With so many boating schools to choose from
how do you find the one that will provide the right training for you?
The correct choice for you will be a
everyone has different criteria.
However, there are several general
points which are worth
is a school out there to suit everyone’s
You can narrow your search by
deciding what your personal
Perhaps you just want a one day
taster, or a longer more
adventurous experience or formal lessons.
Some people enjoy learning with a
group, but others are
wary of having to share with strangers.
A course lasting more than a day on a
smaller boat will
mean having to share cabin space with strangers.
be wary of signing up for a week
long course if it is
your first time on the water, on the other hand a longer trip will
significantly increase your confidence and boating knowledge.
The same thing goes when considering
Combining classes with a vacation can
experiences more special, however spending several days far from home
will probably be a disaster.
And don’t forget to check the local
conditions, a cheap offer in a tropical location might coincide with
There is a boating school out there
which will be able to
cater to your needs.
There are courses for children, these
tend to focus more
on small boats, much more fun.
There are all girl courses with
courses on tall ships, small ships power boats you name it....
The goal is to find the school which
is best school for
you and your budget.
To get the most out of the boating
school tuition do
some homework before you go.
It is always worthwhile reading up on
some of the theory
there are a ton of excellent
you can read my own articles on
and anchoring basic
techniques, however, there is no substitute for actually trying it out.
Whatever size of boat you
eventually plan to own
don’t underestimate taking a course on small boat handling.
While some of the handling
characteristics of a
small boat may differ from larger ones they are more responsive so
learning can be more immediate.
This is particularly true if
you want to learn to
Dinghy sailing is not only one
of the cheapest
ways to get afloat but one of the most exciting and entertaining.
And there are many dinghy clubs
training at a very reasonable cost.
However, learning on larger
boats has other
They are much more stable, it
is highly unlikely
that you will ever get dunked.
They are usually much more
They provide accommodation for
And the instruction is mostly
structured, with a curriculum and certification based on your national
testing, and certification authority.
Which Boating School
Having identified your wants, how do you choose
There are some basic criteria which
reputable schools will
subjective, and can be dependant on so many variables such as the
other folk on the course, the particular instructor, etc, etc.
The main point to remember is that
these schools are
commercial organisations and as such come under the general rules
businesses in the country in which they are based.
That is not to say that the one man
with one boa,t
operating out of a third world country won’t be an excellent instructor
and make your stay a happy one, however....
Much safer to look for a school which
is accredited to or
associated with a national training scheme such as US
Association (ASA), the
or the Canadian
Choosing an accredited boating school
will also mean that
the boats will conform to rigorous safety standards.
And the instructors will have the
The price of tuition does vary.
The more widely advertised schools
tend also to be the
However the cheaper schools can
provide great value, they
just take a little more finding.
Treat the course in the same way you
would a holiday
Check for any extra charges.
What accommodation if any is included.
Does the price include meals, bedding etc.
Review their cancellation policy.
And take out holiday insurance (just in case)..
The Web is a where most folk go, these days to find anything.
And boating schools are no exception.
Practically every school, club and
sailing association now
has a website.
And there are several directories
such as the
directory of sailing schools on Yahoo.
These can be a good place to start,
but a fancy website is
not necessarily a true reflection of the organisation.
But whatever boating school you
choose, however well run,
regulated or qualified, regardless of the weather, you will only get
out of it
what you are prepared to put in.