Originally Posted by SR4
Anyway, you all know what I mean, seafaring has been going on for centuries, long before RYA courses, so I think that proves you don't need to do one, but if you can afford it then it is a jolly good idea, subject to a decent instructor who is not a nobber
I'm sure that RYA PB2 courses are not responsible for this but sea casualty figures have improved enormously over the centuries!
Historically people went to sea for various reasons, food, defence, exploration etc - but typically they learned their 'trade' over a prolonged period gradually by osmosis or by tuition from a 'master' who taught their apprentice over many years, before their protigee was set loose on their own. Its unlikely that many 'land lubbers' woke up one day decided the sea looked fun, bought a boat and set off.
I would certainly agree with your comments about instructors, and notwithstanding my earlier observation that there are cheap courses around (and a cheap course run by an 'average' instructor is still going to teach most new folk a lot) - there are definitely different types of course around and different instructors so it pays to hunt around to understand what makes a particular school suited to your needs. e.g. a sailing club is likely to be focussed largely around the sort of ribbing that their rescue boats do (short journeys, local waters, low speed manoeuvres, towing etc) whilst a dedicated powerboat school might be more likely to have you navigating and thinking about arriving on a 'far off' beach or harbour. Sailing clubs and outdoor centres also usually see RIBS as a tool and may only run a PB2 course once or twice a year - whilst a 'professional' school might run a course every week or two [I recently heard someone complain a course they were on was run quite complacently though - as it was 'just another pb2'] . Boats also vary widely so whist it might be fun, or even interesting, to learb in a 9m diesel 250 HP rib if you will mostly be using a tiller steered dory with 15 HP then finding a school that can provide plenty of relevant practice is probably more beneficial. Small schools are likely to use one instructor for most (all?) of a course which means either a personality clash or a poor quality instructor will mean you don't get as much out of it - whereas a big training centre might have a dozen people all on a course together and you stand a better chance of finding someone who you can work with [but certainly in some cases several relatively young/inexperienced instructors - and the 'expert' ends up coordinating rather than training].
One final thing to be aware of is it is rare to hear anyone not recommend the school they did their training at. But of course people normally only do one PB2 course in their life, so have no real ability to say "XYZ runs a great course" he may in fact only run a mediocre course - just that it was still useful.