RYA Helmsman

NOTICE: We plan to resume all RYA Motor Cruising Courses in late March 2022. Please contact us for more information.

A two-day course covering basic boat handling, engine checks and safety. 

This course is ideal for new owners conscious of the difficulty and hazards of boat handling in the marina

It is useful for crews as well as skippers. Apart from the obvious safety benefits of extra boat handlers on board, it adds interest if everyone can contribute to the trip.

Boat preparation, boat handling, types of craft, engines and drives, engine operation and maintenance, safety and seamanship, rules of the road, securing to a buoy, berthing alongside, man overboard recovery

This course is aimed at those wishing to increase their boat handling knowledge. You will be introduced to preparing the vessel for sea and instructed in close quarter maneuvering, berthing and picking up a mooring. The course also includes types of craft, engines and drives, engine operation and maintenance, safety and seamanship and rules of the road. You will also practice man overboard recovery.

This course can be done on own vessel or Ondeck’s. Generally this will be done privately or for family groups
We offer this course ‘whole boat’ privately to individuals, and friend and family groups

The ports, bays and harbours in our immediate vicinity are worth the trip in itself and if members of the group would prefer to relax rather than take the course we would love to have them

Pre-course experienceNone
Assumed knowledgeNone
Minimum duration2 days
Minimum age12
Course contentBoat preparation, boat handling, types of craft, engines and drives, engine operation and maintenance, safety and seamanship, rules of the road, securing to a buoy, berthing alongside, man overboard recovery
Ability after the courseCompetent to a handle motor cruiser of a specific type in sheltered waters

RYA Powerboat Level 2

This is a popular course and very suitable for residents and visitors alike and is fully accepted locally and internationally for recreational boat usage as well as a requirement for those driving tenders in the yacht industry.

It will provide you with the skills and background knowledge needed by the competent powerboat driver and is the basis of the International Certificate of Competence. It aims to teach boat handling and seamanship in powerboats. It focuses on low speed close quarters handling, man overboard recovery, an introduction to driving at planing speed, and collision regulations.

Other courses to consider alongside this course:

RYA Short Ranger Certificate – A license to operate VHF Marine Radio Worldwide

RYA Dayskipper (Shorebased) or RYA Dayskipper (Online) – Developing on your Navigation Skills, Safety Awareness and Metrology Skills

Outboard Engine Maintenance Course – Learn to diagnose problems and service your outboard engine

RYA Diesel Engine Course – Useful for those working on inboard engine vessels. Develop on your diesel engine skills, covering troubleshooting, servicing, winterisation and more!

The RYA Powerboat Level 2 course is one of the most useful and versatile of our courses for the following reasons:

1. It will help you, passengers and other users to become safer on the water

2. Teaches you practical skills plus the basics of navigation, safety, rules of the road and much more 

3. It is accepted by ADOMS in Antigua & Barbuda as meeting the requirements of the Small Craft [Control] Regulations 2017. In short you now need a license to drive a pleasure craft by law in Antigua & Barbuda

4. It is accepted internationally and for a small fee you can apply to the RYA for the ICC, International Certificate of Competence which is also a very useful international leisure license 

5. It is also accepted as a professional qualification and is sought by many people working on super yachts in order to be able to drive the tenders and support vessels. Not only that, it forms the basis for the Boatmaster 3 course for inshore small boat professionals here in the Caribbean

6. You can arrange for the course on your own or Ondeck’s vessel 

7. It is 2 days and we can offer flexibility on dates during the week or weekends 

8. Excellent instructors who are informative and patient

9. A good base course that can be followed up with more in depth driving, maintenance or navigation skills courses.

Duration:2 DaysNo. Students to Instructor:3:1
Previous Experience:NoneMinimum Age:12 – students under 16 will be given an endorsed certificate and must be supervised by an adult.
Locations:AntiguaDates:This course is run all year round

We also run the course in Antigua On Demand – Individual places available upon request at $550 per person

Elementary First Aid

Elementary First Aid (1 day)

Elementary First Aid

The Elementary First Aid course module combines theory and practical training for basic first aid and lifesaving skills. The course aims to provide an introduction to the principles of first aid and details how to respond to common medical emergencies.

Subjects covered in this module include:

Types of accidents and emergencies on board that may require first aid

Methods of raising the alarm

Immediate actions when accidents or medical emergencies occur

Minimising risk of further harm

Body structure and functions

Emergency first aid equipment and its use

Priorities of treatment (Triage)

Casualty positioning and transportation

Basic Life Support (CPR)

Shock management




On successful completion of this course the student will receive an MCA approved STCW certificate in Elementary First Aid (STCW Regulation A-VI/1-3)

Sea Survival

Personal Survival Techniques (PST)

This is a one day course and gives you the introduction of what to do should you ever need to abandon ship and take to the liferaft. The course covers basic survival afloat, what to take with you and how to best survive whilst awaiting rescue. The practical part of the course, takes part in the sea where you will don on a lifejacket and practice your skills in and out of the liferaft.

It is one of the modules of the MCA Basic Safety Training and relevant for both professional and leisure vessel users

You will be required to wear your swim suit, shorts a, whilst completing the pool session. Please also bring a towel.

The aim of the sea survival module is to provide seafarers with the essential education and training in personal survival techniques to maximise the chances of survival in the event of an emergency or abandonment

Subjects covered in this module include:

Emergency situations such as collision, fire and flooding.

Different types of life-saving appliances carried on ships

Equipment in survival craft

Location of personal life-saving appliances

Principles concerning survival at sea.

Donning (putting on) a life jacket

Immersion suits

Safely jumping from a height into the water

Righting an upturned life raft while wearing a life jacket

Swimming while wearing a life jacket and keeping afloat

Boarding a life raft from a ship or the water while wearing a life jacket

Taking initial actions on boarding a survival craft to enhance chance of survival

Streaming a sea anchor

Recovering an injured person to a survival craft

On completion of this course the student will receive an MCA approved STCW certificate in Personal Survival Techniques (STCW Regulation A-VI/1-1) 

Yachtmaster Sail to Power Conversion


From July 2021 there is no longer a shortened conversion exam as such

The exam that will be undertaken by the candidate is a full exam, however the fact that the candidate already holds an RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence in one discipline, means that we can accepted a reduced amount of mileage and sea time in the discipline for which they will now be examined.

Holders of the RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence in a particular discipline (sail or power) are eligible for a “discount” in terms of the mileage and sea time that is required for the exam in the other discipline.

The sea time shown below must be in the discipline in which you are to be examined (sail or power). All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years

Yachtmaster Offshore

  • Minimum of 1250 miles
  • 25 days living on board
  • 3 days as skipper
  • 3 passages over 60 miles including 1 overnight and 1 as skipper

It is essential that candidates for any exam be fully conversant with the entire syllabus relating to the relevant type of vessel (sail or motor) and that they have adequate experience to be confident in the capacity of skipper of that type of craft. 

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore/Coastal Theory

RYA Coastal/Yachtmaster Offshore Theory

The  course builds on the navigation and other theory knowledge acquired on the Day Skipper Course. It is intended for cruising yachtsmen, motor boaters, and who are looking to undertake more complex passages, perhaps offshore or at night.

It is a demanding theory course covering advanced navigation techniques such as – Position Fixing, Course to Steer, Passage Planning, Pilotage, Meteorology, IRPCS, Stability and Buoyage. By the end of the course the successful student will have a comprehensive knowledge of what is required to navigate to Yachtmaster standard, and will have passed 3 exams on chart work, passage planning, and IRPCS.

It is highly recommended that you revise the collision regulations before attending the course and have acquired the Day Skipper Theory knowledge before doing this course, to ensure successful completion.

The course is 6 full days but candidates can choose to continue their study before taking the final exams

If you are planning to follow this course with the Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore practical preparation and exams do ensure that you have an acceptable First Aid and VHF certificate – if not these can be booked with Oneck

Duration: 6 DaysNo. Students to Instructor:6:1 
Previous Experience:Day skipper theory or similar  Minimum Age:none
Locations:AntiguaDates:This course is run all year round

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal

Yachtmaster Coastal Preparation and Exam

Yachtmaster Coastal follows a very similar process to Yachtmaster Offshore in that we offer a 5-day practical preparation followed by an externally examined practical exam, usually over 2 days assuming 3 or more candidates.

The minimum seatime is less than the Yachtmaster Offshore and is detailed below.

The Yachtmaster Coastal is often a stepping stone before YM Offshore but it is not mandatory. Many people choose to continue to build experience and skip the YM Coastal and step straight into the Yachtmaster Offshore

We run this concurrently with the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore so search for those dates on the booking system. Candidates can do the 5 days Preparation and then choose at the end of that period whether to aim for the YM Coastal or YM Offshore exam

A GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher grade of marine radio certificate is required as is First Aid

Duration: 5 preparation + 2 Days for the exam based on 3 + studentsMax students
Previous Experience:30 days, 2 days as skipper, 800 miles, 12 night hours (if you hold the Coastal Skipper course certificate this is reduced to 20 days, 2 days as skipper, 400 miles, 12 night hours). Half the qualifying sea time must be conducted in tidal waters. Minimum Age:17
Locations:AntiguaDates:All year

Course Dates and Prices $1450 + RYA Exam fee

RYA Coastal Skipper

RYA Coastal Skipper – more advanced sailing for those with good knowledge of sailing and navigation undertaking longer passages at day and night

This course covers more advanced skippering techniques for those with a good knowledge of sailing and navigation wanting to undertake longer coastal passages at day and night. 5 days , 4 nights and food for Day 1. After that students are encouraged to take part in the provisioning and planning for the week

Like the Day Skipper course, this course consists of skippered passages in a variety of situations. Each trainee will skipper more challenging passages and learn more about passage planning, pilotage by day and night, boat handling, safety and emergency situations.

We would expect candidates to have completed the Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster theory beforehand 

An RYA course brochure is available here

Coastal Skippers should be able to undertake more difficult passages by day and night and handle the yacht in more demanding conditions. By the end of the course you should have the knowledge, if not the experience, to become a Yachtmaster™. 

Partner courses to consider would be VHF SRC Radio, STCW PST – Sea Survival & Elementary First Aid

Duration: 5 Days normally 9am monday to 5pm Friday Max students  5
Previous Experience:15 days, 2 days as skipper, 300 miles, 8 night hoursMinimum Age:17
Locations:AntiguaDates:All year
Course Content:Passage planning, Preparation for sea, Pilotage, Passage making and ability as skipper, Yacht handling under power, Yacht handling under sail, Adverse weather conditions, Emergency situations, 

Course Dates and Prices: Monthly US $1145

Alternative dates are available for group bookings upon request, please call the office or use the enquiry form below

RYA Day Skipper

RYA Day Skipper Theory

The RYA Day Skipper Theory course is an introduction to chart work, navigation, meteorology and seamanship. You will learn how to figure out tidal heights and streams and how they affect your course.

You will also learn about how to identify the ‘give way vessel’ when there is a risk of collision, ‘dead reckoning’ and ‘estimated positions’ as well as buoyage, safety equipment, passage planning and much more.

The first time you successfully navigate to a destination will give you a fantastic sense of achievement.

You can do the course in our classroom in Antigua over 5 days and we will work with you to be flexible on timings
Alternatively you can do the theory class online before you arrive  RYA Day Skipper Theory course online via NauticEd This is RYA approved and truly a world class online training experience.

Before attending the RYA Day Skipper Theory course It is useful that you have had some previous sailing or motor cruising experience.

Duration: 5 Days [40 hours plus exam times] No. Students to Instructor:6:1
Previous Experience:None but some boating experience is useful Minimum Age:none
Antigua or online .
Dates:This course is run all year round

RYA Competent Crew

RYA Competent Crew course for beginners and novices

The RYA Competent Crew is for beginners or novices looking to learn to sail and is suitable for those who have not been on the water before

Ondeck run the RYA Competent Crew Course in Antigua most weeks of the year typically Monday to Friday. It includes 4 nights on board and food for Day 1. After that students are encouraged to take part in the provisioning and planning for the week

This course is aimed at beginners or occasional sailors without previous training. You will be taught elementary seamanship and become familiar with safety at sea, sail handling, rope work, steering on all points of sailing and much, much more besides.

The RYA Competent Crew Course is an excellent way for people of all ages to learn to sail. If you’re going to learn habits, why not make them good ones? It is also a good one for friends and families to sail together privately either all doing Competent Crew or with Day Skipper candidates

The online RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship course is an ideal partner for this course and can be completed before you arrive to ensure you get even more from the course. In addition it may be useful to build some wind awareness sailing on dinghies. Sessions and and lessons can be booked at the National Sailing Academy

Like all of our courses this is available to join with others or to book privately

Next Steps – Once you have completed the RYA Competent Crew Course you may wish to try your hand at learning to skipper a yacht in which case the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course and RYA Day Skipper Practical Course would be an ideal next step.

Duration: 5 Days normally 9 am Mon to 5 pm Fri with 4 nights on board Max students 5
Previous Experience:NoneMinimum Age:16 + or any age if with parent or guardian .
Locations:Antigua, Caribbean Dates:All Year