Competent Crew

This course is for beginners and those who would like to become active crew members rather than just passengers.

Experience living on board and really get to know the boat. Virtually all the course is hands on. You are the crew – without you the sails won’t go up and the boat won’t be steered.

By the end of the course you should be able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day duties on board. You should also have visited some interesting places and had an enjoyable holiday.

Pre-course experience None
Assumed knowledge None
Minimum duration 5 days. Often run over 3 weekends or 3 days plus a weekend. If you have taken the Start Yachting course, this course can be completed in 3 or 4 days
Minimum age None
Course content Knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat, her rigging and sails, sail handling, ropework, fire precautions and fighting, personal safety equipment, man overboard, emergency equipment, meteorology, seasickness, helmsmanship, general duties, manners and customs, rules of the road, dinghies
Ability after the course Able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day routines
Full RYA Competent Crew 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

Sufficient knowledge to understand orders given concerning the sailing and day to day running of the boat.

2. Sail Handling

Bending on, setting, reefing and handling of sails

Use of sheets and halyards and their associated winches

3. Ropework

Handling ropes, including coiling, stowing, securing to cleats and single and double bollards

Handling warps

Ability to tie the following knots and to 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

4. Fire precautions and fighting

Awareness of the hazards of fire and the precautions necessary to prevent fireb. Knowledge of the action to be taken in the event of fire

5. Personal safety equipment

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

6. Man overboard

Understands the action to be taken to recover a man overboard

7. Emergency equipment

Can operate distress flares and knows when they should be used

Understands how to launch and board a liferaft

8. Manners and customs

Understands 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

9. Rules of the road

Is able to keep and efficient lookout at sea

10. Dinghies

Understands and complies with the loading rulesb. Is able to handle a dinghy under oars

11. Meteorology

Awareness of forecasting services and knowledge of the Beaufort scale

12. Seasickness

Working efficiency is unaffected/partially affected/severely affected by seasickness

13. 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

14. General duties

Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel