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Sailing Instructor Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Sailing Instructor. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Sailing Instructor
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Sailing Instructor Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Sailing instructors teach learners to sail yachts and boats at sea and on inland waterways such as reservoirs, canals and lakes. Some of the main areas they deal with include:

Dinghy instructors teach beginners to sail small sailing craft. They teach the theoretical and practical skills of sailing and instruct on how to apply these techniques to dinghy sailing.

Windsurfing instructors introduce learners to sailing techniques and demonstrate how to use these techniques to sail windsurfs.

Yachtmaster and cruising instructors teach pupils how to sail large yachts and cruising vessels and how to manage crews on these boats.

Powerboat instructors teach others how to skipper motor powered craft.

Some instructors may teach in one or all of the above. For more information on these and other kinds of instructors, please visit the Royal Yachting Association website.

Hours and Environment

Instructors employed by a sailing centre or club may work a structured or unstructured week of up to 40-hours per week. Those who are self-employed work hours to suit client demand. Weekend and evening work is common. Dingy and windsurfing instruction tends to be delivered on a seasonal basis although some sailing clubs and centres provide classes all year round.

Yachtmaster and Cruising instruction takes place at sea and can involve inclement weather conditions.

Theoretical knowledge, such as navigation, is taught in a classroom, whilst the practical skills are learnt in the craft on the water, in most weather conditions.

Skills and Interests

To be a sailing instructor you should:

  • have competent sailing skills
  • be able to give instructions and tuition clearly and concisely - training will be given on instructor course
  • have good communication skills
  • be safety conscious
  • have good organisation skills.


There are no formal academic entry qualifications required to become a yacht/sailing instructor. Training follows the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) instructor programme. Entry for these courses requires you to have achieved a competent level of sailing ability. Contact the RYA for more information (see further information).

To attend the RYA Dingy Instructors course you must: be at least 16 years of age; undertake a pre-entry sailing assessment; hold a first aid certificate: hold a RYA Level 2 Powerboat Certificate.

For Powerboat Instructor qualifications, you must: be at least 16 years of age; have at least 5 seasons' experience (or one season if you use a powerboat as part of your work), preferably in a range of craft.

Minimum entry for a Windsurfing Instructor's course requires you to: hold a RYA Level 3 Windsurfing Certificate; a first aid qualification, evidence of eight hours logged at an RYA centre; have the related RYA publications/course books.

Cruising Instructor courses enable candidates teach Competent Crew/Helmsman courses and Day Skipper practical courses. For entry, you will need to be under 65, have a medical fitness certification, RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence, Basic Sea Survival Certificate, VHF Radio restricted operator's licence.

Entry to the Yachtmaster Instructor course, requires you to hold a Cruising Instructor Certificate, a Yachtmaster Award, and have 7,000 to 10,000 miles' sailing experience in this role. Completion of this award enables candidates to run RYA Sail and Motor Cruising courses.

Instructor qualifications are run at a number of levels, in relation to the ability of the pupils being taught. For more information, contact the RYA (see further information).


Dinghy instructor courses are run usually over five days. Further endorsements are available for instructors to undertake, these include racing instructor, senior instructor, advanced instructor, keelboat instructor and multihull instructor.

Windsurfing instructor courses are normally run over five days and involve practical exercises on land and on the water, as well as learning teaching skills.

Powerboat instructor courses last three days.

Cruising instructor courses are assessment-based and cover skippering and teaching ability, boat handling, navigation skills and knowledge of RYA course syllabuses. The Yachtmaster Instructor course lasts five days.

Further instructor courses are available, these include Shorebased, Radar , Short Range Certificate, First Aid, Diesel Engine Maintenance and Sea Survival.

For more information on these and other courses contact the RYA or visit their website (see further information).


Dinghy instructors provide training at sailing clubs or schools and local authority centres. Some dinghy instructors combine dingy instruction with other outdoor activity instruction to increase employability. Instructors can also complete the endorsements mentioned in training.

Yachtmaster or cruising instructors are employed by sail and motor cruising centres. They are often self-employed, owning their own yachts and offering instruction through recognised centres.

Promotion could be to supervisory and management positions within the sailing club.

There is also scope to work overseas.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Dinghy, powerboat and windsurfing instructors can earn up to £25,000, depending on experience.

Yachtmaster instructors and cruising instructors can earn £60 to £90 a day.

Further information

Royal Yachting Association
RYA House
Ensign Way
SO31 4YA
Tel: 0845 3450400

Other Useful Sailing Instructor Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Sailing Instructor job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Sailing Instructor Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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