There is a line in the guidlines for inspection (http://www.rya.org.uk/sitecollection...ce%20notes.pdf
) on page 9 under the table of instructor ratios at the top which says -
Instructors may be assisted by unqualified helpers* who are competent and experienced. They should be supervised by an instructor or SI and deployed in roles appropriate to their skills and awareness.
An assistant instructor counts as qualified in the ratios, but should work under the direction or supervision of an instructor or SI.
As part of the centre‟s instructor training programme, all helpers should be encouraged to gain RYA instructor qualifications. It may be appropriate for the SI to train or assess experienced helpers as assistant instructors with a short training programme covering basic teaching principles and the centre procedures.
This would indicate that you could use assistants on powerboat courses as it only specifically excludes PW's. The aim of this however is aimed more at dinghy and windsurf tuition where you could use experienced sailors to help with tuition by jumping into dinghies to help build students confidence etc. Particularly usefull in clubs who may only have a handful of instructors but have lots of competent sailors who are only too willing to volunteer some time to help with training but don't want to commit the time or money to doing a full instructor course or don't want the responsibility that comes with being fully qualified.
I would check first with RYA training what their view is in what this paragraph means.
The question you have to ask is who decides if they are competent and experienced enough to be let free with a powerfull rib with three students on board, especially if there is an accident and you have to stand in a corronors court and defend your decision as centre principal to use that person rather than a qualified instructor. At least in a dinghy there's less that can go wrong or can go wrong as quickly, in theory anyway!
If some body has done the instructor course they have had their skills and experience checked out before the course on the skills assessment and have then had their teaching ability checked out by two trainers on the instructor course so have been seen by two, maybe 3, trainers to decide if they are competent and expereinced enough to be in a boat entertaining students.
Not that I want to discredit the willing 'competent and experienced' helper, (as somebody who is full time CI at a sailing club and also does a lot of work at other clubs and commercial centres at beginner and instructor training level) we use a lot of these people but we always train them to be assistant instructors first so they have some sort of basic recognised training.
Having willing volunteers helping in dinghies is a lot different to having them help teach in powerboats which are by their very nature potentialy dangerous machines which are easily capable of throwing somebody overboard and inflicting serious injury if not used properly by the person at the helm which is why I think you'd find it difficult to justify not having people in charge of that boat with recognised qualifications.
Thinking about it from the students point of view who has paid the money to come on the course and be taught by a suitably experienced and competent instructor I'd be happy for somebody who was an expereinced sailor but unqualified to jump in a dinghy with me for a short time just to help me get the basics such as putting my hands and feet in the right place when tacking for instance while a qualified instructor runs the whole course but if I'd shelled out a load of cash for a powerboat course I'd expect to spend my time being taught by a qualified and experienced powerboat enthusiast rather than a dinghy instructor (could be exereinced in powerboats, but not necesarliy competent from personal experience) who is helping out to keep the instructor numbers up and cost down.
Also as posted previously, would your insurance company allow you to let students out in the boat with out a qualified instructor on board? Could it be seen a charter rather than tuition if theres not instructor on board in which case you may need a coded boat?
In a nutshell - call the RYA and ask them exactly what that paragraph in the guidance notes means, and then let us know what they say!