Teaching IRPCS afloat:


The Syllabus says that we have to teach a 'practical application of IRPCS' to our PWC students - but how is this done and what should be included? 

The rules:-

The IRPCS rules we need to cover at a minimum in our courses are:-

  • Keep a good look out
  • Ride on the right
  • Overtaking
  • Crossing situations
  • Sound signals

So, how do we give our students a practical understanding of these rules? 


- Teach IRPCS in 'theory' with the use of a whiteboard/teaching aids. 

- Set up a box course using 4 buoys

- Request that 1 of your 3 student PWs on the course either moor up or stay in a designated 'safe' area with their engine off and watch the activity on the box course.



- Student session Aims:- to implement the correct course of action when presented with an IRPCS situation.  

- Ask TWO of you student PWs to ride around the box course at displacement speed (i.e. 5-7 knots) maximum (it is VERY important that they do not travel at any speed) with 2 buoys between them and rider ahead.

- Once your student is traveling comfortable around at a speed you deem safe and reasonable and is definitely displacement then you are going to integrate yourself into the box course. You aim whilst there is to create IRPCS situations:- 

  • You will place yourself at a reasonable distance infront of your student and travel at 2-3 knots so that in order to pass you they must overtake. 
  • You will travel towards them 'head on' and they must take the correct action i.e. turning to starboard to go around you and you must turn to starboard also
  • You will create crossing situations in order for them to carry out the correct action etc. 

- Each time they achieve the goal and take the right action give them a thumbs up so they know they are doing well. If they take the wrong action then you now see the importance of why you do this at such slow speed and why you are the one who is the opposing PWC and not another of your students i.e. you have the ability and foresight to manouvere clear of the situation. 

- When you finish all the actions, head back to the rest of the group and 'quiz them' on what they saw and what actions were performed to keep them involved. 

- Repeat the session above for each of your students to have a go. 


Example Session:

  • Brief students on relevant IRPCS rules
  • PWC ride around box in anti-clockwise direction at displacement speed. Keeping a minimum of 1 leg of the box / 2 buoys between them and rider infront. 
  • Instructor creates a potential collision situations were each student will take the correct early and obvious avoiding action. 
  • COVER: Head on, Crossing, Overtaking