RYA Competent Crew Course Syllabus

RYA Competent Crew Course Aim: To introduce the complete beginner to cruising and to teach personal safety, seamanship, and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful member of the crew of a cruising yacht. Below you will find details of the course content and anticipated level of knowledge after successful completion of the course. While it all looks really serious, you would be surprised how much of this information is absorbed by osmosis during this enjoyable 5 day course!

Knowledge of sea terms and parts of the boat, her rigging and sails.

  • Sufficient knowledge to understand orders 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


  • Handling ropes, including coiling, stowing, securing to cleats and single and double bollards
  • Handling warps
  • Ability to tie the following knots and 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 taken in the event of fire

Personal safety equipment

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

Man overboard

  • Understands the action to be taken to recover a man overboard

Emergency equipment

Manners and customs

  • Understands the accepted practice with regard to:
  • Use of burgees and ensigns, prevention of unnecessary noise or disturbance in 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 loading rules
  • Is able to handle a dinghy under oars


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

  • Can carry out tasks appertaining to the running of the vessel above and below decks.
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If you have any questions about the RYA Competent Crew course or would like to check availability please contact us on 07925 784407 or info@jollyparrot.co.uk.

You may also be interested in reading the RYA Day Skipper Course Syllabus.