Coastal Skipper

For those with good knowledge of sailing and navigation who wish to develop their skills and experience to undertake coastal passages day and night.

Coastal Skipper RYA Course

Coastal Skipper

This course is for those with good knowledge of sailing and navigation (often gained through the RYA Coastal / Yachtmaster theory course) who wish to develop their skills and experience to undertake coastal passages during the day and night. 

Pre-course experience15 days, 2 days as skipper, 300 miles, 8 night hours
Assumed knowledgeBoat handling to the standard of Day Skipper and navigation to shorebased Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster™ Offshore
Minimum duration5 Days
Minimum age17 (under 16s must be accompanied)
Course contentPassage planning, preparation for sea, pilotage, passage making and ability as skipper, yacht handling under power, yacht handling under sail, adverse weather conditions, emergency situations

Start Yachting

We all have to start somewhere.  The Start Yachting Course provides a short introduction for novices to sail cruising.  At the end of the course you will have the knowledge to enable you to be safe on board and understand the basics of sailing and being a crew member.

Find out more about The RYA Start Yachting Course

Competent Crew

The Competent Crew Course provides a progression from Start Yachting, although can also be undertaken by those with no or little experience.  At the end of the course you will have an understanding of the role of crew on a yacht and have practical experience of all the jobs expected for you to become a safe, proactive and valuable member of the crew.

Find out more about our RYA Competent Crew Course

Day Skipper

Skippering a yacht is a significant responsibility.  The course will help you develop skills and knowledge that will enable you to take a vessel to sea confidently and safely, ensuring the welfare of your crew and vessel on short passages in daylight hours.

Find out more about our RYA Day Skipper Course

Yachtmaster Coastal and Yachtmaster Offshore Preparation and Exam

This course is for those with considerable knowledge and experience of skippering vessels with significant sea time who wish to undertake the Certificate of Competence at Yachtmaster offshore or Coastal level.   The certificate of Competence allows candidates, should they wish, to apply for their certification to be “Commercially” endorsed enabling them to use their qualification professionally.  (This does have additional requirements which can be viewed here).

There is no formal syllabus for this course, but the five days of preparation will focus on areas that candidates identify through self-assessment.  The final two days will be spent with the examiner on board putting candidates through their paces.

The exam will include an assessment of your skippering skills, boat handling, general seamanship, navigation, safety awareness and knowledge of the IRPCS (collision regulations), meteorology and signals. You will be set tasks to demonstrate your ability and may also be asked questions on any part of the syllabus for all practical and shorebased courses up to Yachtmaster™ Coastal level.

The difference between the Coastal and Offshore Exam is in the complexity of tasks and situations candidates will be asked to perform.

Find out more about our Yachtmaster Coastal Exam Preparation Course

Find out more about our Yachtmaster Offshore Exam Preparation Course

Find out more about our Coastal Skipper courses:

    Coastal Skipper Syllabus

    COASTAL SKIPPER PRACTICAL is for those with at least 300 miles logged, 8 night hours, some skippering experience and who are aiming to skipper a yacht on longer coastal and offshore passages by day and night. The course concentrates on effective passage planning, day and night pilotage, yacht handling in confined spaces under power and sail, boat handling in emergency situations.

    The Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster shorebased Course should be successfully completed before attending this Course.

    The Coastal Skipper course is intended to teach the skills and techniques required to skipper a yacht safely on coastal and offshore passages by day and night. The Syllabus is broken down into sub paragraphs showing the subjects and skills taught on the Course.


    Passage Planning

    Can plan a coastal passage including consideration of the capability of the yacht, navigation, victualling, weather, ports of refuge, tidal heights and tidal streams, publications required and strategy.

    Knows Customs procedures.

    Preparation for sea.

    Is aware of safety equipment required for offshore passages.
    Can prepare a yacht for sea including stowage, safety briefing, watch keeping, delegating responsibilities and equipment and engine checks.


    Can prepare a pilotage plan, with consideration of soundings, transits, clearing bearings, buoyage, port or harbour regulations and tidal considerations.

    Can pilot a yacht by day and night.

    Passage making and ability as skipper

    Can take charge of a yacht and direct the crew.

    Can organise the navigation, deckwork and domestic duties of a yacht on passage.
    Is aware of the significance of meteorological trends.

    Is aware of crew welfare on passage
    Can use electronic navigation equipment for planning and undertaking a passage, including the use of waypoints and routes.

    Yacht handling under power

    Can control the yacht effectively in a confined space under power.
    All berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide.

    Yacht handling under sail

    Can use the sails to control the yacht in a confined space.

    Anchoring and mooring in various conditions or wind and tide.

    Can sail efficiently on all points of sailing.

    Adverse weather conditions

    Preparation for heavy weather and yacht handling in strong winds.
    Navigation and general precautions in restricted visibility.

    Emergency situations

    Recovery of man overboard under power and sail.

    Understands actions to be taken when abandoning to the liferaft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescues.

    Reproduced with kind permission from the Royal Yachting Association


    RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal Skipper Exam

    For those that want to work as a commercial Skipper operating vessels within 20 Nm the Coast you can take an RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal Exam. This invloves an RYA Examiner coming onboard and testing you on the above and subjects from the shorebased course.

    The minimum pre exam experience is 30 days at sea, 8 night hours 400 miles and 2 days as Skipper. You will also need a First Aid Certificate and Short Range radio operators Certificate. The Exam will last around 6-8 hours and the Examiner will also check your knowledge on any of the subjects in the RYA Cruising Scheme.

    Download the Coastal Skipper syllabus as a pdf. (Opens in a new tab).

    Terms & Conditions and Booking Forms to download

    All forms and documents are Word documents

    What our customers say

    The 5 days that I spent with Tom was honestly one of the best sailing/learning experiences I have had. It has renewed my confidence and love for sailing and I look forward to doing more courses and spending more time on La Girafe III.

    Craig Dutton

    Coastal Skipper Certification, RYA

    “I was made to feel very welcome right from the start. I would thoroughly recommend doing your Day Skipper with these guys, I not only really enjoyed the experience, I came ashore at the end desperate to book my next trip.”

    Joe Halwood

    Day Skipper, RYA Sailing Course

    “The sailing was a real treat, including learning the key skills. As well as the great coastal scenery, there was also the various wildlife including lots of dolphins tracking the yacht, encountering other vessels (including a Royal Navy nuclear submarine).”

    Gerry, Aberdeen

    Competent Crew Certification, RYA