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Old 13-08-2007, 09:22   #1
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RYA Coastal Skipper

Ok, this is going to be quite a long post, but please read it!

My situation is the following :

I am 28 years old and a programmer, sailing has been my dream since I was a kid. I am strating to doubt my career choice and want the adventure and excitement of a career in sailing. I know it is hard work, but know as well I will enjoy it and it will give me life satisfaction.

I am going to quit my job at the end of the year and do a course in sailing. My question is the following :

The course they offer is called "RYA COASTAL SKIPPER". It is a 5 and a half week course. I am going to learn the following :

• RYA Competent Crew to Coastal Skipper - accredited theory and practical training (*approved practical training only in Cape waters)
• RYA Course Completion Certificates
• ACCOMMOATION on the yachts
• ACCOMODATION in Ocean House during theory modules
• RYA Books
• RYA VHF/DSC (SRC Certificate) NEW
• RYA Radar Course NEW
• 2 day Exam
• MCA approved RYA Coastal Skipper Certificate of Competence (internationally recognized)

The course outline is the following :

• Competent Crew - Monday to Friday ( Cape Town )
• Sat -/Sun - Off ( Cape Town )
• Day Skipper Theory - Monday to Friday (Langebaan)
• Day Skipper Practical - Saturday to Wednesday (Langebaan)
• Thursday - VHF/DSC
• Friday - Radar
• Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory - Saturday to Friday (Langebaan)
• Coastal Skipper Practical - Saturday to Friday (Langebaan)
• Exam Prep - Saturday to Wednesday (Langebaan)
• RYA Coastal Skipper Exam - Thursday & Friday

I don't have enough money to pay for the 17 week Yachtmaster course. The people say that this course is a good start to get working in the international market and that they will try and get me a job overseas. They will also organise an Atlantic Crossing after the course. They have been in South Africa since 1979.

Is the abovementioned course worth it? Will I be able to get a decent job on a yacht with that qualification? At least earn enough to pay back the loan and save for the yachtmasters course? I will also be doing STCW '95.

Please, I need advice as this is a life changing decision. Will I be wasting time and money or is it a good idea?
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Old 13-08-2007, 09:40   #2
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Hmm, never heard of that kind of course, but you may get more info on this forum:

YachtForums - An Online Yachting Magazine?
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Old 13-08-2007, 10:14   #3
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The place to get info on RYA courses is Yachting and Boating World forums: Viewing list of forums

Most of the guys who frequent the YBW forums will have done one sort of RYA course or another, and if you ask the same question there you will get very clear and to the point replies. Some establishments run better courses than others, and you will get some recommendations from people who have done the courses in various places if you ask for them.

I suspect that not too many on that particular forum will have done the courses in South Africa, but no doubt there are local internet sites there where you can get the down and dirty info.


The RYA Coastal Skipper course is a fine course, and you will learn a lot, and should enjoy yourself while doing so. I did mine with Southern Sailing in Southampton U.K. and definitely had a great time...the instructor Steve Brand was brilliant. The RYA examiner was also excellent, taking the view that his function was to teach while he examined. One of the Yachtmaster candidates managed to find a rock with the keel during a night-time sailing test, demonstrating impressive navigational skills. The results of the examinations were imparted privately so the rest of us did not learn whether that particular gentleman was advised to get more experience or what.

As to whether you will get a job...have a chat with some of the guys on Yacht crew agency, yacht crew vacancy, sailing crew from Crewseekers and various other crewing sites and take it from there. Getting jobs is all down to individual personality and get up and go. Last April in the Grenadines I spoke to a young guy who was driving a tender to a large yacht which we had seen the previous September in Croatia. I asked him how long he had been crusing with that yacht..he said since he was 17, and that he was then 22. After his A-levels he chose to sail rather than go to University. From the conversation I had with him, he appeared very happy with his choice!!

Fair winds,

kesey.

P.S. You can pm me if you want to ask anything specific.
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Old 13-08-2007, 11:08   #4
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Originally Posted by kesey
... As to whether you will get a job...have a chat with some of the guys on Yacht crew agency, yacht crew vacancy, sailing crew from Crewseekers and various other crewing sites and take it from there. Getting jobs is all down to individual personality and get up and go ...
As indicated, the job placement agencies might be the best source of recommendations for desireable qualifications.
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Old 13-08-2007, 11:11   #5
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the course you describe is a mixed group of qualifications and i have taken most of them seperatly i am based in the uk and most of the saling and adult education (evening clases) schools run courses.
i woud make a suggestion.
dont give up the day job yet keep erning money dont take a loan.
go to evening clases and do the yachtmaster theory £300sterling 20 weeks
vhf with dsc 1 day £50 aprox
then join a club and sign on to a race teem get a personal log book and get your miles up
once you have the miles sign up for yacht master practical 1-2 weeks £500-1000
so one year from now you could have all qualifications and no loan then apply for a yacht job get job
then quit boring well paid i t job.
but remember turning a hobby or passion into a job wont always get you what you want and could kill you interest with long hours low pay and watching someone with a well paid i t job spend there money on a saling holiday and you doing the hard work.
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Old 13-08-2007, 11:22   #6
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i have a friend who has worked his way up to captin of a super yacht and its a great job but not so good for the other staff i did a trans alantic with him and spoke to the crew and they spend most of the time on duty in a port in the med or carib and thats it, the gests dont want to do mutch apart from play in the water with the toys and go ashore for dinner so the big boats dont do mutch saling. when i crued with them half the crew went on leave while we moved the boat.
most delivery skippers i know teach as well and even cleen and do maintanance. between trips.
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Old 14-08-2007, 05:28   #7
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I wouldn’t eliminate the idea of turning your hobby or interests (sailing) into a career, but advise that explore the concept as you would any other business idea, and consider what your day-to-day work life would look like. Yacht crew are essentially servants to wealthy masters.

Remember: being required (paid) to do something regularly and well (job) is very different from the no-pressure, no-expectation levels of our recreational activities.

A good way of spotting an exciting and viable career choice is to create a SWOT* analysis, with one list for your skills and interests, and another for sectors and requirements. Where the two cross over is fertile ground.

* SWOT Analysis, is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the venture or project, and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective. Used in a personal context, it helps you develop your career in a way that takes best advantage of your talents, abilities and opportunities.
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Old 14-08-2007, 11:16   #8
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gordmay
in english is that a list of pro's and cons ?
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Old 14-08-2007, 12:17   #9
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Originally Posted by philip van praag
gordmay
in english is that a list of pro's and cons ?
Now, now philip Are you advocating the use of clear concise language? You'll end up having 94.31% of the earth's consultants on the unemployment register.
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Old 15-08-2007, 04:13   #10
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Originally Posted by philip van praag
gordmay
in english is that a list of pro's and cons ?
NO - I didn't intend to suggest any "pro's" to the idea of losing an enjoyable avocation (hobby), in favour of a vocation (job).
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Old 16-08-2007, 08:22   #11
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Thanx for everyones reply. How is the yachting industry at the moment? Do foreigners get work in for instance USA or UK?
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:19   #12
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Ok, this is going to be quite a long post, but please read it!

My situation is the following :

I am 28 years old and a programmer, sailing has been my dream since I was a kid. I am strating to doubt my career choice and want the adventure and excitement of a career in sailing. I know it is hard work, but know as well I will enjoy it and it will give me life satisfaction.

I am going to quit my job at the end of the year and do a course in sailing. My question is the following :

The course they offer is called "RYA COASTAL SKIPPER". It is a 5 and a half week course. I am going to learn the following :

• RYA Competent Crew to Coastal Skipper - accredited theory and practical training (*approved practical training only in Cape waters)
• RYA Course Completion Certificates
• ACCOMMOATION on the yachts
• ACCOMODATION in Ocean House during theory modules
• RYA Books
• RYA VHF/DSC (SRC Certificate) NEW
• RYA Radar Course NEW
• 2 day Exam
• MCA approved RYA Coastal Skipper Certificate of Competence (internationally recognized)

The course outline is the following :

• Competent Crew - Monday to Friday ( Cape Town )
• Sat -/Sun - Off ( Cape Town )
• Day Skipper Theory - Monday to Friday (Langebaan)
• Day Skipper Practical - Saturday to Wednesday (Langebaan)
• Thursday - VHF/DSC
• Friday - Radar
• Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory - Saturday to Friday (Langebaan)
• Coastal Skipper Practical - Saturday to Friday (Langebaan)
• Exam Prep - Saturday to Wednesday (Langebaan)
• RYA Coastal Skipper Exam - Thursday & Friday

I don't have enough money to pay for the 17 week Yachtmaster course. The people say that this course is a good start to get working in the international market and that they will try and get me a job overseas. They will also organise an Atlantic Crossing after the course. They have been in South Africa since 1979.

Is the abovementioned course worth it? Will I be able to get a decent job on a yacht with that qualification? At least earn enough to pay back the loan and save for the yachtmasters course? I will also be doing STCW '95.

Please, I need advice as this is a life changing decision. Will I be wasting time and money or is it a good idea?
To obtain decent employment you will not only need the RYA YachtMaster Offshore, but probably a lot more as well including an MCA commercial endorsement...The 17 week zero to hero yachtmaster is not seen as a professional qualification, nor is the coastal skipper. If you want to work in the yachting business, there are now colleges in the UK that offer 3 year degrees in Maritime Studies combined with the yachtmaster qualifications and people like UKSA offer 3 year cadetships or courses that run 23 weeks POST yachtmaster... I am a Yachtmaster, but it took me several years to get there and I'm not looking for employment in the business, I just did it for my own enrichment.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:49   #13
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Have a look at the UKSA web site, they offer various courses and help find a job at the end of it (based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK). I would agree that the 'zero to hero' in 17 weeks is not really a good idea. Either do what has been suggested and gain qualifications in 'slow time' or a possiblity might be to do a deckhand course at UKSA. It's around £8000, but there are jobs available at the end of it. Currently paid deckhands make about £1000 per month all found (food, accomadation is provided). UKSA say there is a world-wide shortage of qualified people, but I guess that depends on the world wide economy keeping on track. I dont't think you would get much of a job with a Coastal Skipper qualification, in any case you would need the commercial endorsement.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:44   #14
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There are tons of jobs in the US Merchant Marine for those that have all the requirements...thats just it. The USCG keeps adding more hoops making it more and more difficult to find qualified people. This is hurting the industry and the regulators don't seem to care. Going to sea can never be made 100% safe but some people seem to think it can be made so.

...stepping off my soapbox.
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Old 15-11-2007, 20:32   #15
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Hi Cipher,

Ya know, you can always fall back on your programming, how many times in your life can you chase your dream?

The YMC 5 week course is tough, (and much better than the USCG ticket). Difficult even for those with sailing experience, but not undoable.

You didn't mention what type of sailing your intrested in. Commercial ships? Charter sailing?
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