Vanessa on Spinnaker

Teaching on the Open Sea

Teaching on the Open Sea

Interested in starting a career teaching sailing at sea? Out on the ocean waves, sharing your passion for cruising sailing and exploration, bringing new skills and confidence to Irish sailors. Working as a Cruising or Yachtmaster Instructor is incredibly rewarding.

The autumn / winter is a great time to get the training under your belt. With the new ISA cruising training programme all Instructor Training is using the RYA Instructor Training Scheme. Sovereign Sailing in Kinsale has a few courses coming up this autumn / winter – Contact James Lyons 087-6172555 for details

  • 17th to 21st October 2016 – RYA Cruising Instructor
  • 22nd to 26th October 2016 – RYA Yachtmaster Instructor
  • 27th & 28th October RYA Yachtmaster & Cruising Instructor Revalidation

Irish National Sailing School also runs instructor courses, but no dates are currently scheduled. Contact

For advise on courses or to find a cruising school near you contact or go to our courses map here –

Cruising Scheme Changes Reminder

The Yachtmaster cruising training scheme changed in 2016 and links in with the RYA programme. Here is a reminder of the changes –

  • ISA Yachtmaster Shorebased training programme uses the RYA Yachtmaster Shorebased training documentation and training centres that have affiliated with the ISA and RYA can issue both certificates;
  • ISA Yachtmaster Practical liveaboard training programme remains the same;
  • Yachtmaster Instructor Training will be using the RYA Instructor training scheme and all ISA Yachtmaster Instructors will require an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor qualification to teach the ISA Yachtmaster scheme;
  • RYA Yachtmaster Instructors (YMI) can apply to have their qualification validated as ISA – download the form here;
  • Cruising Instructor (CI) is a new level of Instructor for the ISA scheme. The Cruising Instructor can teach the practical skills up to the level of ISA and RYA Day Skipper. A Cruising Instructor provides training under the management of a Yachtmaster Instructor and cannot be a training centre’s Centre Principal.  Trainees for the CI course will need a commercially endorsed RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Cert of Competence, first aid and pass the Professional Practices and Responsibilities Cert and a pre knowledge check, minimum age is 18. The Cruising Instructor qualification is a prerequisite for becoming a Yachtmaster Instructor.

Full Cruising Training Programme Available

Cruising Training Courses

This table shows you the full range of cruising training courses available
TypeCoursesDurationMin ageCert AvailableCourse contentPre Requisites
ShorebasedIrish Sailing Coastal Navigation for Small Boats8 hrs
n/aIrish SailingCharts and publications, pilotage, tides, rules of the road, planning and more.None
ShorebasedEssential Navigation & Seamanship Shorebased16 hrs
Irish Sailing RYACharts and publications, safety, buoyage, tides, navigation, pilotage, rules of the road, anchoring, weather forecasts, passage planning & more.None
ShorebasedDay Skipper Shorebased40
plus exam
Irish Sailing RYASeamanship, coastal navigation and pilotage, chartwork, electronic charts, position fixing, plotting a course to steer, weather forecasting and meteorology, tides, collision regulations & more.Some practical experience is desirable
ShorebasedYachtmaster Shorebased40
plus exam
Irish Sailing RYAPosition fixing, course shaping and plotting, tidal knowledge, use of almanacs and admiralty publications, electronic position finding equipment, taking and interpreting forecasts, plotting weather systems, weather predictions using a barometer & more.Knowledge to Day Skipper shorebased standard
ShorebasedYachtmaster Ocean40
plus exam
Irish Sailing RYAThe earth and the celestial sphere. Practical guide to use the care of sextant at sea. Meridian altitudes. Sun, star and other sights. Ocean passage planning & more.Navigation to Co Skipper/YM Offshore shorebased standard. Coastal & offshore cruising experience
LiveaboardIrish Sailing Hemsman
16Irish SailingTerminology, engines, ropework, safety, courtesy to others, helmsmanship & manoeuvring, ruses of the road, weather.None
LiveaboardIrish Sailing Competent Crew Practical5
12Irish SailingTerminology, sail handling, ropework, safety, helmsanship, rules of the road, weather & more.None
LiveaboardIrish Sailing Day Skipper Practical
Sail / Motor
5 days16Irish SailingEngine, battery & fuel checks., stopcocks & stowage, safety checks, forecasting, planning, planning and crew briefing, rules of the road, weather, navigation & more.5 days, 100 miles, 4 night hours, Navigation knowledge to Day Skipper standard
LiveaboardIrish Sailing Yachtmaster Coastal Practical
Sail / Motor
5 days17Irish SailingConsideration of capability of yacht and crew, navigation and strategy, provisioning, sea area and shipping forecasts, ports of refuge, tidal heights and streams, planning and crew briefing, charts and publications.15 days, 2 as skipper, 300 miles, 8 night hours. Nav to Coastal Skip shorebased standard, sailing to Day Skip standard.
Onboard examIrish Sailing Yachtmaster Coastal Practical Assessment6-10
16Irish SailingAssess a recreational sailors ability to skipper a sailing yacht under sail and auxiliary motor or motor yacht on coastal passages during daylight.800 miles in tidal waters, 25 days at sea, 3 as skipper, 12 night hrs. (if hold shorebased cert – 600 miles, 20 days, 3 as skipper, 12 night hrs.) VHF.
Onboard examIrish Sailing Yachtmaster Offshore Practical Assessment8-12
18Irish SailingAssess a recreational sailors ability to skipper a sailing under sail and auxiliary motor or motor yacht on a coastal and offshore passages during daylight and at night.3000 miles in tidal waters, 50 days at sea, 6 as skipp, 30 night hrs, 6 varied passages + 60miles, 2 as skip. (if hold shorebased cert – 2500 miles, 50 days at sea, 6 as skipper, 30 night hrs, 6 varied passages + 60miles, 2 as skip.) VHF, Sea Survival, First Aid.
Onboard examIrish Sailing YM Ocean Practical AssessmentN/A18Irish SailingAssess a recreational sailor’s ability to skipper a sail or motor yacht on ocean passages out of sight of land without use of electronic aids.ISA or RYA Offshore Practical Cert, Offshore passage not less than 600miles, +75miles offshore for min 200miles, at sea for min 96hrs.
InstructorYachtmaster Shorebased Instructor2 days18RYAFor experienced RYA Yachtmaster Offshore skippers to be able to gain the skills required to instruct shorebased courses up to and including Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Offshore Theory.RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore cert and completed Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased in last 5 years. Plus knowledge in excess.
InstructorCruising Instructor5 days18RYAFor experienced RYA Yachtmaster Offshore skippers to be able to gain the skills required to instruct practical courses up to the level of ISA and RYA Day Skipper, under the management of an Yachtmaster Instructor.Commercially endorsed RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Cert of Competence and experience well in excess of RYA Yachtmaster Offshore competence, completed PPR course. Pre course knowledge check.
InstructionYachtmaster Instructor5 days18RYAFor experienced RYA Cruising Instructors to progress to being able to instruct both practical and theory courses up to ISA and RYA Yachtmaster Offshore.RYA Cruising Instructor Cert, 2 years experience, current commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster cert, completed RYA PPR course, knowledge in excess of RYA Yachtmaster, logged 7000+ miles .