The RYA Powerboat Level 2 license is popular not only as a requirement for getting a job on a superyacht but as driving a powerboat for leisurely purposes as well. This raises the question, by the way: ‘what kind of powerboats can you drive with an RYA Powerboat Level 2 license?’ This article has the answer for you.

The RYA Powerboat Level 2 License

Before we dive into it, let’s have a brief overview of the license itself. The RYA Powerboat Level 2 license is considered the most basic license in the industry. If you are 12 years or older, you can apply for this license. However, license holders of ages 12-16 cannot drive a powerboat themselves without being accompanied by a certified supervisor. Also, to receive a commercial endorsement on your powerboat level 2 license, a candidate has to be age 17 and above.

The process of getting this license is simple. Simply take an RYA Powerboat 2 course from an RYA-accredited institution in South Africa, like Sail & Power SA. The training lasts for two days. If you perform well during the course, you will get your license at the end of the course.

For detailed information on Sail and Power’s RYA Course, please visit: The RYA Powerboat Level 2 (PB2) Course in South Africa

What can I drive with an RYA Powerboat Level 2 License?

You can drive any powerboat up to 10m in length and of any horsepower with an RYA Powerboat Level 2 License. 

If your powerboat is bigger than that, you are not allowed to drive it. Why?

A level 2 Powerboat Course focuses on the very basics of driving a powerboat. Even though a Powerboat Level 1 course exists, the level 2 course is considered the most standard and basic one in the industry. And as a basic course, you only get to learn how to handle small-sized powerboats on familiar waters.

However, if you want to chart a course in deeper waters and/or drive larger powerboats, you will require higher qualifications.

What do you learn in a Powerboat Level 2 Course?

Taking a Powerboat Level 2 course requires no prior practical or theoretical experience. Hence, as long as a candidate is age 12 and above, they can take the course. This course focuses on the very basic aspects that are necessary to have competence in driving a powerboat.

In this course, you learn:

  • Close-quarters boat handling
  • Launching and docking the boat
  • Planning speeds
  • Mooring
  • Anchoring
  • Basic manoeuvring
  • Man overboard recovery

Who is the RYA Powerboat Level 2 License for?

This license is mainly for those who wish to learn the basics of handling a powerboat and also own a private, small powerboat. It’s for those who enjoy joining yacht clubs and participating in some watersport activities. If you are a person of leisure and watersports, we highly recommend you get a license for yourself.

Apart from that, people working in the marine industry, such as on a superyacht, are also required to have a PB2 license minimum. For such, you will have to get a commercial endorsement on your Powerboat Level 2 License.

South Africa Exclusive – The SAMSA Skipper’s License

In South Africa, you can also get the SAMSA Skipper’s Licence (Cat E) as an alternative to the RYA Powerboat Level 2 licence. However, for this skipper’s license, you will require 50 hours on waters1 in and signed by a licensed professional (such as another certified skipper).

The SAMSA Skipper’s Licence is not exactly equivalent to the RYA Powerboat Level 2 License. However, they are somewhat similar in nature as their permissions match in some manner. For example, both licenses will only allow you to drive or sail within familiar waters only, with the Category E SAMSA Skipper’s License having a bit tighter restrictions on the matter.

This is what makes the RYA Powerboat Level 2 license more lucrative to obtain. You require no prior experience. Furthermore, as you take this course, you also build up your sea hours; which are helpful if you are planning to get a SAMSA Skipper’s License in South Africa.


The RYA’s Powerboat Level 2 Course is a fun experience which allows you to drive powerboats of any horsepower as long as the length is under 10 metres. You can only drive within familiar waters close to the shore with this license. Getting this license is an easier alternative to the SAMSA Skipper’s License if your intentions are purely leisure or if you want to go abroad to work on a superyacht.

In South Africa, there are a lot of RYA-accredited institutes that can provide a Powerboat Level 2 Course. That means us too, ‘Sail and Power SA’. Get a fun and engaging powerboat learning experience with our veteran instructors in this industry. For more information, please contact us or find more information on our website.