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RYA launches digital timeline and new video to mark 50 year anniversary of training schemes

by Becky Gilbert-Wood 5 Dec 2020 12:00 UTC
National Sailing Centre at Cowes © RYA

The RYA has launched a digital timeline and new video marking key moments in the 50 year history of its world-famous training schemes.

The first RYA courses were introduced in 1970 to provide clubs and sailing schools with a national training programme and standardised method of learning to sail - with qualified instructors, inspections and safety requirements.

50 years on, more than 270,000 people undertake some form of RYA training each year and the programme of courses is no longer exclusive to dinghies, but encompasses everything from personal watercraft to the inland waterways, the thrill of foiling, the globally respected RYA Yachtmasterâ„¢ and so much more.

Richard Falk, RYA Director of Training and Qualifications said: "The timeline celebrates key moments in the very broad and diverse history of the RYA's training schemes, starting with the launch of the National Sailing Scheme back in 1970.

"It's amazing to look back and see just how far we've come, with the introduction of seven different schemes and more than 100 different courses. In more recent years we've embraced evolving technologies with the introduction of eLearning and accessible eBooks, something that's been more important this year than ever before.

"As we celebrate our 50th year, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that's been involved with RYA training over the last five decades. It's thanks to the incredible work of RYA recognised training centres and instructors all over the world that we've helped so many get out on the water and enjoy it safely."

RYA courses deliver the skills and knowledge boaters need to stay safe and enjoy their time afloat. The schemes have not only improved boating safety around the world, but have given people from all walks of life the opportunity to discover the joy of boating and watersports.

And it's not just recreational boaters, there are many that have forged successful careers in the marine industry, all thanks to an RYA course.

This year, the RYA has been encouraging members, instructors and students to share their RYA training stories, showcasing the real impact it has had on the lives of so many.

RYA Instructor and 2020 Vendée Globe competitor, Pip Hare, is one of many that has got involved with the campaign and said: "Learning and later teaching as part of the RYA training scheme gave me the skills and confidence to feel comfortable, first as a crew, then a skipper. It gave me the platform I needed to start on the path to international offshore racing."

"The first steps into sailing are always the hardest to take and so whenever someone asks me how to get involved, I tell them to find a sailing school and book onto a course!"

All the stories are available on the RYA website. Visit View the timeline here, watch the video and find out more about the last 50 years of RYA training.

For more information about RYA courses and to find an RYA recognised training centre near you, visit

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