RYA Courses

Day Skipper
Theory Course

For beginners and crew who would like to become actively involved in navigation should attend. The syllabus arms would-be skippers with enough knowledge to navigate around familar waters by day.

Day Skipper Syllabus

Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Offshore Theory Course

A Course for more experienced skippers which takes them up to the theory knowledge required for Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Practical Examination.

Yachtmaster and Coastal Skipper Syllabus

Day Skipper Syllabus

An elementary course in seamanship, navigation and meteorology, leading to the more advanced Yachtmaster course.

Subjects covered:

  1. Nautical Terms
    1. Parts of a boat, hull deck and superstructure.
    2. General nautical terminology.
  2. Ropework
    1. Knowledge of the properties of synthetic ropes in common use.
  3. Anchorwork
    1. Characteristics of different types of anchor.
    2. Factors to take into account when anchoring.
  4. Safety
    1. Knowledge of the safety equipment to be carried, its stowage and use (see RYA G103 RYA Boat Safety Handbook).
    2. Fire precautions and fire fighting.
    3. Use of personal safety equipment – harnesses and life jackets.
    4. Ability to send a distress signal via VHF radio.
    5. Basic knowledge of rescue procedures including helicopter rescue
    6. Stability
  5. International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
    1. Steering rules (5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12-19)
    2. General rules.
  6. Definition of position, course and speed
    1. Latitude and longitude.
    2. Knowledge of standard navigational terms.
    3. True bearings and courses.
    4. The Knot.
  7. Navigation Charts and Publications
    1. Information shown on charts, chart symbols, representation of direction and distance.
    2. Navigational publications in common use.
    3. Chart correction.
  8. Navigational Drawing Instruments
    1. Use of parallel rulers, dividers and proprietary plotting instruments.
  9. Compasses
    1. Application of variation.
    2. Awareness of deviation and it’s causes.
    3. Use of hand bearing compass.
  10. Chartwork and Navigation – Traditional and Electronic
    1. Dead reckoning and estimated position including an awareness of leeway.
    2. Techniques of visual fixing
    3. Use of GNSS and chart plotters for fixing.
    4. Use of waypoints to fix position.
  11. Tides and Tidal Streams
    1. Tidal definitions, levels and datum.
    2. Tide tables.
    3. Use of Admiralty method of determining tidal height at standard port.
    4. Awareness of corrections for secondary ports,
    5. Use of tidal diamonds and tidal atlases for chartwork.
  12. Visual Aids to Navigation
    1. Lighthouses and beacons, light characteristics.
  13. Meteorology
    1. Sources of broadcast meteorological information
    2. Knowledge of terms used in shipping forecasts, including the Beaufort Scale and their significance to small craft.
    3. Basic knowledge of highs, lows and fronts
  14. Passage Planning
    1. Preparation of a navigational plan for short coastal passages.
    2. Meteorological considerations in planning short coastal passages.
    3. Use of and visual confirmation waypoints on passage
    4. Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source
    5. Keeping a navigational record.
  15. Navigation in Restricted Visibility
    1. Precautions to be taken in and limitations imposed by fog.
  16. Pilotage
    1. Use of transits, leading lines and clearing bearings.
    2. IALA system of buoyage (Regions A and B)
    3. Use of Sailing Directions
    4. Pilotage plans and harbour entry
  17. Marine Environment
    1. Responsibility for avoiding pollution and protecting the marine environment.

Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Syllabus

An advanced course in navigation and meteorology.

Subjects covered:

  1. Position
    1. Dead reckoning and estimated position.
    2. Satellite derived position.
    3. Use of waypoints to fix position.
    4. Radar fixes.
    5. Techniques of visual fixing.
    6. Fixes using a mixture of position lines.
    7. Relative accuracy of different methods of position fixing.
    8. Areas of uncertainty
  2. The Magnetic Compass
    1. Allowance for variation.
    2. Change of variation with time and position.
    3. Causes of deviation.
    4. Compas checks for deviation but not correction.
    5. Allowance for deviation.
    6. Different types of compass.
  3. Tides
    1. Causes of tides – springs and neaps.
    2. Tide tables – sources.
    3. Tidal levels and datum.
    4. Standard and secondary ports.
    5. Tidal anomalies.
  4. Tidal Streams
    1. Sources of tidal information.
    2. Tidal stream information in sailing directions and yachtsmen’s almanacs.
    3. Allowance for tidal streams in computing a course to steer.
    4. Tide rips, overfalls and races.
    5. Tidal observation buoys, beacons etc.<
  5. Buoyage
    1. IALA system buoyage in Region A and B.
    2. Limitations of buoys as navigational aids.
  6. Light
    1. Characteristics.
    2. Ranges – visual, luminous and nominal.
    3. Rising and dipping distances.
    4. Light Lists.
  7. Pilotage
    1. Harbour regulations and control signals.
    2. Methods of pre-planning.
    3. Clearing lines.
    4. Use of Soundings.
    5. Transits and leading lines.
  8. GNSS and Chart Plotters
    1. Principles of operation and limitations of use.
    2. Raster and vector charts.
    3. Datum.
    4. The importance of secondary means of position fixing via an independent source and keeping a separate record of position.
    5. The importance of paper charts.
  9. Echo Sounder
    1. Principle of operation and limitations of use.
    2. Rotating neon, dial and pointer, recording.
    3. Reduction of soundings.
    4. “Second trace” echoes.
  10. Logs (Speed and Distance Measuring)
    1. Types and principles of operation, comparison of towed, pressure, impeller and sonic.
  11. Deck Log
    1. The importance of log as vessel’s official document.
    2. Layout of log, hourly and occasional entries.
  12. Meteorology
    1. Basic terms, the Beaufort Scale.
    2. Air masses.
    3. Cloud types.
    4. Weather patterns associated with pressure and frontal systems.
    5. Sources of weather forecasts.
    6. Ability to interpret a shipping forecast. weatherfax and weather satellite information.
    7. Land and sea breezes.
    8. Sea fog.
    9. Use of a barometer as a forecasting aid.
  13. Rules of the Road
    1. A sound knowledge of the International Regulations for the preventing Collisions at sea except Annexes 1 and 3.
  14. Safety at Sea
    1. Personal safety, use of life jackets, harnesses and lifelines.
    2. Fire prevention and fire fighting.
    3. Distress signals.
    4. Coast guard and Boat Safety Scheme.
    5. Preparation for heavy weather.
    6. Life raft and helicopter rescue.
    7. Understanding the capabilities of vessel and basic knowledge of stability.
  15. Navigating in restricted Visibility
    1. Precautions to be taken in fog.
    2. Limitations to safe navigation imposed by fog.
    3. Navigation strategy in poor visibility.
  16. Passage Planning
    1. Preparation of charts and notebook for route planning and for use on passage at sea.
    2. Customs regulations as they apply to yachts.
    3. Routine for navigation in coastal waters.
    4. Strategy for course laying.
    5. Use of visual confirmation of waypoints and routes.
    6. Use of weather forecast information for passage planning strategy.
    7. Sources of local and national regulations.
  17. Marine Environment
    1. The responsibility to minimise pollution and protect the marine environment.