RYA Safety Boat Course

Plymouth & Devon Schools Sailing Association RYA Powerboat Scheme Safety Boat G16 Book Cover Photo

This course teaches techniques used in powerboats to escort racing fleets of dinghies and windsurfers as well as providing safety rescue cover for fleets and assisting in race management. Techniques for the safe recovery of monohull, multihull, foiling craft, kaykers, paddle boarders, kitesurfers and their equipment is covered either in practical sessions wherever possible or through theory with the use of multimedia demonstration.

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 with other experienced crew.


  • Two Days

Pre – requisites

  • Experience – RYA Powerboat Level 2 with some additional experience of powerboat handling
  • Knowledge – Some knowledge of sailing and other powered craft is recommended, RYA Powerboat Level 2 knowledge is required
  • Specialist Equipment & Clothing – None
  • Age – Minimum age 16+


Course Detail



  • Boat checks
  • Safety equipment including killcord management, sharp knife and first aid kit
  • Crew communication
  • Race management duties including marking abandoned boats


  • Positioning in respect of the fleet
  • Size of Sailing area and response times for different craft
  • Communication with other craft
  • Race management duties


  • Stand off another craft
  • Come alongside sailing craft while under way
  • Lay and recover marks
  • Demonstrate the correct use of an appropriate length killcord at all times


  • Methods for recovering personnel from water and technique for lifting heavy casualties
  • How to deal with entrapments
  • How to right a multihull
  • Procedures for righting high-performance dinghies
  • The dangers of lee shores


  • Approach capsized craft and boats in need of assistance
  • Right capsized and inverted or partially inverted dinghies, both crewed and single-handers


  • Recovering several boards


  • Demonstrate the correct approach
  • Recover personnel from the water
  • Rescue single board without de-rigging
  • Stow rigs

This can be covered as theory

Knowledge Of

  • The correct approach
  • How to rescue different types of kayak and canoe
  • How to return the paddler to their kayak or canoe
  • How to stow empty kayaks
  • Towing occupied or empty kayaks and canoes


  • Length of tow line
  • Multiple tows
  • Towing fragile high-performance boats


  • Tow Alongside
  • Position to pass a tow line
  • Pass a tow line
  • Use a bridle
  • Cast off a tow


  • Refuelling including risks from static electricity and mobile phones
  • Returning equipment
  • Reporting faults and problems


  • Use of VHF
  • Use of tower or club race box for improved vision
  • First Aid
  • Operating from a beach or in shallow water

Knowledge of

  • Limitations of craft with high freeboard
  • Hull types
  • Drive types

Knowledge of

  • Byelaws and regulations


  • Crew Communication
  • Communication with other vessels

Knowledge of

  • How to rescue swimmers, rowing (sculling) boats, water skiers and towed inflatables, personal watercraft and larger craft
  • Special considerations for dealing with kite surfers


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

Date/Time Event Book
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
RYA Safety Boat Course
Plymouth & Devon Schools Sailing Association, Plymouth Devon
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
RYA Safety Boat Course
Plymouth & Devon Schools Sailing Association, Plymouth Devon

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