- The BlueDome guide to outdoor qualifications
Yachting and Sailing Qualifications
Royal Yachting Association is the font of all knowledge when it comes
to anything to do with sailing. From tiny dinghies to monster super
yachts the RYA is the organisation for all training and qualifications.
The RYA cover all aspects of the provision of training
for sail related activities including a wide range of technical skills
such as safety boat training, radio skills, maintenance and repairs
and of course sailing and navigation.
As we live on an island with a fair amount of inland stretches
of water you will find sailing activities offered at a lot of outdoor
centres as well as the dedicated sailing school. Sailing is great fun
and you should try to experience it even if you do not intend to qualify
as an instructor!
Almost all the jobs involved with dinghy sailing are concerned with
instruction or supervision at sailing schools or local authority centres.
Seasonal Instruction Dinghy sailing courses are run at sailing clubs,
professional sailing schools and local authority centres. Dinghy sailing
tends to be a seasonal activity, although some centres operate all year
Large numbers of seasonal staff are taken on each year in sailing schools,
both in the UK and abroad. The majority appeal to people in the 16
25 age range and they provide an interesting way to spend a summer season,
rather than the start of a career. Payment ranges from little more than
accommodation and expenses to a reasonable salary.
The basic qualification required is that of RYA Dinghy
Instructor, although some schools will take on unqualified help and
provide instructor training. For full details of dinghy instructor courses
and requirements, please contact the RYA Training Division. Yachts and
Yachting, published fortnightly, is the best source of information about
vacancies for instructors, both permanent, seasonal and short-term.
Watersports Assistants Some of the country parks and sailing centres
run by local authorities also employ staff to assist members of the
public wishing to hire dinghies. The role of the assistant could include
rigging and providing safety cover, but not instruction. Sports Leaders
The Central Council of Physical Recreation administers the Community
Sports Leader Award, a basic scheme for people wishing to become involved
in encouraging local groups into a variety of sports.
The role of the Community Sports Leader in sailing and other risk
sports is that of courier and should not be confused with that of instructor.
For more details, contact the CCPR at Francis House, Francis Street,
London, SW1P 1DE, (Tel 0171 828 3163).
The majority of permanent jobs in dinghy instruction are at a senior
level, as Chief Instructors at professional sailing schools or as staff
at local authority centres. Posts at centres run by local education
authorities are likely to require formal teaching qualifications in
addition to RYA and other governing body awards. The people who are
in most demand for such centres are those with qualifications in a number
of watersports and/or outdoor activities. Vacancies are advertised regularly
in the BlueDome jobs section either in the Instructors section or under
Watersports. Anyone considering a career in teaching dinghy sailing,
canoeing, windsurfing, climbing and other outdoor activities would be
well advised to consider formal training as a teacher, specialising
in PE or possibly outdoor education.
Colleges offering courses in this field include: Bangor Normal College
Bedford College of Higher Education Charlotte Mason College of Education
, Ambleside, Cumbria Jordanhill College of Education, Edinburgh Moray
House College of Education, Edinburgh Dunfermline College of Physical
Education Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education.
Charter and Private Yachts Crews
The main qualification is enthusiasm, though it helps to have a trade
such as electrician, boat builder or engineer. Crews are not highly
paid, but most potential skippers have worked as crew on larger vessels
to gain experience. Engineers have to be qualified.
Details of courses for marine trade can be obtained from the BMF. Hostesses
have to presentable and enthusiastic. Skippers and Mates Skippers and
mates usually require qualifications.
A Yachtmaster Offshore with a Commercial Endorsement
is the normal minimum, though a Yachtmaster Ocean Commercial is preferable.
For commercial yachts larger than 24m you require a Class 4 or Class
5 qualification. Briefly this involves the RYA Yachtmaster Commercial
qualification and other modules such as firefighting.
Skippers on large private yachts can earn good wages but the owners
are looking for exceptional management skills, ability to run the yacht
and crew efficiently and to sail it to any port on time. The job is
part skipper and part hotel manager. An ability to speak several languages
is an advantage. Details of RYA certificates and commercial endorsement
are available from the RYA.
Flotilla Staff Flotilla companies operate fleets of yachts, usually
in the Mediterranean, which are used for the April October season.
They employ skippers, engineers and hostesses, usually on a seasonal
basis. Flotilla staff have to ensure that the clients have a safe and
pleasant yachting holiday. The flotilla skippers role is that
of group courier, ensuring that the flotilla moves smoothly from port
to port. The role of the engineer is to familiarise clients with their
boats and then solve any immediate mechanical problems during the cruise.
The hostess has to manage the social programme of the flotilla, including
parties and barbecues. In addition, he or she provides liaison with
the companys administration staff to deal with any travel or domestic
Delivery skippers and crew
Delivery Crew Yacht Delivery skippers often require additional crew,
particularly during the college and university terms, when a large pool
of potential crew are unavailable. Jobs are likely to be short term,
paying little more than subsistence and expenses, although they provide
an opportunity to gain a great deal of sea time and experience.
Sail Training Skippers or mates
The majority of large sail training vessels offering cruises to young
people are run by independent, charitable organisations. Such vessels
usually have a small permanent crew, the remainder of the afterguard
being made up of suitably experienced and qualified volunteers. Vacancies
for permanent positions tend to be circulated internally, although they
are sometimes advertised in the yachting magazines.
Although cruising instructors enjoy a high quality of life, the financial
rewards are modest. The majority of yacht cruising schools operate only
one yacht, with the owner being the sole instructor. There are however,
several larger schools operating several yachts which require skipper
instructors on a seasonal or permanent basis. Vacancies are advertised
in the yachting magazines. Anyone wanting to teach within an RYA recognised
practical school must hold an RYA/DoT Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate
with a Commercial Endorsement. The Yachtmaster Instructor qualification
is required by anyone wanting to teach the higher grades of course and
for Chief Instructors or Principals of cruising schools. Yachtmaster
Instructor Qualifying courses are all run by the RYA and are open to
Yachtmasters with about 7,000 10,000 miles experience.
Instruction As with dinghy sailing, the majority of opportunities for
windsurfing instructors are seasonal. An RYA Windsurfing Instructor
qualification is a definite advantage and someone who is qualified both
as a dinghy and windsurfing instructor is likely to be in great demand.
Full details of instructor training and courses may be obtained from
RYA Windsurfing; job vacancies are advertised in the RYA Windsurfing
Instructor Newsletter Windsurfing Matters, and also in the
windsurfing magazines such as Boards and Windsurf.
Retail The majority of companies involved in the sale of windsurfing
equipment are members of the Windsurfing Retailers Association (WRA)
For more information about Sailing and Watersport qualifications
and courses please contact the Royal
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