COVID-19: Temporary adjustments to the RYA Conditions of Recognition

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    This page was last updated on 06 November 2020.

    Please note the adjustments set out below are temporary measures to enable RYA Recognised Training Centres (RTCs) to resume activity with the minimum restriction. Please refer back regularly for any changes. 

    RYA Instructor courses

    Due to the current national lockdown in England and varying levels of coronavirus related restrictions across the UK and overseas, most RYA instructor courses are currently on hold. Please check the qualifications section of the Training Support Site for further details about what is and isn't able to run and temporary adjustments in place at this time. 

    Centres that run RYA instructor training should make sure to follow the government guidance in their location and that they are familiar with the RYA temporary adjustments currently in place when organising instructor courses. Please read the ‘Organising instructor courses’ page on the Training Support Site for guidance.

    RYA Instructor revalidations

    We have implemented a range of measures to help RYA Instructors retain their credentials at this time. Please consult the 'How to revalidate' page on the Training Support Site for further details. 

    Commercial endorsements and medical fitness certificates

    From 01 October 2020, all expired commercial endorsements will need to be revalidated in the usual way.

    The MCA intend to continue with the extended validity of medical fitness certificates and has agreed to extend:

    • ENG1 and ML5 medical fitness certificates up to a maximum of 6 months

    Details of the specific extension that may apply to your certificate can be found in  the following statements:

    RYA First Aid certificates 

    It is possible to extend the validity of an RYA First Aid certificate via an online update. An extended RYA First Aid certificate may be used for RYA Instructor certificates and commercial endorsements.

    This option must only be used where local restrictions make it impossible to attend a course before a certificate expires. In areas where courses are available and no local restrictions are in place, attendance at a face-to-face course must be arranged as usual.

    Online updates

    RYA First Aid certificates may be extended by one year from their expiry date following a short update delivered by an RYA recognised First Aid training centre. This update may be delivered by video conference.

    The First Aid training centre will issue a statement to the candidate confirming the update and the extension of one year from the stated expiry date. This statement must be dated and include:

    • Name of First Aid centre 
    • Principal’s name
    • First Aid instructor’s name
    • Candidate's name

    Centres offering the online First Aid update

    RYA Instructors requiring an in-date First Aid certificate

    Where an RYA Instructor certificate requires an in-date First Aid certificate in order to remain valid, the RYA will accept a one-year extended First Aid certificate (please note extension details above).

    Instructors should make every effort to fully update their First Aid qualification at the earliest opportunity to maintain a sufficient level of duty of care to students and to alleviate pressure on those who are being relied upon as full first aiders.

    First Aid cover at RYA Recognised Training Centres

    Where dinghy, windsurfing, powerboat or personal watercraft RTCs are relying upon extensions to First Aid certificates for their instructors they must have, as a minimum, one in-date first aider on site during training. This first aider must have completed the full syllabus of their First Aid award, and it should not rely upon an extension.

    Where suitable first aiders are available from neighbouring centres or businesses it may be possible to share a first aider for this purpose.

    Centres should conduct a risk assessment to determine whether additional fully qualified first aiders are required. This risk assessment should consider whether reducing the size of the sailing area, and possibly the number of students afloat may be necessary if full First Aid cover is limited.

    RYA centre inspections

    Inspections in some locations have recommenced and we will continue with the annual inspection programme in other locations when it is safe and Government restrictions allow us to do so. To find out more about inspections, the system of prioritisation currently in place, as well as considerations and resources for both inspectors and centres during the coronavirus pandemic, please watch our webinar 'Restarting RYA Inspections'

    We have implemented a temporary virtual inspection system to assist centres and inspectors in areas with coronavirus related restrictions. Information and specific guidance for RYA Inspectors can be found on the Training Support Site 'Inspectors Hub'.

    Rest assured that lack of inspection due to COVID-19 will not result in any negative impact on your RYA training centre’s recognition status. Should you have any queries, please contact

    Residential courses

    Centres that are able to safely deliver sail and motor cruising courses may day-sail from their home port and these courses no longer have to be residential until further notice. For more information about running Sail and Motor Cruising courses during the coronavirus pandemic click here.

    Personal Watercraft Proficiency course

    We have temporarily relaxed the requirement for the instructor to share a personal watercraft (PW) with a student during the first session. For more information about running PW courses during the coronavirus pandemic click here.  

    Sea Survival course

    In order to enable the provision of the RYA Sea Survival course in compliance with the current COVID-19 restrictions, we have adapted the syllabus for the practical wet drill. Please read the full details of this adjustment here.   

    For more general information about running Sea Survival courses during the coronavirus pandemic click here.

    Additional RYA guidance