RYA Day Skipper Practical Course

If you want to charter a yacht for sailing holidays with family or friends an RYA Day Skipper Course will give you the practical experience and theoretical knowledge needed to safely charter around the Ionian Islands of Greece as well as many other sailing destinations in the Mediterranean.

This Day Skipper practical course is for sailors with previous sailing experience and a comprehensive understanding of the theory behind the practice. The Day Skipper qualification has two parts, the RYA Day Skipper Theory course and the RYA Day Skipper Practical course. The theory course should be taken first and teaches you the navigation skills required to skipper a yacht. When you become a qualified skipper you'll be responsible for the management of a yacht and therefore the practical course includes engine checking, passage planning, pilotage, boat handling, preparing the yacht for sea, rules of the road and elements of meteorology.

The Day Skipper practical course is usually run over 6 days and you will spend 7 nights aboard the yacht. You will receive expert tuition from one of our experienced qualified RYA Instructors. We will set the route and you will visit some different Ionian ports, bays and villages. By the end of this practical course you will feel confident to skipper a sailing yacht in familiar waters.

When you have successfully completed the practical course you will receive your RYA Day Skipper certificate and will be ready to enjoy a flotilla sailing holiday or a bareboat yacht charter with family or friends.

British nationals and residents and nationals of the USA, Canada, New Zealand and many other countries will also automatically be eligible to apply to the RYA for the International Certificate of Competence (ICC) the most widely recognised sailing licence for chartering in many of the popular sailing holiday destinations including Greece, Croatia, Italy, France and Spain.

RYA Day Skipper Practical - Course Syllabus

The Day skipper practical course teaches seamanship and boat handling up to the standard required to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in familiar waters. It also teaches the practical application of your theoretical knowledge including meteorology, collision regulations, pilotage and navigation which you can gain by taking the RYA Day Skipper theory course. 

Experience needed: You will have already completed a minimum of 5 days sailing at sea including 100 nautical miles and 4 night hours prior to taking the course. This experience can be gained on the RYA Competent Crew course. 

Knowledge required: Basic navigation and helmsmanship. You must complete the Day Skipper theory course before Day Skipper practical or be able to demonstrate you possess this knowledge. We cannot teach the practical Day Skipper course unless you have already learnt the theory before you come to Greece.

It is highly recommended that all students invest in additional reading materials including the RYA Day Skipper handbook. You can buy these books directly from the RYA website, Amazon or other good book retailers.

RYA Theory Courses: You can take a classroom based RYA Day Skipper theory course at some RYA Training Centres but you may prefer to take the course online in your own time and at your own pace. Island Sailing customers can access exclusive discounts off online theory courses through our recommended online course provider. Please contact us for more information.

Minimum age: 16 years.
Following courses: Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory and Mile Building trips

Preparation for sea 

Is able to prepare a yacht for sea, including engine checks, selection of sails, securing and stowage of gear on deck and below.

Deck work

Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions. Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or an alongside berth or stern or bow to mooring.


Taking and plotting visual fixes -  Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing - Use of waypoints - Working up DR and EP - Knowledge of IALA Bouyage - Maintenance of navigational records - Use of echo sounder and lead line.


Can prepare and execute pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour - Understands the use of leading and clearing lines - Use of transits and soundings as aids to pilotage.


Knows sources of forecast information - Can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid.

Rules of the road

Has a working knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

Maintenance and repair work

Understands and is able to carry out routine maintenance tasks - Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes.


Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system.


Understands how to victual a yacht.

Emergency situations

Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of man overboard - Understands distress flares and how to use a life raft - Can operate a radiotelephone in an emergency and send a distress message - Understands how to secure a tow - Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue.

Yacht handling under power

Can bring a boat safely to and from an alongside berth, bows/stern to mooring, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions.

Yacht handling under sail

Can bring a boat safely to and from a mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions - Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing.

Passage making

Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards, local weather conditions and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew.

The full syllabus for each course can be found in the RYA's Sail Cruising Syllabus & Logbook (G158). 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 ideally need to purchase the Sail Cruising Syllabus & Logbook before you start your course directly from the RYA website, from Amazon or other good book stores.

For more information call us on 0330 088 4744 or email contact@island-sailing.com

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