Personal Watercraft Proficiency Course

Key Course Details

Duration: 1 day

Time: 9am to 5pm

Group Size: From 2

Min Age: 12

Price: £250 for one, £450 for two inc PW hire


Personal Watercraft Course

A great one day course to develop your ability to helm a personal watercraft course at slower and higher speeds. The course alos looks at key areas such as slow speed riding and basic navigation. Essential and great fun too!

Course Duration

1 day from 9am to 5pm.

Instructor to Student Ratio

The RYA teaching ratio is one Instructor to 2 students per sit down PWs with up to three sit down PWs or 3 people if stand-up PWs are used.

Prior Experience Required


Minimum Age

12. Children over 12 can attend either with their parent/guardian or on their own a specifically arranged children’s course. Those 16 or over can attend any scheduled course with a parent’s specific permission.

The RYA’s Personal Watercraft course is designed for first time and experienced riders alike.

Increasingly the certificate is required for launching in UK harbours, but is also needed if you want to use your PW abroad. You can use the PW course certificate to apply for your PW International Certificate of Competence (the ‘ICC’)

The course teaches you how to use your PW safely, responsibly and with confidence, ensuring that you get the best out of it. It covers high and low speed riding skills, essential safety information, collision avoidance and basic navigation at sea.

Children aged between 12 and 16 can take the course. Their certificates will be endorsed to show that they must use PWs only under the supervision of a responsible adult. We only accept children onto these courses in the company of their parent/guardian or on children only courses.

Why choose Powerboat Training UK for your Personal Watercraft course?

Our experience ~ We have extensive experience of training private users, police and patrol users and military units to helm personal watercraft. We have trained extensively in the UK and overseas including from superyachts.

In 2012 we created the Patrol Watercraft Course to train the security teams operating on PWs at the London 2012 Olympics.

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. The RNLI are based in our marina and at the last count there were 14 all weather lifeboats in the marina!! Our classrooms are well resourced, professional, clean and tidy.

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.

We are also very proud to have written the RYA Powerboat Handbook for the RYA and 2014 will see the launch of the RYA Advanced Powerboat Handbook.

What is included in the course price? ~ when you undertake your Intermediate 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.

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 ~ £250 per head for 1 person, £450 for 2 persons – price include PW hire. On your PW price is £350 with a maximum of two bikes and four people..

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 intermediate course and only pay £75 for the VHF course (including course pack). (Usual cost is £99, 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 Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course for a massively discounted £80 when booked alongside a Powerboat Level 2 course. This is a great course to develop your understanding of charts, tides, buoyage and navigation onto the next level after the course.

The Course

The one-day personal watercraft course covers the topics set out below and is run by a RYA PW Instructor at a RYA recognised training centre. The ratios for this course will never be more than one Instructor to six students, with no more than two students per sit-down PW, and one Instructor to three students with no more than one student per stand-up PW. This course is predominately practical.

Some of the topics that your instructor will cover with you during your course include:


  • Familiarisation
  • Launching
  • Falling off and re-boarding
  • Balance & trim
  • Stopping distances
  • Capsize and righting
  • Control at speed
  • Following a planned route
  • Identifying buoys and marks
  • Recognising potential collision situations and taking correct avoiding action
  • Slalom exercise
  • Towing a PWC
  • Knots


  • Personal equipment
  • Launching and landing
  • Safety equipment
  • Collision avoidance
  • Navigation at sea including subjects such as charts, buoys and tides
  • Weather forecasts
  • Courtesy to other water users


Within the RYA Personal Watercraft 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.


Knowledge of:

  • Types of PW


  • Layout of PW; controls, propulsion and steering system; fuel and oil; stowage compartments
  • Personal equipment; wet/drysuit; personal buoyancy; foot and eye protection
  • Essential PW gear – uses and stowage
  • Pre-departure checks
  • Pre-launch checks
  • Essential safety information; killcord; safe speed; local hazards

Weather, Safety & Courtesy to OthersWeather, Safety & Courtesy to Others

Knowledge of:

  • Sources and significance of weather forecasts
  • Avoiding pollution; disturbance; damage to wildlife and wildlife habitats


  • Interpreting a relevant forecast
  • Courtesy to other water users
  • Lee and weather shores

Launching & Familiarisation

Knowledge of:

  • Balance and trim


  • Launching from a trailer
  • Anchoring
  • Storing and securing a trailer


  • Demonstrate the correct use of the killcord at all times
  • Board a PW in shallow water and start the engine
  • Control a PW at slow speed, using all available gears and controls

PW Handling


  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of stopping distances
  • Come alongside another craft. Pontoon or floating dock
  • Approach and recover a man overboard
  • Control and corner a PW at planning speed
  • Complete a slalom exercise
  • Maintain a good lookout at all times



  • How to right a capsized PW


  • Set up a tow using a bowline and round turn and two half hitches
  • Tow another PW or craft
  • Reboard a PW from deep water

Rules of the road

Knowledge of:

  • Sound signals


  • Lookout
  • Safe speed
  • Priorities between different classes of vessels
  • Head-on, overtaking and crossing rules
  • Local byelaws; speed limits; prohibited areas


  • Demonstrate a practical application of the rules of the road

Essential Navigation

Knowledge of:

  • Charts – representation of land, shallows, deep water, hazards, direction and distance
  • Buoyage
  • Tides and tidal streams


  • How to interpret tidal information


  • Can follow a planned route, identifying buoys and landmarks (coastal only)
  • Use a compass to aid navigation

Recovery & Aftercare

Knowledge of:

  • Aftercare and basic maintenance


  • How to recover a PW from the water
  • How to prepare PW and associated gear for trailing


“I bought the bike on a Ebay whim and then realised that I better get some qualifications! The one day course was perfect and has given me a good basic understanding of how to use it safely. Just got to get the other half to let me buy a faster one now!”

“Because the syllabus included extensive slow speed handling requiring precision control of the craft, movement of multiple craft in formation at slow and high speeds; and medium and high speed interception using multiple PWCs against target craft it was totally focussed on our operational needs. It was outstanding! .”
Dorset Police Officer following Olympic Training – the course run was the Patrol Watercraft Course

“Great course. Running PWs on superyachts is potentially a very stressful undertaking and the RYA Instructor course gave our crew the confidence and skills they needed to make running these courses safer for guests.”
Chief Officer on a 72m yacht commenting on a PWC one day course followed by a 3 day Instructor Course


Personal Watercraft Proficiency Course - Book Now

Thank you for your interest in this course.

As you can see below we have a variety of dates scheduled and we hope that they tie in 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.

If there are two or more of you keen to attend together  then we’re always happy to schedule a date just for you.

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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