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How to avoid expensive mistakes when you buy a new or second-hand yacht. 

Available on Amazon here


Icom IC-M35We review the Icom IC-M35 handheld.  Read the full review here.

GMDSS A User's Handbook

By Denise Bréhaut

GMDSS A user's handbook








The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) provides a fast and efficient way of calling for assistance at sea, whatever the size of craft or its geographical position. Since it was first published, this book has helped explain the system for anyone using GMDSS and has been excellent pre-course reading for students.



SafaSail HatThe SafaSail Hard Hat looks just like a sailing cap, but will help protect you if you get a bang to the head.  See our review here

RYA Responds to Criticism

Richard FalkDear Editor,
In response to your recent editorial concerning the prosecution of two former principals of RYA recognised training establishments I would like to respond to several points that you have raised.
The RYA plays a diverse role in promoting and supporting safe and enjoyable boating. As a training body it has a rigorous recognition process for training centres to ensure that the standards of training and safety during RYA courses are up to the correct level. The highest level of certificated RYA practical training is the Coastal Skipper practical course which, as the name suggests, teaches the skills required to manage coastal and short offshore passages. Formal, recognised practical RYA training does not take place on long offshore or ocean passages and from a training perspective, therefore, there is no purpose in distinguishing between ‘restricted’ and ‘unrestricted’ levels of recognition as you have suggested.
Would it be easier for a member of the public to understand the significance of ‘restricted’ and ‘unrestricted’ recognition rather than that of coding to Category 1 and Category 0? I think not. Many vessel operators conduct a wide range of activities, of which RYA training is only a part. RYA training, charter, passage-making and racing activity such as participating in the ARC may each require compliance with different levels of regulation.  RYA recognition primarily covers the delivery of formal RYA training and therefore the compliance with additional regulations for specific voyages unrelated to RYA training does not come under the recognition process; nor should it, as the RYA plays no part in setting these additional regulations. This is the role of the regulator – in this case the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
The pay conditions for instructors are outside the control of the RYA. Instructors and other commercial skippers work in a wide range of roles from volunteers at clubs through to superyacht crew with pay being set by the employers. The suggestion that schools force instructors into making imprudent decisions about sailing is not based on fact or evidence.
The prosecution of yacht operators is thankfully rare, but yacht operators are required to comply with the law and may pay the penalty if they fail to do so. The RYA works very closely with the MCA, MAIB and other bodies to ensure centres and instructors learn from others’ mistakes in order to enhance the overall safety of the sport.

Richard Falk
RYA Training Manager and
Chief Examiner

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