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Sailing instructor

Sailing instructors teach people to sail yachts and boats.

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £28,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

36 to 38 seasonal

You could work: freelance / self-employed; as customers demand

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Sailing instructor jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • prepare and present lessons
  • teach safety on dry land and drills on water
  • demonstrate boat handling and sailing techniques
  • assess your students' abilities
  • keep attendance records
  • record and report accidents or boat damage
  • inform students of changes to lessons due to bad weather
  • help to maintain the boats

Working environment

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

You could work in a sailing club or at a marina.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and physically active.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • specialist courses run by professional bodies

You could work towards this job by doing a relevant college course, for example:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Outdoor Activities

You'll need to check that your chosen course includes the professional qualifications to become a sailing instructor.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information

You could start by doing an outdoor activities instructor advanced apprenticeship.

This usually takes around 12 months to complete as a mix of learning on the job and study.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information
Other routes

You can do Royal Yachting Association (RYA) courses. The RYA is the national governing body for sailing, and sets standards for training instructors.

You'll need to be:

  • over 16 years old
  • physically fit and able to swim
  • a competent, experienced sailor

You'll also need to pass a sailing assessment and do further study before you can start training as a sailing instructor with the RYA.

Courses are done at local sailing clubs or with private training companies.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • You'll need to be a member of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) to qualify or revalidate as an RYA instructor.
  • be over 16 years of age

More information

Career tips

You'll need to requalify as a sailing instructor every 5 years, and must have a valid first aid certificate.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a sailing instructor from the Royal Yachting Association.

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You could move into a supervisory or management job within a sailing club.

You could also become an instructor for other types of sailing vessels, like yachts and powerboats.

Sailing instructors can work on a contract or freelance basis.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • the ability to teach pupils how to do something
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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