Day Skipper – accredited course

This RYA 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.

Day Skipper RYA accredited 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.


Pre-course experience5 days, 100 miles, 4 night hours on board a sailing yacht
Assumed knowledgeTheory to the level of Day Skipper. It is recommended you attend the Day Skipper shore-based course beforehand.
Minimum duration5 Days
Minimum age

16 (under 16s must be accompanied)

Course contentPreparation for sea, deck work, navigation, pilotage, meteorology, rules of the road, maintenance and repair work, engines, victualling, emergency situations, yacht handling under power, yacht handling under sail, passage making, experience of night cruising

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

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.

Find out more about our RYA Coastal 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 Day Skipper courses:

    Day Skipper Practical Syllabus

    Previous Experience Required: 5 days aboard, 100 miles logged and 4 night hours. Basic sailing ability and a knowledge of navigation to the level of the RYA Day Skipper Theory.

    Course Overview: Practical navigation and pilotage, boat handling, seamanship and basic skippering techniques enabling you to skipper a boat in local waters in daylight.

    The Day Skipper course teaches pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the required standard to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in tidal waters with which the student is familiar.

    1. Preparation for sea

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

    2. Deck Work

    a. Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions

    b. Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or alongside berth

    3. Navigation

    Is proficient in chartwork and routine navigational duties on passage including:

    a. Taking and plotting visual fixes

    b. Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing

    c. Use of waypoints

    d. Working up to DR and EP

    e. Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams

    f.  Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift

    g. Knowledge of IALA buoyage

    h. Maintenance of navigational records

    i.  Use of echo sounder and lead line

    4. Pilotage

    a. Can prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour

    b. Understands the use of leading and clearing lines

    c. Use of transits and surroundings as aids to pilotage

    5. Meteorology

    a. Knows sources of forecast information

    b. Can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid

    6. Rule of the road

    a. Has a working knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

    7. Maintenance and repair work

    a. Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks

    b. Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes

    8. Engines

    a. Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system

    9. Victualling

    a. Understands how to victual a yacht

     10. Emergency situations

    a. Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of man overboard

    b. Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft

    c. Can operate a radiotelephone in an emergency and send a distress message

    d. Understands how to secure a tow

    e. Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

    11. Yacht handling under power

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

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

    12. Passage making

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

    13. Night cruising

    a. Has experienced sail cruising at night, including leaving and entering harbour. Understands the special consideration for pilotage plans, keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night.

    14. Seasickness

    a. Working efficiency is unaffected/partially affected/severely affected by seasickness

    15. Helmsmanship and sailing

    a. Understands the basic principles of sailing and can steer and trim sails on all points of sailing

    b. Can steer a compass course, under sail and power

    16. General duties

    a. Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel

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

    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