If you're interested in sailing in the UK at all, you've probably heard of the RYA or Royal Yachting Association. Founded in 1875 as the Yacht Racing Association, the name was changed in 1953 to better reflect the number of watersports that they govern, from sailing and windsurfing to personal watercraft, powerboat and sports boat racing.
In addition to governing these water sports, the RYA offers educational courses. The sailing courses are many and varied.
They offer courses in windsurfing and personal watercraft, for example. Sailing courses include small boat sailing, sail cruising, powerboating and motorcruising. Powerboats are powerful boats used for speed, for towing waterboarders and waterskiiers.
Courses for day skipper are offered. What is a day skipper, you ask? Contrary to the name, it is a person qualified to skipper a craft day or night. Such skippers are familiar with the tides, have docking and navigation skills, and are familiar with all safety guidelines and regulations.
The courses also include an Inland Waterways helmsman's course, which enables people not only to cruise through the inland waterways of the UK, but also the lakes, rivers and canals of Europe as well … which is an excellent way of getting up close and personal with the areas one is visiting.
All types of watersports are fun, but pilot sailboats and powered craft are also extremely complex, requiring a lot of knowledge, and the place to gain that knowledge is the RYA, and the RYA courses which are designed to teach their students everything they need to know to be a safe and competent sailor.