Whether you sail around the bay or the globe, attending a sailing school may be the best thing you ever do. They will have a course to suit everyone interested in sailing for pleasure. They can provide instruction in all aspects of sailing including crewing (all positions), helming, immersion suits, sail handling, seamanship, pilotage or inshore navigation, coastal navigation and offshore navigation. Offshore navigation instruction usually covers electronic navigation and celestial navigation.
Many schools are endorsed by the well regarded Royal Yachting Association (RYA). The RYA course is considered by many to be the best training program for recreational yacht sailors on the planet. The accreditation the school provides successful students on course completion will have world recognition. Some schools are also approved by the local coast guard agency.
Importantly, the schools provide professional training both in the classroom and on the water in an environment that is enjoyable and safe. Thousands of people have successfully completed sail school courses in Australia. A formal agreement to transition Australian schools to be fully RYA compliant was established in 2008.
A typical course progression might start with the RYA Competent Crew course then move on to RYA Day Skipper, RYA Coastal Skipper and, finally, the challenging RYA Yachtmaster course. Each course provides vital core competencies. The Competent Crew course is a five day program. Even experienced dinghy sailors find benefit in completing at least some sections of his program.
Individuals need not complete all the courses from beginning to end to achieve RYA Yachtmaster accreditation. They may enter at any stage provided their prior experience is assessed as adequate. Prior knowledge is assumed at the advanced stages of the program. Individuals without that knowledge may struggle if they attempt an advanced stage without adequate preparation or experience.
The courses are targeted at recreational sailors. The schools provide a recreational, not commercial qualification. However, individuals with commercial ambitions should note that many charter boat firms in Europe require the RYA Day Skipper as the minimum qualification to accept responsibility as a skipper. An RYA qualification may also be beneficial from an insurance perspective. Some schools also provide courses with commercial ambitions, designed specifically for individuals with plans to crew on or master commercial super yachts or charter boats.