Stepping into the world of sailing for the first time is exciting and exhilarating. The courses in the RYA Yachtmaster training scheme will help you learn to sail and build confidence, become a useful crew member and even learn how to skipper a sailing yacht and manage it’s crew. 

Most courses can be taken either on your own or with friends and family, including children provided they meet our minimum age recommendations. There are also flexible options allowing you to do the course in one go or split over several days or weekends. 

Our sail cruising courses can also help you progress to the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Certificates of Competence which are recognised by maritime authorities worldwide and can be commercially endorsed for professional skippers and crew. 

So whether you’re new to boat ownership, want to charter a yacht on holiday, or to venture further offshore – there’s an RYA course for every level. 

Find a course
Yacht Cruising
Practical courses

Our practical on-the-water courses build confidence, teaching you everything from basic terminology and safety tips to how to skipper a yacht and manage its crew. You can enter at any level, provided you have the correct level of experience. 

Start Sailing

Cruising Level 1 - An entry level course focusing on the principles of sailing a yacht. Can be run in conjunction with the Basic Skills course.

Start Yachting

A short introduction to sailing for complete beginners.

Basic Skills

Cruising Level 2 - Build on the skills gained during Start Sailing, Competent Crew or Day Skipper, focusing on sailing techniques as both crew and helm.

Competent Crew

A hands-on course for anyone interested in becoming a useful crew member.

Day Skipper

A course for aspiring skippers with some yachting experience and basic navigation and sailing skills.

Coastal Skipper

Advanced skippering techniques for those with considerable knowledge of sailing and navigation, wanting to undertake coastal passages by day and night.

Courses ashore

Our navigation and other specialist short courses complement the sail cruising practical courses and will take your knowledge and confidence to the next level.

Essential Navigation and Seamanship

A basic introduction to navigation for new skippers, crew or anyone interested in getting out on the water.

Day Skipper Theory

A more comprehensive course recommended for inexperienced skippers and anyone thinking of doing the Day Skipper practical course.

Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore Theory

Take your theory knowledge to the standard required for the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal and Offshore practical exams.

Yachtmaster Ocean Theory

Unravel the mysteries of astro navigation, using a sextant, ocean passage planning, worldwide meteorology and electronic navigation aids.

Marine Radio (SRC)

Get qualified to use a handheld or fixed marine VHF radio with our course and exam.

More courses ashore...

From first aid to diesel engine, there are a number of related classroom and online courses you may find useful as you develop your knowledge.

RYA Yachtmaster® exams

An RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence is the ultimate aim of aspiring skippers. It is a well known, highly respected qualification worldwide, proving your experience and competence.

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal

You are capable of coastal passages

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore

You are competent to undertake passages up to 150 miles offshore

RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

You have the knowledge and experience to sail worldwide

Find a training centre
RYA Day Skipper Handbook Sail cover with illustration of a yacht

With more than 100 different titles to choose from, there’s an RYA book, eBook or audiobook for every age, interest and ability. Visit our webshop for course books and a range of supporting titles.

Sailing is great fun for all ages and there are plenty of opportunities for young people to get involved. Check our course descriptions for minimum age recommendations.

If you want to cruise outside of the UK you are likely to need an ICC. RYA course completion certificates can be used as evidence of your competence.

Find out more about commercial endorsements, professional qualifications and what it takes to work on the water.