When you are out on the sea, the more skilled you are, the better your chances of survival will be. Equipping yourself with different skillsets will definitely improve your experience on the waters and help you survive and cope with (unexpected) harsh conditions better. Hence, these recommended miscellaneous courses by RYA may come in handy.

This article is mainly written for recreational sailors owning small private boats like dinghies or personal yachts. Of course, as per the South African maritime laws set by SAMSA, you will have to get a certain category license, depending on what category of boats you want to drive.

Recommended Miscellaneous Courses by RYA

Navigation and Seamanship Theory

The Navigation and Seamanship Theory Course is open for all ages, meaning even your kids (above 8-10 preferably) can participate in this course. This course covers basic navigation and safety theory. This course duration is usually 16 hours in the classroom or 10 hours online.

There are no prerequisites to this course and inexperienced and/or aspiring sailors can consider enrolling themselves on this course at will.

Radio Course (SRC Course)

This course is rapidly rising in popularity in South Africa as South Africa discarded the 29Mhz frequency for onshore-offshore communication and made it compulsory for vessels to have a VHF radio on board since 2016. This system also comes with DSC (Digital Selective Calling) which is extremely useful in distress situations.

Hence, the RYA’s Radio Course is perhaps one of the important courses (along with STCW) a sailor definitely should take. It is a one-day classroom or online course that roughly takes 8-10 hours. Both types of courses will also include radio simulation scenarios for your better understanding of how radios work.

In this course, you mainly learn about:

  • Routine VHF radio communications & ship-to-shore calls
  • DSC – Digital Selective Calling
  • Use of the right radio frequencies (channels)
  • Distress, emergency, and medical calls
  • Global Maritime Distress & Safety System (GMDSS)
  • Emergency position indicating radio beacons – EPIRBs, PLBs and SARTs

More information about the course is in this article. 

Diesel Engine Course

Understanding the engine of the vessel you drive could come in handy in tricky situations. For example, if your engine breaks down in the middle of the ocean, you can take a look at your engine yourself rather than waiting for the emergency services. Like, imagine calling emergency services for a little malfunction you could’ve easily fixed, right?

Exactly! And this Diesel Engine Course can save you from such embarrassing moments. Regardless, learning about engines is definitely interesting and it is rewarding. This is a one-day course that is strictly conducted in classrooms (no online version). In this course, you learn:

  • The four-stroke cycle
  • Fuel management
  • Cooling and Air Systems
  • Engine Electrical Systems,
  • Spares and Tool requirements
  • Winterisation and Servicing

First-Aid Course

RYA’s First-Aid Course is genuinely one of the most important courses to take in our lives. Whether it’s on the sea or offshore, you could save a life with your first-aid knowledge in dire situations. If you are taking an STCW Course, you will learn about first-aid procedures as well. Or else, we highly recommend you get a basic first-aid course.

In this one-day course, you learn:

  • The recovery position in a confined space
  • CPR
  • The drowning protocol
  • cold shock and hypothermia from immersion and/or exposure
  • Seasickness and dehydration
  • Medical assistance or advice by VHF
  • Helicopter rescue

Radar Course

RADAR is one of the most important pieces of equipment on board that helps tremendously with navigation. In this one-day basic Radar Course, you will learn about reading the radar, radar reflectors, set components, target definition and discrimination, radar plotting and more.

This course is available for all age groups. This course may be conducted in classrooms or on a boat if doable.

Basic Sea Survival Course

Don’t have time to go through an extensive STCW Course? Then the RYA’s Basic Sea Survival Course is what you are looking for. This one-day survival course is good for those who occasionally go out on the sea for recreational activities. Do note that this is not equivalent to the STCW course.

In this course, you will learn basic survival techniques like using lifejackets and lifeboats, search and rescue protocols and procedures, medical aspects of sea survival, and survival techniques.


While these recommended RYA courses are optional, having these certificates not only equips you with diverse necessary skillsets but also enriches your resume. This is what makes these courses worth it. In the future, if you are planning for superyacht jobs, these courses would definitely make a fine addition to your resume.

As a prominent marine training institute in Cape Town, South Africa, Sail and Power SA can definitely help you with these complementary RYA courses. For more information, we encourage you to visit the RYA website or connect with us for personal guidance and information. Looking forward to hearing from you!