The Call of the Sea 01872 580022

RYA Day Skipper Practical Course

Have fun on a "day skipper" course on Eve of St Mawes

RYA Day Skipper practical course - with the support of your instructor, you take charge for short passages.

RYA Day Skipper
Skippering a boat is fun, and this course is about taking your first steps towards taking charge, with the safety net of an instructor on board. Everyone will be given a chance to navigate and take control for short coastal passages. You will also have plenty of practice at coordinating manoeuvres under sail and power, and learning how to cope with emergencies. Learn big boat watch leader skills on deck, and navigational techniques below with GPS and radar and a large chart table. Successful completion of the RYA Day Skipper means you should feel confident enough to tackle short day passages as skipper in tidal waters. Our instructors will be happy to discuss what your next step might be.

After a days training there is time to relax.

RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Dates


RYA Day Skipper Practical Syllabus (Practical Course)

Aim: The Day Skipper practical course is conducted on board a cruising yacht (7-13m LOA) to teach pilotage, navigation and seamanship. Plus boat handling to the standard required to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day. This would be in tidal waters with which the student is familiar.

Preparation for Sea
Is able to prepare a yacht for sea, including engine checks, selection of sails, securing and stowage of all gear on deck and below.

Deck Work
Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions. Can prepare an anchor and mooring warps and take charge on deck. The situations to cope with are mooring alongside, coming up to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor, and slipping from a buoy or alongside berth.

Is proficient in chart work and routine navigational duties on passage including:

  • Taking and plotting visual fixes
  • Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing.
  • Use of waypoints
  • Working up DR and EP
  • Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams
  • Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift.
  • Knowledge of IALA buoyage
  • Maintenance of navigational records
  • Use of echo sounder and lead line Pilotage
  • Can prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into or departure from harbour.
  • Understands the use of leading and clearing lines.
  • Use of transits and soundings as aids to pilotage.
  • Meteorology
  • Knows sources of forecast information, can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid.
  • Rules of the Road
  • Has a working knowledge of the application of international Regulations for the Preventing Collisions at Sea.
  • Maintenance and repair work
  • Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks. Knows the properties and uses of common and synthetic fibre ropes.
  • Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and bleed fuel system.
  • Understands how to victual a yacht.
  • Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of a man overboard.
  • Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft.
  • Can operate a radio telephone in an emergency and send a distress message.
  • Understands how to secure a tow.
  • Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue.

Yacht handling under power

Can bring a boat safely to and from an alongside berth, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide.

Yacht handling under sail

Can bring a boat safely to and from a mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide.

Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing.

Passage Planning

Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and strength of the crew.

A sailing holiday on a classic sailing boat that allows you to study for the practical RYA Day Skipper Courses on Eve of St Mawes in Cornwall or onboard Golden Vanity in Devon will stand you in good stead for any type of yacht sailing.

Further reading

Another excellent way of learning is through reading. The RYA have an excellent range of books covering all aspects of sailing and navigation, as well as useful learning tools to help you along the way. 

Sail Cruise Books

Navigation Books

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