Powerboat education, courses &
training in the South West of England


Stuart Scorgie is a tutor, trainer and aquatic specialist with South West Maritime Academy sharing his wealth of experience and knowledge with those wishing to expand their powerboating skills and qualifications.

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Do I need to take a Powerboat course?

Currently, here in the UK, anyone may purchase a boat up to 24 metres in length or 80 tonnes in weight. They can then operate it in and around our coast and on most of our inland waterways without any sort of training, boat license or certification, or so people believe!

In reality, everyone on the sea comes under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations. On 29 July 2020 the MCA published a marine guidance note to provide clarification and guidance on the merchant shipping (safety of navigation) regulations which implement chapter V of the International Convention for the safety of life at sea 1974 (SOLAS) in its most recently amended form into UK law.  In a nutshell - you may be prosecuted if you fail to adhere to them. Follow this link for the latest government leaflet on chapter V for recreational boaters:  SOLAS regulations for pleasure boat users

A recent change to UK law has caused a change in focus from what was initially intended for PWC users to move more towards all watercraft users. 


The Merchant Shipping (Watercraft) Order 2023 places a duty onwatercraft owners in UK waters to ensure that it is operated in a safe manner. If the owner fails to do this, they may commit an offence, punishable by imprisonment for a term up to two years, a fine, or both.

Under the order, it is not an offence for a person to be under the influence of drink or a drug while in charge of a watercraft or other recreational craft. However, if a watercraft user does something or omits to do something that leads to the loss, destruction or serious damage of their watercraft, any other watercraft, ship or structure, or the death of or serious injury to any person and either:

  • the act or omission was deliberate or amounted to a breach or neglect of duty.


  • the person who committed the act or made the omission was under the influence of drink or a drug at the time of the act or omission.

then the person is guilty of an offence under section 58 (conduct endangering ships, structures, or individuals) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, as applied by the 2023 Order. 

With this in mind, our advice is to take a course.

If you are unable to find a date that suits you drop me an Email with your request.



Powerboat Courses Calendar

Find a Powerboat Course

South West Maritime Academy is a leading provider of RYA powerboat courses for all levels of experience and ability, from complete novices to competent professionals and those looking to enhance their career prospects or update required industry specific qualifications. We operate the Powerboat School from Portishead Marina with our well equipped MCA coded 7.8m Ribcraft RIB.

As well as a great training area, there are plenty of cafes, comfort stop facilities and free parking.


Here at The South West Maritime Academy, we are industry leaders in maritime safety training courses, offering a wide range of maritime courses including the mandatory STCW Basic Safety Training - essential for all seafaring personnel.

Over recent years we've helped many newcomers to the industry, along with competent professionals enhancing their careers with the essential training they need to do their jobs effectively. We offer real hands-on training for all candidates at our our main site in Cromhall, South Gloucestershire and our PowerBoat School in Portishead, ensuring that you are not trained with just theory - actual real-life experience is in our opinion, essential.

When you train with us, you can rest assured that you are learning with the top maritime academy in the UK - with well-qualified instructors and many years of experience. Our pass rates are fantastic, in 2021, 100% of participants at the South West Maritime Academy willing to recommend our courses and facilities. Don't just take our word for it - we are accredited by several examination boards - Edexcel, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Pearson and the RYA.


© 2024 All content and images are the property of Stuart Scorgie and may not be reproduced without express permission.