RYA Certification and jobs in sailing

One of the things that we often hear from our students after they have just completed their first sailing course is this: “This is amazing! I love sailing, I want to get a job working on a boat!  What can I do? Where can I work? What kind of experience is needed? What qualifications should I have?”

Here are a few thoughts on what you can do with each level of RYA training and certifications – and please take all of this with a grain of (sea) salt, and contact us if you have any questions!

RYA Competent Crew well, now you are just that, a competent crew.  Time to practice and get experience.  Sail as much as possible, maybe join a local club, try to sail on different types of boats to figure out if you like cruising or racing for example, and next step, work on your RYA Day Skipper Theory.

RYA Day Skipper Aha! Now that you have passed your RYA Day Skipper theory and RYA Day Skipper Practical, you can skipper a boat by day in familiar waters. This is with family and friends, you are not a commercial skipper at this point…   You could be a good candidate for a delivery crew on a short passage while you enhance your skills. At this level you will most likely not be paid, although you should have your meals and possibly your expenses covered. You could also start working at a sailing or chartering centre, gaining experience by helping moving the fleet for example. Once you have done this a few times, and skippered on your own for fun, you will probably want to move on to the next level and get your RYA Coastal Skipper ticket. Other courses we highly recommend anyway for Day Skippers are the RYA SRC Radio and RYA Diesel Engine to further your knowledge, and they are very useful for your jobs. This is also the time to start working on your RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory (read our blog here for tips!). On a side note, you can have a Commercial Endorsement on your RYA Day Skipper.  More on that later.

RYA Coastal Skipper at this point, you should have some experience, you know your RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory, and you can be a watch leader on a delivery for example, or work as a mate or skipper on coastal passages or deliveries depending on the commercial requirements of the boat. You will start being considered as deckhand or mate on larger vessels such as Sail Training vessels or superyachts.  There will also be positions as race crew depending on your aptitude and interest. Charter companies will also be interested in you to work on their base depending on your qualifications and endorsements, especially if you are interested in engineering, maintenance or technical aspects of sailing. You will need to have a few extra courses to work commercially, but this is a great place to start working your way to gain experience and mileage for the Yachtmaster level certifications. Again, having your Radio and Diesel Engine courses will come in handy as well. At this point, if you are interested in working commercially, you would have your Commercial Endorsement, or obtain your STCW.

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence Now that you have put in your time and energy and gained the qualifying experience, and passed your required courses, (we suggest that besides the ones listed above you also consider RYA Radar) and the Yachtmaster Coastal Exam, you are a Yachtmaster Coastal!  At this point, you can really start working in earnest. With your commercial endorsement,  it could be on a large vessel as deckhand or mate, and as or charter or flotilla skipper, on a vessel up to 24 metres and up to 20 nautical miles from a safe harbour for example.  Obviously all previously mentioned positions are available to you as well!

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence  This is the most sought-after qualification in the industry and it allows you to really gain access to a plethora of jobs.  Once you are commercially endorsed, you can work as a Master on a vessel up to 200gt up to 150 nautical miles from a safe haven.

This is also the minimum level of training you need if you want to become an RYA Sailing Instructor.

RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence Well at this point you have really worked hard for your certificates… and after gaining your experience, studying the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean theory, sailing the required offshore passage, and passing the RYA Yachamtaster Ocean Exam, (and with the commercial endorsement) your job reach is worldwide as Master of a commercial vessel up to 200gt.  At this point, we want to come sailing with you!