RYA Advanced Powerboat Course Syllabus

This is the pinnacle of the RYA powerboat scheme; as such students are required to hold a valid first aid certificate and a VHF operator’s certificate. Students must be a minimum age of 17 for this course.

On completion of this course students can then put forward to undertake the RYA MCA Advanced powerboat exam.

Preparation for Sea

Prepare the powerboat
Carry out fuel and engine checks
Stow and secure gear

Boat Handling

Knowledge of:
Differences for a twin-engine vessel

Characteristics of various hull forms and propeller configurations

Action to be taken in rough weather

Demonstrate a practical understanding and correct use of power trip and trim tabs
Demonstrate an awareness of the effects of wind and tide when manoeuvring, including:
Steering to transits and in buoyed channels
Turning in a confined space
Berthing in various conditions of wind and tide
Picking up and leaving a mooring buoy
Demonstrate the use of an appropriate length kill cord at all times

Passage making and responsibility as Skipper

The importance of pre-trip planning
Planning and making coastal passages, taking into account the relevant navigational hazards
The type of boat and the strengths of the crew
Chart plotters and radar, their advantages and limitations

Organise the navigation, safety and welfare of the crew during a powerboat passage
Navigate at higher speed using time/distance
Use electronic navigational equipment for planning and undertaking a passage, including the
Use of waypoints, routes and XTE, SOG, COG, BTW, DTW


Carry out pilotage plans and pilotage for entry into or departure from harbour
Use leading and clearing lines, transits, back bearings and soundings as aids to pilotage
Use GPS and understand its limitations in pilotage
Navigate using soundings


Knowledge of:
Terms used in shipping forecasts, including the Beaufort scale and their significance to small craft.

Sources of forecast information and interpretation of forecasts including synoptic charts
The significance of meteorological trends
Interpret a Synoptic chart

Rules of the Road Can:

Apply the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

Use of Engines

Knowledge of:
How to change a propeller
Propeller diameter and pitch
Propeller ventilation and cavitation

Checks to be made before starting, during running and after stopping for diesel and petrol engines
Periodic checks on engines and electrical system including spark plugs, water filter and pump impellers
How to bleed the fuel system (diesel), change filters and pump impellers
Transmission belts
Spares to be carried
Emergency Situations Understands:
Correct action to take in emergency situations
Fire prevention and fighting
Hull damage/watertight integrity
What to do in a medical emergency
Towing and being towed
Helicopter rescue procedures
Use of flares
Search patterns

Pick up a man overboard in all available conditions

Night Cruising

Take charge of a powerboat at night, including leaving and entering harbour
Demonstrate ability at keeping a proper lookout and identifying lit and unlit marks by night.

This information was taken from the RYA powerboat logbook.