Competent Crew - learning the ropes...... Follow your dreams.............. Competent Crew Course Your voyage starts here...... No kitty! waterproofs or food on board We won't ask you to chip in for: accommodation, berthing fees,

Frequently asked questions

Competent Crew Course - your questions answered

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Competent Crew Course - your questions answered

Competent Crew course

We want to charter a yacht, which sailing qualifications should I take to be a crew member?

We would recommend the RYA Competent Crew course to provide you with the knowledge and practical skills to crew on board a cruising yacht.The Competent Crew certificate is accepted by most charter companies in the UK and overseas for anyone wishing to charter a yacht under about 45 feet. By successfully passing your Competent Crew course you will more confident to undertake various tasks around the boat under the direction of your skipper.

Is there Competent Crew theory course?

There is no theory course required before attending a Competent Crew course. You might like to undertake some pre course reading and we would recommend the RYA Competent Crew Skills Handbook


I have just passed my Day Skipper theory exam but have never actually sailed before. My friend says I should go straight to the Day Skipper Practical Course, do you think I should I take the RYA Competent Crew Course first?

The Day Skipper practical course builds on skills learnt during the 5 day Competent Crew course. It is not possible for your instructor to teach these skills as well as the Day Skipper syllabus during the Day Skipper practical course. The RYA recommend that you follow the training scheme to ensure that you gain as much as possible from each course and are safe out on the water.

What sailing experience do I need before taking the practical course?

You can take the RYA Competent Crew course with no prior experience. Our instructors are experienced with absolute beginners of all ages.

What sort of yachts do you use?

All our yachts are modern Bavaria cruising yachts. Each yacht is designed for comfort first and has 3 or 4 comfortable cabins with on board toilet and washing facilities. The galley is well equipped with a oven and gas hob, fridge and plenty of storage.  The cockpit is spacious with wheel steering and plenty of seating for the crew. 

How many other students will be on the boat?

There will be a maximum of 5 students on the boat and an RYA Instructor. You will be accommodated throughout the course on a comfortable cruising yacht which can sleep up to 8 people in 3 cabins and the saloon. Occasionally you will be on a larger yacht with 4 cabins. If you prefer a smaller group, we offer a Platinum Competent Crew Course where student numbers are limited to 3 on board.

How can I be sure about safety?

All our yachts are coded by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) and have to meet demanding standards of safety. In addition Commodore Yachting have added extra safety features such as crotch straps on life jackets for extra peace of mind. Our RYA instructors are all highly qualified and are expected to attend one of our ‘School Instructor Days’ led by the school Principal or Chief Instructor just so we can be sure that they meet our high standards.


What  is included in the course fee?

The course fee is fully inclusive and includes:

* Accommodation on board the yacht throughout the course

* Weekend courses – breakfast and lunch provided on board, evening meal eaten ashore unless night sailing.

* 5 day courses courses – breakfast, lunch and 2 evening meals provided on board, two evening meals eaten ashore.

* Free hire of waterproofs

* All berthing fees

* All safety equipment

How much should I budget for extra food?

It depends! For weekend and 5 day courses there will be 1 – 2 evening meals to consider. Most crews enjoy sampling local pubs and so you should budget for pub prices and any drinks.

Are you able to offer a discount as there are two of us booking and it’s slightly more than we wanted to pay?

This is a difficult one! The question we ask ourselves is where can we make the saving?

  • Safety?
  • Comfort?
  • Cleanliness?
  • Instruction?
  • Administration?

The answer then is is easy – we can’t! What we can do if offer a quality course on modern boats with top class instruction. Behind the scenes are our engineers, boat maintainers, cleaners and admin team. They ensure your course runs as smoothly as possible, from the moment you make that first enquiry to the end of your course.

In 2019 we were awarded the Trip Adviser ‘Certificate of Excellence’ for the fourth time so it would seem we are getting it right!

So no discounts?

Luckily, we are able to make discounts from time to time. Amazingly, the way we offer discounts actually helps us to save money by ensuring unfilled places are offered. Check our Website and Facebook page for last minute discounts. You will find ‘SALE’ items on many of the course pages. We also send out newsletters from time to time with special offers. If you are flexible with regard to dates you might consider booking a STAND BY course saving 20% on course fees.

I have a long distance to travel and would like to arrive the evening before the course begins. Do I need to book a hotel?

You will be accommodated on board your yacht on the Friday or Sunday evening before your course begins. Your instructor will usually be on board and by arriving the evening before there is time to get to know your yacht, instructor and fellow crew members before going out for a relaxing meal or drink at a local pub. We suggest 1900 hrs as a good time to arrive but there is no problem if this is too early for you, just e-mail us with your arrival time. There is no charge for this accommodation.

I would like my friend to come but she already holds a Competent Crew certificate. Can we do the course together?

The RYA Day Skipper course would be the perfect course for your friend. This sailing course is suitable for anyone who has at least 5 days experience on board a cruising yacht and had studied Day Skipper theory. We often have a mix of people taking the Day Skipper course and the Competent Crew course on the same boat and we find this works very well.

I would be arriving by train, how far is the sailing school from the station?

We are based at Gosport Marina and it takes about 5 minutes to cross the harbour from Portsmouth Harbour station and National Bus drop off points by using the the Gosport ferry. The ferry can be found just outside the station. We are then 5 minutes walk from the Ferry port.

You will need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and pillow case, towel and some warm clothing. It can sometimes be cooler on a boat even in the summer. You will also need some non slip shoes with non marking soles. You don’t need to buy special sailing clothes but if you want to purchase anything, ‘You Boat’ just outside the marina offers our students a 10% discount off most items.

You may also want to bring any special snacks / drinks that you can’t live without as it is impossible to cater for everyone’s favourites!

Competent Crew Course

Watch out for hidden extras!

Many schools have hidden extra expenses adding up to £100.00 to the cost of a 5 day RYA course. These extra expenses often include contributions to a ‘kitty’ for berthing fees, up to £7.50 per day to hire waterproofs and most evening meals. These are all included on our courses.

These hidden costs can make your course a lot more expensive than the advertised price that attracted you in the first place!

Cooking on board is part of Competent Crew Course
Cooking on board is part of Competent Crew Course

What students have said about Commodore Yachting:

FEEDBACK – Competent Crew Student Reviews

Simon is an excellent instructor and made the course for us. His sense of humour coupled with his 50 years plus of sailing knowledge was invaluable. I learnt lots from the course.

Mark – Competent Crew, May 2019

The course was outstanding. Richard the instructor, his knowledge and way of teaching was second to none. It could not of been better.

Sam – Competent Crew, May 2017

Mark was a great instructor, crew, boat & Commodore team were all brilliant, will definitely be back!

Oliver – Competent Crew, August 2016

A brilliant company to train with. I will be recommending you to people in the future.

James – Competent Crew and Day Skipper Theory and Practical course , June 2016

I had a fantastic time, I learnt a lot and I felt far more confident to go on and complete day skipper by the end of the week. Many thanks.