Author Archives: Dominic Coleman

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What should I do now I’ve completed my RYA Powerboat Level 2 Course?

Having just had one of our busiest months for Level 2 Powerboat Courses we felt it was time we wrote a few words about taking the next steps.  We sincerely hope that if you undertook the course with us that you had a great time and want to carry on your boating.  The journey will now be different for each person but the main priorities:

1. Getting afloat: Is it practical for you to get out and start practising afloat now or within the next few weeks?
2. Stuck on Shore: Think back over your course and consider whether there are any aspects of the theory side you’d like to look at in more detail and develop further.


Getting afloat

If you have the opportunity to get afloat, it really is important to get out there and start practising whilst the knowledge is fresh and the confidence high.  You passed the course, you have the ability to get out there so seize the chance.  Think back to day one of your course – what was one of the first things you talked about?   Conditions and Planning??

First of all make sure the boat you plan to use is ready – has it been serviced, is the trailer road ready, is all the kit on board, have you organised all the personal kit like waterproofs and lifejackets, don’t forget navigation charts, have you thought about where you might launch or if on a mooring whether there are set times for leaving due to tides or locks.  Plan carefully, it will make your first trip not only safer but also more enjoyable. 

If you need to borrow a boat look into hire possibilities – a really good start if you’re local is with our friends at Poole Boat Hire.  They are limited to the harbour but that still provides plenty of space to explore – its an hour and a half each way to Wareham for example!  If you want to borrow further afield or hire a RIB then contact us for advice.  The bonus of hiring is there should be back up in case of breakdown – if its your own boat perhaps consider SeaStart membership.  Check local information and organise a plan for your trip – don’t forget insurance and harbour dues if its your own boat! Why not refresh your mind with a read through of your Start Powerboating Book you received on your course and a look at the Student Page on our website which provide useful resources.   If you’re a member of a sailing club or similar why not ask if you can get afloat on the safety boat taking along an experienced helm as crew?

Next think about the actual day, who is going with you – are they trained, do they need a briefing or any equipment providing.  Consider on your first trip who is going with you – if you’ve a friend or family member who is unsure of boating perhaps delay their attendance until a  later trip when you’ve a little more experience and instead take along a couple of people who have boating experience or similar.  Plan just a short trip the first time – build up as your experience progresses.  

Then check the conditions, forecasts and tides – if it seems a bit ‘iffy’ listen to your instincts and delay for a nice day, however disappointing that might be.  Don’t forget to check several sources of info and interpret the information you’ve given.    Ask around for local information if needed.  Don’t forget to leave a shore side contact and set up RYA SafeTrx 

If you do decide to go out, when you hop on board double check the boat, set SafeTrx running, think about the prestart checks and engines checks, don’t forget your killcord and before releasing the lines just think about wind and tide as you learnt on your course.  Enjoy and stay safe!


Stuck on shore – further learning & course options

If you are unable to get afloat immediately why not have a read of your coursebook Start Powerboating and reflect on the parts of your course you’d like to develop further.  The usual next steps for study include: VHF Marine Radio Course, Navigation Training or studying books such as the Powerboat Handbook to understand and refine your practical skills.



Don’t forget if you’re on coastal waters we advise you carry a VHF whether it’s a portable, handheld or a fixed radio set.  To operate the VHF you are required to have an ‘Authority to Operate’  (in an emergency please just use the set!).   This qualification can be undertaken as either a one day classroom course or you can study online and then arrange a convenient time for a short assessment with us.  Initially we find some reluctance to take the radio course but we have yet to find a student who hasn’t enjoyed and taken away a lot from the course.  It’s underrated and our most commonly received feedback is ‘didn’t expect to enjoy this but had a great day and learnt lots!’  We know its tough to sit in a classroom but we do our best to make the course as relaxed and informal as possible with lots of interactive learning with training radios to practice on.  We practice Mayday & PanPan calls along with which channels to use, how to set up the radio to be able to hear clearly and we look at the fabulous DSC functions.  If you have any questions about your own radio we have a great contact at Icom who is fab at providing answers.  There is a short assessment at the end of the day but please don’t let this put you off attending.  We teach in small groups, are happy to provide bespoke courses and if you want to delay the assessment for another day just let us know at time of booking.  Tell us what works for you.


RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship

When you attended your Level 2 Powerboat Course it was probably the first time you’d considered navigation and safety kit and yet within a two day course we only have time to introduce to information on passage planning and pilotage, buoys and collision regulations.  The Essential Navigation course is a fab short course that starts to develop the concepts further and introduce to a few new techniques.  It is usually taken online in your own time – there is no final ‘test’, instead you complete exercises as you progress and on successful completion you receive an RYA Certificate.  If you prefer, we can arrange to run these courses in the classroom over two days.   Whether its an online course or classroom course you choose, you will receive a study pack which includes practice charts, exercises and a plotter/set of dividers like you used on your PB2 course.  It a brilliant base for those who later choose to go and study our RYA Dayskipper or Yachtmaster Theory Courses.



Don’t forget we also offer short Powerboat Refresher Sessions on the RIB or can offer bespoke training on either our boat or your own.  Just contact us to have a chat.

If after your Powerboat Level 2 (PB2) Course you decided to progress onto a different style of boat, perhaps a hard sided boat, a motorboat or small motor cruiser then think about some bespoke training or perhaps even look towards the Dayskipper Practical course if you’ve decide to creep into bigger boats.  Remember all boats handle differently and its important to be confident and safe afloat.

We hope the information here provides you with just a few ideas of how to make the most from your Powerboat Level 2 Course and progress your boating.  Please just give us a call with any questions, whether it’s a simple reminder or you want to book further training we’re always happy to talk.  It is impossible to cover all the reminders from a two day course in just a short blog piece but hopefully this has given you a few reminders!  We love to hear your progress, please drop us a line or join our social media channels to let us know your news.


Sarah & Dom
01202 901267

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RYA Dayskipper Practical (ICC over 10m)

We’re running a RYA Dayskipper Practical (Motor) onboard a Trader 475 from Poole, 15th-18th Oct – two spaces available. Successful completion of the course will enable you to apply for an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) over 10m subject to eligibility requirements. The course looks at boat handling, undertaking basic trips, navigation, safety and a whole raft of other useful information including a night passage. If you haven’t yet completed a Dayskipper Theory then contact us to arrange an online course or bespoke training. Possible option to stay onboard for the practical course.

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VHF SRC Marine Radio Course – Classroom Sun 4th Nov (Online any time)

We focus on running this course for small groups of 3-6 people allowing you plenty of time on the training radio sets during the day.  The course is usually run by either our Chief Instructor or Centre Principal who are keen to ensure the day is conducted in as interactive and relaxed a manner as possible whilst still meeting the standards required.  We are keen to also accommodate those who are nervous or wish to complete the course as a second competent person on board and will pitch the course at a level to suit all those attending.  It is a perfect course for bringing along your crew, club members or family and booking a bespoke course if you prefer.  The Instructors have experience across a range of watercraft and are used to using radios for commercial work, safety boat duties at sailing clubs and for leisure purposes on both sailing and powerboats.  We have invested in new radios and use two different brands to allow you to try different set ups and we are happy to offer advice on the most appropriate radio for your needs.  Our next scheduled courses is running Sun 4th Nov but don’t forget we can add extra course dates if you want to organise a bespoke course for your family, friends or club members.

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Online Dayskipper Theory Courses – Now Available

We appreciate that some people find it difficult to allocate 6 days to be in the classroom and have searched for an online course we are happy to offer.  Contact us now to book  – £295pp.

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Who would notice if you don’t return from a boating trip? Have you heard of CG66 or the RYA SafeTrx scheme?


Just a quick blog today thinking about whether we become more relaxed as our boating progresses and forget to leave details as to where we are going and when we plan to be back and what options there are to remedy this.  Most of my leisure boating is fairly local as I love our local harbour and for a while I think I became a bit too relaxed about assuming everything would be ok and forgetting to tell anyone I was heading out, assuming I would always be able to look after myself.  It’s a careful balance when we’re afloat, many of us head out on our boats to avoid technology, ringing phones and other life pressures and part of the appeal is the ability to run away and hide where no one can find us but what if something were to go wrong?

 On a couple of occasions I have either been the boat back later than planned or I have been waiting for a boat to appear that was overdue.  At what point do we call the Coastguard?  What information would we have to give the coastguard?  How would they know where to start making enquiries?

What if you notice a trolley left in the dinghy park or a bag left in the sailing club when you’d expect everyone to be ashore?



CG66 – the ‘old’ scheme

Since teaching RYA Powerboat Level 2 and the VHF / SRC course, I have been vocal about the importance of the Voluntary Coastguard Safety Registration Scheme known as CG66.  You were able to register you craft details along with emergency contacts and even upload a picture of your boat, canoe etc so that people knew what they were searching for.  This scheme had great benefits – if you were genuinely missing the coastguard knew what they were looking for, if a family member made a call to say you were overdue but knew nothing about boating the coastguard already had your details and equally if your craft was found without you on the coastguard would start by calling you to see if it was a boat adrift from a mooring or missing people they needed to search for.  However, yesterday we received notification that no new registrations will now be accepted on the CG66 scheme – so what next?

SafeTrx – the ‘new’ scheme

For those who already have their boats registered on CG66, the email suggests that the scheme will continue to operate for the next two years.  However, it makes sense to move towards their new scheme which is open to everyone.  They have teamed up with the RYA to provide a scheme that not only offers registration but also options to log passage plans etc.  Its worth having a look at this link to understand what is happening. 



The new scheme is the RYA SafeTrx scheme and more details can be found here – RYA SafeTrx Scheme  In addition to registering your boat information, you can also use it for individual boating trips to notify emergency contacts if you’re overdue and lots of other local information too with useful phone numbers and VHF channel numbers.  there is also lots of safety information with advice on navigation marks and weather information.





Don’t forget….

This scheme does not replace the need for other safety kit such as VHF radio, PLBs etc!!

If you’re new to boating or feel this information has made you think about training then please contact us to discuss the most appropriate options for you.  One of our most popular courses is the RYA Powerboat Level 2 course on which we discuss safety equipment and passage planning as well as practical skills.

I downloaded the app yesterday and will let you know how I get on.  Anyone else already using it? What feedback do you have?

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Buying a Boat – Where to look……

You’ve made the decision to leap into boat ownership – exciting times but where are the best places to find the boat of your dreams?  If you’re not sure what you’re looking for the options can be overwhelming but even if you know exactly what you’re looking for it can still take some time to find the perfect boat.  Having bought and sold a few boats we’re going to share a few of our experiences here.  This post is aimed at the fun side of searching for your boat initially.  After that you need to check the boat out and advice can be sought from the RYA with their RYA Buying a Boat Advice.  If you’re not a RYA member you’ll need to join to access much of the information –RYA Membership

What to buy?

The first question is what sort of boat are you looking for and you need to ask yourself a few questions to help narrow down the search:

  • Who are you planning to boat with – how big does the boat need to be to accommodate this and still be manageable?  What facilities need to be on board for your differing crew requirements – do you need shelter, does it need a toilet, do you need overnight accommodation?
  • Where are you planning to boat and what conditions are you likely to be boating in – boats have many different types of hull shapes designed for differing conditions. Some boats may be designed for flat and inland waters whilst others designed with seakeeping capabilities in mind.
  • How much experience do you have?  If you trained on a 4m RIB then perhaps buying a 29ft motor cruiser as your first boat might require some additional training?
  • How long are you expecting to keep the boat for – are you buying a lifelong boat or are you happy to change again in a few years as your boating develops?
  • Where are you planning to keep your boat?  If you’re planning to launch and recover it on a trailer each time or keep it on a drystack facility then this may limit the size of the boat you purchase.
  • Perhaps the biggest question of all — what does your budget allow for!


Where to find information on different types of boats:

There are many owner associations for different boats and these are a fantastic source of information.  For very new boats the association may be run by the manufacturer but often class associations are run by enthusiasts who want to share information.  These groups can provide information on where is the nearest owner who will talk to me about the genuine pros and cons of a boat, to advice of little tweaks people have made to enjoy their boat more or ideas on where to launch your boat.  For some reason (and don’t ask me why!) my experience is that the associations for sailing boats often have dedicated websites whilst powerboats and motor boats are often on social media such as Facebook.  We have gained really useful information in relation to our sailing yacht which is no longer in production and the advice means for example we now have a way of lowering the mast single handedly and with our RIBs have sourced parts that were seemingly unavailable.  Rather than reinventing the wheel there is usually someone out there happy to advise.  As well as bespoke groups there are also many forums and Facebook groups dedicated to types of boats such as RIBs or types of boating such as fishing.

For example:

  1. is a fabulous source of information for people just starting to get afloat in smaller inflatable boats with owners happy to advice on their boat setups,
  2. Facebook – RHIBs Group great source of information for those using RIBs
  3. Faecbook – Ribcraft Owners  great example of a boat specific group
  4. Facebook – Small Boat Coastal Fishing Group example of a group dedicated to a particular type of boating eg fishing but others for diving and similar
  5. Moody Owners – sailing yacht owners association


And finally where to start the search?

If you’ve decided on the type of boat you’re looking for, do look around a few and get an idea of what is available on the market.  If you’re after a particular brand of boat then start putting wanted ads out on owners association websites and talk to brokers telling them what you are looking for.  We boat owners are a funny lot not liking to sell our boat until we find the right buyer -if you look keen then its amazing what boats you’ll find that aren’t openly advertised.   There are lots of brokers out there but why not talk to our friends at Network Yacht Brokers – Poole as a starting point?   Similarly put messages out on Facebook groups that are aimed at boaters like the one you wish to become, people are keen to share their knowledge and welcome others onto the water so will be keen to help you look and again boats will materialise that haven’t been advertised.  We strongly advocate this approach,  I think all our boats have been bought through contacts in this way.  The first RIB we bought via a contact on the RHIBs Facebook page who knew I was looking & mentioned one he’d heard of – she’s been a fab purchase. The second RIB came about after telling Nigel and Lucy at Network Yacht Brokers that we were looking for a specific boat and within a month they’d found us one which is now our main training boat.  Our sailing yacht was found via the owners association website as we knew what we were looking for and my sailing dinghies have all come via links from friends on social media. It really is important to spread the word that you’re looking and be patient to see what turns up.

Other advertising sites for keeping an eye on include: Apollo DuckBoatsandOutboards and for local economically priced boats its worth checking Gumtree

Hopefully that has given you an idea of how and where to start the search.  If you’re looking for something specific feel free to let us know as we often hear of boat owners looking to upsize but who haven’t yet placed their boat on the market.  Don’t forget to make sure you carry out proper checks as explained on the RYA site we initially spoke about before the final purchase and think about employing a surveyor and/or marine engineer if appropriate.

Now go have fun in the search for the perfect boats- don’t forget to let us know how you’re getting on and when you find it call us to arrange some bespoke training so you get the most from your boating.  Thanks for reading and keep us updated!

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The most common queries asked at our stand at the Poole Boat Show – Questions from new and aspiring boaters…..


Hi and thanks for visiting our blog.  In this blog we look at some of the questions that were raised by visitors to our stand at the Poole Boat Show.  We like nothing better than helping people get afloat for the first time so we aim to look at some of the questions as there are lots of common themes.  We had a fabulous time at the show last weekend with lots of visitors to our stand and lots of people taking up the offer of free powerboat taster trips out in the RIB.  The show was brilliantly organised and inspired so many people to think about boating and whether it was something they could take up.  Over the coming weeks we hope to spend more time looking at each of these topics so let us know what is the most pressing boating question for you and we’ll add it to the top of the list.



Should I buy a boat – if I don’t buy how can I get afloat?

So the answer to this will be different for everyone, for some the exhilaration of boat ownership leads to a sense of freedom on the seas.  For others, the costs or time implications are prohibitive but that doesn’t mean you can’t get afloat.  Options include hiring or volunteering with youth organisations like Sea Scouts Volunteers , the Maritime Volunteer Service or sailing clubs and events.  If you’re looking to buy then questions arise over where to buy – new or ‘new to you’, private seller or broker, what to buy and how much to pay and then you move into questions over storage and maintenance.  We’ll look at these topics over the next few blogs.


I’ve agreed to buy a boat or seen the boat I’m buying what training should I think about?

This will depend on any previous experience, your own learning style and any insurance requirements.  In the UK there is no requirement to have formal qualifications to boating (although there is for the VHF radio on board – that’s for another day) but you may find your insurance company asks for a qualification to show competence.  If you’re no previous experience afloat then training certainly seems a good idea particularly if you want friends and family to come boating with you again!  Many of those starting boating in the UK undertake a RYA course such as the Helmsman and Dayskipper for Motor Cruisers or the  RYA Powerboat Level 2 for Powerboats and RIBs but you may prefer to undertake bespoke training focussing on the areas that particularly affect your boating.  It makes sense to undertake the training on your own boat if possible as then you get to know the ‘quirks’ of your boat and the Instructor can give tips and hints that are specific to your location. 


I’m thinking of hiring or not sure what boat to buy – can I undertake training?

In fact, our clients are evenly split between those who train on our boats and those who train on their own.  If you’re not sure what to buy then undertaking a course first will help focus your mind on what is important to you and you can get advice from your Instructor.  If you’re thinking of hiring then make sure you undertake a qualification that meets the requirements you’ll need and often if you’re hiring abroad you’ll require an International Certificate of Competence.  This is a relatively easy process for most people after their RYA course but make sure the course you choose qualifies.  If in doubt contact the RYA about the International Certificate of Competence or ask a training centre like ourselves.


Where do people keep their boats round the Dorset Coast?

There are lots of options for boat storage ranging from keeping it on the land in your drive, on a trailer in a yard or on a drystack in a marina or keeping it afloat on a swing mooring or on a pontoon.


Can my youngsters be involved in training?

Absolutely -one of the best things about boating is that it’s a family friendly activity.  Make sure your training provider is comfortable with training youngsters and get them involved at whatever level is appropriate for their age and maturity. 


Let us know which is the most pressing question for you and we’ll try to get it answered for you in the next blog post.  Thanks for reading, new to this blogging lark but hoping we can start a conversation finding out from our readers what topics they want covering and developing our own style of blog so please stick with us!  

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Social Media – For Current Info

As we are out on boats our most current information is often to be found on our social media channels.  We’d love it if you’d follow us on any of the main social media channels.

Facebook –

Twitter –

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  • Welcome to our blog page,  hope to update with lots of posts and would love some feedback.  Why not bookmark this page and check back soon?

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Motor Cruising Courses including Dayskipper Practical

We’re excited to announce that we are now offering Motor Cruising Courses on either our boat or yours.  If you’re looking for a RYA Dayskipper Practical Qualification or an ICC for boats over 10m then give us a call to discuss.  These courses are usually run for groups so we haven’t added dates to our calendar as these are scheduled to fit around your commitments.  If you’re just looking for bespoke training on a twin screw boat or thinking of trading up and want to try a bigger boat let us know as we can offer daytime or evening training sessions.