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RYA Powerboat Courses

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RYA Powerboat Courses

Powerboat Course - B032/0108

All too often we hear news reports of boating "accidents" where individuals or groups have taken to the sea with very little, if any, training and experience. Sometimes a casual attitude is the culprit. Either way the result is the same - damage to boats and people.

Puffin 3 at speedThese situations when analysed could almost always have been avoided had someone on board the craft had the necessary training or applied the necessary training. Understanding the requirements and there by safely handling and dealing with situations especially in poor weather conditions.

At Puffin Dive Centre we offer several comprehensive training packages on our fast and Super RIBs to meet the criteria of the RYA POWERBOAT Courses. We take these courses and apply our experience to all levels. This is an excellent starting point and provides Powerboat Certification at levels I and II and more Advanced Power Boating on higher level courses. All of the RYA Courses bring with them the Puffin Dive Centre Certification POWERBOAT HANDLER.

RYA Level I gives you the basic handling and navigation skills necessary to safely and comfortably handle a boat with the theory covering all aspects of powerboats.

RYA Level II expands on the Level I course and gives a more detailed approach to all the subjects covered and increases your 'hands-on' time.

is applying all of level I and II and POWERBOAT HANDLING and moving these skills into a more practical and competent certification phase. Users of this certification will generally have good first level experience and require more navigation and handling skills.

is designed for individuals who have a commercial requirement or a desire for expert level boating skills. This course will handle radar and night travel along with the deeper understanding of carrying out voyages with several levels of logistical requirements.

RYA DAY SKIPPER THEORY (Powerboat) (some practical will be provided)
This is designed to provide daylight hours boat skippers with a general understanding. Areas of navigation, passage planning, victualling, passenger safety, communication requirements and much more to allow safe application in the local area.

A commercial endorsement is printed onto your RYA Certificate of Competence and shows that you have undergone additional training and a medical fitness test enabling you to work on board commercial vessels. There are two types of commercial endorsement:

Standard commercial endorsement allowing you to work on British flagged vessels subject to MCA Code of Practice for small commercial vessels with wording relevant to the certification level i.e. Yacht Master Offshore and Yacht Master Ocean would have different wordings than Powerboat Level II, Powerboat Advanced, Day Skipper and Coastal Skipper but would still fall into the category of Standard Commercial Endorsement. These items would require especially for the higher courses a first aid course, a basic survival course, a fee to the RYA, an exam (if applicable) and the relevant qualification.

The other type of commercial endorsement STCW is essentially for holders of the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and Ocean working under non UK maritime authorities and requires an additional four courses.

It is worth knowing that the RYA website may help with clarification.

Maneuvering on Puffin 0Our boats, a 5m safety boat, a 6.5m Sea Harrier and a 7.5m XR24 together with our 2 Redbay 12m Super RIB's are used during the POWERBOAT training. Hardboats such as our twin jet drive catamaran or single screw driven boats are used for training where a different type of user requirement is necessary. All of our training boats are fully insured and certified within the latest M.S.A. and D.O.T. regulations carrying liferafts, flares, first aid kits, VHF Radio, GPS, Radar. The majority have twin engines so in the unlikely event of a breakdown there is always the safety of one engine to motor home on. These vessels will bring your boat handling up to twin engine standard during the course.

Should you own or have access to your own boat and wish to use that for the course to give yourself the experience in the craft that you will be regularly using this is possible. This should first be cleared through the Powerboat Instructors at Puffin Dive Centre.

Puffin Dive Centres Professional Instructors are qualified to a very high level and have a vast amount of experience, both in the local area and worldwide, to pass on to their students through the duration of the course. Students often have some skills that they wish to improve and we will build the experience around individuals' specific needs.

Our POWERBOAT Course content encapsulates and exceeds the standards of the RYA and with our specialist area being diving the courses have a lot of valuable experience and training geared toward your diving and the conditions you are likely to meet. Around the West of Scotland we have all types of weather on a daily basis so poor weather handling is an area that gets plenty of practice.

This is of great benefit to all, especially when operating your own boat in your own local area. The courses consist of classroom sessions covering subjects such as Navigation, Charts and Tides and Emergency Procedures followed with practical training and evaluation on the boats in the local area.

With the emphasis being on the safe handling of the boat plenty of the time is spent on the water putting into practice all the valuable lessons learnt in the classroom.

Practising all manoeuvres from launching, high and low speed driving, turns, emergency stops, man overboard drills, mooring and anchoring, dropping off and picking up individuals to the final recovery of the boat everything you need is thoroughly covered and rehearsed until you have mastered the skill.

Puffin 4 in rough weatherThe use of Chart and Compass for navigation plays a large part in the water borne training. This ensures that you do not become dependant solely on electronic instruments for navigation. Various books are available from the Puffin Dive Centre Shop and your course instructor will recommend the right one for you. This is available prior to your course should you wish to start before you arrive at Puffin Dive Centre and is an excellent asset not only for your first course, this edition can and is referred to in all courses up to and including the Instructor level courses. Leading on to sessions where you will use electronic navigation aids such as the GPS fitted to our boats.

These units can prove vital at times in the unlikely event that you become disoriented at sea but as you will have been taught during the navigation sessions you should not rely solely on GPS as it is possible for them to fail or lose power. Radar use for low visibility of night travelling is a must and can be well practiced by all students on all courses. This invaluable tool could be your only eyes when all else fails so proficient use of radar could be a priority to you.

Navigation requires more than just a compass - Other areas such as the 'rules of the road' at sea, International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea (I.R.P.C.S.). These rules are the seagoing version of the Highway Code and govern the actions of boats operating at sea to avoid accidents and confusion when a number of vessels may be in the same area as unlike our roads there are no 'white lines' at sea for us to stay between.

The "hands on" powerboat handling is where all the theory binds together and you will realise that without it life at sea would have been quite difficult for you. Starting with the slow speed manoeuvres you feel your way around the turns using the power of the engines to their best effect. Slow speed handling is where you will see the difference between a professionally trained boat Cox and the one that bought a boat and taught themselves. This is where you practise to make mooring; coming alongside and moving in a confined area look easy.Puffin 1 slow speed maneuvers

High-speed handling involves all the slow speed skills and the ability to judge the sea state to ensure a comfortable ride for yourself and your passengers. Anyone can open the throttle and go in a direct line but the skill comes where you use the engines and the steering to control the boat and make even the roughest of seas seem fairly calm to those around you.
Your training trips may be combined with dive trips to give you the experience of running a boat with divers / passengers on board, give more practise in pick-ups and drop-offs and give you practise in managing other people whilst at sea.

All the courses are very enjoyable and provide the Boat Handling Student with a sound base of knowledge and practical experience.

During your stay with us you may wish for us to arrange accommodation for you. Puffin Dive Centre offers its students self-catering accommodation in Oban with all the luxuries of home for you to enjoy your evenings and relax after the days training activities.

Having completed the course students are then certified through the RYA and can if they wish progress to more advanced levels.

Radio communications are your lifeline to on-shore emergency services in the unlikely event of you having an emergency at sea and for passing on your safety information to the local coastguard.

To further the skill of the potential Coxswain Puffin Dive Centre will also arrange a Marine VHF course and test as part of the POWERBOAT Courses if required. This course is purely land based and consists of classroom sessions learning the radio procedure and general guidelines followed by a short written and oral assessment for the VHF operating licence to be issued. A self-study option is also available enabling you to study the course before actually arriving at Puffin Dive Centre. Courses are available all year round on a weekly basis where we can build the course around your requirements and the time you have available. To discuss your needs call one of our specialist RYA Powerboat Instructors for the best advice and to arrange your courses.


DURATION: 1-3 days
COST: Price List


Books and DVD's available from the Puffin Dive Centre shop and Recommended for Reading in conjunction with this course -

REED'S VHF DSC -Fletcher

Books and DVD's will be despatched usually on the same day with Post and packing charged at the current rates.


Related courses are generally available from Puffin Dive Centre and can be booked at the same time. Course contents are subject to constant review and course content may vary from advertised detail.

VHF Operator
Powerboat Handler
RYA First Aid
Oxygen First Aid
RYA Part I and II
RYA Intermediate Powerboat
RYA Advanced Powerboat
Safety Boat Course

Please see Price List for up to date prices.

Puffin Dive Centre 2017

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