Whilst we might not be able to get out on the water at the moment, the COVID-19 pandemic does mean that many of us have some extra time on our hands. Although we can’t complete any practical training, it doesn’t mean you can’t brush up on old skills or learn something new.
RYA eLearning Manager, Jane Hall says: “There are a number of RYA courses that have options for online and distance learning, all you need is access to the internet. So why not get stuck in and broaden your skillset?”
Here we take a look at some of the RYA’s most popular online training courses and share some top tips for making the most of your eLearning experience.
Whether you want to explore new areas or to revisit your favourite destination, you need to plan ahead. How far is the destination and how long will it take to get there? When will the tidal stream assist the journey and provide enough height of tide to enter and to leave? Are there any hazards on route?
Anybody planning a passage needs to know where – and how – to find the answers to these questions, as well as understanding what impact this will have when out on the water.
The RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship course is one of the RYA’s most popular online course for recreational boaters. Two days, or eight hours online, the course provides an introduction to navigation, tides, charts and safety awareness.
If you’re looking for something that goes into a little more detail, why not think about the RYA Day Skipper shorebased course which covers chartwork, electronic navigation, meteorology and the basics of seamanship.
More experienced navigators can also enhance their knowledge with the RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore or RYA Yachtmaster™ Ocean shorebased courses, all of which are available online.
Recommended reading - RYA An Introduction to Navigation (G77) is essential reading for beginners and anyone interested in finding out more about the basic steps of navigation. For a complete guide and further reading for competent navigators, check out the RYA Navigation Handbook (G6).
Alternatively, RYA Navigation Exercises (G7) comes complete with almanac extracts and RYA Training charts for those who want to test their knowledge or sharpen their skills.
If you have a VHF radio onboard your boat, or carry a handheld VHF whilst kayaking or paddleboarding, you need to hold an operator’s licence.
The RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate (SRC) course is a one-day course (10 hours online), aimed at anyone who wants to operate a marine VHF radio, with or without Digital Selective Calling (DSC).
Vital for days out boating, it covers radio functionality, how to relay information clearly and swiftly in an emergency situation, as well as hands-on practice of operating and talking over the radio.
There’s even a short taster of the online course on the RYA website so you can preview and try before you sign up with an RYA recognised training centre. Try it out here.
Recommended reading – A copy of the RYA VHF Handbook (G31) is included with the course, but is also available in both print and eBook formats for those that just want to refresh their knowledge. The popular title is also one of the first RYA publications to be released in the new audiobook format, as a further aid to your learning experience.
Top tips for getting the most out of your eLearning experience:
Be disciplined with your time
Allocate set times each day for study time. With many of us still working full time and now also juggling home-schooling our kids and other commitments, this could be once the children are in bed, after work or on the weekends. Setting a regular time aside each day, or week, will help you achieve your course within the timeframe you have set.
Have an end goal
There’s nothing more motivating than having an end goal in mind. Maybe you’re looking to explore further afield, or you’re hoping to do one of the RYA’s practical courses in the future? Whatever your reason, keep it at the front of your mind and it’ll help you to succeed. We’re all looking forward to getting back out on the water and just think how much better prepared you’ll be with your newfound knowledge.
Do your homework
There are lots of RYA books designed to help you pass your course or exam, make sure to check the RYA website for recommendations.
RYA publications explain things simply and help to reinforce the information you’ll be learning on your course. eBooks have additional functionality enabling you to book mark your reading material, write and save notes and search content. Some material also includes animations, for example watching a lit buoy flash white three times within a period of five or ten seconds. Seeing this, rather than reading it, makes it much easier to understand.
Read all the instructions thoroughly
The instructions are really clear, but allow yourself the time to read carefully through the material to avoid wasting time and making mistakes.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You’ll receive a student pack with all the equipment you need to complete your learning, but there will be times when you may need a steer. If you are struggling, your instructor is there to help and would always rather know and be able to give you the assistance you need to get the end result you are looking for. Instructors are available via email, or you can call or chat remotely too.
So what are you waiting for? Find the online course for you at www.rya.org.uk/go/whichcourse. Or to browse the full selection of RYA books and eBooks visit www.rya.org.uk/shop.
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