RYA Intermediate Powerboat Course

If you’re thinking of being more adventurous or going further afield, then the RYA Intermediate Powerboat Course is the natural progression from the RYA Powerboat Level 2 as it aims to teach powerboating up to the standard required to plan a passage, and complete a day cruise on coastal waters during daylight hours.

Key Course Details

Duration: 2 days

Minimum Age: 16

Assumed Knowledge: It is strongly recommended that the candidate hold a 1st aid certificate and a VHF operators certificate.

Pre-Course Experience Candidates should be competent to the standard of Powerboat level 2 with coastal endorsement.

Course Price: £250 per person / £450 with 1:1 tuition

Where will this course take place? Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, East Sussex

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The RYA Intermediate Powerboat Course aims to provide a level of training to suit the more frequent user, and in more advanced conditions. The two-day Powerboating Course involves a coastal passage, and covers practical use of daytime pilotage and passage planning skills, using both traditional and electronic navigational techniques on coastal waters.

It is advisable to take the Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course before taking this course. Level 2 is aimed at introducing boaters to short, close to shore excursions. This course is more adventurous and plans for trips further afield. It is ideal for those new to boating who wish to expand the knowledge they gained in Level 2 or people who have many years of experience but want to develop the skills you have and build confidence to take on more adventurous trips.

In 2013 new RYA rules increased the level of craft needed to run the intermediate courses and it became a requirement to use only craft carrying significantly increased levels of equipment suited to coastal passages.

Subjects Covered:

  • Pilotage
  • Navigation
  • Safety
  • Fuel and engine checks
  • Boat handling and passage making
  • Effect of waves and rougher conditions
  • Berthing in different situations
  • Use of GPS in high-speed navigation and pilotage by day

The RYA Intermediate Powerboat Course syllabus is broken down into three sections: Knowledge of the subject, Understands the subject and Can demonstrate a level of proficiency in the subject.

Section A – Theory

Planning a day cruise
Knowledge of:

  • Use of marina locks (can be covered practically if appropriate)


  • Work out tidal heights for standard ports using a tidal curve
  • Navigate
  • Use true and magnetic bearings
  • Interpret bearing and distance
  • Interpret chart symbols
  • Interpret tidal diamonds and tidal streams
  • Use pilot books
  • Interpret Lateral and Cardinal buoyage
  • Implement IRPCS, in particular rules 5,6,7,8,9,12-19, 23
  • Use GPS waypoint navigation and determine XTE, SOG, COG, BTW, DTW*
  • Use a laminated chart afloat
  • Use pilotage to enter an unfamiliar port by day

*XTE – Cross Track Error; SOG  – Speed Over Ground; COG – Course Over Ground; BTW – Bearing To Waypoint; DTW – Distance To Waypoint

Section B – Practical

The aim of the practical session is to put into practice the theory detailed above and to complete a passage, which shall include:

Boat preparation

  • The importance of protective clothing and safety equipment
  • The minimum level of equipment for the boat
  • Considerations of equipment required for longer passages
  • Correct stowage of equipment

Boat handling
Knowledge of:

  • Effect of waves
  • Rougher conditions
  • Awareness of other water users
  • Mooring stern-to between posts or Med style


  • The importance of boat control in waves and adequate seating to minimise the possibility of injury


  • Demonstrate awareness of wind and tide
  • Moor alongside, in a marina berth (where available)
  • Demonstrate the use of an appropriate length killcord at all times


  • Demonstrate a practical application of techniques for pilotage in local waters

Passage making

  • The need for pre-planning, including advice in the event of having to return at night


  • Apply the lessons learnt in the theory section and successfully complete a practical passage
  • Fix position by a variety of traditional and electronic means

Man overboard

  • Techniques for picking up a man overboard in differing conditions


  • Pick up a man overboard
  • Cold shock and immersion hypothermia
  • How and when to raise the alarm

Minimum age for this course is 16 years. Children between the ages of 16 and 18 can attend the course but we need prior permission from their parent/guardian.

Candidates should be competent to the standard of Level 2 with coastal endorsement and it is recommended that attendees gain a First Aid certificate and VHF operator’s certificate before attending the course.

£250 per person / £450 with 1:1 tuition.

2 days from 9am to 5pm.

Looking for other powerboat and sailing training courses? See our full range of powerboat, shorebased and online training courses here.

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