RYA Start Yachting


This is essentially the first 2 days of the competent crew syllabus. It can be covered over an extended period for a relaxed introduction into sailing.

This course is for beginners wanting just a taster of yachting or for children too young for RYA Competent Crew.

For most adults able to dedicate 5 or more days, we would recommend the RYA Competent Crew.

Safety is paramount on all RYA courses. To learn more about our standards and our school, see the RYA Training Centres page

Course Requirements

Pre-course Requirements: None

Minimum duration: 2 days

Recommended minimum age: 8

This course is aimed at those with no previous boating experience, If you are looking for a more challenging beginners course, then RYA Competent Crew is recommended. 

To find out about our full range of courses, please see our RYA Yachtmaster Scheme.

Where you can take this course

The RYA Start Yachting course has a minimum duration of 2 days. It can be completed over a weekend at our Southampton UK school or over 5 days or a week if you wish.

For our Mediterranean schools, this course is delivered over 6 days as part of a week-long holiday, giving flexibility for swim stops and longer lunch breaks.

To help decide where to do the course, please see our Training Centres overview page

Next Steps

After this course, you will be given a full debrief from your instructor, who will be able to provide you with advice on the best next steps.

For most students, an additional 3 days training will yield the RYA Competent Crew certificate.

Course Syllabus

  • The yacht – Basic knowledge of sea terms, parts of a boat, her rigging and sails
  • Ropework – Ability to tie four different knots, as well as securing a rope to a cleat and use of winches and jamming cleats.
  • Underway – Experience sailing a yacht on all points of sail and steer a yacht under sail and power.
  • Rules of the road – Keeping an efficient look out at sea.
  • Meteorology – Know where and when to obtain a weather forecast.
  • Man overboard recovery – Understand the action to be taken to recover a man overboard.
  • Clothing and equipment – Understand and comply with the rules for the wearing of safety harnesses, lifejackets and personal buoyancy aids.
  • Emergency equipment and precautions – Awareness of hazards on board a yacht and know the actions to be taken in the event of an emergency.

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