Coastal Skipper - Which Version?

Babylon

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I need more practical experience as skipper (especially night sailing and coastal passages in unfamiliar waters), so now looking to do a Coastal Skipper course.

But I'm a little confused whether to do a 5-day RYA certificate course or the 7-day course with the MCA exam at the end.

Is there a different emphasis between the content of these courses? I want solid learning experience, so I feel more prepared to take family and other crew on longer cruises, rather than just wishing to ratchet up a certificate or being crammed specifically for an exam pass.
 

Talulah

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I have never been on a 7 day MCA course but here are my thoughts...
As you're after content rather than a certificate you'll need to make further enquiries whichever route you go down.
Whilst the sailing school will be responsible for organising the course, supplying the boat, food etc once you're on the water it will be down to the instructor and those onboard. In my experience I would not want to mix potential Coastal/Yachtmaster skippers with people doing a day skipper course. OK to have comp crew clients though. The reason being there just isn't time to cover both contents and you'll get frustrated. Also, to get most out of the course you want fewer clients on board. The RYA allow 5 but 4 means you're not hanging around so much. Some instructors have been known to finish early in the day to get to the bar. A rarity but more common towards the end of the season.
There are a number of schools on this forum and it's worth phoning around a few.
 

ebbtide

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"There are a number of schools on this forum and it's worth phoning around a few. :

Best search the RYA website under Training and Coastal Skipper. I've just printed off a list of schools in the Solent, if you want a copy just PM me.
 

wooslehunter

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AFAIK, the course content is the same. I checked around a few of school web sites. 5-days usually results in a course completion certificate. 7-day covers the same but the last 2 days are reserved for the exam. You can do exam prep & the exam in 5-days if that's what you want. An RYA exam is the same as an MCA one. It's just that coastal is the first qualification that's accepted by the MCA of practical commercial use.
 

PeterGibbs

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I go with this reply.

Can I add one persepctive you may relate to: if you've learned to ski you'll know the frustration of standing in a line waiting for the brief moment the instructor looks at you. And you do this for a whole week! I have had a lot more success in life going for 1 on 1 training, or similar. Not necessarily more expensive - but definitely more concentrated.

I know there are skippers / schools that can offer this - they don't advertise it because they want to fill their boats for a set period. Understandable in the early stages of learning but not necessarily the way to meet your more advanced needs. Hunt around for a deal - you'll gain a lot more.

Getting a practical certificate is something else - if you won't need it, why bother? But do cover all the theoretical material by a course, or distance learning - you definitely need that.

PWG
 

harryb1

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I did coastal skipper a year ago for the same reasons, wanted a bit more practical experience, but not ready for yachtmaster.

The course is the same. If you want you could just do the exam, but you wouldn't get the teaching. I thought I just wanted to do the course as the MCA exam qualification had no real practical use for me. But I soon realized it was good to have some thing to aim for and more of an achievement to prove yourself in front of someone, who is not going to correct your mistakes like an instructor.
The exam is about 6-8 hours for a coastal skipper, but that maybe split around the other candidates on the course, so will probably take two days for 4 people.
In the end I didn't complete the exam because of F10 conditions, but we did try-twice before we called it off, a learning experience in it's self.
It's also very good to see how the exam situation works, especially if your planning to do yachtmaster.
The course is most likely to be coastal skippers and yachtmasters together, check with school, as the course/exam is virtually the same, with more emphasis on passage planning for coastal skippers. In the exam you can get away with a bit more than yachtmasters, but essentially tested on the same things.
I did my course with Jannine at Dream or Two, Gosport- no connection just very good patient teaching, and nice boat. She really worked us hard, 25 night hours in the week. By the time we came in on the Friday I was exhausted, and not sure I could face the exam, but the F10 winds woke me up-shame it wasn't to be.

BTW you do need your RYA first Aid/VHF as a prerequisite of the exam.

Good Luck
 

deaks

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When I did my coastal Skipper in 2006 I went to the Scottish sailing centre at Cumbrae and booked my exam with them too.
At the time I thought there was only one Coastal Skipper course with an exam, so off I went and did it.
Then a sailing friend who is an instructor asked which Coastal skipper ticket I had, the RYA cerificate of Competence or the MCA one....DOOOH! What's the difference I asked.
Our week for the 3 of us on the boat went over some but not all of the things we should know.
So we did blind navigation etc but other things like springing off a pontoon we didn't practice or others like checking the prop walk on the boat we were using.
So came the exam which lasted close on 20 hours for the 3 of us we were well and truly grilled.....but I would go to that examiner for further training and recommend him, he was excellent being a Lifeboat Manager as well he was concerned that not only did we know our stuff but if we were a bit ropey he made a point of teaching us maybe a better way to do something.
One chap did fail.
Now is it worth paying the extra £130 (then) to take the exam?
Yes, because in the pressure situation of taking the exam it might match a similar situation for real when you are the Skipper and under pressure to make decisions and direct and safeguard your crew and vessel.
I agree you might not need the 'ticket' and experience is just or even more important but the MCA exam is worth it IMHO.
What ever you do enjoy and don't forget you Col. Regs! /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif
 

harryb1

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[ QUOTE ]

Our week for the 3 of us on the boat went over some but not all of the things we should know.


[/ QUOTE ]

I think the course, like any RYA course assumes knowledge of the previous levels. i.e. pontoon bashing is covered in day skipper, and there isn't really enough time to go over everything, but if your weak in certain areas let your instructor know you need some practice, because the exam will cover everything in the RYA syllabus sofar.
 

Jonmendez

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I would add just discuss carefully with the school you choose what YOU want to achieve, if you not a bad sailor but a bit rusty in some areas and are looking to do the exam,then the prep course will (if well taught) specifically cover those holes, but you must be really honest with what you bring to the party, even the best instructors are not mind readers!! If you want a more rounded course and are not speciffically there for the exam side the the Coastal Skipper Course over 5 days may well be the way to go.
 

deaks

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Yes that's exactly what the course or prep week is about. Also highlighted by Jon1M.
The week is for you to go over any areas your not sure of or you don't normally get chance to practice.
So if your main aim from the course is to use it to gather more experience don't book the MCA exam. But if you think you have the knowledge and prior experience then go for it.
 

blackbeard

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Strictly, it will become RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence by 1 Jan 2010.
I'm a bit puzzled by this thread. The course completion certificate is just that, no more, and doesn't qualify you for anything. You are not a Coastal Skipper until you have passed the exam. You can go for the exam without any course completion certificates, provided you think you have acquired the knowledge and skills by other means. I think I've got that right?
Anyway.
I would definitely go for the exam. Apart from being a logical continuation of the course and giving it an aim and a purpose, it will be a valuable learning experience. Also, after having a day or so with an examiner on board watching your every move, any other exam will seem a doddle. Definitely a character building experience.
Also, if you want to charter a boat, the owner will usually want to see the certificate of competence.
If you are confident enough, and have the relevant experience, you can go for Yachtmaster - the syllabus is the same, but a generally higher standard of competence is looked for - if you are nearly there but not quite, the examiner can award Coastal.
 

KenMcCulloch

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There seems to be a bit of confusion about certification here. The RYA issues certificates of competence which are recognised by MCA, following an exam at Coastal Skipper, Yachtmaster level etc. The reason the course including exam is 7 rather than 5 days is exactly that, it allows time for the exam. The five day course will generate a course completion certificate which is not a cerificate of competence. The exam is not for an MCA coastal skipper ticket as opposed to an RYA one, they are the same thing.

I would see no benefit in having the course completion certificate other than as evidence of eligibility to take the exam. There's good evidence (I work in Education) that assessment is a powerful incentive to learning, and one might therefore expect to learn more through taking the 7 day course and probably passing the exam than just taking the course without the impending exam to focus the mind. I remember taking a Coastal Skipper exam in about 1992 and it was perfectly straightforward and not difficult.
 

Solitaire

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[ QUOTE ]


I would see no benefit in having the course completion certificate other than as evidence of eligibility to take the exam.

[/ QUOTE ]

The number of miles required to do the CS exam is reduced from 800 to 400 if the CS course completion certificate is held. So there is some benefit.


Full details
 

Grehan

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FWIW if I can inject a little sales message - since I'm stopping ragging in favour of stinking, I'm selling my set of sailing books. I'd rate all of them.
I'd also rate Bisham Abbey (shorebased) sailing school (near Marlow/High Wycombe) very highly.
 

Babylon

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Thanks to all for the contributions so far.

I do need however to clarify the essence of my original question: is the content and type of sailing done over the first five days (the RYA instructor bit) the same whether or not one stays on board for another two days to be examined (by a separate examiner) - or are the five days preceeding the MCA exam really quite different in content to the basic RYA 5 day course?

I ask this because one or two schools have told me that the emphasis of each of the five days instruction IS different, with the RYA certificate course being relatively more relaxed than the MCA exam prep course: the former allowing varied student instruction based around actual coastal passages, while the latter might not actually involve much passage-making but instead concentrate on prepping candidates for the sort of scenarios the examiner might throw at them.

Certificates and exams aside, the two types of course then become very different experiences.

Also, while I'm happy to get as much training as I can over the years, it seems that (according to one school's brochure) the RYA Coastal 5 day course at say £400+ is "billed" as a prelude to later doing another 7 day prep and exam course at say £600+ ... which sounds ideal, but this would be both expensive and quite demanding of my availiable time!

I have the Day Skipper thing, did the YM shorebased last winter, have 1st Aid and VHF, and am reasonably strong on all the core theory. I've also been skippering my own boat for two years in familiar waters by day. I just need the right course.

Babylon
 

Richard10002

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I did a 5 day YM prep with Rob & Jules of www.rusailing.com out of Lagos on the Algarve.

We had to cover the things I would need to know for the exam, but I learned more about "sailing" in those 5 days, (it became 6 days as they came sailing with us for an extra day of "No Pressure" tuition, and a more leisurely lunch), than I had in my previous 30 years of sailing.

Both Rob and Jules are great to be with, and I'm sure most customers end up becoming friends. Rob exudes knowledge about sailing, and loves passing it on. He wont let go until you've got it /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

So that's a flavour of an RYA prep course, albeit Yachtmaster, rather than Coastal Skipper. Janet did Competent Crew at the same time.

I would guess that it depends more on the school and instructor, rather than MCA v RYA and I still dont know the difference /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

blackbeard

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[ QUOTE ]
Thanks to all for the contributions so far.

....I have the Day Skipper thing, did the YM shorebased last winter, have 1st Aid and VHF, and am reasonably strong on all the core theory. I've also been skippering my own boat for two years in familiar waters by day. I just need the right course.

Babylon

[/ QUOTE ]
Well, that's a self making decision then. If you have all that knowledge and experience with two years experience in your own boat, and presumably all the sea time needed for CS (but check), then there is no point in spending time and money on anything but the real thing.
You might even be bored with a course that doesn't have the stimulus of an eventual exam. Leave that for students with less experience.
Go for it!
 

Babylon

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[/ QUOTE ]Well, that's a self making decision then... there is no point in spending time and money on anything but the real thing...Go for it!

[/ QUOTE ]

I like that kind of decision-making! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

Carolwildbird

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if you have your own boat why not find a Ym instructor and have a weeks coastal skipper tuition on your own boat? You can do the exam at the end if you like (you can book examiners yourself) (and there isnt technically a different MCA and RYA course, BTW. )

. I did this last autumn (YM). It works out cheaper than doing a school based course if you get a couple of other people who also want to do it, and you learn things specific to your boat which helps a lot.
 

alant

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one or two schools have told me that the emphasis of each of the five days instruction IS different, with the RYA certificate course being relatively more relaxed than the MCA exam prep course:
========================================

That's because the "Course completion certificate" course, is 'in-house' & awarded by the School's Instructor, much like a Day Skipper certificate.

The other one (same content) is appraised by an external examiner & is of much greater value. You could for example, get a sailing job with the latter, but not likely with the in-house variety.
 
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