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.
    2. Ability to make and knowledge of the use of: figure of eight, clove hitch, rolling hitch, reef knot, bowline, single and double sheet bend, round turn and two half hitches.
    3. Securing to cleats and general rope-handling.
  3. Anchorwork
    1. Characteristics of different types of anchor.
    2. Considerations taken into account when anchoring.
  4. Safety
    1. Knowledge of the safety equipment to be carried, its stowage and use (RYA booklet C8).
    2. Fire precautions and fire fighting.
    3. Use of personal safety equipment – life jackets.
    4. Ability to send a distress signal via VHF radiotelephone.
  5. International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
    1. Steering rules.
    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 and deviation, use of transits and comparison to check deviation.
    2. Importance of swinging a compass.
    3. Use of hand bearing compass.
    4. Siting of steering compass.
  10. Chartwork
    1. Working up position from course steered, distance run and estimates of leeway and set.
    2. Plotting fixes.
    3. Working out course to steer to allow for leeway and set.
  11. Position Fixing
    1. Sources of position lines.
    2. Potential accuracy of fixing methods.
  12. Tides and Tidal Streams
    1. Tidal definitions, levels and data.
    2. Tide tables, standard and secondary ports.
    3. Tidal stream predictions.
  13. Pilotage
    1. Use of transits, leading lines and clearing lines.
    2. IALA system of buoyage for Region A.
  14. Visual Aids to Navigation
    1. Lighthouses and beacons, light characteristics.
  15. Passage Planning
    1. Preparation of navigational plan for short coastal passages.
  16. Navigation in Restricted Visibility
    1. Precautions to be taken and limitations imposed by fog.
  17. 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.


Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Syllabus

An advanced course in navigation and meteorology.

Subjects covered:

  1. Dead Reckoning and Estimated Position
    1. Definition of the DR and EP
    2. Working up DR and EP by plotting on a chart
  2. The Position Line
    1. Sources of position lines, transits, compass bearings, rising and dipping distances, radio position lines and depth contours.
  3. The Magnetic Compass
    1. Allowance for variation.  Change of variation with time and position.
    2. Siting compass and causes of deviation.
    3. Allowance for deviation.
    4. Steering and hand bearing compasses.
    5. Swing for deviation (but not correction).
  4. Position Fixing
    1. Techniques of visual fixing.
    2. Running fixes.
    3. Radio fixes.
    4. Fixes containing a mixture of position lines.
    5. Ranges by dipping distances.
  5. Tides
    1. Causes of tides – springs and neaps.
    2. Tide tables.
    3. Tidal levels and data.
    4. Times and heights of standard ports.
    5. The rule of twelfths.
    6. Corrections for secondary ports.
    7. Tidal anomalies.
  6. Tidal Streams
    1. Tidal stream atlas.
    2. Tidal diamonds.
    3. Tidal stream information available.
    4. Allowance for tidal streams in computing a course to steer.
    5. Tide rips, overfalls and races.
    6. Tidal stream observation by buoys, beacons etc.<
  7. Buoyage
    1. IALA system buoyage in Region A.
    2. Limitations of buoys as navigational aids.
  8. Light
    1. Characteristics.
    2. Ranges – visual, luminous and nominational ranges.
    3. Light Lists – Admiralty and Yachtsman’s Almanacs.
  9. Pilotage
    1. Harbour regulations and control signals.
    2. Method of pre-planning.
    3. Clearing lines.
  10. Echo Sounder
    1. Principle of operation.
    2. Rotating neon, dial and pointer, recording.
    3. Reduction of soundings.
    4. “Second trace” echoes.
  11. Radio Aids to Navigation
    1. Radio beacons.
    2. D/F receivers, types of aerials.  Methods of operation.  Audio and visual null points.  Reciprocal bearings.
  12. Logs (Speed and Distance Measuring)
    1. Types and principles of operation, comparison of towed, pressure, impeller and sonic.
  13. Deck Log
    1. Importance of log as vessel’s official document.
    2. Layout of log, hourly and occasional entries.
  14. Meteorology
    1. Basic meteorological terms, the Beaufort Scale.
    2. Air masses.
    3. Cloud types.
    4. Weather patterns associated with pressure and frontal systems.
    5. Weather forecasts and simple meteorological instruments.
    6. Ability to sketch a weather map from a shipping forecast.
    7. Land and sea breezes.
    8. Sea fog – forecasting.
  15. Anchoring
    1. Types of anchors and principles of operation.
    2. Selection of an anchor berth.
  16. Rule of the Road
    1. A sound knowledge of the International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea.
  17. Safety at Sea
    1. Personal safety, use of life jackets and life lines.
    2. Fire precautions and fire fighting.
    3. Distress signals.
    4. Coast guards.
    5. Preparation for heavy weather.
  18. Signals
    1. Principles of signalling.
    2. Ability to recognise and know the meaning of particular flags.
  19. Navigation in Restricted Visibility
    1. Precautions to be taken in fog.
    2. Limitations to safe navigation imposed by fog.
  20. Passage Planning and Making
    1. Preparation of charts and notebook for route planning.
    2. Customs regulations.
    3. Routine for navigation in coastal waters.
    4. Strategy for course laying.