Competent Crew Practical Course Syllabus

The aim of this course is to introduce the complete beginner to cruising and to teach personal safety, seamanship and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful member of the crew of a cruising yacht. By the end of the course, the student is expected to have demonstrated their ability in the following areas.

  1. Knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat, her rigging and sails
    • Sufficient knowledge to understand orders given concerning the sailing and day-to-day running of the boat.
  2. Sail handling
    • Use of sheets and halyards and their associated winches.
    • Bending on, setting, reefing and handling of sails.
  3. Ropework
    • Ability to tie the following knots and to know their correct use: figure-of-eight, clove hitch, rolling hitch, bowline, round turn and two half hitches, single and double sheet bend, reef knot.
    • Handling ropes, including coiling, stowing, securing to cleats and single and double bollards.
    • Handling warps.
  4. Fire precautions and fire fighting
    • Awareness of the hazards of fire and the precautions necessary to prevent fire.
    • Knowledge of the action to be taken in event of fire.
  5. Personal safety equipment
    • Understanding of the rules for the wearing of safety harnesses, lifejackets and personal buoyancy aids.
  6. Man overboard
    • Understanding of the action to be taken to recover a man overboard.
  7. Emergency equipment
    • Operation of distress flares and knowlwedge of when they should be used.
    • How to launch and board a liferaft.
  8. Manners and customs
    • Understanding of accepted practice with regard to: use of burgees and ensigns, prevention of unnecessary noise or disturbance in harbour including courtesies to other craft berthed alongside.
    • Awareness of the responsibility of yacht skippers to protect the environment.
  9. Rules of the road
    • Ability to keep an efficient lookout at sea.
  10. Dinghies
    • Understanding of the loading rules.
    • Ability to handle a dinghy under oars.
  11. Meteorology
    • Awareness of forecasting services and knowledge of the Beaufort Scale.
  12. Sea sickness
    • Working efficiency is unaffected/partially affected/severely affected by sea sickness.
  13. Helmsmanship and sailing
    • Understanding of the basic principles of sailing and ability to steer and trim sails on all points of sailing.
    • Ability to steer a compass course, under sail and power.
  14. General duties
    • Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel.