Training overview

Welcome to our training programme. Please take a look to see why we are one of the country’s leading training organisations, and how we can help you. We offer something for everyone, from complete newcomers to experienced sailors. 

Why train

Sailing and the sea appeal for a variety of reasons: sailing engages the adventurer, the engineer, the sportsman, the family, those who crave challenges, those who prefer relaxation, those who seek solitude and those who enjoy company. 

It offers unending interest and you can never stop learning. Whoever you are, you will get more out of sailing if you understand what is going on and can contribute actively to either making a passage or sharing stories with fellow sailors.

Why train with the LSC

The Little Ship Club has been a pioneer since its earliest days in 1926. In the 1930s we were awarded the privilege of wearing a blue ensign in recognition of training the Royal Naval Volunteer (Supplementary) Reserve. 

During the Second World War, we played a leading role in training reservists. At the end of the 1960s our syllabus was adopted by the Royal Yachting Association as the basis for what is now its global training programme, while in the 1980s we helped the RYA develop its initial First Aid training. 

Today, we are still at the forefront of innovation, offering our own unique courses alongside the RYA syllabus. Options include shore-based classes, practical training and on-the-water-instruction with our partners, Portsmouth Marine Training and Thames Boat Training. 

Students benefit from a high instructor-to-trainee ratio with onshore classes taught at an unequalled venue in central London, while training and membership packages offer outstanding value for money.

The Club is the training partner of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and provides basic seamanship training to Royal Navy midshipmen – the only civilian organisation permitted to do so.

Why start now

Sailing is the study of a lifetime. We offer a flexible timetable to appeal to people’s varied lifestyles. See what we have to offer: please visit us at Bell Wharf Lane and discuss your needs in person; or telephone 0207 236 7729 or e-mail

RYA courses

We offer the full range of RYA shore-based courses, including Dayskipper, Yachtmaster, Yachtmaster Ocean, VHF radio, First Aid, Diesel Engine and Radar

VHF radio is now an online course, and we offer the assessment test which leads to the RYA’s Short-Range Certificate, qualifying holders to operate marine VHF radio transmitters. 

European inland waterways regulations are self-taught and we offer the assessment test for CEVNI, which leads to the inland waterways endorsement on the International Certificate of Competence.

Members can book online for all courses. Click the link at the top right of this page. Non-members, please contact the office to enquire about availability of courses.  Details of how to apply for membership are on the Join us! page. 

Course Frequency.

Apart from the RYA Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean courses which are all a minimum of 40 hours long the other courses are either 1 day courses or 2/3/evening courses. These are run once or twice a year. If there is enough interest shown in a course then we may be able to add additional courses to the schedule. This includes RYA course on Diesel Maintenance, First Aid, Radar and SRC (VHF operators licence) and LSC courses on Basic Ropework, Braided Ropework, Boat Electrics and Practical Weather Forecasting. If you are interested inone of these courses please register your interest here. You will then be contacted by email when enough people have shown an interest for another course to be run

Dates are now available.  Click on the course you are interested in for dates and to book your place online.

Special courses

We offer insights into various aspects of sailing through our regular Tuesday evening lectures, often with the aid of external speakers; these lectures are interwoven with items relating to our social programme. 

The special courses, however, are run to a regular timetable. They were all developed here at the Little Ship Club by our training team and are delivered by instructors with special expertise. They are designed to build on standard RYA courses and lift members’ standard of seamanship out of the ordinary. 

They include Basic Ropework, Boat Electrics, Braided Rope and Practical Weather Forecasting.

On-the-water training 

There is no substitute for real practice. To ensure a smooth transition from classroom to craft, the Little Ship Club has an agreement with Portsmouth Marine Training to provide its members with on-the-water training. It also has a close association with Thames Boat Training for inland waterways training.

Why Portsmouth Marine Training

Portsmouth Marine Training have very experienced and friendly instructors, modern, fully-coded boats and efficient administration. They are based at Southsea Marina in Portsmouth, a friendly and well-run marina inside Langstone Harbour. The harbour itself, situated between Chichester and Portsmouth harbours, provides an ideal training ground with varied features and easy access to the Solent. Portsmouth Marine are one of the very few fully-integrated on-the-water training organisations: they do not, for example, “outsource” powerboat training to another sea school; they are, then, able to control the quality of their service.

In addition to preferential rates for Club members, Portsmouth Marine are able to provide specially-tailored events, such as courses which take place partly at the Little Ship Club in London and partly on the coast at Southsea. Portsmouth Marine’s Chief Instructor, Steve Dimmer, is a full member of the Club and is a member of the Club’s training team.

Portsmouth Marine provide the full range of on-the-water training, including standard RYA courses for powerboating, motor cruising and sail cruising. They can also provide own-boat tuition and preparation for the International Certificate of Competence and Yachtmaster qualifications, as well as the necessary courses and preparation for obtaining commercial endorsements.

For more information, please visit: or contact the Club through:

Why Thames Boat Training

Thames Boat Training is run by Paul Kelly, a Yachtmaster Instructor with over 30 years’ experience. 

Thames Boat Training specialise in tidal Thames training between Kingston and London and inland waterways training on the non tidal Thames between Kingston and Windsor and the River Wey.

Instruction takes place on the traditionally-styled 57-foot steel barge Wee Dram, which is fitted out to a good standard of comfort and well maintained. 

In addition to acting as a base for instruction, Wee Dram can also be booked for experience days and holiday hire. Gift vouchers are also available.

For more information, please visit: or contact the Club through:

A Fun Seamanship Quiz.

This link will take you to a fun quiz. It is a series of videos taken in the Solent at night. See how many lights you can recognise.

A revision guide to IALA (A) buoyage.

Clicking on this link will take you to a guide to IALA (A) buoyage