RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Syllabus

The RYA Day Skipper Sailing Course is taught on board a sail cruising yacht of 7-15 metres length of waterline (LWL).

You will learn to apply the pilotage, navigation and seamanship skills you have, which needs to be at the level of the RYA Day Skipper Sailing Theory, and boat handling skills up to the standard required to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in waters with which you are familiar.


  • Day Skipper Theory 
  • 5 days at sea
  • 100 sea miles – actively taking part in sailing a yacht
  • 4 night hours

The course can be taken with us

  • 5 days in duration taken consecutively

Day Skipper Practical Course Syllabus

1. Preparation for sea

Knowledge of

  • Basic stability and buoyancy for small vessels


  • Prepare a cruising vessel for sea, including engine checks, securing and stowage of all gear on deck and below
  • Selection of sails

2. Deck work


  • 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
  • Reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions

3. Navigation

Is proficient in chart work and routine navigational duties on passage including:

Knowledge of

  • The uses and limitations of AIS


  • Working up Dead Reckoning (DR) and Estimated Position (EP)
  • Use of a lead line or similar
  • How to work out a course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift


  • Take and plot visual fixes
  • Use electronic navigation equipment for position fixing
  • Use secondary means of position fixing
  • Estimate tidal streams and tidal heights
  • Use of waypoints and routes
  • Use knowledge of IALA Buoyage
  • Maintain navigational records
  • Use an echo sounder

4. Pilotage


  • Prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour
  • Use leading and clearing lines
  • Use transits and soundings as aids to pilotage

5. Meteorology


  • How to interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid


  • Source forecast information

6. Rule of the Road


  • Demonstrate suitable awareness of other water users both at sea and in close-quarter manoeuvring
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

7. Maintenance and repair work

Knowledge of

  • The properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes


  • Maintenance tasks and is able to carry them out

8. Engines

Has a working knowledge of the prevention of common engine faults and is competent in the following areas:


  • The need for periodic maintenance checks on engines and electrical installations
  • Requirements for tool kits, spares and lubricants
  • The location of filters and bleed points for fuel
  • The tension of drive belts and how to adjust or replace them.


  • Carry out checks before starting, while running and after stopping
  • Clean water filters and knows the location of impellors
  • Estimate fuel consumption at various speeds and knows the effects of fouling
  • Basic troubleshooting

9. Victualling


  • How to victual a cruising yacht appropriately for the planned passage

10. Emergency situations


  • How to issue distress signals by all available means, including distress flares and a VHF radio in an emergency
  • How to use a life raft
  • How to secure a tow
  • Rescue procedures including helicopter rescue
  • The effects of cold water shock on a casualty in the water
  • The aftercare requirements of a casualty who has been in the water


  • Carry out the correct action as skipper for the recovery of a man overboard

11. Handling under Power

Knowledge of

  • Effects of waves on boat handling and crew comfort


  • Differing styles of hull and propulsion systems
  • How to moor and leave a bow/stern to mooring (practical experience where possible)
  • How to identify and take into account wind and current conditions when planning and executing manoeuvres (practical experience where possible)


  • Carry out the following manoeuvres under power : 
    • Steer a straight course
    • Turn in a confined space
    • Anchor at a pre-determined position 
    • Berth alongside 
    • Leave an alongside berth 
    • Pick up a mooring buoy 

12. Yacht handling under sail


  • The characteristics of different types of keels
  • How to identify and take into account wind and current conditions when planning and executing manoeuvres and choosing appropriate sail plan (practical experience where possible)


  • Bring a boat safely to and from a mooring buoy 
  • Anchor
  • Steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing

13. Passage making

Knowledge of

  • Marina Locks


  • The practical benefits and limitations of a chart plotter or GNSS


  • Plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew

14. Night cruising

Knowledge of

  • Has experience of sailing at night, including leaving and entering a harbour


  • Special considerations for pilotage plans, keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night

Get in touch

Office hours

Mo - Fr 9.30 - 16.30
Sa 10.00 - 14.00

Out of office contact

Mobile 0034 628 478 400


Edifico Antiguo Varadero
Bloque D No 15 - 2nd Planta
35571 Puerto Calero Marina
Lanzarote - Canary Islands


Email stephanie@endeavour-sailing.co.uk
Phone 0034 928 849 670
Mobile 0034 628 478 400

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