Advanced Pilotage

Key Course Details

Duration: 2 days

Time: 9am to 5pm plus an evening

Group Size: 3 or 4

Min Age: From 17

Price: £475 to £490



This is a great new RYA course that aims to build on the skills gained at the Dayskipper level and really develop your ability to plan and execute entries into ports and harbours by day and night.

Course Duration

2 days. We start at 9 – 10am on day one and will finish about 2 – 3 hours after it gets dark. On day two we start at about 9 and typically finish between 4 and 5pm.

Instructor – student ratio

3 or 4 students to 1 Instructor and boat.

Prior experience

The entry requirement for this course is candidates should be competent to the level of Dayskipper Practical with the strong recommendation that attendees already possess the RYA VHF Short Range Radio Certificate. Ideally your theory level should be at the Yachtmaster Theory level.

Minimum Age


Why choose Powerboat Training UK for your Advanced Pilotage Course?

Our knowledge and experience ~ our instructors have considerable experience of planning and executing entries into ports and harbours by day and night all over the world and during the course share their real experiences and recommendations with you as they take you through the course

Our location and teaching facilities ~ Poole Harbour is a truly amazing teaching location – so much so that the RNLI and the Royal Marines base their training operations here.Our classrooms are well resourced, professional, clean and tidy.

Likewise our base in Lymington at Aquasafe Powerboat School is at Lymington Yacht Haven which like Cobbs Quay is a large marina with a huge range of craft. Our classrooms are well resourced, clean and professional.

Our Instructors ~ we ensure that our instructors are teaching 100% ‘Best Practice’ and have a process whereby we constantly review their sessions to ensure that you get the most productive experience from your time with us. All teach because they love boating and we work with them to constantly ‘upskill’ their qualifications and experience.

Our history ~ we started the school over ten years ago and have grown a reputation for delivering on our promises. Our clients range from individuals with their own craft to organisations such as Sunseeker, the RNLI and we were awarded the RYA Training contract by Dorset Police for the London 2012 Olympic events in Weymouth.

RYA Books ~ we are also very proud to have written the RYA Powerboat Handbook for the RYA and the recently launched RYA Advanced Powerboat Handbook.

What is included in the course price? ~ when you undertake your course on our boats then the price you pay includes fuel (often charged as extra at the end of courses by schools), and free use of waterproofs (once again often charged as an extra). Price includes VAT too – yet another common extra. With the launch of the RYA Advanced Powerboat Handbook you get a free copy of this book written by us for the RYA.

Does the course price represent good value? ~ remember in life you pretty much get what you pay for. We don’t pretend to be the cheapest but the course will be on well maintained first rate craft, and run by instructors guaranteed to teach current best practice. We have great facilities in a large marina offering a great all-round experience. Check out the other relevant pages on this website to see what we mean.

Course prices ~ The higher price quoted in the ‘Key Course Details’ section above is the price per head for 1 person, for 2 persons the per head cost reduces by 2.5% and for three people by 5%. The price shown is inclusive of VAT.

Some of the offers available when buying this course include…..

Special Offer No1!! Book and pay for your VHF Course at the same time as you book the this and only pay £75 for the VHF course (including course pack). (Usual cost is £100, you also need to pay the RYA Fee which is £60). You can choose whether to undertake the course in the classroom or online. We run VHF Courses every two weeks so fitting you in will never be an issue – we run these courses  in Poole and Lymington.

Special Offer No2!! We also offer the opportunity to book the RYA Yachtmaster Theory Course for £280 when booked alongside this course.

The Course

The RYA Advanced Pilotage course is aimed at those keen to take their motor cruising skills onto the next level in a manageable two day time period. It gives a really good introduction to night navigation and also develops the pilotage skills needed for safe and effective entries into ports and harbours

Your instructor will cover the following topics with you during your time with him/her:

  • Passage Planning
  • Preparation for sea
  • Pilotage
  • Passage making and responsibility as a skipper (Daylight hours)
  • Radar/AIS
  • Boat Handling
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Emergency situations
  • Night cruising

The focus of this course is on ensuring those that undertake the course have the skills necessary to helm and manage a craft undertaking passages by day and night developing the skills necessary to undertake safe and effective entries into ports and harbours that they have not visited before.

The course embraces all navigation methods including the use of chartplotters, radar and AIS and discusses the ways to make the most of these resources whilst being aware of their limitations.

The course is always led by instructors that have been and done it for real and so can share their experience and expertise in a relaxed but highly beneficial way.

The vast majority of the time on this course is spent on the water and out of the classroom.


Aim: “The Advanced Pilotage course aims to build on the skills attained at Dayskipper level. You will gain confidence in your pilotage skills and in navigating at night.”

Recommended prior learning: It is strongly recommended that candidates hold a valid first aid certificate and a VHF/SRC operator’s license or equivalent and theory to the level of Yachtmaster Theory.

Within the RYA Motor Cruising Scheme the course contents of each course are taught to one of three levels. These levels are:

Knowledge of: The subject will be briefly explained. Familiarisation during the course and where to find out more after the course.

Understands: The subject will be covered in greater depth and you will be asked to demonstrate a basic understanding and go away from the course able to develop your own skill in this area.

Can: The subject will be covered in great depth, including background theory, demonstrations by the instructor and repeated practice by yourself until you can demonstrate good skills in the subject.

Passage Planning

  • Victualing
  • The importance of identifying ports of refuge
  • Publications required
  • Strategy
  • Customs procedures


  • Calculate the fuel required, including reserve
  • Plan a coastal passage

Preparation for Sea

  • Safety equipment for offshore passages


  • prepare a motor cruiser for sea
  • give an effective safety briefing


  • Tidal considerations
  • GPS limitations in pilotage


  • Prepare a pilotage plan with consideration of soundings, transits, clearing bearings, back bearings, buoyage, port or harbour regulations
  • Pilot a motor cruiser by day and night

Passage making and responsibility as a skipper (Daylight Hours)

  • The significance of meteorological trends
  • The importance of crew welfare, safety and control on passage


  • Take charge of a motor cruiser and direct the crew
  • Organise the navigational, deckwork, and domestic duties of a motor cruiser on passage
  • Organise watch-keeping
  • Integrate the use of traditional and electronic aids to navigation

Knowledge of:

  • The uses and limitations of AIS


  • The advantages and limitations of radar

Boat handling

  • Characteristics of various hull forms and propeller configurations


  • Control the boat effectively in a confined space, including all berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide
  • Berth and unberth in simple situations using one engine and lines (on a twin engine boat)
  • Avoid excessive use of power
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding and correct use of power trim and trim tabs

Adverse weather conditions

  • Action to be taken in rough weather
  • The importance of boat control in waves and positioning to minimise the possibility of injury
  • Preparation for heavy weather and handling in strong winds
  • Navigation and general conduct in restricted visibility

Emergency situations
Knowledge of:

  • How a vessel may be asked to assist in a search


  • Actions to be taken when abandoning to a liferaft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescues
  • What to do in a medical emergency
  • Towing and being towed
  • How to issue distress by all available means in an emergency including distress flares and VHF radio


  • Recover a man overboard dummy by day and night in all available conditions

Night Cruising

  • Take charge of a motor cruiser at night, including entering and leaving harbour
  • Demonstrate the ability to keep a proper lookout and identifying lit marks and unlit positions by night

Advanced Pilotage - Book Now

Thank you for your interest in this course.

Hopefully any dates that we have scheduled work well with your availability. If the dates don't quite work then we are always keen to be as flexible as possible to help accommodate your availability - just contact us and we’ll see what we can do.

We're always really keen to chat to you when you’re booking a course as whilst we are happy to take bookings through this system for your convenience - nothing beats chatting about boats and courses!

Don't forget too that if you are an individual or company/organisation booking a few people onto courses then we may be able to schedule dates around you. Equally, for bookings some time in the future we can usually juggle our course dates if what we have scheduled doesn’t quite work for you.

When you make a booking on this system please remember that is subject to confirmation and you will receive confirmation from us at the latest the next business day. You will not be charged until we send the confirmation.

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