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Recreational Courses       


One of the main objectives of the IMSO was to give a clear structure to any person wishing to obtain the knowledge and skills to navigate a craft (power or sail) safely. All recreational courses comply with the requirement of the International Certificate of Competence as laid out in Resolution No.40 (ECE/TRANS/SC.3/147/Rev.3). This ensures all students are instructed to a minimum required standard. All courses are available regardless of nationality, however the student must have a good understanding of English language (to conversational level). Course notes may be translated but these will be done at the students cost.


The IMSO offer all students a Training Log Book, this enables a novice to work their way through a structured training program starting from Introduction to Sailing (Power and Sail) through to Master Offshore. Should a student enter the program with prior knowledge and skill they can (after passing an oral and practical assessment) enter the training program at a higher level. The levels of training are set out below:



Introduction to Sailing (Power and Sail):

This course takes place over one day and provides a short introduction to sail cruising (Power and Sail) for complete beginners and requires no previous sailing experience. This practical course is a great way to get a feel for sailing, and will teach you the fundamentals of how to steer a yacht under power, raise the sails and handle ropes. It also imparts awareness of safety on board and instructs students in the ‘man overboard’ manoeuvre. At the end of the course you are awarded a certificate and your logbook would be stamped and signed by the instructor.




Able & Competent Crew (Power and Sail):

The Able and Competent Crew Course aims to introduce the complete beginner to cruising under sail and equip them with the skills required to be an active and useful crew member.

The course is completed over the course of 5 days, with 100 miles at sea in tidal waters and 4 hours of night sailing. This course can also be taken over consecutive weekends (one 2 day and one 3 day) to fit around your schedule. The course gives students a sound knowledge and understanding of the yacht and all the basic sailing techniques including rope work, mooring up and casting off. At the end of the course you are awarded a certificate and your logbook would be stamped and signed by the instructor.




Small Boat Skipper (Power):

Powerboating is a fun and exhilarating sport the purpose of this training course is to teach boat handling and seamanship in powerboats. The Small Boat Skipper course provides the skills and background knowledge needed by the competent powerboat driver and is the basis of compliance with the International Certificate of Competence. 


  • Length 10m

  • Distance from Safe Haven 3nm

  • Known Waters

  • Daytime 

  • Fair Weather




Small Boat Master (Power):

Small Boat Master course provides the skills and background knowledge needed by powerboat drivers operating by day or night in known or unfamiliar water. The role of the skipper and boat handling techniques are covered in more demanding conditions. It includes: 

Preparation - passage planning - meteorology - skipper's responsibilities 

Boat handling and manoeuvres - high speed boat handling - advanced manoeuvres - manoeuvring in rough weather - chart plotters and radar - pilotage by day and night - emergency situations - differences for a twin engine vessel 

Candidates should be competent and / or hold the Small Boat Skipper certificate with a thorough knowledge of navigation and chartwork. You are required to hold a first aid certificate and a VHF operator's certificate. 


  • Length 10m

  • Distance from Safe Haven 25nm

  • Known or Unknown waters

  • Day and Night

  • Upto force 6




Coastal Skipper (Power and Sail):

Coastal Skipper courses are ideally suited to sailors who are already familiar with the basics of sailing and have some previous experience or those who have completed the Small Boat Skipper course. Coastal SkipperCourses are intermediate level courses designed to help sailors to improve on their skills and add to their knowledge and confidence to take their sailing further. Your instructor will take students on from a basic level of understanding and competence to a position where they feel ready to take on a more challenging sailing experience. This course is suitable for Day cruising only


  • Length 24m

  • Distance from Safe Haven Within Sight of Land

  • Known Waters

  • Day

  • Fair Weather



Master Thoery:

This course will take your theory knowledge to the standard required for the Master Coastal & Master Offshore practical exams, concentrating on advanced navigation and meteorology skills.


Students in the southern hemisphere can take advantage of the southern hemisphere version of our training materials, ensuring that your course is relevant to you. The course is taught over 40 hours with three exam papers. It can be covered as a series of short sessions, as an intensive week-long course, or by distance learning.


Course topics include: position fixing, course shaping and plotting, tidal knowledge , use of almanacs and admiralty publications 

electronic position finding equipment, taking and interpreting forecasts, plotting weather systems, weather predictions using a barometer and by observation, collision regulations, customs and excise regulations for cruising abroad. Please note this course is not a pre-requesite to sitting a Master course however you will be expected to have the knowledge covered in the course.




Master Coastal (Power and Sail):

The Master Coastal preparation course leads to a theory Certificate of Competence which is awarded after a final successful assessment. It is an advanced level course building on skills learnt at Coastal Skipper level, we do expect students to have completed the Coastal Skipper course and undertaken mile-building passages before taking this advanced level course or show the relevant ability. You will also need to have have completed the  Theory course or have knowledge of navigation theory to this level as there is insufficient time to teach you theory during the week.

Master Coastal students should be able to undertake more difficult passages by day and night and handle the yacht in more demanding conditions. You will be assessed at the start of the course with any weak areas identified. During the course you will take command of the yacht on short passages by day and night and practice close quarters techniques under sail and power. The course will concentrate on passage planning, man overboard recovery, close quarters handling under sail and power, skippering techniques, navigation in restricted visibility, pilotage and knowledge of the International Collision Regulations. By the end of the course you should have the knowledge and experience to take the assessment leading to the Master Coastal qualification.


  • Length 24m

  • Distance from Safe Haven 60nm

  • Known and Unknown Waters

  • Day and Night

  • No Weather Restrictions





Master Offshore (Power and Sail):

Master Offshore Preparation is an advanced course that can lead to a professional qualification. The preparation course follows the Master Coastal / Offshore Syllabus. You should have Master Theory or knowledge to that level and sailing skills to Master Coastal standard. During the Master Offshore course the instructor will take you through the Master syllabus including advanced skippering techniques, close quarters handling under power and sail, navigation and pilotage by day and night, man overboard recovery and overall yacht management skills. At this advanced level we do not expect to teach these skills. It is unlikely that a long passage will be undertaken during the course as this is a course where emphasis is on honing skills gained through the recommended mileage and experience prior to this preparation course. It is recommended that you take the Master Coastal course as preparation for the Master Offshore. 

Pre-requirements for Master Offshore

18 or over

50 days seatime 

2 days as skipper

2500 miles, including at least 5 passages over 60 miles acting as skipper for at least 2 of these passages and including 2 which have involved overnight passages. Half the qualifying seatime must be in tidal waters and on a vessel under 24 meters.

All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years prior to the exam.

5 days experience as skipper

Theory Certificate or navigation to the standard of the RYA Yachtmaster Shore-based course

VHF Licence

First Aid Certificate


  • Length 24m

  • Distance from a Safe Haven 150nm

  • Known and Unknown Waters

  • Day and Night

  • No Weather Restrictions



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