Course Overview

A comprehensive introduction for would-be skippers. This course will equip you with skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence ready for your practical qualification.
In the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course students are taught the basics of coastal and inshore navigation and pilotage including chartwork, meteorology, position fixing, plotting a course to steer, weather forecasting, a knowledge of tides and the International Regulations for Prevention of Collision at Sea. As well as navigation this course will also give students an understanding of different boat types, explaining nautical terms, and will discuss the equipment carried onboard a boat including safety gear and the procedures to use them. It will cover the use of a VHF and how to send a distress signal.

Price : FROM £350.00

Pre-Course Experience

Some practical experience is desirable

Assumed Knowledge


Student Instructor Ratio

Student/Instructor Ratio 8:1


5 Days or 2.5 Weekends

Course Content

A comprehensive introduction to seamanship, basic navigation, pilotage, safety procedures and Collision Regulations for use in local waters

Ability after Course

Knowledge to support you during your Day Skipper Practical course.

Course Syllabus

A comprehensive introduction to chart work, navigation, meteorology and the basics of seamanship for Competent Crew. You will find this course invaluable if you want to learn to start making decisions onboard.

1. Nautical terms

  • Parts of a boat and hull
  • General nautical terminology

2. Ropework

  • Knowledge of the properties of synthetic ropes in common use

3. Anchorwork

  • Characteristics of different types of anchor
  • Considerations to be taken into account when anchoring

4. Safety

  • Knowledge of the safety equipment to be carried, its stowage and use (see RYA Boat Safety Handbook, C8)
  • Fire precautions and fire fighting
  • Use of personal safety equipment, harnesses and lifejackets.
  • Ability to send a distress signal by VHF radio telephonee.
  • Basic knowledge of rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

5. International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

  • Steering and sailing rules (5,7,8,9,10 and 12-19)
  • General rules (all other rules)

6. Definition of position, course and speed

  • Latitude and longitude
  • Knowledge of standard navigational terms
  • True bearings and courses
  • The knot

7. Navigational charts and publications

  • Information shown on charts, chart symbols and representation of direction and distance
  • Navigational publications in common use
  • Chart correction

8. Navigational drawing instruments

  • Use of parallel rulers, dividers and proprietary plotting instruments

9. Compass

  • Application of variation
  • Awareness of deviation and its causes
  • Use of hand-bearing compass

10. Chartwork

  • Dead reckoning and estimated position including an awareness of leeway
  • Techniques of visual fixing
  • Satellite-derived positions
  • Use of waypoints to fix position
  • Course to steer

11. Tides and tidal streams

  • Tidal definitions, levels and datum
  • Tide tables
  • Use of Admiralty method of determining tidal height at standard port and awareness of corrections for secondary ports
  • Use of tidal diamonds and tidal stream atlases for chartwork

12. Visual aids to navigation and chart plotters

  • Lighthouses and beacons, light characteristics

13. Meteorology

  • Sources of broadcast meteorological information
  • Knowledge of terms used in shipping forecasts, including the Beaufort scale, and their significance to small craft
  • Basic knowledge of highs, lows and fronts

14. Passage planning

  • Preparation of navigational plan for short coastal passages. Meteorological considerations in planning short coastal passages
  • Use of waypoints on passages. Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source
  • Keeping a navigational watch

15. Navigation in restricted visibility

  • Precautions to be taken in, and limitations imposed by fog

16. Pilotage

  • Use of transits, leading lines and clearing lines
  • IALA system of buoyage for Region A
  • Use of sailing directions
  • Pilotage plans and harbour entry

17. Marine environment

  • Responsibility for avoiding pollution and protecting the marine environment

What Next?

Armed with your new knowledge why not join us for our sailing club activities all of which will go towards your experience ready for your Day Skipper Practical course with us.

What’s Included

All course materials including RYA Day Skipper theory course notes book DSN05. Morning and afternoon tea.
Please ensure you bring with you writing materials including a 2B pencil. You will also need a plotter and divider kit for chart work.


Why not join the RYA today?