RYA Competent Crew Courses

Designed specifically for a complete beginner the RYAs Competent Crew Course introduces you gradually into the world of yacht sailing. While there will be plenty of time to relax you can’t just sit around for 5 to 7 days, you will be playing an active part of the team.

The Competent Crew Course is nearly entirely hands on and practical. You will learn the basics of how sails work, safe use of the boats equipment including winches and cleats as well as learning to be a vital crew member for major procedures such as mooring, anchoring and general sailing, including the ability to steer a yacht in a straight line (it’s harder than you might think!) You will also begin to learn about knots and general rope work, vital in sailing.


:: Great for beginners

:: No experience required

:: No end of week pass or fail exam!

:: Minimum 5 days sailing

:: Can be done over weekends

:: Available all over the world


Pre-course experience None
Assumed knowledge None
Minimum duration 5 days. Often run over 3 weekends or 3 days plus a weekend. If you have done the Start Yachting course, this course can be completed in 3 or 4 days
Minimum age None
Ability after the course Able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day routines


Course Syllabus

Click on the title below for more information:

Knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat, her rigging:

Sufficient knowledge to understand orders given concerning the sailing and day-to-day running of the boat

Sail Handling:

Bending on, setting, reefing and handling of sails

Use of sheets and halyards and their associated winches

Rope Work

Handling ropes, including coiling, stowing, securing to cleats and single and double bollards


Ability to tie the following knots and to know their correct use: figure-of-eight, clove hitch, rolling hitch, bowline, round turn and two half hitches, single and double sheet bend, reef knot

Fire precautions and fighting

Awareness of the hazards of fire and the precautions necessary to prevent fire

Knowledge of the action to be taken in event of fire

Personal safety equipment

Understands and complies with rules for the wearing of safety harnesses, lifejackets and personal buoyancy aids

Man overboard

Understands the action to be taken to recover a man overboard

Emergency Equipment

Can operate distress flares and knows when they should be used

Understands how to launch and board a liferaft

Manners and customs

Understands accepted practice with regard to: use of burgees and ensigns, prevention of unnecessary noise or disturbances harbour including courtesies to other craft berthed alongside.

Aware of the responsibility of yacht skippers to protect the environment

Rules of the road

Is able to keep an efficient lookout at sea


Understands and complies with the loading rules

Are able to handle a dinghy under oars


Awareness of forecasting services and knowledge of the Beaufort scale

Helmsmanship and sailing

Understands the basic principles of sailing and can steer and trim sails on all points of sailing

Can steer a compass course, under sail and power.

General duties

Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel


Next Step

We’re sure you’ll get the sailing bug fairly quickly after this course! It’s now time to head into the classroom or to the desk and do the RYA Day Skipper Theory. After this it’s back to the water for the RYA Day Skipper practical course.



You can do the RYA course at dozens of locations all over the world. Unlike other courses there are no parameters over whether the destinations are tidal or non tidal. Close to home you can enjoy a course over a week or weekend in the UK. If you’d like to make it more of a holiday then Greece, Croatia and Turkey are all great holiday hot spots. You can also do the RYA Competent Crew Course in Gibraltar, Canaries, Caribbean, Thailand, Malaysia or Australia. so basically all over the world!


Competent Course Packages