we also offer sunscreen and plenty of chilled water to the students.�
With so many positives, the area attracts many water users and can be busy all year round. �We have a very active boating culture � think of the Solent on a lovely Saturday in July � it�s like that every weekend,� says Steven. �Many of the water users have had little or no training, it can be a challenge but one that�s easily overcome by a well-prepared visitor. And it�s definitely worth it!�
Tempted? Visit www.rya.org.uk/training to find out more about RYA courses and see where it could take you.
The RYA Powerboat scheme is designed to take you from basic boat handling, right through to carrying out more challenging coastal and night passages. You�ll also cover essential safety and theory knowledge along the way.
The RYA scheme
Whatever your experience there will be a course for you. Find out more - www.rya.org.uk/courses
For supporting information, make sure to check out the RYA Powerboat Handbook (G13) and RYA Advanced Powerboat Handbook (G108). Written by RYA Powerboat Trainer, Paul Glatzel, the publications are packed with information to help you acquire the knowledge and confidence to make the most of your time on the water. Find out more - www.rya.org.uk/shop