Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Civilian qualifications for Royal Navy coxswains

13 July 2016
Sailors training at HMS Raleigh have been presented with a civilian recognised qualification after completing a powerboat driving course.

The two-week course delivered by the Royal Navy Seamanship School has now been accredited by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). 

A mix of theory, navigation and practical boat driving the course is provided to anyone required to take on the role of coxswain and ensures individuals are qualified to drive the Pacific 22 and 24 rigid inflatable boats.

The former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band presented the first RYA Level 2 certificates to seven students comprising four Seaman Specialists, one member of the Hydro/Met (HM) branch and two members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.  

It took a couple of days to get to grips with the boats, but it's just like driving a car when you get used to it I suppose.

Seaman Specialist Michael Burke

Leading Seaman (HM) Christopher Morris is currently based at HMS Heron, but is about to join HMS Protector. 

He said: “I came on this course because the majority of the HMs onboard Protector need to be coxswain trained. 

“The course was brilliant.  I really enjoyed it.  The speed was great, but also the more skilled parts, like the manoeuvring, coming alongside and picking up the man overboard. 

“I wasn't aware before I joined the course that I would get the RYA qualification. 

“It was quite a nice surprise because I can now use it in civilian world and look to rent a power-boat when I go on holiday next month.”

Seaman Specialist Courtney McKeown was one of three students from HMS Daring attending the course. 

She said: “The training has been really good.  All the instructors have been great, really informative and so helpful. 

“There was a lot of time to learn the manoeuvres.  I feel confident, although it's going to be different at sea, with the different sea states and conditions, but the people on board will help us get up to scratch. 

“It's good to get a civilian qualification out of it, which will help us if we do decide to leave the Navy.”

Seaman Specialist Michael Burke, also of HMS Daring, added: “This is the first step for promotion  for us. 

“The course was hard, but the instructors made it a lot easier because they were so good.  It took a couple of days to get to grips with the boats, but it's just like driving a car when you get used to it I suppose.

“It's good to have the RYA qualification and it'll look good on my CV when I do actually leave the Navy. 

“Having a licence to drive a boat will give me all sorts of options outside of the Service.”

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.