01243 432485
07702 842190

RYA Approved Training CentreMCA-training-approved
RYA Day Skipper Theory Course

RYA Day Skipper Theory Course

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  • Course

    The RYA Day Skipper theory course is essential as preparation for the RYA Day Skipper practical course and is ideal for anyone who wants to skipper a boat or to become a more useful crew member by getting involved in the navigation and running of the vessel. The course is designed to teach you how to navigate in coastal and inshore waters by day.

    When you are out at sea as far as navigation is concerned knowing where you are and how to get to where you want to go is essential. During the RYA Day Skipper Theory course you will get hands on experience of plotting positions and courses on charts, both paper and electronic, planning passages as well as working out how to navigate in and out of harbours all within the safe confines of the classroom. You will also be taught how to identify lights on buoys and vessels at sea, meteorology as well as safety procedures including how to call for help.

    Before the course you will be provided with the RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Course Notes and to help you after the course a Day Skipper post course revision pack will be issued.

    For more information on what is covered please click on the tab above for a full RYA Day Skipper Theory Course syllabus.

    You do not need to have had any formal training in navigation or sailing to successfully complete this course though if you've not been in a classroom for a long time or have very little on the water experience you may find completing the RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship course first helpful.

    On successful completion you will have enough knowledge to navigate around familiar waters by day.

    The standard course is run over five days which can be completed consecutively, over two weekends or during evening classes (from October to March). On the final day you will be given two assessment papers to complete, the first one being a general paper covering such topics as collision regulations, buoyage, pilotage etc and a second covering chartwork and tides.

    We can also run this course to a timetable that suit your needs.

  • Syllabus

    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

    Fire precautions and fire fighting

    Use of personal safety equipment, harnesses and lifejackets

    Ability to send a distress signal by VHF radiotelephone

    Basic knowledge of rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

    5. International regulations for preventing collisions at sea

    Steering and sailing rules

    General 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

    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

    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 passage

    Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source

    Keeping a navigational record

    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 pollutions and protecting the marine environment

  • FAQ's

    What time does the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course start and finish?

    Typically we start at 9.00am and finish at about 5.30pm with an hour break for lunch

    What is included in the course fee?

    The price includes all course materials to be able to complete the course and exam fees. Plotters and dividers are provided for the duration of the course except for evening classes when you will need to provide your own.

    What do I need to bring?

    You just need to bring a notepad with you (ideally A4 size).

    Where is the course held?

    It will be held at one of our classroom in Emsworth Yacht Harbour, Thorney Road, Emsworth, Hants PO10 8BP

    What qualifications or experience do I need to complete the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course?

    You do not need to have any navigational knowledge to be able to complete this course, though some practical on the water experience is useful

    Are there any exams?

    There are two assessment papers which are completed on the final day:

    General paper – covering areas such as safety, weather, collision regulations etc

    Chartwork and tides paper

    We offer flexibility in completing the papers, so on the rare occasions where you feel you need more time to prepare for them we allow you to complete them at a later date.

    What qualification will I get once I have completed the course?

    On successful completion of the course you will be issued with the RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Certificate.

    How many people will there be on the course?

    We have a maximum of 9 people on a course, though usually the numbers are smaller than this.

    Who is a typical Day Skipper Student?

    It is difficult to say what a typical student looks like but we often find that students are:

    • Experienced sailors with good practical skills gained on their own or friends boats who despite their excellent boat handling skills wish they were more confident in their ability to read a chart and set a course to steer for example by taking into account tidal streams and lee way.
    • New or prospective boat owners who want to become competent and confident sailors by gaining a good knowledge of weather, chart work, pilotage, passage planning and safety at sea before setting of on their newly acquired yacht or powerboat.
    • Sailors thinking of chartering a boat for their holidays since many sailing areas require evidence of competence for charterers.
    • Planning a career in the marine industry in the Superyacht sector for example, and need to get their qualifications to move up the career ladder or just become more employable

    Whatever your reason for wanting to do the course, we will do our best ensure that you enjoy your time with us as well as achieving your RYA Day Skipper Theory certificate.

    Do I need to complete the RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course before the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course?

    The answer to this is no, as both courses are suitable for novices, but the RYA Day Skipper Theory course goes into more detail and is more advanced on the navigation and chartwork side. However if you’ve not been in a classroom for a long time or have very little on the water experience you may find completing the RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship course first helpful.

    How do I book?

    Just click on the book now button on the right hand side of the page or if you would like to discuss your requirements please call us on 01243 432485

    What courses should I do after completing the RYA Day Skipper Theory?

    If you own your own boat or intend to charter a boat one person on board will be required to have the RYA VHF SRC Operators certificate which can be obtained by successfully completing the one day RYA VHF SRC Radio Course. Other support courses you may find useful are the RYA Diesel Engine Course and the RYA First Aid Course

  • Testimonials

    Thank you for putting on such a good course this week. Not only did you make it both informative and interesting, but it went at exactly the right pace for me. Best of all - it was enjoyable, which is always a good state of mind to be in when trying to learn something new.Thank you again for an excellent course.

    Andrew Howard

    Hope all is well and thanks for such a great course two weeks ago – very well structured and presented. 

    Robert Palmer

    The courses have greatly improved my confidence and I am thinking of doing the Day Skipper Practical next. I loved the courses and hopefully will do another one soon.

    Jenny Scanlon

    Karen, thank you very much for your excellent teaching of the Day Skipper Theory Course. I really enjoyed participating and enjoying the subject. Thank you 

    Jo Bell

    Both courses were very well run in a professional yet relaxed atmosphere. I hadn’t been in a classroom for a while and was a little apprehensive but Karen’s friendly approach immediately put me at ease. She made learning fun and effective. I would happily recommend Emsworth School of Navigation to anyone looking for a shore based course

    Victoria Bassadone

    Karen, again thank you for your professional and friendly approach in teaching this RYA Day Skipper Theory Course. It was most enjoyable and I’m so pleased I passed it 

    Melvyn Cooper

    Just wanted to say an enormous thank you for your tremendous teaching, patience & good humour throughout the course. It was a fantastic learning experience and it would have been horrifically hard without your excellent explanations. Anyway, just wanted to say that it was fantastic and that I really enjoyed it.

    Lydia Forbes-Manson

    Hi Karen, I just wanted to write and say thank you for such a well run course.  We were both nervous about not having much exoperience of sailing theory, but you started right from the basics and covered the why as well as the what.  It was very interesting and suprisingly enjoyable.

    Nigel Virgo

    Absolutely brilliant teaching on RYA Day Skipper Theory Course by Karen.  Thank you for being so patient with us - we're all excited about our next steps.

    Lucy Thomas

    Thank you Karen for getting me through my Day Skipper Course.  I must have been one of your biggest challenges but with your endless patience and fantastic teaching skills,  I made it.  I would highly recommend the Emsworth School of Navigation.

    Fliss Konieczky

    I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and will miss our trips down to Emsworth on a Tuesday evening.  I think the way you structured the course was super, gradually building up each aspect of the chart work and pulling it all together at the end with the Pilotage and Passage Planning.  Everything was well presented and very clearly explained.  So thank you.  Matthew and I are already looking forward to the next course in the Autumn.

    Ed Lyall

    Karen, Thank you very much, on behalf of Alex and I, for the training you gave us last week.   You made it a pleasure to be there and I do feel that we learned everything we could within the time provided, as well as giving us a insight on what there remains to be learned.

    Matthew R

    Hi Karen  Just a quick note to express my thanks to you for guiding me this through this course successfully last week. I have to confess that having pretty much no experience of sailing and none of chart work led me to approach the course with a good degree of trepidation. However, it was without doubt the combination of your vast knowledge, seemingly endless patience and easy teaching style that got me through. The experience has left me determined to move on to the practical, but only when it warms up !  Many thanks

    David Thomson

    Hi Karen  Thank you for a fantastic Dayskipper course last week.  Before the course began I was expecting it to be a little on the dull side as the subject matter seemed quite dry...but how wrong I was!  I had a fabulous time!  I have met my fair share of teachers in my time and you are definitely an excellent one. You effortlessly kept us to the time schedule so I never felt that we were lingering too long on one area at the expense of another part of the course and when I had questions they were answered in a very clear, easy to understand manner. I enjoyed the whole week immensely and it was definitely money well spent. I have already started to recommend you to people and I intend on continuing to do so.


    Nicola McLaughlin

    The day skipper theory course was well taught with lots of variety each day and practice questions . I can thoroughly recommend the Emsworth School of Navigation.

    Fiona Pyke

    Many thanks for your excellent tuition over the past months. I have thoroughly enjoyed the course, have learnt a tremendous amount and have had a lot of fun in the process

    Bill Boylett
  • All Dates

    We run this course over five consecutive days, over two weekends or evenings. Please see below for full details.

    Alternatively if you can't commit to a classroom based course, we also offer an online version of the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course

    5 Day Courses

    Monday, 07 March until Friday, 11 March 2022

    Long Weekend Courses

    Friday, 08 April until Sunday, 10 April 2022
    Saturday, 23 April until Sunday, 24 April 2022

or to discuss your requirements you can contact us seven days a week from 8.00a.m to 7.30pm on 01243 432485 or 07702 842190

Cost: £ 350

Next Course Dates

5 Day Courses

Monday, 07 March until Friday, 11 March 2022

Long Weekend Courses

Friday, 08 April until Sunday, 10 April 2022
Saturday, 23 April until Sunday, 24 April 2022

Emsworth School of Navigation

Emsworth Yacht Harbour, Thorney Road, Emsworth
Hampshire, PO10 8BP

01243 432485, 07702 842190

Emsworth School of Navigation LLP t/as Emsworth School of Navigation is a Limited Liability Partnership Registered in England and Wales—No: OC413937