Course Objectives and Outcomes

The RYA Competent Crew is an essential introductory course for both the complete beginner and those who have some experience of either dinghy and keelboat sailing or cruising.

The course is planned to give you as much fun and enjoyment as possible, as you adventure and learn the fundamentals of cruising yachts. While you cruise you will learn about safety at sea and will be given lots of opportunities to master the seamanship skills of steering, changing sails, reefing and tying the essential knots as well as whats is like to live on a yacht for an extended period.

Living onboard throughout the course, each night is spent in a new place, allowing you to experience the delights of a real cruise. You will visit many of the quiet bays, anchorages and yacht harbour’s of Moreton Bay, Southeast corner of Queensland or the Whitsundays (depending on chosen course) and in the evenings there is time to relax and reflect on the events of the day.

By the end of the RYA Competent Crew course the successful Competent Crew will have sufficient knowledge and skill to be a useful and able crew member, and will be issued with the RYA Competent Crew certificate of course completion.

What Will I Learn

  • How to prepare the yacht for light to medium winds in enclosed waters
  • How to actively participate as Crew
  • Correct ways to drop the anchor
  • Sail Handling
  • Helmsmanship and Sailing
  • How to understand weather forecasts & interpret them
  • How to tie specialist Knots
  • Personal safety
  • Distress signals

Course Syllabus

The Competent Crew course introduces the complete beginner to cruising and teaches personal safety, seamanship and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful member of crew of a cruising yacht.

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

2. Sail Handling 

3. Ropework 

4. Fire precautions and fighting 

5. Personal safety equipment 

6. Man overboard 

7. Emergency equipment 

8. Manners and customs 

9. Rules of the road 

10. Dinghies 

11. Meteorology 

12. Seasickness 

13. Helmsmanship and sailing 

Training Vessels

Whether you have a desire to sail a monohull or a catamaran we have you covered. You have the option of deciding to be on either vessel when choosing your training dates.

Cruising Yacht (Beneteau First 44.7)

The Beneteau First 44.7 is the monohull training vessel in our fleet. A modern racing and cruising vessel the Beneteau First 44.7 provides a good balance of comfort and performance.

Cruising Catamaran (Lagoon 380)

The Lagoon 380 is the catamaran training option in our fleet. Boasting 4 double berths down below, and a kitchen up design. If you imagine yourself sailing on a catamaran then choose this vessel to complete training on.

Read more about our training vessels here: Our Fleet (opens in new tab)

What Qualification Do I Get?

The RYA Competent Crew certificate will be issued at the end of the course, indicating that you are a competent member of crew on board a sailing vessel.

How Long Is The Course

The course is a 5-day liveaboard course starting at 9:30am on the first day. Accommodation is on board our 40-foot yacht, and all food is also included in the price. You will spend a total of 4 nights and 5 days on board with your fellow participants and the instructor.

What Do I Bring?

We will be in touch with an easy to follow checklist to ensure you have everything you need on the day, but to give you a bit of an idea bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bathing suit, a warm jumper, change of clothes (minimal wardrobe needed), spray jacket. Be sure to pack this in a flexible soft bag.

What About Meals?

All meals are provided. We will send a request for special dietary needs requests in the lead up to the course. We can easily accommodate for any dietary requirements.

What Should I Do Prior To This Course?

Although there are no pre-requisites for this course we do recommend undertaking the Online Essential Navigation course if you have not spent any time on sail or power vessels before. This ensure that you can get the most out of your RYA Competent Crew program.

Where Is This Held?

Courses start from Mooloolaba, Queensland. Courses with a start date in August and September start at Hamilton Island.

Simply check the location when you are selecting your date in the booking form.

Course Preview


Ange course completed 11th February 2021

I throughly enjoyed completing the Competent Crew Course with John. It was a fantastic experience.

Deb and Van course completed 19th May 2019

I would like to especially thank James as he was so willing to impart his knowledge and was always encouraging and understanding of everyones individual abilities. His kind and considerate manner really put me at ease and ensured my first sailing adventure was an enjoyable experience. This course exceeded our expectations.

Richard & Nadeia Romanowski course completed 15th September 2018

‘…a learn-to-sail experience that was also an enjoyable adventure holiday… it provided us with a superb preparation to crew a sailing boat competently… Plus the sailing was accompanied by whales, dolphins, turtles and eagles.’

Lin & Brian course completed 18th May 2018

‘Many thanks from two over 60’s who were sailing virgins but now have their own 34 footer! . “RYA Competent Crew” was fun and SAFE, a great introduction and your ongoing help and advice are invaluable – looking forward to more courses as we really get up and running.’

Scott and Almasa course completed 10th March 2017

‘Challenged just in and around comfort zone, never for a moment felt in danger or intimidated, vegetarians well looked after, reliable yacht, plentiful crew, great instructor.’