Course Overview

RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster™ theory is an advanced course that builds on the knowledge gained at the theory Day Skipper level. It is aimed at sailors and boaters who are looking to undertake more complex passages perhaps offshore or at night. It will take your theory knowledge to the standard required for the Yachtmaster™ Coastal and Yachtmaster™ Offshore practical course.

This course is delivered over five days in our dedicated modern classroom. It is an intensive course covering advanced navigation techniques including – position fixing, course shaping and plotting, tidal knowledge including secondary port calculations, navigation in restricted visibility, Admiralty publications and electronic position finding equipment. The meteorology tuition includes the taking and interpretation of forecasts, plotting of weather systems and weather prediction. Students are shown how to use this information when planning and executing passage plans. The International Regulations for Prevention of Collision at Sea are dealt with in detail and you will also learn more about yacht stability and safety offshore.

It is strongly recommended that students have a good grasp of theory subjects to Day Skipper standard and have thoroughly revised the Collision Regulations before attending.

During the course students sit three exams and will be awarded the RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory Certificate.

Once you have completed the course you’re ready to go onto the practical side of Yachtmaster and work towards your qualifying sea time. If you have this already speak to us about our Yachtmaster preparation training and the Yachtmaster exam.

Price : FROM £350.0

Pre-Course Experience

Knowledge of navigation to RYA Day Skipper theory level and practical sailing or motorboat experience

Assumed Knowledge

Read & revise Day Skipper Theory.
Read & revise IRPCS & buoyage.
Understanding of Met forecasts & weather.
Prior to course collect RYA Training Almanac and course pack from training centre and start reading through content.

Student Instructor Ratio



5 Days training 1 day Exam, 40hrs total
There will also be some homework throughout the course.

Course Content

Position fixing
Course shaping and plotting
Tidal knowledge
Use of almanacs and Admiralty publications
Electronic position finding equipment
Taking and interpreting forecasts
Plotting weather systems
Safety equipment and procedure
Collision Regulations
customs and excise regulations for cruising abroad

Ability after Course

The background theory knowledge needed to skipper a yacht on coastal passages by day and night. The holder of this certificate can go on to work towards their Coastal Skipper practical course or Yachtmaster™ qualifications

Course Syllabus
  1. Position

Dead reckoning and estimated position

Satellite-derived position

Use of waypoints to fix position

Radar fixes

Techniques of visual fixing

Fixes using a mixture of position lines

Relative accuracy of different methods of position fixing

Area of uncertainty


  1. The magnetic compass

Allowance for variation

Change of variation with time and position

Causes of deviation

Swing for deviation (but not correction)

Allowance for deviation

Different types of compass


  1. Tides

Causes of tide – Springs and Neaps

Tide tables – sources

Tidal levels and datum

Standard and secondary ports

Tide anomalies (Solent, etc.)


  1. Tidal Streams

Sources of tidal information

Tidal stream information in sailing directions and Yachtsmen’s Almanacs

Allowance for tidal streams in computing a course to steer

Tide rips, overfalls and races

Tidal observation buoys, beacons etc


  1. Buoyage

IALA system buoyage in Region A

Limitations of buoys as navigational aids


  1. Lights


Ranges – visual, luminous and nominal

Rising and dipping distances

Light lists


  1. Pilotage

Harbour regulations and control signals

Methods of pre-planning

Clearing lines

Use of soundings

Transits and leading lines


  1. GPS and chart plotters

Principles of operation and limitations of use

Raster and vector charts


Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source and keeping a separate record of position

Importance of paper charts


  1. Echo sounders

Principles of operation and limitations of use


  1. Logs (speed and distance measuring)

Principles of operation limitations of use


  1. Deck log

Importance of log as yacht’s official document

Layout of log, hourly and occasional entries


  1. Meteorology

Basic terms, the Beaufort scale b. Air masses c. Cloud types d. Weather patterns associated with pressure and frontal systems e. Sources of weather forecasts f. Ability to interpret a shipping forecast, weatherfax and weather satellite information g. Land and sea breezes h. Sea fog i. Use of barometer as a forecasting aid


  1. Rules of the Road

A sound knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, except Annexes 1 and 3


  1. Safety at Sea

Personal safety, use of lifejackets, safety harnesses and lifelines

Fire prevention and fire fighting

Distress signals

Coastguard and Boat Safety Scheme

Preparation for heavy weather

Liferafts and helicopter rescue

Understanding of capabilities of vessel and basic knowledge of stability


  1. Navigation in restricted visibility

Precautions to be taken in fog

Limitations to safe navigation imposed by fog

Navigation in poor visibility


  1. Passage planning

Preparation of charts and notebook for route planning and making, and use at sea

Customs regulations as they apply to yachts

Routine for navigating in coastal waters

Strategy for course laying

Use of waypoints and routes

Use of weather forecast information for passage planning strategy

Sources of local and national regulations

Next Step

RYA Coastal Skipper Practical (sail) or Speak to us about Yachtmaster preparation week. You may also like our adventure sailing trips to build miles and put your new skills to the test.

What’s Included

All course materials including RYA Yachtmaster Theory course notes book YSN. We recommend this is collected from the training centre prior to your course starting, and time is taken to look through the content in preparation.
There will also be some homework throughout the course.
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


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