Cruising Instructor Course

The RYA Cruising Instructor course is the qualification you need to start teaching RYA courses. It is the entry level for instructors in the RYA Cruising Scheme.

› Why learn to sail with First Class Sailing?

Holders of the Cruising Instructor qualification are able to teach Competent Crew and Day Skipper courses with an RYA Recognised Training Centre.

You should be an experienced Yachtmaster Offshore with a thorough knowledge to this level. The Cruising Instructor course focuses on how to teach, instruct, coach, observe and deliver constructive feedback. Candidates must therefore ensure they have sufficient underpinning knowledge prior to attending.

To ensure credibility with students a depth of knowledge far above the RYA syllabus is necessary. Without enthusiasm and extensive practical experience candidates are unlikely to be successful on a Cruising Instructor course.

The course is taught by one Trainer and moderated on the final day by another one.

Minimum Age: 18+

Required Certificates:

  • 1st Aid Certificate
  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence with commercial endorsement

You need to be an RYA Member

Experience: Experienced skipper with theoretical and practical knowledge well in excess of the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence

Pre Entry: Candidates are required to pass an online pre-course module prior to being eligible to attend the course

We include everything you will need with your course fee:

  • 5 days high level instruction and including 1 day moderation
  • Online pre-course knowledge check
  • Thorough teaching on course and lesson planning
  • Accommodation on board
  • All food on board
  • All mooring fees and marina costs
  • Use of waterproof clothing
  • Use of personal safety equipment
  • Any incurred fuel costs

Topics for this course include the following:

  • Teaching and learning theory
  • Structuring feedback
  • Planning, delivery and review of lessons
  • Instructional techniques
  • Interpersonal skills
  • RYA orientation

Teaching and Learning Theory

How students learn

  • Learning styles
  • Stages of learning

Barriers to learning

  • Comfort/Stretch/Panic

Neurolinguistic Programming

Simple coaching models and their uses and limitations

Questioning techniques

Structuring Feedback

Observation skills

Prioritising feedback - safety-learning-fun

Practical Course Syllabus



  • Structuring a lesson
  • Identifying achievable tasks/transferable method
  • Identifying key teaching points
  • Prerequisite knowledge
  • Logical order of delivery
  • Location and time management – planning v. opportunism
  • Use of teaching aids


  • EDICT(S) as a benchmark to discuss, but not restricted to using this model


  • Self-review

RYA Orientation

  • Operating procedures
  • Centre policies
  • Role of RYA Cruising Instructor/Chief Instructor/Principal
  • Dealing with complaints

Debriefing / Feedback Skills

  • Observation skills
  • Feedback
  • Prioritising – safety/learning/fun
  • Action Plans

Catastrophe Clinic

  • Avoiding pitfalls
  • Learning from accidents/incidents

Assessment Criteria

Practical Courses

Knowledge of:

  • Start Sailing, Start Yachting, Competent Crew, Start Motor Cruising, Helmsman, and day Skipper Shorebased and Practical Courses


  • RYA programme of courses
  • Levels of competence required for award of the above certificates
  • Instructional Technique


  • Set up tasks and teaching sessions appropriate to individual students
  • Brief clearly
  • Ensure tasks are undertaken correctly and safely
  • Observe the task and note areas requiring improvement
  • Debrief students and agree an achievable plan for improvement
  • Demonstrate any part of the Start Sailing, Start Yachting, Competent Crew, Basic Skills, Start Motor Cruising, Helmsman, and Day Skipper Practical courses
  • Explain the practical application of any part of the Day Skipper Shorebased Course

Interpersonal Skills

  • How to give and receive feedback

Sailing clothes

Sleeping bag and pillow

Any teaching aids you may have

Really great instructor, immense knowledge and great gag."

Andrew W

"I passed! Which says a lot about the instructor who did a fantastic job."

James E

"Excellent crew and instructors. Learned a great deal."

Peter S

"Really taken me to the next level in my understanding. Massively expanded my existing knowledge."

Jamie R

"First Class Sailing - Best on the Solent, where you are treated as a respected member of the family - not just a fee paying customer. As expected this was a truly personal and technical challenge. With the result of elevating my sailing skills, awareness and confidence in difficult (F7-F9!). Most of all I appreciated the chance to interact with a diverse group and to enjoy the camaraderie and collegiate atmosphere of the crew."

Guy G
Contact us
0203 006 3717
Our Locations

Shamrock Quay

William Street



SO14 5QL


c/o Cruising Association

CA House

1 Northey Street


E14 8BT

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