Superyacht Tender Operators Course

Key Course Details

Duration: 2 days plus an evening

Time: 9am to 5pm plus one night exercise

Group Size: 3 per boat

Min Age: 17

Price: £342 to £360


Superyacht Tender Driver Course

This course is aimed at those individuals that will be driving tenders by day and night in support of vessels such as superyachts. The course was launched at the Monaco Yacht Show to address a demand from yachts for such a course.

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 either 9 or 10am and typically finish between 4 and 5pm.

Instructor – student ratio

3 students to 1 Instructor and boat. We often run 2-3 boats per course the benefit being you get to use different boats and benefit from the interaction with other students. You often will find that you learn as much from watching another student execute a manoeuvre as you do from doing it yourself.

Prior experience

The entry requirement for this course is RYA Powerboat Level 2 course with the strong recommendation that attendees already possess the RYA VHF Short Range Radio Certificate and the RYA or STCW95 one day First Aid qualification.

Minimum Age


Why choose Powerboat Training UK for your Superyacht Tender Operators Course?

Our knowledge and experience ~ we have extensive experience on superyachts and other craft operating with tenders for guest/passenger transfer. We have trained crew on vessels from 30m to 160m in locations including the US, Caribbean, Middle East and throughout Europe/the Mediterranean.

Our boats ~ with 7.8m and 6.8m Ribcrafts as our main teaching boats we have invested considerably so that you get to use quality kit in great condition. Each RIB is fully equipped for training up to Advanced level and are fitted with Icom and Garmin electronics.

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.

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 Tender Drivers 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/drysuits (once again often charged as an extra). Price includes VAT too – yet another common extra. For 2014 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 ~ £360 per head for 1 person, £351 per head for 2 persons, £342 per head for 3 persons.

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 Tender Operators Course 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 a Tender Operators Course. For those seeking to progress their career this is a great/essential course.

The Course

The RYA Powerboat Tender Operators course is aimed both at those relatively new to boating who already possess their Level 2 qualification and also those who have been helming tenders for some while and wish to achieve the recognised industry qualification for this sector.

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

  • Preparation for Sea
  • Pre-departure procedures
  • Life Saving Apparatus (LSA)
  • Boat handling
  • Rules of the Road
  • Passenger safety and comfort
  • Daytime pilotage
  • Night time pilotage
  • Emergency situations
  • Types of Tender
  • Launch and Recovery
  • Legislation and guidance
  • Vessel Specific Training

The focus of this course is on ensuring those that undertake the course have the skills necessary to helm and manage a craft carrying passengers/guests both by day and night. The course was constructed by the RYA in conjunction with the Professional Yachtsman’s Association to address the very real need for a qualification focussing on the superyacht sector. Whilst the course may seem at first glance focussed on this sector it is relevant to any helmsman undertaking the transfer of passengers/guests.

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

This course was created jointly by the RYA and the Professional Yachting Association.


The PYA is the association that represents Captains and Crew of the world’s superyachts. Powerboat Training UK has worked with the PYA since 2007 and has been a member since 2009.

This course is aimed at

The RYA Tender Operators Course appeals to individuals both starting out in their career as a tender operator and also those who have many years experience in the role.

Some examples of the sorts of people that the Tender Operators course is best suited to:

  • An individual keen to get into the superyacht sector who has taken Level 2 could undertake this course as a means to i) enhance their skill set ii) evidence their commitment to the sector.
  • Existing tender drivers may only possess the RYA Powerboat Level 2 course and may never have received any formal training in the operation of such craft and critically the operation of such craft at night. This course totally addresses that shortcoming.

With the backing of the RYA and the PYA this qualification is guaranteed to become the default qualification for tender drivers in the superyacht sector.


Aim: “To teach tender driving up to the required standard to carry passengers and other crew members to and from the mother ship by day and night.”

Pre-course knowledge: Candidates must hold a RYA Powerboat Level 2 with coastal endorsement. It is strongly recommended that candidates hold a valid first aid certificate and a VHF/SRC operator’s license or equivalent.

Within the RYA Powerboat 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.


Preparation for Sea


  • Prepare the vessel including;
  • Navigation equipment
  • Bilge pump and alarms
  • Essential safety equipment
  • Stowage of warps and securing gear

Pre-departure procedures

  • Drive systems
  • Emergency shutdown procedures for the vessel being used for training
  • The need to be familiar with procedures for re-fuelling onboard and at sea
  • Communication protocol with mother ship


  • Carry out fuel and mechanical checks on the vessel being used for training including:
  • Engines, cooling and lubrication systems
  • Safely start and shutdown engines
  • Diagnose basic engine start problems
  • Fuel levels

Life Saving Apparatus (LSA)
Knowledge of:

  • Sources of information on different types of LSA


  • The importance of familiarisation with the use of different types of LSA


  • Demonstrate the use of all LSA carried onboard

Boat handling

  • The importance of having crew to assist in berthing operations
  • How to select an anchorage with due regard to the safety of the vessel and passengers who may be partaking in water sports
  • Towing water toys and the need for a spotter
  • Tidal considerations


  • Demonstrate the correct use of the kill cord at all times when underway
  • Demonstrate berthing and docking skills in the following situations: beam to; bow to and stern to carried out with a crew member and shorthanded
  • Helm considerately at planing speed
  • Recover MOB by day and night
  • Anchor the vessel safely

Rules of the Road
Knowledge of:

  • Sources of local byelaws


  • The importance of adhering to local byelaws


  • Apply the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (IRPCS)
  • Demonstrate a good sense of situational awareness including;
    the ability to conduct dynamic risk assessment given the prevailing conditions and location

Passenger safety and comfort
Knowledge of:

  • Sources of information regarding maximum number of people and payload


  • When to instruct passengers to wear appropriate LSA
  • The importance of boat control in waves and appropriate seating to minimise the possibility of injury or ejection
  • Requirement to comply with maximum number of people and payload
  • The hazards associated with non-compliant passengers and those under the influence of alcohol
  • The hazards associated with less mobile passengers and children
  • Strategies for ensuring the safety of non-English speaking passengers
  • The importance of selecting a safe place to meet and greet passengers
  • The need to pre-plan onward land transportation of passengers


  • Brief the crew on passage plan and roles and responsibilities
  • Give an effective passenger safety briefing
  • Give an effective demonstration of all relevant LSA and location
  • Embark and disembark passengers safely
  • Drive appropriate to prevailing weather and sea conditions, with due consideration to keeping all onboard comfortable and dry

Daytime pilotage

  • The benefit of agreeing and lodging the pilotage plan with the Master or Officer of the Watch
  • The requirement for a safety margin when using chartplotters and other electronic navigation aids
  • The need to use a secondary means of position fixing when using electronic navigation aids including the use of verifiable waypoints
  • Consideration for local environmental conditions, hazards and other water users
  • The importance of maintaining contact with the mother vessel at all times
  • Safe speed for navigation


  • Produce an effective day time pilotage plan
  • Use charts and publications
  • Interpret Lateral and Cardinal buoyage System A & B
  • Use a chartplotter for navigation afloat
  • Use waypoint navigation
  • Use pilotage to enter a port by day

Night time pilotage

  • The additional hazards associated with moving passengers by water during
    the hours of darkness


  • Take charge of a power driven vessel during the hours of darkness, including but not limited to, short passages between harbour and mother vessel
  • Produce an effective night-time pilotage plan
  • Demonstrate ability to keep a proper look-out by all available means
  • Identify position at all times

Emergency situations
Knowledge of:

  • Helicopter rescue procedures
  • Local safe havens/points of refuge


  • Effective management of an emergency situation by day and at night
  • Importance of keeping an up-to-date head count of all persons on board
  • Fire prevention and fighting
  • Action to take in the event of hull damage / loss of watertight integrity
  • What to do in a medical emergency
  • The principles of towing and being towed
  • The danger of cold shock


  • Simulate a distress alert by all available means


Types of Tender
Knowledge of:

  • Different types of tender
  • Different types of propulsion systems: outdrive, outboard, jet drive, forward- facing drives, shaft drive


  • The handling characteristics for various types of common hull forms

Launch and Recovery
Knowledge of:

  • Various methods of launch and recovery from the mother vessel whilst at
    anchor and stopped in the water


  • Requirement to gain onboard type specific training

Legislation and guidance
Knowledge of:

  • The requirement to maintain a current MCA Officer of the Watch Training Record Book (Yacht)
  • RYA Code of Practice for Safe Water Sports Operations
  • RYA Guidance on Small High-Speed Craft Passenger Safety


  • The importance of carrying the correct documents

Vessel Specific Training
Knowledge of:

  • Additional regulated training available


  • The importance of vessel and equipment specific training

Superyacht Tender Operators Course - 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.

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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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