The RYA Powerboat Level 2 is every aspiring sailor’s favourite topic to talk about, and rightfully so. If you are a powerboat enthusiast who wants to explore international shores; or a sailor wishing to work on a superyacht, the RYA Powerboat Level 2 license is essential for your career. In South Africa, you can easily get this license via RYA-accredited institutes like Skipper Training SA. In this article, we will be finding out the limitations related to the RYA Powerboat Level 2 license in South Africa.

The RYA Powerboat Level 2 License in South Africa

The RYA Powerboat Level 2 License is one of the mandatory licenses to obtain if you are to work on a superyacht. To acquire the license, you have to go through a 2-day curriculum consisting of various theories and practicals. This curriculum, after successful completion, shall enable you to drive a powerboat up to 10m in length. But there are certain things you cannot do with this license.

However, let’s see what you can do with the RYA Powerboat Level 2 license first.

What can I do with the RYA Powerboat Level 2 License?

As a superyacht crew or a leisure boater, the RYA Powerboat Level 2 license should be more than sufficient to cover the bases. There are plenty of leisure options available for you such as fishing (recreational), recreational boating, island hopping, and so on.

In South Africa, the RYA Powerboat Level 2 license is valid for recreational boating. Anyone above 16 years of age can do the course; no experience is required. However, if you are planning to stay for long in South Africa, you will have to convert to a SAMSA license eventually.

As an RYA powerboat level 2 license holder, you will learn the following things.

The basic manoeuvre, including close-quarter boat handling. This includes driving your boat safely around the docks and in open waters as well as passing other boats safely and appropriately.

Launching and docking the boat includes safely launching and docking the boat, learning basic safety knots, and securing your boat.

Controlling planing speed. If you have a high-speed powerboat, this is something you should be keeping in your mind. Basically, it is the velocity at which a powerboat generates lift, resulting in faster speed with effective fuel management.

Anchoring the boat (and environmental safety awareness). The course will teach you how to use an anchor and the safety practices related to using the anchor.

Man overboard recovery includes rescuing a person (in the course, an object will be used instead) who has fallen off the boat.

The RYA Powerboat Level 2 Limitations in South Africa

As a basic license, the RYA Powerboat Level 2 has some limitations. These limitations do not only apply to South Africa but they apply internationally.

  • Night boating. You may think that you can drive your boat anytime with the Level 2 license, but that is not the case. In fact, the course does not cover any module on night boating at all. This license is equivalent to SAMSA day skipper licenses. The only difference is that SAMSA licenses have different categories, allowing skippers to boat in predefined waters only.
  • With the license, you cannot drive a boat above 10m in length. There is no limit on the engine power. However, if you wish to drive bigger boats, you will have to upgrade the license to Yachtmaster level. If it’s for commercial purposes, then you will have to get necessary commercial endorsements as well.
  • This license does not equip you to deal with rough water conditions. It is highly advised not to take your boat in rough waters if you are just an RYA Powerboat Level 2 license holder in South Africa.
  • You cannot provide professional training with this license alone. For that, you will have to obtain an RYA instructor’s certificate first.


There are many things you cannot do with the RYA Powerboat Level 2 license in South Africa due to its limitations. However, as a leisure boater, these limitations may not even matter to you. Just remember to be safe, follow local laws and safety regulations, and you will be fine.

If you are planning on getting an RYA Powerboat Level 2 license in South Africa, Skipper Training SA—an RYA-accredited marine institution based in Cape Town, South Africa—can help you out on this matter. Feel free to give us a call for more information.

The RYA Powerboat Level 2 Limitations in South Africa