What is a Yachtmaster Instructor and what can they teach?

The RYA qualifications for fixed keel boats (i.e. yachts) ranges from the two day introductory course known as RYA Start Yachting all the way through to RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean.  

In addition to these qualifications there are two teaching qualifications. The first is RYA Cruising Instructor and the second is RYA Yachtmaster Instructor. In addition to these there are a variety of shorebased instructor qualifications covering various topics including shorebased navigation, radar, diesel engine maintenance, sea survival and first aid at sea.

To qualify as an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor one must first have qualified and worked as an RYA Cruising Instructor. This qualification has to be renewed every five years and cruising instructors are usually encouraged to apply to become a Yachtmaster Instructor on renewal. 

To become a Yachtmaster Instructor one must be a qualified Yachtmaster and be a Cruising Instructor - and thus also be commercially endorsed. This requires that you regularly take a medical examination. In addition, you must pass a PSSR test every 5 years and have a sea survival certificate and a valid RYA First Aid at Sea certificate. You must pass the Cruising Instructor Course first and then work as a cruising instructor.

In addition, a Yachtmaster Instructor must first undertake a 5 day course and practical assessment. Unlike the Cruising Instructor Course, which tests competence and addresses teaching techniques, the Yachtmaster Instructor Course assumes a high level of sailing and teaching competence. The course is collegiate in style although an external practical examination by a third party still remains.

A Cruising Instructor may teach and appraise students taking the practical RYA Start Yachting, Competent Crew and Day Skipper courses. A Yachtmaster Instructor may teach up to Yachtmaster Ocean (assuming he/she has an Ocean endorsement). This includes the Yachtmaster Coastal and Coastal Skipper courses and they may also deliver tuition and coaching to candidates planning to take the Yachtmaster Offshore examination. All Yachtmaster examinations are examined by a third party RYA Yachtmaster Examiner.

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