A question we get asked is how do the Day Skipper and the Powerboat Level 2 Course fit together? Which is first?
The answer is not quite as simple as it may first seem. The RYA run two certification schemes, the Powerboat Scheme and the Motor Cruising Scheme. (To be fair there are more than two schemes but these are the one relevant to motorboats)
The Powerboat Scheme is generally for those people who intend to use boats under 10m. These are usually open boats and often single engine. The Motor Cruising Scheme is generally for those who will be using bigger boats. They are usually that are capable of living on board or venturing further afield. Typically, they are over 10m, have accommodation and are often twin engine.
This is a generalisation and there will be circumstances and boats that don’t neatly fit into the categories. Alongside the Powerboat and Motor Cruising Scheme are the Shore based courses or theory that supplements the practical and these courses are used for both practical schemes.
The Powerboat Level 1 (PB1), Powerboat Level 2 (PB2), Intermediate, Tender Operators and Advanced Powerboat Courses all fit under the Powerboat Scheme. By the time people move onto the Intermediate or Advanced Powerboat Scheme, it is recommended that they have theory to Day Skipper or Yachtmaster Theory Standard.
The Motor Cruising Scheme includes the practical Start Motor Cruising, Helmsman, Day Skipper, Advanced Pilotage and Coastal Skipper courses. For some of the higher-level courses there is even a separate exam. Often students will undertake preparation ‘courses’ before Yachtmaster practical exams.
The term Day Skipper is often misunderstood to be one course but it should be noted there is a theory course or a practical course.
If you’re looking to use a small open dayboat you should start by looking at the Powerboat Scheme. Specifically you should look at the PB1 or PB2 courses. When you look to progress and move onto journeys further afield you should supplement the practical courses with some theory. The Essential Navigation& Seamanship and then Day Skipper Theory would be ideal. If you’re planning on using bigger live aboard boats, then look at the Motor Cruising Scheme. You should perhaps start with the Helmsman and moving onto the Day Skipper Practical. Bear in mind the practical is after the Day Skipper Theory course.