RYA Day Skipper Theory Course

It is recommended you undertake the RYA Day Skipper theory course before undertaking the practical course or that you possess knowledge to day skipper theory level or above.  Island Sailing offer the RYA Online Day Skipper theory course.

Nautical terms

Parts of a boat and hull and general nautical terminology

Rope work

Knowledge of the properties of synthetic ropes in common use

Anchor work

Characteristics of different types of anchor and considerations to be taken into account when anchoring


Knowledge of the safety equipment to be carried, its stowage and use (see RYA Boat Safety Handbook, C8
Fire precautions and fire fighting
Use of personal safety equipment, harnesses and lifejackets
Ability to send a distress signal by VHF radio telephone.
Basic knowledge of rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

Steering and sailing rules (5,7,8,9,10 and 12-19) and General rules (all other rules)

Definition of position, course and speed

Latitude and longitude, knowledge of standard navigational terms, true bearings and courses and the knot

Navigational charts and publications

Information shown on charts, chart symbols and representation of direction and distance. Navigational publications in common use and chart correction

Navigational drawing instruments

Use of parallel rulers, dividers and proprietary plotting instruments


Application of variation, awareness of deviation and its causes and use of hand-bearing compass

Chart work

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

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 chart work

Visual aids to navigation

Lighthouses and beacons, light characteristics


Sources of broadcast meteorological information
Knowledge of terms used in shipping forecasts, including the Beaufort scale, and their significance to small craft
Basic knowledge of highs, lows and fronts

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

Navigation in restricted visibility

Precautions to be taken in, and limitations imposed by fog


Use of transits, leading lines and clearing lines
IALA system of buoyage for Region A
Use of sailing directions
Pilotage plans and harbour entry

Marine environment

Responsibility for avoiding pollution and protecting the marine environment

The full syllabus for each course can be found in the RYA's Sail Cruising Syllabus & Logbook (G15). This book explains the syllabus for the RYA Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper and RYA Yachtmaster sailing courses. The book includes space for personal log and course completion certificates.

The completion certificate is included in the cost of your course. You can purchase the Sail Cruising Syllabus & Logbook from the RYA website, from Amazon or other good book stores.

For more information call us on 0844 840 1968 or email contact@island-sailing.com

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