What’s the point of a course when you can learn as you go and find information online?
A similar question was asked in a forum recently, which got me thinking.
In Australia, you can set off in your own boat (non-commercial) without any license or qualification at all (over a certain speed you do need a license, which is very simple to get).
However, from this trainers point of view, it is an excellent idea to do a course or courses.
It is a structured approach, so instead of spending hours ‘finding’ the right information on YouTube or forums, you have all you need presented to you in a way that is easy to learn (each section should build upon the previous).
You are trusting people you don’t know, are they are giving you the right information?
Are you finding all you need to know – It’s great having lots of equipment, but do you know how to use it and what it can do for you – I can’t imagine not using parallel indexing in fog, at night, (if you have radar!), but most people don’t know what this is.
People don’t know what they don’t know – after trawling for information from an unknown source, what key information is missing?
Trainers aren’t just experts in their field, they are taught to train. In Australia (and I am sure most places) we go through stringent training to be a qualified trainer. I am just updating my Teaching qualification for the umpteenth time and teaching regularly is not enough, there is always months and months of work/assessments/validation etc etc to be done to stay current (and a huge cost I might add!)
As a qualified trainer, you learn about different delivery methods and what different learners need. In a recent course I hosted, there was a couple who are really struggling with their big boat – with two small pieces of advice/training that may seem obvious to most, it gave them something new to think about and a new way to look at/tackle things (that is, the problems they were having). They had spoken with numerous ‘experts’ and those ‘experts’ had all over-looked the obvious, small, life-changing advice/learnings – this advice may just rescue their enjoyment of their boating life.
All that is NOT to take anything away from the advice and tips shared on great forums! Of course not. But as a passionate maritime teacher – they are not ‘just courses’ they are so much more and in my opinion imperative for being safe and confident on the water and that means you’ll enjoy your watery life more too!