RYA Training Centre SOP - v4 - December 23

Table of Contents

The Aims of the Training Section are to:

  • Foster a love of sailing, windsurfing and powerboating in a safe, supportive, enjoyable, and challenging environment that is accessible to all.
  • Offer training and RYA qualifications to club members and the community, to encourage membership of the club and RYA.
  • Ensure that opportunities are available to everyone regardless of any protected characteristics. 
  • Improve standards of sailing and windsurfing and provide a pathway to higher levels of performance through RYA courses.
  • Improve powerboat use and safety throughout the club. 
  • Provide training necessary for the development of volunteers so that the above will be achieved.
  • Ensure all RYA accredited training activities are run in a safe manner with appropriately qualified and experienced personnel in place.

Training activities and procedures (SOP linked to Risk assessments)

Activity Lead
All activities covered by this document will be under the supervision of the relevant Activity Lead (AC). This would be SI, PBI, RC as applicable in RYA Guidance 

Sailing Area and Hazards

Both main and small lakes can be used for training, the plan of the lake shows potential hazards. The lake to be used for a particular session will be decided by the Activity LeadGeneral Instructor responsibility and water safety (SOP 1, 2, 6)

  • Activity Leads must assess conditions and weather forecast and discuss with instructors recording any deviations from the SOP or course plan. 
  • Instructors must recognise the risk caused by prevailing weather conditions and mitigate the risk by using appropriate equipment and teaching methods. Input from the Principal, CI or Activity Lead should be sought.
  • RYA instructors are responsible for students. 
  • RYA teaching principles, guidelines and syllabus must be followed. Student/instructor ratios should be observed. 
  • Instructors shall be trained in accordance with RYA requirements and have appropriate in date certification.
  • Instructors must have due regard for manual handling e.g., of rig components, ropes & sheets, and mitigate risks. Consider trapping of participants’ hands, feet etc. and undertake dynamic risk assessments, as necessary.
  • All must comply with club rules, instructions, and policies.
  • Students should be taught how to signal for assistance during the early phase of a course.


  • The Activity Lead must ensure in conjunction with instructors that all participants, instructors, and safety crew have correctly fitting buoyancy aids. 
  • Safety crew should be dressed for entering the water. 
  • The Activity Lead should ensure that all participants are advised before the course about suitable gear, footwear, and clothing appropriate to the syllabus being delivered. 
  • All participants should be informed that helmets are available if required/desired.
  • Candidates in unsuitable clothing should not be allowed afloat.


  • On water RYA training activity must have safety cover in line with the current RYA recommendations and club policies 
  • Any injuries or near misses must be assessed and treated in line with current First Aid training and RYA and Club protocols (SOP 3)
  • Ensure breakages are reported to the Activity Lead or Bosun and ‘quarantine’ labels are tied to damaged equipment and noted on relevant white board.
  • Anyone with additional needs should be risk assessed by the most senior instructor/coach present and appropriate adaptations techniques used regarding tuition, communication and assistance offered/discussed and provided (where reasonable)

Sailing Tuition (SOP 9)

  • The RYA method will be used for all relevant RYA courses.
  • Activity Leads will conduct a training and safety briefing before starting a training session.
  • To promote confidence and impart appropriate skills consider teaching the principles of capsizing as early as feasible in the course. 
  • Reefing should be considered, along with selection of suitable craft and sail size for conditions and participants.

Windsurfing (additional considerations) (SOP 2 & 10)

  • Windsurfing Rigs & boards should be secured when not in use, where possible with the rig attached to a board, or in the cage.
  • Teach correct RYA method to raise windsurf sail and set off to reduce risk of back injury, use appropriately sized sail for student.
  • Instructor/ experienced helper to rig sails on first session.
  • Ensure simulator is carried correctly, set up on suitable surface, and only used when supervised by a WAI/WI. Check tension device and straps. A rope should be used on the front to control movement.

HANSA (additional considerations)

The HANSA boats are to be used in accordance with the RYA Centre HANSA SOP 

Sailor Hoist (SOP 11)

Sailor hoists must only be used by appropriately trained adults.

Capsize and entrapment risks. 

  • Mast floats are to be used for all RYA Dinghy instruction except Club Race and higher where use is optional. 
  • Use of trapeze must follow the NCSC RYA Centre Trapeze SOP 
  • Trapezing: quick-release harnesses (only) to be available for use.

Lifting and handling

  • All those involved should follow the NCSC Safety Policy and Appendix on lifting and handling. 
  • The instructor should consider the appropriate number of people needed for launching and recovering, especially for the larger trolley launched boats and RigiFlex. 
  • RIBS, Pioner and Committee boats should be launched using appropriate methods by the bosun or his team, usually by use of a tractor or other vehicle.

Health, Safety and First Aid (SOP 3 & 8)

  • Near misses and accidents must be reported on accident/incident forms in accordance with the club safety policy.
  • All safety boats must be crewed with at least one first aider with an appropriate and valid First Aid qualification.
  • All use of First Aid equipment must be recorded on an incident form and such use reported to the person responsible for restocking of single use equipment.
  • The CI/Activity Lead will, with the student’s consent, communicate any relevant medical information as appropriate to safety cover and the relevant instructor(s).
  • In the event of a Major Incident the RYA must be informed in line with the RYA reporting policy and Major Incident Plan – TG 14-15.

Contaminants on Craft (SOP 4)

  • If Blue Green Algae or other contaminated water is known to be present the course must be run in accordance with current NCSC policy and in line with current RYA guidance.
  • Craft should be cleaned of any contaminants prior to the course commencement.
  • All participants should be advised regarding regular handwashing and before the ingestion of drinks or food.


Clubhouse, Training Room, and Hub use 

Hot and cold drinks must be available.

Participants need to be informed of arrangements regarding food in advance of the course.


Slipway and shore

  • At the initial briefing warn of the dangers of slippery slipways and shore.
  • Minimise shoreline hazards by removing trolleys and equipment to the bank. 
  • On-shore catchers should be available where appropriate.

Safeguarding (SOP 7)

  • All must follow the current NCSC Safeguarding policy.
  • All over 16s involved in the instruction of children and vulnerable adults must undertake the RYA Safe and Fun course.
  • All instructors and helpers must comply with the RYA Code of Conduct.

On shore instruction (SOP 8)

  • When instructing onshore, the Instructor must take appropriate actions including positioning of participants and use of equipment to minimise hazards. 
  • On First Aid courses, one CPR mannequin must be used per person. This will be cleaned, and “lungs” replaced between sessions by the First Aid instructing team.

Power Craft (SOP 10)

  • Kill cords must be correctly used in line with RYA guidance.
  • Double kill-cords must be used with drivers aged under 12. 
  • Each powerboat must be checked to ensure that the towing line, bridle, fire extinguisher, spare kill cord, tool kit, first aid kit, knife and paddle are in place.
  • No on-water activity should take place without appropriate on-water safety cover. RYA safety boat ratios must be followed, and boats crewed in accordance with club policy.
  • All power craft drivers must always be aware of the propeller position and rotation regarding persons in the water. On contact with any person in the water the engine should be turned off if it is safe to do so.
  • Only appropriately qualified drivers may use the powerboats. On an RYA sailing courses all drivers must hold an RYA Powerboat 2 certificate and club safety duty qualification 
  • An appropriately crewed safety boat must be on the water and ready for use when sailing or windsurfing students are on the water.
  • All appropriately crewed craft are safety craft, their secondary purpose is teaching / coaching, and all users should always keep a lookout for danger. 
  • All craft have a duty to keep watch. 
  • A training boat that is also a safety boat for a group cannot be counted against the overall safety boat ratio i.e., their prime responsibility is to the group they are teaching and cannot provide designated cover for another group (in line with RYA policy). This boat though is the prime safety cover for their group and must be appropriately crewed.
  • On larger courses, particularly those involving children, an observer, and helpers onshore in radio contact is advisable.
  • Radios should be carried by the Activity Lead, Shore team, all instructor teams, and all safety boats. They should be on a predefined channel determined at the pre-course briefing – normally channel 37A (on some radios this is designated as 1037 or M1) The Activity Lead may request a switch to another channel (e.g., P4). Radio checks should be undertaken at the start of the session or if channels or radios are changed.
  • All refueling must take place immediately outside of the fuel store with a fire extinguisher outside the store before starting. A trolley may be used as necessary for moving fuel. (SOP 2). No naked flames should be used in the vicinity of the fuel store or fuel.

RYA Training Activity

Ratio students to safety boat (Adapted from RYA Guidance 2022)


6:1 (local modification)

Dinghy (single or double handed) 

Up to 6 craft – 1 safety boat

7-15 craft – 2 safety boats

More than 15 craft – 3 safety boats.

An “instructors/coach” boat acting as safety, only counts towards the ratio for the group it is “instructing/coaching”

Safe & Fun which is worth every instructor doing (all new Instructors have to do it)  is available several centres our local one (run by club members) is at 

RYA Safe and Fun

Introduction background information about Training section

NCSC = Nottinghamshire County Sailing Club; “the club.” RYA = Royal Yachting Association, SI = Senior Instructor, DI = Dinghy Instructor, WI = Windsurf Instructor,  WAI/JAI/DAI (Windsurf, Junior and Dinghy Assistant Instructors)


  • The recognition of the Training Centre is vested in the Principal.
  • The standard of tuition and the safety of all volunteers and students are the responsibility of the Principal.
  • The responsibilities for club maintenance and safety are carried out by the Executive Committee of NCSC.
  • The responsibility for the delivery of RYA accredited courses and line management of instructors lies with the Chief Instructor and Senior Instructor, respectively.
  • The direct supervision of candidates and equipment falls to the Instructor leading each course.
  • The RYA is responsible as the governing body for informing the Principal of any advances or changes in practice relating to the activities undertaken at the establishment.

Other relevant NCSC policies which are to be adhered to (see website):

  1. Safeguarding Policy
  2. Privacy policy
  3. Safety Policy and Guidance notes (pt 1 to 3)
  4. Equality & Diversity Policy
  5. Data Protection Policy
  7. Trapeze SOP
  8. Photography policy
  9. Code of Conduct
  10. Delivery of paid coaching guidelines

 Organisational Structure of the Training Section:

The RYA Centre Training Committee shall be as outlined in the AGM documents.

It has responsibility for:

  • Club Policy on RYA Training matters
  • The Annual Plan of RYA Training activities
  • Updating procedures, plans and implementing RYA policies as appropriate.
  • Preparing investment, oversight, and maintenance plans for training
  • Organisation of RYA Racing Courses

 Courses offered:

The list of RYA Certificated courses provided are listed above the bar (on the RYA certificate).

Currently this comprises:           

Youth Stage 1,2,3,4.
Adult Level1,2,3,
Sailing with Spinnakers,
Start Racing,
Seamanship Skills,
Day Sailing,
and facilitation of Club racing & Regional Racing

Start windsurfing,
Intermediate and Planing and non planning,
Youth Windsurfing stages 1 2 3 4.

Powerboat Level 1, 2
RYA Safety Boat

RYA First Aid

Safe and Fun

Non-RYA courses (offered to NCSC Members only) – NCSC Club Powerboat Driving and NCSC Club Powerboat Safety Duty

Other activities such as Informal Race Training and Youth Racing Squad are governed by separate club Policies.

Instructors and all others are to adhere to RYA Instructors Code of Conduct; a copy will be displayed in the Training Room and is available on RYA website.

Training Section Finance 

The RYA training section will provide oversight of RYA training budgets and expenditure. It will approve expenditure decisions based on delegation of authority or if this is exceeded it will raise. requests for equipment etc. to through the Training Principal to the Exec Committee as required.

Training Room and Hub

These should be booked through the Training Secretary. 

Where an RYA course is on the club calendar, this will automatically result in a booking for the Training Room. 

The RYA training section is responsible for maintaining and purchasing equipment used for training purposes.


  • The Standard Operating Procedure has been prepared using the relevant parts of the Risk Assessments and from RYA publications and guidance.
  • All persons involved in the Training Section must undertake to adhere to this document. Those working with children and vulnerable adults must read and comply with the Safeguarding Policy.
  • Copies of the Safety Policy and Operating Procedures are posted on the Training Room noticeboard and are available online.
  • The Club Executive Committee will arrange that all written policy statements will be posted in the Clubhouse and be made available on the club website. These will inform and be informed by risk assessments that will be carried out and updated regularly and in keeping with any safety guidelines published by the RYA or other relevant authorities.
  • The Executive Committee will arrange insurance cover for third party liability.
  • When the SOP is updated, an email with link to the online pages will be sent emailed to all members of the NCSC Training team identified via Sailing Club Manager, and all members of the NCSC Executive Committee. Read/receipt and signature of acceptance will be requested and logged via the online web page.
  • The Accident and Near Miss sheets are in the First Aid cupboard (in corridor). Pt 2 of the Safety Policy and Guidance Notes cover reporting of incidents. The procedure in case of accident is posted next to the First Aid cupboard and in pt 2.4 of the Safety Policy.
  • Training course online booking includes information about pre-course requirements, terms and conditions, emergency contacts and a declaration of health problems that may affect participation. The Training Secretary is responsible for receiving bookings.
  • The Training Committee should carry out a system of receiving and reviewing course appraisal and feedback.

RYA Course Material:

  • Relevant personal logbooks will be available to purchase or included as part of the course material. Participants will be given information about other relevant RYA manuals by the Activity Lead where relevant.
  • The items of training identified in the logbook satisfactorily carried out by candidate will be signed off by the instructor, RC, or SI.
  • Certificates will be issued only when candidates have fully satisfied the requirements of the course.
  • For those certificates that require it, these will be registered with the RYA in a timely fashion.
  • Certificates will be obtained from the Principal / Chief instructor and issued in the name of Nottinghamshire County Sailing Club
  • Records relating to candidates and instructors will be kept up to date by the training section including names, contact details, and emergency contact number, register of attendance, course activities and certificates issued. Record keeping and retention will be in accordance with the General Data Protection regulations 2018 and NCSC Privacy Policy.


All RYA courses must always be supervised in accordance with current RYA guidance:

 Student/Instructor Ratios (RYA and Club Powerboat courses)


Student Instructor Ratio (RYA Guidance 32022)

Dinghy crewed

3:1 for beginners when an AI/DI is on board

Max. 9:1 but no more than 6 boats per instructor (AI/DI not on board)

Dinghy Single handed

6:1 (applies only whilst the boats are used as single handers)


Levels 1 & 2 – 3:1

Safety Boat Course – 6:1 (in two boats)





First aid



Each powerboat should be checked to ensure that the towing line, bridle, fire extinguisher, knife and paddle are in place.





RYA Training Centre Committee chair.

Management and overall responsibility for the club’s training activities.

Responsible for risk assessments and SOPs in consultation with Chief Instructors.

The prime interface role with the RYA regarding relevant certifications and operational activity.

Liaison with Bosuns and Sailing Committee regarding safety boats, water use, training rooms, equipment, and usage as required for training purposes.

Responsible for ensuring the relevant content regarding training is maintained on the Sailing ClubManager database system with assistance from the Training Secretary and CIs

Signing and registering certificates in the absence of the CI

Ordering RYA training materials

Training Secretary

Taking bookings for courses

Checking payment received

Answering general queries

Taking and sharing the RYA Training Committee minutes

Chief Instructor (CI)


Club Race Coach

Training and professional development of the instructing team in collaboration with RYA coaches and trainers.

Informing the training section of changes in RYA or maritime safety specifications.

Organisation of appropriate student to instructor/safety ratios for RYA courses

Signing of relevant RYA certificates

Updating tags in SCM

Checking and approving qualification records

Activity Lead


Usually Senior Instructor (SI), Lead RC2/3) or Lead Powerboat Instructor as applicable.

Management of course team and safety activities

Ensure best practice is being used and taught.

Ensuring RYA and club safety ratios are adhered to

Instructor (I)

Ensuring that course delivery follows the specification outlined in the relevant RYA instructors’ handbook and guidance.

Reporting any problems or potential hazards to the Activity Lead

Recommending level of certification to CI, RC, and Principal as appropriate

Assistant Instructor (AI)

NCSC Junior Assistant Instructor

Experienced helper

Supervised course delivery

Race Coach (1/2/3)

Delivery of RYA Racing Schemes levels as outlined by the RYA.

Additional relevant coaching activities

Signing of certificates for Race Schemes only as defined by RYA

Development Coach

To assist the development of the training team, processes, and programme.


Responsible for equipment maintenance of relevant section

It is the responsibility of the Instructor/RC (with assistance where necessary from the Activity Lead or Chief Instructor) to ensure that course programme covers the syllabus and learning objectives of the activity undertaken for students to be able to achieve the desired outcome and where relevant certification.

SOP amendment dates



Sept 2018

Added Safety drivers briefed on emergency procedures as an alternative to a card that may get lost. considered

Nov 2019

Detail amended to update wordage and locations for new Training Room

March 22

Map of lake added, OP updated.

October 23

Minor updates and corrections. Addition of Trapeze and clarification re Race Coaches. Definition and role of activity lead(s).

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