Do I need to take RYA Powerboat Level 1 (PB1) before I take Powerboat Level 2 (PB2)?
What is the difference between the PB1 and PB2 courses?
The simple answer would be no, you don’t need to take PB1 first but it is a little more complex. Indeed, many people will tell you not to bother with PB1 but instead to start at PB2. Instead our answer would be that it really depends. Your experience, your attitude towards the water and what you want to achieve from your course will affect your choice.
RYA Powerboat Level 1 (PB1)
Many people dismiss this course as ‘a kids ‘course but, in our opinion, it would be a mistake to do so. It is well worth finding out more before your decision. Each year we will have a few clients that we feel would have been better to start at PB1 . This year we were lucky enough to host several courses for adults where PB1 was exactly the right course for those individuals.
The anticipated outcome for those undertaking the PB1 course is that they will obtain a basic understanding of powerboating. In addition, they will be able to take the helm under supervision. It is billed as the ‘Start Powerboating’ course and is great for those who:
- have perhaps never been on the water,
- plan to crew rather than be skipper but want to know a few basics
- want to have a little extra time to master skills
- are nervous and want a low-key relaxed approach to learning
- want to have an experience day learning something new but aren’t certain whether boating will be a big feature in the future
Although the course is a full day we tend to run to a slightly shorter day (probably 9.30 – 4.30) to keep people engaged and leave feeling confident rather than exhausted! We also sometimes use a smaller boat for a PB1 courses if we think that will aid confidence.
In addition, youngsters can take this course. They may take it from the age of 8 although we tend to suggest that if they are attending a youngsters-only course that they perhaps wait until age 10 unless very keen about the water. We do of course welcome youngsters on courses with their parents or grandparents too!
RYA Powerboat Level 2 (PB2)
For many people this can be the first step on their route to powerboating. Particularly relevant to those who are confident, have perhaps been boating before with friends and who plan to be the Skipper on board their boats.
The course is now referred to as Powerboat Handling which is a good reflection of the topics covered. It is a comprehensive two days and you should expect the course to run 9-5 (approx) both days in order to cover all the material. Please note it is not just a course completion certificate and you do need to reach a certain standard. For the majority the course is achieved within the two days but there will be a few occasions where we need to allocate a little extra time. Upon successful completion you may apply for your International Certificate of Competence (ICC) if required.
Many of our students do start at Level 2 even where they haven’t been on the water before, but they do so understanding that it is a comprehensive and fairly fast paced two days. Of course, we are always happy to schedule extra time if needed as we want you to leave not only with a Certificate but also feeling confident. At the end of your Level 2 course you should feel confident in taking a boat out on your own (or Helming a boat) in daylight, calm conditions and in familiar waters.
PB1 and PB2 follow a similar course structure but the standard which needs to be attained will differ. At PB1 you will undertake manoeuvres under the direct instruction of our Instructor. At PB2 the Instructor will teach you in the first instance. You will be expected to be able to make the manoeuvres yourself by the end and make suitable judgement calls. PB2 also looks at planning speed manoeuvres, retrieving a man overboard and additional theory such as pilotage and basic chartwork.
Hopefully this brief introduction will help guide you towards the right course for you. Please do just give us a call to chat about the best option. Many adults will start at PB2 but don’t be put off PB1 if you feel extra time would build confidence. In our next blog we will look at the course content, what to bring and what to expect from courses.