Diesel Engine Maintenance Course

Diesel Engine Maintenance Course

This RYA Diesel Engine Maintenance Course is a one day course for beginners. It assumes no prior experience and is intended to be both enjoyable and informative.

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The Course

Mechanical failure is the main cause of rescue call-outs to cruisers. Basic maintenance and engine care will help ensure that you are not part of this statistic.

The RYA Diesel Engine Maintenance Course is essential for all users of today's boats. Students are assessed by short exercises during the course and practical work with two demonstration engines.

Ideally suited to both sail and powerboat users - whether you sail a yacht with an auxiliary diesel engine or are a motor cruising enthusiast, this course could not just save you money, but one day could save your life.


The RYA Diesel Engine Maintenance Course is all classroom based. It teaches you how an engine works and how to keep it healthy by using basic checks and maintenance procedures. It introduces the fuel, cooling and lubrication systems, as well as essential maintenance, fault recognition and "get you home" techniques. Our course uses Volvo Penta and Lister/Petter engines.

No previous knowledge of engines is required.

Start/Finish Times

10am to 5pm.



The four-stroke cycle

The Fuel system

The cooling system

The air systems

Engine electrical systems

Spares and tool requirements

Importance of winterisation and servicing

Fault finding

  • Principles of the diesel engine
  • Naturally aspirated engines
  • Turbocharging
  • Intercooling/aftercooling
  • The basic system
  • The tank
  • The water-separating pre-filter
  • Fuel lift pump
  • The engine fine filter
  • Injection pump
  • Injectors
  • Bleeding the system
  • Seawater cooling
  • Freshwater cooling
  • Temperature control
  • The thermostat
  • The seawater impeller pump
  • The airway in
  • The airway out
  • The basic system
  • Battery capacity and care
  • Drive belts
  • The alternator
  • Basic spares and tools
  • Engine lubrication
  • Transmission lubrication
  • Winterisation and servicing
  • Service schedule

You will need to take with you a pen and paper and when playing with engines it is best to wear old clothes.

For lunch, we advise you to bring a packed lunch although there are outlets nearby.

"What did you like most about about your course? Well-defined and beautifully balanced act between people, didactics and technology. Combo is rarely achieved successfully but it hits the bull's eye! How would you rate the support you received during your course on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being very poor and 5 being excellent? 5 no doubt. From the first feedback onwards it's guaranteed you are not alone! I like the way anecdotes and facts are sprinkled occasionally alongside the syllabus, like recent ship wrecks in the Channel, etc. This certainly makes reading more interesting as text books tend to be somewhat drier. Please use any occasion to exploit that approach. That enriches the reader immensely as it is first-hand knowledge in its purest form, and that is certainly difficult to obtain anywhere else. Well done. "


"The Instructor was an excellent coach and really took the time with our class to ensure we all understood all aspects of the course. He was patient and prepared to take the time to ensure we all had the best knowledge transferred to us. He was an excellent instructor and had a significant amount of detailed knowledge that was most helpful to me and the rest of the class. He is passionate and fully committed to his work and goes above and beyond to ensure you are capable and have a really enjoyable experience learning with him. First Class Sailing are well organised and the logistics, course material and facilities were all top notch "

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David, Director

"An excellent outfit, well equipped with good boats and brilliant instructors, that is small enough to give a warm personal service but big enough to cope with the full gamut of yachting experiences"

Thomas H.,

"I am no longer scared of the engine, touching bolts etc."

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"Excellent instructor - gave freely of his experience - very dedicated and enormously helpful."

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Michael T,

"Great practical use of equipment. Good class size. Relaxed. "

Hannah T.,

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Julian N.,

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Robert A.,

"Good entertaining tuition. Lots of anecdotes to make it interesting, great practical experience."

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