Getting into the world of Sailing?


When I started sailing, I really had no idea how to go about it- I just knew I wanted to do it! I hope this helps anyone who feels a bit confused about how to go about achieving what they want.


In a nutshell, dinghy sailing is great way to start off, it really focuses on actually sailing- wind, steering, trimming the sail and controlling your own boat, while being on a small and manageable vessel (maybe like trying go-carts before driving a car). Normally there is only 1 or 2 people in a dinghy boat so you have to pretty much do it all yourself. Dinghy sailing is a little more sporty as you will most probably get wet and be quite active.

For kids its really the only way they can drive there own boat and be really involved safely with sailing but adults have the choice to learn on either yachts or dinghy.

Beginner courses in the Dinghy Sailing Scheme are RYA level 1 or RYA stage 1

Yachting in comparison, while still being about sailing, is on a bigger vessel and can have more people onboard so the boat is sailed by a team. Also there is much more than just sailing to yachts like- proper boat handling with engines, navigation becomes more important because you can go further away and you will need to know how take care of the boat with anchoring, mooring and some basic maintenance. Sailing on a yacht can a more comfortable platform with comforts such as cold drinks, comfortable seating, bathrooms and more room to take friends and the ability to go further and for longer.

Yachting also has more pathways into the professional side of sailing

Beginner courses in yachting is RYA Competent Crew or our Try Yachting 1 day intro course

Having said that there is absolutely no requirement to start sailing on a dinghy and then go to yachts. Some people will prefer the added comfort and ease of a yacht but you would probably find if you really start to enjoy sailing you’ll want to have a go of a dinghy too! They are fun!


Courses are designed to improve and develop your learning and sailing skills and can be beneficial to establish your current level and as goals to strive for. However it is wise and beneficial to practice what you have learnt and be comfortable at that level before continuing onto the next stage. Because of this, the PYC sailing school offers both courses as well as sailing sessions so that you can practice, spend more time on the water and get more experience before moving on. The sailing sessions also help to make sailing to become a regular activity that you can do anytime rather than just during a course. This is true for both the dinghy and yachting sailing schemes.


  • Through the RYA Dinghy Sailing Scheme you can become a dinghy instructor! This can be a great weekend or holiday job for young people at school and is also an internationally recognised credential. We often get emails from dinghy instructors who are spending a year working and travelling before studying or during their summer holidays. There are RYA centres world wide and we love to have these people come through!

First you need:

Dinghy level 2, First aid certificate and RYA Powerboat Level 2 then you can go to-> Assistant Instructor-> Dinghy Instructor-> Senior instructor.

Yachting is a massive commercial industry internationally. The RYA cruising scheme offers professional skipper and instructor credentials.

  • To work as crew on a vessel you may not necessarily really need a qualification however to be able to prove some experience can be sometimes helpful like having a Day skipper or Yachtmaster certificate. Powerboating certificates can be added value as its likely necessity to drive ribs and tenders

  • To work as a skipper of a commercial vessel you need to have a RYA Yachtmaster Offshore ticket and have it commercially endorsed. This means you must have passed the RYA Yachtmaster offshore exam and then for the commercial endorsement you must have a valid and RYA approved seafarer’s medical, radio operator’s certificate, and sea safety survival as well as PPB

  • To work on a super-yacht you need an STCW course and ENG1 medical. Also powerboat certificates can be a favourable addition to a CV.


The dream to charter your own boat and go on a holiday is attractive for many people. The RYA Day Skipper qualification is a course designed to give you those skills and it is an accepted licence to charter vessels in the UK and some other countries including Thailand. The ICC is an additional certificate which aims to make your day skipper even more internationally recognised, particularly in European countries. The PYC Sailing school can provide successful Day Skipper candidates with ICC certification.