Have you ever been on holiday and saw someone at “work” on a jet ski, or leading a group through idyllic waters on a speedboat and thought “how have you ended up with such an incredible job?”

Because it seems so out of the realms of realism for those who work in an office or warehouse, it isn’t given a second thought as a potential option. But for those who secure themselves a powerboat qualification, they find that a lot of dream opportunities arise out on the water.

Before completing my own summer of being a water-ski instructor, I had never once believed that such a job that was available to me. I loved the water and had an interest in getting involved with water-sports when I could, but this was for fun when away on holiday). Yet a passion coupled with some experience is a potent combination and after approaching Camp Leaders about working in America, it was clear that I’d land the dream summer job if I underlined it with a qualification.

The skills were there, but what I lacked was my powerboat qualification. This was the key to unlocking a summer on the water and allowing me to get involved in water-skiing and wakeboarding as a job.

For those who love the water, a powerboat qualification opens so many different doors. From working on rescue boats to being a lifeguard and teaching wakeboarding as I did, opportunities will arise doing what you love. It’s a pre-requisite for a lot of water-based jobs, as your skill on a board or skis isn’t enough. If you’re ready to make the investment, it’ll open avenues you didn’t even know existed.

If you’re based in the UK, there’s a gold standard qualification and organisation that you’ll have to go through.


Note: This is from my own personal experience and is not an advertisement for the RYA. I’ve found this journey was the one that worked for me, but if there are other routes to education that worked for you, give me a shout in the comments below)



What is the RYA?

The main powerboat qualification in the UK is being run by an organisation called the RYA (the Royal Yachting Association), who, if you’re familiar with any form of water-based activity, are the national body in this area. They run a range of other qualifications if you want to beef up your watersports CV, but the main one you’ll be looking at is the RYA Level 2 Powerboat Qualification.


What is a powerboat and what is the RYA Level 2 Powerboat Qualification?

Credit: Unsplash.

A powerboat is a motorised boat, such as a RIB (rigid inflatable boat), sports boat or other small launches. They’re not used for extended periods (like cruises etc) and they don’t have accommodation on them. If you’re in the scene already, you’ll know what a powerboat is, and if you’re not, do a little more research at this point before taking the next step.

The RYA Level 2 powerboat qualification is the expected standard for anyone who’s got a commitment to moving their passion to profession. According to the RYA website, the course content includes:


  • Launching and recovery
  • Boat handling
  • Securing to a buoy
  • Anchoring
  • Leaving and coming alongside
  • Man Overboard


It a hands-on course that allows you to get to grips with everything you need to know. It doesn’t need any previous knowledge or experience, but it’s important to add that you’re heading in for a serious qualification, so enjoyment and an eagerness to learn are essential.


What does the RYA Level 2 qualification allow you to do?

Depending on the course you complete, you can have either an “Inland” or “Coastal” level 2 qualification.

Coastal, as the name suggests, is out on coastal waters, with an inland one being in (you guessed it) an enclosed area such as an inland dock. This translates into wherever you’re hoping to go to work.

You’ll find that a lot of summer camps around the world have inland areas such as lakes or rivers as the home to their watersports team, whereas resorts may be more coastal based. It’s a generalisation, but you get the idea.


What jobs can I get with a RYA Level 2 powerboat qualification?

Credit: Pixabay.

Once you have your qualification, you’ll find loads of doors open up for employment.

One of the most ideal first steps is through summer camps. They are happy to provide those with a level 2 qualification a chance to further their learning and experience, understanding that they may be at the start of their boating career. Not only does it provide a memorable summer, of which I could take about for days in another article, but it provides the perfect chance to take your first steps into the industry.

At camp, you’re not limited to driving the boats (although this would be incredible enough). Your camp will train you up, prior experience or not, on wakeboarding, waterskiing, and kneeboarding, to ensure you know how to pass this knowledge on to the campers. You can go from no knowledge to an instructor, provided you pass the required tests during the training week. Day to day jobs could be:

  • Water ski instructor
  • Wakeboard instructor
  • Knee/belly boarding
  • Powerboat driver 
  • Spotter



How much does it cost to do the RYA level 2 powerboat qualification?

The cost can vary, depending on which centre you complete the course at, but on average, you’ll be looking at around about £190. Considering you’ll be in a perfect position to secure a job after, it ends up being a small investment for a big payoff. 



Where can I do my RYA Level 2 powerboat qualification?

Considering the UK is an island itself, we’re not short on docks, watersports centres or coastal providers. There are thousands of recognised providers across the UK, so the best thing to use is the RYA centre finder, which will highlight the closest provider to you.


What other powerboat qualifications can I take?

Although a strong level entry point, you can up your powerboat knowledge through the RYA if you so wish to.

Upon building more and more experience, you can take your game up to safety boat, day skipper, tender operator and on to your intermediate and advanced levels (where things get very technical).



There’s a huge potential to make what began as a hobby, a career. If you show your commitment to underscoring your passion with a qualification, it’ll pay off in a big way with some of the future experiences you’ll have.

Once you’ve matched passion, with education and experience, you’re well placed to create a life and a career that you love to get up in the morning for.


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