RYA Coastal Skipper Course - Shore based and Practical

RYA Coastal Skipper Course - Combined Shore based and Practical & Small Craft First Aid

12 Day Courses £1,350

We think that the RYA Coastal Skipper practical course is one of the most important, beneficial and rewarding courses within the RYA cruising scheme. This course is what it’s all about – cruising! Arming yourself with the necessary advanced skills to head off on longer Coastal or Cross Channel Passages.

 The benefits of taking the Coastal Skipper/ Yachtmaster shore based course immediately before heading out on the water are immeasurable. As with the Day Skipper combined course, some navigational methods that may not seem 100% clear in a classroom, make more sense when used in a practical environment. We are excited to launch this new course.

 This course is for more experienced sailors, who already posses a sound knowledge of sailing and navigation and who are wanting to undertake coastal passages by day and night. This is by no means a beginner’s course and students wishing to join, must have the required pre course experience.

 Assumed Theoretical Knowledge: Day Skipper Shore Based course completion certificate or equivalent knowledge

 Assumed Practical Knowledge: Minimum of15 days, 2 days as skipper, 300 miles, 8 night hours (more experience is beneficial)

 Minimum Age: 17 years old

Course Structure: Day 1 - 6 (Monday -  Saturday) classroom based Coastal skipper/ Yachtmaster theory course. Day 7 (Sunday) one day RYA Small craft First Aid course. Day 8 - 12 (Monday - Friday) 5 day Coastal Skipper liveaboard practical course.

Course Content: Passage planning, passage making, preparation for sea, pilotage, skippering skills, crew management, yacht handling under sail & power, adverse weather conditions and emergency situations

Ability after course: Able to skipper a yacht on coastal passages by day and night.

Teaching ratio on board: 5:1

Not included in the course fee:  The theory elements of the course are non residential , so local accommodation will be required.

Although accommodation is provided onboard for the practical element of the course, the mooring fees are split between the students. Wet weather jackets & salopettes are available to hire for £7.50 per day. A selection of accompanying course books & logbooks are available to purchase.

Students should allow for one evening meal ashore on a five day course. All other catering including three evening meals are provided onboard. 


RYA Combined Coastal Skipper Theory & Practical - Typical 10 Day Course Itinerary

Day 1

08:45 Arrive at Hamble - Check in at School reception, tea & coffee. Introduction to your shore based course instructor and fellow students.  


12:30 Lunch

13:15 Nautical publications, the nautical almanac and commercial charts. The magnetic compass, deviation and variation. Sighting of the steering compass, use of the hand bearing compass; sources of position line and position fixing.

18:00 Home work issued 


Day 2

08:50 tea & coffee. Recap and run through of home work 

09:15 Rules of the Road-Steering rules, sound signals. The causes of tide, Tidal streams, Position fixing & Sources of Position Line, Estimated position, Leeway & set. 

12:30 Lunch

 13:15 Pilotage, IALA buoyage system, use of transits, leading lines and clearing lines. Pilot books and sailing directions. Rules of the Road-Sailing rules. Anchors and anchoring.

18:00 Home work issued 


Day 3

08:50 tea & coffee. Recap and run through of home work 

09:15 Tide tables. Tidal heights, predicting heights for a standard port and basic secondary height predictions. Course shaping - concept. Rules of the Road-lights and shape. 

12:30 Lunch

13:15 Introduction to Meteorology. Sources of weather forecast and Forecasts and interpretation.

18:00 Home work set


Day 4

08:50 tea & coffee. Recap and run through of home work 

09:15 Chart work practise. Passage planning. Electronic aids to navigation. Chart plotters. 

12:30 Lunch

 13:15 Meteorology recap. Navigation assessment paper.General Seamanship assessment paper.


Day 5

08:50 tea & coffee. Recap and run through of home work 

09:15 Chart work practise. Passage planning. Electronic aids to navigation. Chart plotters. 

12:30 Lunch

 13:15 Meteorology recap. Navigation assessment paper.General Seamanship assessment paper.

18:00 Move onto practical course yacht. Introduction to practical instructor and settle in. Instructors safety briefing and yacht familiarisation talk - explain where everything is. Parts of the boat & terminology. Tea/Safety discussion. Passage planning overview for the week. Go ashore for a drink and meal.

Day 6 
Weather forecast, breakfast, showers, clean up. 

On deck - Introduction to ropes and rigging, preparation of the yacht for sea. Engine start controls, sea cocks and bilge pumps.

Practice manoeuvring under power. Coming alongside pontoons, the use of warps and fenders. 

Lunch on board at anchor or tied to a mooring buoy.

Weather forecast.

Manoeuvring under sail, reefing and headsail changes

Man overboard , the correct response as the skipper.

19:00 Enter Solent harbour. Stow sails and tidy up on deck. Discuss the days events.

20:00 Supper

Day 7

Weather Forecast, clean up and prepare for sea. 
Tide tables, the tidal stream atlas. Pilotage techniques. 
Practice pile moorings or mooring buoys. Set off on short passage 
Weather forecast 
Sail off to anchorage - steering a compass course 
Whilst at anchor cover rules of road, buoyage and position fixing
18:3 Supper 
20:00 Depart on night sail (weather permitting)

Day 8

08:00 Breakfast. Passage planning 
Depart to sail on passage. 
During the day : points of sail, passage making decisions, Discussion of emergency situations. 
Dinghy drills. 
20:00 Supper (spare evening for night sail)

Day 9

By 08:30 Weather Forecast, breakfast, clean yacht and prepare for sea.
09:00 Pontoon moorings, further practice.
Depart to practice entry to as many ports as possible, more points of sailing practice.
19.00 Arrive at a port for evening.


By 08:30 Weather forecast, breakfast, and preparation for sea.
0Sailing in the Solent - practice all aspects 
15:00 Return to Hamble Point. Clean up yacht, return oilskins etc.
16:00 Finish course, debrief, sign logbook

Theoretical Syllabus:


·          Dead reckoning and estimated position

·          Satellite-derived position

·          Use of waypoints to fix position

·          Radar fixes

·          Techniques of visual fixing

·          Fixes using a mixture of position lines

·          Relative accuracy of different methods of position fixing

·          Areas of uncertainty 

2. The magnetic compass

·          Allowance for variation

·          Change of variation with time and position

·          Causes of deviation

·          Swing for deviation (but not correction)

·          Allowance for deviation

·          Different types of compass

3. Tides

·          Causes of tides - Springs and Neaps

·          Tide tables - sources

·          Tidal levels and datum

·          Standard and secondary ports

·          Tidal anomalies (Solent, etc.)

4. Tidal streams

·          Harbour regulations and control signals

·          Methods of pre-planning

·          Clearing lines

·          Use of soundings

·          Transits and leading lines

5. GPS and chart plotters

·          Principles of operation and limitations of use

·          Raster and vector charts

·          Datum

·          Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source and keeping a separate record of position

·          Importance of paper charts 

6. Sources of tidal information

·          Tidal stream information in sailing directions and Yachtsmen's Almanacs

·          Allowance for tidal streams in computing a course to steer

·          Tide rips, overfalls and races

·          Tidal observation buoys, beacons etc.

7. Buoyage

·          IALA system buoyage in Region A

·          Limitations of buoys as navigational aids

·          Lights

·          Characteristics

·          Ranges - visual, luminous and nominal

·          Rising and dipping distances

·          Light lists           

8. Pilotage 

9. Echo sounders

·          Principles of operation and limitations of use

10.Logs (speed and distance measuring)

·          Principles of operation and limitations of use  

11. Deck log

·          Importance of log as yacht's official document

·          Layout of log, hourly and occasional entries 

12. Meteorology

·          Basic terms, the Beaufort scale

·          Air masses

·          Cloud types

·          Weather patterns associated with pressure and frontal systems

·          Sources of weather forecasts

·          Ability to interpret a shipping forecast, weather-fax and weather satellite information

·          Land and sea breezes

·          Sea fog

·          Use of a barometer as a forecasting aid 

13.Rule of the Road

·          A sound knowledge of the International Regulations for

·          Preventing Collisions at Sea, except Annexes 1 and 3 

14.Safety at Sea

·          Personal safety, use of lifejackets, safety harnesses and lifelines

·          Fire prevention and fire fighting

·          Distress signals

·          Coastguard and Boat Safety Scheme

·          Preparation for heavy weather

·          Liferafts and helicopter rescue

·          Understanding of capabilities of vessel and basic knowledge of stability

15.Navigation in restricted visibility

·          Precautions to be taken in fog

·          Limitations to safe navigation imposed by fog

·          Navigation strategy in poor visibility 


Practical Syllabus:

1. Passage planning

  •           Can plan a coastal passage including a 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 

2. 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 

3. Pilotage

  •           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

4. Passage making and ability as skipper

  •           Can take charge of a yacht and direct the crew.

  •           Can organise the navigation, clockwork 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 navigational equipment for planning and undertaking a passage, including the use of waypoints and routes 

5. 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 

6. Yacht handling under sail

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

  •           Anchoring and mooring in various conditions of wind and tide

  •           Can sail efficiently on all points of sailing 

7. Adverse weather conditions

  •           Preparation for heavy weather and yacht handling in strong winds

  •           Navigation and general conduct in restricted visibility 

8. Emergency situations

  •           Recovery of man overboard under power and sail

  •           Understands action to be taken when abandoning to the liferaft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescues

Please contact us for latest dates and availability call +44 (0) 2380457733