RYA training around the world

14 Dec 20

Since RYA Training began in 1970, its international reach has expanded well beyond UK waters, with courses now available at over 2,400 RYA recognised training centres across 58 countries worldwide.

Although the weather, sea conditions and local marine laws may vary between locations, the syllabus of each course is standardised. Comprehensive instructor training and impeccable training centre standards mean that the quality of teaching is outstanding across the board. So, while the climate may be considerably different for an RYA Day Skipper course held in the UK compared to the equivalent in Australia, you can be certain that the teachings will be the same. 

With RYA training now renowned the world over for its reputable teaching standards and RYA qualifications considered a trusted gauge of high-level sailing competence on a global scale, RYA courses are creating waves of change within the sport internationally.

Here, we speak to RYA training centres across the globe to find out about how RYA training has impacted the development of international sailing activities. 

RYA Training in Europe

Fancy learning how to skipper a sailing yacht in exciting new waters or want to complete the RYA Powerboat Level 2 course in sunnier climes? Well, with over 600 RYA training centres located in Europe, there are plenty of schools to choose from. 

Corfu Sea School offers a wide range of courses for its students including RYA Day Skipper and Competent Crew. 

Steve Hills, the school’s Principal, and an RYA Yachtmaster™ Instructor and Examiner, tells us that being an RYA recognised training centre has really helped to raise awareness of the school in the local area. Furthermore, by only providing RYA courses, the centre poses little competitive threat to local yacht charter companies, allowing them to collaborate with other businesses for mutual benefit.

“Being an RYA centre helped us greatly when we were setting up here in Greece,” explains Steve. “Even though we were one of the first centres to offer the RYA Sail Cruising Scheme in the country, the locals already knew about the RYA and the high standard of training we provide. It has made it easier to work with other businesses here who view us as partners and recommend us to their clients.”

And it’s not just about raising the profile of the business; offering RYA training courses in Greece has significantly benefited Steve’s students too. Not only can they learn about stern-to-moorings and local customs, but they can also enjoy sailing in a temperate climate. 

Steve and his team also take time to put students in contact with reputable charter companies and ensure they understand how to get the most from the area when going ashore. This combination of courses along with expert local knowledge gives students a good variety of skills and experience that boosts their confidence to explore and enjoy the scenic cruising grounds of Greece, no matter how far away from home they are.

RYA Training Courses Down Under

In 2002, the RYA Yachtmaster™ scheme was expanded overseas, and RYA training centres were soon established in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. 

Based on the sun-drenched shoreline of Manly in Queensland, Australia, Southern Cross Yachting was set up in 1997. In 2003, it was the first school to gain RYA recognition in Australia. The school’s Principal, Mike Job, tells us that becoming an RYA training centre was an easy decision and the transition was seamless,

“I had been a senior Instructor at an RYA school in the UK before returning to Aus to open Southern Cross Yachting, so we were already following RYA guidelines when we gained our RYA training recognition,” says Mike. “Our location also helps. Moreton Bay, with its busy commercial port, numerous harbours and anchorages, quiet creeks, large tidal range and sandbanks and reefs, is like the Solent with sunshine!”

Training students from both Australia and overseas, the school has built up an excellent reputation for high-quality teaching standards, and it is committed to making the learning experience as enjoyable as possible. 

Mike tells us that becoming an RYA recognised training centre has meant that his students have access to all the training materials and resources that the RYA provides, as well as the excellent instructor training and support. But it is the wide recognition and acceptance of RYA qualifications around the world that is the biggest benefit for those who learn with him.

In 2008, the RYA Yachtmaster™ scheme became the National Yacht training programme of Australia.

“We are incredibly proud to be an RYA training centre,” explains Mike, “the brand is recognised in Australia as the industry standard.” 

Furthermore, RYA training courses have allowed Mike’s students to achieve incredible lifelong goals. From competing in the Sydney to Hobart race and circumnavigating the world to skippering a winning entry in the Clipper Round the World Race and crossing oceans single-handed, Mike is very proud of his students’ successes. He also recognises the value that RYA training can bring to people who are just starting out in sailing and want to get out on the water for the first time,

“The multitude of people that have simply come to take up sailing, who we have been able to help fulfil dreams and change their lives with RYA training, is what makes it all worthwhile.”

Training International Crew

After working as a yacht captain on private yachts, Steve Jakeway began a career in powerboat training. He qualified as an RYA Instructor and gained many years of experience teaching before opening The Ocean Academy in Florida in 2019. Steve knew from the very beginning that he wanted his school to be an RYA recognised training centre.

“I have always been impressed at the quality, integrity and leadership of the RYA. When it was time to start my own school, it was an easy decision. There is no better training scheme in the world, in my opinion, and the excellent reputation of the RYA globally has helped my school to thrive,” Steve explains. 

Most of Steve’s students come from the Superyacht Industry, so the school is primarily dedicated to giving students the skills and knowledge they need to work on large yachts. The most popular are the RYA Yachtmaster™ Coastal, RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore, RYA Powerboat Level 2 course, and the RYA Tender Operator course. The school also offers a variety of online courses to help prepare students for taking the RYA Yachtmaster™ Certificate of Competence exam, as well as traditional RYA shorebased courses. 

And it seems that the training is working; Steve tells us that many of his students have benefited significantly from the high standards of training that the RYA courses deliver and have made substantial progress in their careers as a result.

“I have dozens of examples of yacht crew that have advanced in their positions, many starting with basic level courses and advancing to Chief Mate or Captain,” he explains. “Many others have benefitted from the excellent RYA training to enter the MCA OOW programs and beyond.”

This clearly shows the positive, life-changing impact that RYA training can have on students. Not only can they look forward to a lifelong career in the marine industry, but their RYA qualifications can also help them find work anywhere in the world. 

RYA Training in Multiple Languages 

In 2004, the RYA granted the first rights for RYA Publications to be licensed in Spanish, German, Japanese and many other languages. Then, in 2018, RYA training courses were delivered in a foreign language for the very first time with the dinghy and windsurfing schemes becoming available in Mandarin at RYA recognised training centres in China.

Since this significant milestone in RYA training history, the RYA has worked closely with the Chinese Yachting Association to help make sailing more accessible and mainstream in China. RYA Director of Training and Qualifications, Richard Falk, commented at the time: 

“We are delighted to be working with the CYA to further develop the provision of sailing in China. Through this exciting collaboration, we hope to make RYA recognition more accessible to Chinese training centres and to drive opportunities for instructor training, ultimately promoting and supporting the growth of sailing more generally within China.”

As a result of this new partnership, there are now six RYA training centres in the country, including Vanghang Sailing. They all deliver RYA dinghy training in Mandarin and over 80 Chinese RYA Instructors are qualified to provide RYA courses. 

At the time of the launch, the CYA Vice General-Secretary, Danqing Fu, commented on the high standards of RYA training and the benefit of RYA training centres to the sport’s future in China,

“The CYA is dedicated to increasing the accessibility of training in order to promote the sport of sailing, in a safe and more standardised way. RYA training is known as the very highest standard, and we are pleased to be working together to boost the development of the Chinese sailing industry and to popularise sailing among the youth and masses in China.”

In the future, it is hoped that RYA training will be made even more accessible to international students, with people from all over the world able to enrol on an RYA course in their chosen location.

50 Years of RYA Training

The RYA introduced the dinghy and coaching schemes in 1970 to help clubs and sailing schools by providing a national syllabus and method of learning to sail. Fifty years on, the RYA has a network of more than 2,400 training centres in 58 countries and supports the delivery of over 100 courses.

Read about the 50th anniversary celebrations at www.rya.org.uk/go/50years. Or to join the millions of boaters who have trained with the RYA, visit www.rya.org.uk/training.

For more information about becoming an RYA recognised training centre and to register an expression of interest, please click here