canstockphoto9666684Motor cruising for beginners is for those thinking about buying or chartering a boat to explore beautiful coastlines. You also may be considering entering into the motor yacht world as a professional. All sound great. But, you need to gain some essential skills to ensure you and others are safe on the water and that your lack of knowledge or skill does not endanger you. Where to start is often the hardest bit. Once you begin your boating training, there will be a marked progression route for you to follow.

What is Motor Cruising?
The terms power and motor are often used in the boating world. There is a difference, though. A motor cruiser is a power driven vessel, but it is a boat capable of large distances and has the provision for sleeping on board, including facilities for cooking, showering and a toilet (head).
Practical Training
The RYA (Royal Yachting Association) has a training scheme
dedicated to learning how to skipper and crew motor cruising vessels. Motor cruising for beginners if you have no previous experience, you have two choices of courses. These are as follows:
  1. RYA Start Motor Cruising – a one-day introductory course. You will learn the basics of helming and how to become a useful crew member. This is a taster and a great gift to give someone. Even if they never try it again (which I am sure they will) they will have a fun day.
  1. RYA Helmsman – a two-day course which teaches the basics of seamanship & boat handling skills on a motor boat and is ideal for anyone buying their own boat. There are training centres which will do own boat tuition for you. This ensures you are competent to take a motor cruiser out in sheltered waters by day.
Theory Training
Although the practical courses mentioned above will cover topics such as rules of the road, safety and navigation, they are hands on with very little time available for the theory. Thus, It would be my recommendation that you consider completing the RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship course first. This course is online with about 20 hours of dedicated study time or over 2 days in a classroom.
If you are planning a career working on motor boats or aim to progress to your Day Skipper Practical training, I would recommend jumping straight to the Day Skipper Theory course. Again this is online at your leisure (about 50 hours of study) or over 5 days in a classroom.
Explore coastal areas that might not be accessible by road, enjoy tranquillity (once you turn off your engine!), arrive in comfort and style and be safe. There are many books to get you started if you want to start learning right away. But, the companion that will stay with you for as long as you are into boating is the RYA Day Skipper Handbook Motor.
These courses only have a student to instructor ratio of 4:1 so they do book up fast. Start searching for courses worldwide on the Sail Power Courses website.