My god you lot are getting ripped off,
I think it is rather simplistic to consider that anyone who charges more than you charge is ripping off their customers.
That aside your post highlights an interesting anomaly in respect of where you train and what you pay for it.
Take a similar industry, teaching someone to drive a car or truck. With either of these to learn you go to a commercial centre where you pay commercial rates to buy your training. In this example it is unlikely that physical training space is needed so the only significant cost is the vehicle. The option doesn’t exist to go to a local place down the road (like a club) that in effect is subsidising the operation and thus offering the service at massively reduced rates. Likewise if you wanted professional training on an IT related subject you couldn’t probably find an ‘Instructor’ at his local IT club teaching Windows 2003 Server skills.
Clearly this option does exist in respect of RYA training where commercial centres compete against significantly subsidised operations – often next door to each other. There are plenty of people on this forum who run schools and I would be surprised if they could successfully run an operation were they to charge what Sailing Clubs are able to charge (not just for VHF, as the same holds true for Level 2). Personally I have no issue with this sort of competition and would like to think that we don’t actively compete with such institutions for business, it would be far too simple to suggest that “you get what you pay for” but I think that Commercial Centres specialising in a particular area offer a different proposition to non-commercial centres – even if the ultimate qualification and standard is the same.
If you actually think about the costs of running a decent operation commercially with well specced boats, kit, classrooms, electronics with the ever rising insurance and administrative costs what you’ll actually conclude is that most courses should actually be priced at roughly twice (yes twice!) what schools actually charge. That doesn’t happen and won’t happen because the market of supply and demand won’t sustain it.
As a footnote, does anyone really begrudge paying £80 for a day’s training with a highly qualified/experienced Instructor leading to a recognised qualification – where else could you buy such training for anything like that.