RYA Competent Crew practical sailing course syllabus

RYA Competent Crew

COMPETENT CREW COURSES are an ideal introduction to cruising. They teach personal safety, seamanship and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful member of crew of a cruising yacht. The course will cover basic boat handling skills, helmsmanship, sail handling, mooring and ropecraft.

The Competent Crew course is perfect for beginners. It is intended to teach the skills and techniques required to crew an offshore yacht. No previous experience is necessary and a complete novice can attend this Course. The Syllabus is broken down into sub paragraphs showing the subjects and skills taught on the 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 term and two half hitches, single and double sheet bend, reek 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
Can operate distress flares and knows how they should be used
Understands how to launch and board a liferaft.

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
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.


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Reproduced with kind permission from the Royal Yachting Association


Updated June 2016