RYA Advanced Powerboat Day and Night Course

Plymouth & Devon Schools Sailing Association RYA Powerboat Scheme Syllabus & Logbook G20 Book Cover Photo

This course teaches boat handling, seamanship, pilotage and navigation to the standard required to safely undertake and execute a coastal passage by day and night in familiar waters with a planing powerboat.

At PDSSA we take this course in a variety of powered craft on tidal coastal waters. You will gain experience in boats from small tiller steer RIBS to larger console wheel steer RIBS and also if time allows a run through the exercises in our Plymouth Pilot, a small displacement training powerboat.

It is recommended that all participants consolidate this short introduction with practice between courses.


  • Two Days

Pre – requisites

  • ExperienceRYA Intermediate Powerboat Day Course
  • KnowledgeRYA Intermediate Powerboat Day Course , with a thorough knowledge of navigation and chartwork to the level of the Coastal Skipper/RYA Yachtmaster™ shorebased certificate. It is also strongly recommended that candidates hold an RYA First Aid certificate and VHF Operator’s certificate.
  • Specialist Equipment & Clothing – None
  • Age – Minimum age 17+


Course Detail

Preparation For Sea


  • Prepare the powerboat
  • Carry out fuel and engine checks
  • Stow and secure gear

Knowledge of

  • Differences for a twin-engine vessel


  • The importance of boat control in waves and adequate seating to minimise the risk of back injuries
  • Characteristics of various hull forms and propeller configurations
  • Action to be taken in rough weather


  • Demonstrate a practical understanding and correct use of power trim and trim tabs
  • Pick up a man overboard in differing conditions
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the effects of wind and tide when manoeuvring including
  • Steering to transits and in buoyed channels
  • Turning in a confined space
  • Berthing in various conditions of wind and tide
  • Picking up and leaving a mooring buoy
  • Demonstrate the use of an appropriate length killcord at all times


  • The importance of pre-trip planning
  • Planning and making coastal passages, taking into account the relevant navigational hazards, the type of boat and the strengths of the crew
  • Chart plotters and radar, their advantages and limitations


  • Organise the navigation, safety and welfare or the crew during a powerboat passage
  • Navigate at higher speed using a range of techniques
  • Use electronic navigational equipment for planning and undertaking a passage, including the use of waypoints, routes and XTE – Cross Track Error, SOG – Speed Over Ground, COG – Course Over Ground, BTW – Bearing To Waypoint, DTW – Distance To Waypoint


  • Carry out pilotage plans and pilotage for entry into or departure from harbour
  • Use leading and clearing lines, transits, back bearings and soundings as aids to pilotage
  • Use GPS and understand its limitations in pilotage
  • Navigate using soundings


  • Terms used in shipping forecasts, including the Beaufort Scale, and their significance to small craft
  • Sources of forecast information and interpretation of forecasts including synoptic charts
  • The significance of meteorological trends


  • Interpret a synoptic chart
  • Use and interpret forecasts to make decisions about passages


  • Apply the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

Knowledge Of

  • How to change a propeller
  • Propeller diameter and pitch
  • Propeller ventilation and cavitation


  • Checks to be made before starting, during running and after stopping for diesel and petrol engines
  • Periodic checks on engine and electrical system including spark lugs, water filters and pump impellers
  • Transmission belts
  • Spares to be carried


  • Correct action to take in emergency situations
  • Fire prevention and fighting
  • Hull damage/watertight integrity
  • What to do in a medical emergency
  • Towing and being towed
  • Helicopter rescue procedures
  • Issue distress by all available means
  • Search patterns
  • The danger of cold water shock and immersion hypothermia


  • Checks to be made before starting, during running and after stopping for diesel and petrol engines
  • Periodic checks on engine and electrical system including spark lugs, water filters and pump impellers
  • Transmission belts
  • Spares to be carried


  • Take charge of a powerboat at night, including leaving and entering harbour
  • Demonstrate ability at keeping a proper look-out and identifying lit and unlit positions by night


There’s not much that you’ll need to begin with.

We can provide you with a wetsuit, spray top and buoyancy aid. Our sizes range from Junior Extra Small to Adult Extra Large.

We will expect you to bring the following items:

  • Swimsuit to wear under a wetsuit
  • Rash vest or thin T-shirt to wear under a wetsuit if your swimsuit doesn’t cover the top half
  • Wet shoes such as wet suit boots, dinghy boots, old trainers which give rugged foot protection. We have found that open toe footwear and crocs are not suitable as they either fall off too easily, have no grip when wet or could lead to serious foot injury. Garden wellies are not suitable for sailing courses either
  • Towel and wash gear to shower and dry afterward if required.
  • Food and drink. Most of our courses run over two full days so bring enough to eat and drink each day. It’s a good idea to take a drink bottle afloat. These can be carried in an accompanying safety boat for you.
  • Sun glasses if it’s bright…make sure you have a retaining strap too.
  • Hat, beanie or cap especially on very sunny or cooler days.
  • Sun protection lotion. We recommend a water resistant lotion with a SPF50 rating.
  • Enthusiasm to learn!!

Optionally a pair of sailing gloves to protect your hands and fingers would be useful and helps protect your hand and fingers from blistering when wet and working with dinghy sheets, lines and other ropework. These are relatively cheap and can be purchased on-line or locally at one of the boat chandleries.

Sailing is a physical sport but has many facets.

If you’re getting in it to win it the fitter you are the better. You’ll be able to sail some very extreme sailing boats with adequate training and experience.

However if you’d prefer a more sedentary pace your fitness level will be fine as long as you can safely move from one side of a small, moving boat to the other.

Yes we run regular RYA Sailability sessions where you can learn to sail in our adapted boats. We have a crew-lift hydraulic electric hoist to help you in and out of the boats.

Of course if your ability means you are able to move around and you can get from one side of the boat to the other safely then our larger regular boats are there for any of our standard sailing courses.

We’d obviously love to have a chat with you first to gauge the best options but are sure we can get you afloat.

We prefer Cash, Cheque or bank transfers in payment for courses. We currently do not have the ability to take payment by card.

Payment by Paypal is also possible by special arrangement with the centre manager. An additional fee is payable to cover the additional transaction costs we incur from Paypal.

Our Address is

Plymouth & Devon Schools Sailing Association
Boathouse 17
Madeira Road
The Hoe

Plymouth & Devon School's Sailing Association don't use sat nav post code to find us iconWARNING: Don’t use the postcode on a sat nav to find us….you won’t !!

You’ll find us at the southern end of the Barbican Wharves between the Barbican Landing stage, The Old White House on the end of Pheonix Wharf and Elphinstone car park. All of this below the south eastern quarter of the Royal Citadel. Check us out on the map here and on our contact page.

Course Dates

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