OYT South offers extensive training opportunities for volunteer sea staff, both on board Prolific and through a variety of recognised qualifications and informal courses

Sea staff

Training and Qualifications

Online safeguarding, youthwork and food hygiene qualifications
OYT South offers a range of online courses for our volunteers, including Safeguarding, which is compulsory for all sea staff and must be renewed every three years, plus other youthwork courses and a few other important things – including Food Hygiene, which is essential.

We can accept other recognised Safeguarding and Food Hygiene qualifications but these online courses are offered for any of our volunteers and staff who need them. They can be done in your own time: you can save a course at any point and come back later to where you left off. They are all recognised courses and you will get a certificate for each one you complete successfully. OYT South volunteers will pay a bargain price of just £20 for access to this system – that single payment allows you to do many different courses, though you can choose just to do one or two.

Training on board Prolific
Adult-only mates training weekend voyages are normally offered twice a year on board Prolific, and there is normally one longer adult training voyage. These voyages are open to new and prospective sea staff, as well as to current volunteers who want to develop their skills without the responsibility of supervising young people at the same time. The aim of these voyages is to help volunteers become familiar with OYT South routines and safe working practices on board Prolific, so that those who return to sail on youth voyages are ready to get involved with leading, teaching and supervising young people on board.

New prospective volunteers will have a chance to speak to the skipper at the end of the training voyage, to discuss whether they have enjoyed it and want to pursue their interest in sailing with OYT South, and if so, whether the skipper feels they are ready to sail on a youth voyage, or whether they have any other recommendations.

Check the latest voyage programme for dates and prices of forthcoming training and familiarisation voyages.

If you are booked on a youth voyage as an adult volunteer, but there is something you particularly want training in, please let us know in advance of the voyage if possible, or tell the skipper when you join.

Formal courses and certificates
Volunteers who wish to move up the sea staff ladder, from bosun or third mate to second mate or first mate, will need a variety of qualifications in order to make progress, including RYA practical and theory certificates from Day Skipper all the way through to Yachtmaster Offshore, as well as short courses such as first aid (which must be renewed every three years), GMDSS radio, diesel engines and powerboat level 2. Some of these courses can be offered through the charity, and for others we may be able to put our volunteers in contact with sea schools or instructors who have connections with the charity.

Shorebased training weekends
OYT South runs annual shore-based training weekends when a variety of courses are offered, including formal qualifications such as first aid but also informal sessions on other topics that may be of interest to staff and volunteers, such as disability awareness or how to run fun and games sessions on board. The charity has volunteers and supporters with immense expertise in a wide variety of relevant areas and we are always open to ideas from anyone who wants to offer to run a session at a training weekend.

Online navigation training
OYT South can offer online navigation training through the RYA’s Essential Navigation & Seamanship course. This is an introductory-level course and is ideal for new sea staff or anyone who has done a little navigation but is a bit rusty; for young people looking to make the step up into volunteering; for young crew members who really want to stay involved with sailing and would like to build up their skills; and for those who have done several voyages and want to stretch themselves a little and understand more next time they come on board. It’s a proper qualification, it takes around six hours to complete online but you can do it in your own time as it suits you.

Small boat training
Volunteer sea staff who are working through RYA qualifications often need to spend time in boats which are smaller than Prolific: anyone learning boat handling and parking, or getting their first experience in taking command of a vessel, needs to do so in a boat that is less than 105 feet long! The charity has a number of supporters who own smaller yachts and may be prepared to take volunteers sailing; or we can put a group of volunteers in contact if they want to charter a yacht together.

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How you can help

Become a non-sailing member

Booking a Voyage

Guide to booking a voyage

Tracking our boat

Find out where we are sailing

How to sail with us

Ocean Youth Trust South is an adventure sail training charity which takes young people aged 11-25 to sea in our 30-metre vessel Prolific.

Individual Voyages

Voyages for people aged 11-25

 Group Voyages

Introduction for adult leaders

Adult Voyages

Voyages for people aged over 18