People often get confused with the Powerboat Level 1 (PB1) and Level 2 (PB2) course. In this article, we will compare the two courses. To understand them, we should understand what these courses offer and how they are beneficial to you.

What is a Powerboat Course?

A powerboat course is all about teaching the safety standards, operations, and maintenance of your powerboat. It is a mandatory course for those who wish to operate a powerboat as you are issued a license at the end of these courses. These licenses are internationally recognised as they are issued by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

Powerboat Course Level 1:

This is a course that many advise against taking; and well, that is fair. You do not exactly need this course to advance in your career as you can simply go for the Powerboat Level 2 course. However, this is still a useful course for people who have never used a powerboat before. It is a course for those who wish to enter the marine industry but want to take their time learning powerboating.

This course is the elementary ABC’s of Powerboating. If you are new to the seas and the marine industry and do not need to immediately obtain a powerboat license, this is a course we would highly recommend for you (despite what the crowd says).

This course consists of basic theory and practicals. Throughout each section of the course, a certified RYA instructor will accompany and show you the ropes of a powerboat.

Let us understand what you will be learning in this course.

  • Handling the powerboat.
  • Recovering a mooring buoy.
  • Man Overboard (theory).
  • Preparation of crew and required tools pre-launching the powerboat.

The advantage of this one day course is that children as young as 8 years old can also enrol, thus making it a perfect course for introducing children to the adventures of the sea. Please note that with Powerboat Level 1 alone, you may not be able to navigate a powerboat on your own; or at least not without a certified powerboat level 2+ person onboard.

Powerboat Level 2 Course:

This is the most sought-after course in the industry. The Powerboat Level 2 Course is one of the basic requirements if you are looking to work on a recreational or commercial vessel such as a superyacht. The powerboat level 2 course will cover the entire basis of handling a powerboat safely, giving you the confidence to handle one on your own.

This course is available to people of age 12 and above. However, people between the age group of 12-16 cannot use a powerboat on their own unless accompanied by a legal guardian.

People generally advise taking this course directly and ignore the Powerboat level 1 course (as mentioned before). But, taking a PB1 course beforehand will prepare you for this course if you have never handled or been on a powerboat before. The contents of the course may not feel new or overwhelming and you will learn quicker.

In this 2-days course, you will learn about:

  • Powerboat launching and recovery
  • Confined space manoeuvring
  • Mooring
  • Man overboard procedure
  • Anchoring
  • Towing
  • Engine checks
  • High-speed handling
  • Collision regulations
  • Buoyage
  • Basic chart work and navigation
  • Understanding tides and how to tackle them
  • Communication afloat
  • Emergency procedures


Bottom Line

The PB1 and PB2 courses are RYA certified courses, meaning upon completion, you will receive an internationally recognised RYA certificate; which means you can use a powerboat in any country. If you are required to work on a recreational vessel, you will also need an International Certificate of Competence.

There are further levels to the Powerboat courses. PB2 is actually the basic course to understanding the safety regulations, handling, and manoeuvres of a powerboat. For information on further levels, please look at this article.

Related: RYA Powerboat Courses in South Africa

If you have any queries, we would be happy to help you. Feel free to connect with us anytime. Looking forward to seeing you at the sea!