Day Skipper

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The Day Skipper qualification confirms that the successful candidate has the knowledge needed to skipper a yacht on shorter, coastal cruises during daylight. The Royal Yacht Association administers the qualification, although most of the training is carried out by private companies.

It is a part of a series of qualifications that include Competent Crew, Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster. While the qualification is primarily for the United Kingdom, it is widely recognised internationally.

The course has two elements, a theory and practical. Generally, candidates complete the theory part of the course first.

Some sailing Schools holding RYA recognition may allow Day Skipper training without first taking the shore-based course, if the student can navigate up to Day Skipper standards.

RYA Recognised sailing Schools are displayed on the RYA website.

Day Skipper Theory[edit]

The theory part of the Day Skipper qualification is a shorebased (classroom) course that normally takes 36 hours, including an exam.

Course Content includes:[1][2]

  • Nautical terminology
  • Ropework - knots and rope types
  • Anchors and Anchoring
  • Safety, including safety equipment, fire, personal safety equipment such as harnesses and life jackets, distress signals and rescue procedures
  • International regulations for preventing collisions at sea
  • Measuring position, course and speed
  • Using Navigational charts and publications
  • Using Navigational instruments
  • Planning and Navigating a course
  • Understanding Tides, Tide tables
  • Lighthouses and beacons
  • Weather and Meteorology
  • Planning a passage
  • Navigation in restricted visibility
  • Pilotage, Pilotage plans and harbour entry
  • Environmental awareness

Day Skipper Practical[edit]

The practical element of the day skipper course takes approximately 5 days on board a suitable yacht, and can be taken in tidal or non-tidal waters.

The Day Skipper Practical Course includes:[3][4]

  • Preparing a yacht for sea, including engine, sails and gear.
  • Deck work, including reefing, shaking out reefs, changing sails, preparing an anchor, mooring, anchoring, weighing anchor
  • Practical navigation - taking and plotting visual fixes, electronic navigation equipment, estimating tidal heights, steering to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift, navigational records, echo sounders and lead lines
  • Pilotage, including pilotage plans for entry or departure from a harbour
  • Meteorology, weather and forecasts
  • Maintenance and repair work
  • Engines, refuelling and emergency maintenance
  • Victualing
  • Emergency drills, including Man overboard, distress flares, life rafts, VHF radio, securing a tow, helicopter rescue
  • Organising and keeping a watch
  • Yacht Handling under power
  • Yacht handling under sail
  • Passage making - planning and making a coastal passage

Day Skipper Requirements[edit]

There are no qualification requirements, but it is recommended that participants are at least Competent Crew standard before taking the Practical course. Participants should have 5 days, 100 miles and 4 night hours on board a sailing yacht. Minimum age is 16.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Day Skipper Theory". Royal Yachting Association. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Day Skipper Theory Course Details First Class Sailing Retrieved 17/07/2013
  3. ^ "Day Skipper Practical". Royal Yachting Association. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Day Skipper Practical Course Details". First Class Sailing. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 

External links[edit]