Professional Yachtmaster / Cruising Instructor Internship

This internship offers seasoned watersports instructors an unparalleled chance to embark on a comprehensive two-year work-study journey, culminating in certifications as a Yachtmaster Ocean and RYA Cruising Instructor. Set in an idyllic location, this program promises an enriching, career-enhancing experience in an inspiring environment. It is also a highly cost effective way of training.

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Join our Professional Yachtmaster/Cruising Instructor internship (work/study) program for an exhilarating blend of Yachtmaster training and hands-on work in our watersports department.

Upon passing your commercially endorsed RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean examination and AMSA Sailing Master, you'll be certified to command commercial sailing vessels up to 200 gross tonnes. Becoming an RYA Cruising Instructor will open doors to instructor positions at any of the 2400 RYA schools globally.

Expect expert tuition, an engaging learning environment, and an unforgettable Australian sailing experience.

Program Overview:

Duration: The programme runs full-time from mid September for 9 months each year. There is a 3 month break in the Australian winter for June, July and August.  

Year 1: Mid September to End May

  • Time split between work as a watersports instructor and Yachtmaster training 
  • Training includes live-aboard periods, day sailing courses, and shore-based theory classes.
  • Weekends often involve instructing on watersports courses or assisting experienced yacht instructors.
  • By year-end, you'll attain Yachtmaster Offshore, RYA Cruising Instructor, and AMSA Sailing Master certifications.

Year 2: Mid September to End May

  • Split between working as a qualified Yachtmaster and Cruising Instructor and a watersports instructor
  • Training for RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certification.
  • Opportunities for more challenging roles as your experience grows.

Sailing Areas:

The course is in a spectacular setting at Flying Fish Sail Academy, Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Sydney.

You sail in Sydney Harbour, Australia's favourite yachting playground, cruising past the Opera House and under the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Offshore, you explore the New South Wales coast, heading south to Jervis Bay or north to Pittwater, Seal Rocks and Coffs Harbour. 

The Ocean passage goes to Lord Howe Island, an absolute jewel in the Pacific with beautiful beaches and a magnificent coral lagoon. 

The diving and snorkelling are world-class, and weather permitting, the crew will spend a couple of days relaxing and exploring this beautiful island before we set sail for the passage back to Sydney. 

Weather conditions vary from warm sea breezes to cool southerly busters. 

You will experience magnificent seascapes, dolphins, whales and, of course, flying fish! This is offshore sailing at its best.

Equipment and Instructors: 

We operate a fleet of excellent training vessels, including Beneteau 40.7 cruiser racers, SV Arctos (a Radford 55 built for a southern ocean circumnavigation) and Flying Cloud, a tricked up, Beneteau First 40. 

We also have a fleet of Laser Bahia and RS Zest training dinghies and Highfield rigid inflatable boats, which we use in the early part of the programme. 

For shore-based training, we have a comfortable waterside classroom equipped with various modern teaching aids and equipment. 

Our team of experienced instructors will guide you through your programme in the friendly, professional style that is Flying Fish's hallmark.  

What's included

  • Tuition, logbook, pre-course reading, training resources, and certification.
  • Life jackets and safety harnesses are provided, and we can loan you wet weather clothing if required.
  • Shared cabin accommodation and meals onboard on live-aboard passages
  • All vessels have an enclosed bathroom on board.

Internship Allowances and Fees:

  • You'll receive a full time living wage of approx $45,000 in year one, increasing to $55,000 in year two.
  • Over the course of the internship, you will receive training as required up to RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and RYA Cruising Instructor at no extra cost. 

Before you start

  • The Internship is open to experienced dinghy sailors, windsurfers and powerboat drivers wishing to pursue a career in the professional yachitng industry.
  • To qualify for the programme you MUST be qualified to teach dinghy sailing, windsurfing or powerboating under the RYA or Australian Sailing scheme. 
  • The places are by selection and are limited to a maximum of 3 each year.
  • All seafarers applying for certification as Yachtmasters and Deck Officers need full-colour vision.
  • The programme is suitable for male and females between the ages of 18 and 30. 

What next?

  • If you leave the programme as a qualified, commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Ocean and experienced RYA Cruising Instructor, you will be ready to apply for a range of jobs in the yachting industry.
  • As a Yachtmaster Offshore, you are approved by the MCA to take charge of a sailing vessel of up to 200 gross tonnes on passages up to 150 miles from a safe haven. A Yachtmaster Ocean is unrestricted by distance.


  • Course programme 
    • Year 1 - Time split between work as a Watersports Instructor (Dinghy Sailing, Powerboating and Windsurfing) and training towards the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore and RYA Cruising Instructor certification. 
    • Year 2 - Time split between work as a Yacht Cruising Instructor, Watersports Instructor and training for the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean qualification 
    • The work/study programme is flexible around the needs of the business programme.
    • Based upon a pro-rata 5 day working week including weekends.
    • The programme includes approximately 8.5 months work, 2 months training and 6 weeks (includes bank hols) leave per year. 
  • Qualifications and experience 
    • Approx 5000 sea miles logged
    • RYA Day Skipper Shorebased
    • RYA Day Skipper Practical
    • RYA Powerboat Level 2
    • TCP Marine First Aid
    • RYA Diesel Engine certificate
    • Basic Yacht Maintenance
    • RYA Yachtmaster qualifying passages / Watchkeeping experience
    • Intro Racing and Spinnakers course 
    • ACMA VHF/HF GMDSS Radio Licence
    • RYA Yachtmaster Shorebased Theory
    • RYA Coastal Skipper
    • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (Sail)
    • RYA YM Ocean Shorebased
    • RYA YM Ocean qualifying passage
    • RYA Yachtmaster Ocean (Sail)
    • AMSA Sailing Master
    • Estimate 6 months command experience as an RYA Crusing Instructor 
    • Exeperience working with our yacht engineer to manage maintenance and upkeep of the fleet
  • Where to stay ashore
    • If you don't live locally to our training centre you will need a place to stay for the duration of your programme.  Many of our customers and staff stay in Manly which is a fantastic place to live and only a short bus ride to our Middle Harbour Yacht Club base. 
  • Visas for international students
    • Apart from Aussies and Kiwis, everybody travelling to Australia must apply for a visa in advance. Don't apply for a student visa. These are only available for government-sanctioned higher education courses at universities and other tertiary establishments.  If you are from the UK you should apply for a working holiday visa which is valid for up to three years and allows you to work. 
  • What happens if I fail the Yachtmaster exams?
    • We do our best to make sure that you don't. But if the worst comes to the worst, you'll go away with an action plan to complete.  Usually, this involves revising some missing skills or knowledge and then resitting the exam.
    • Over 90% of our Yachtmaster candidates pass the first time.