RYA Day Skipper

The RYA Day Skipper course is a 5 day training course for more experienced individuals who already have some sailing experience and basic navigation skills. You will learn to skipper a short passage with the instructor on hand to give advice and encouragement and ensure your safety.

The RYA Day Skipper course is designed for people who are already familiar and comfortable with skippering a small yacht (or motor boat).  If you are interested in taking the Day Skipper course we would expect you to be competent at sailing during the day, in waters you are familiar with.  This level of competence can be difficult to define, so we suggest you contact us if you’re not sure if you qualify or not.

We highly recommend sailors have completed the Day Skipper theory course before undertaking the practical Day Skipper course.

Is the Day skipper course suitable for me?

People come to sailing through many different pathways and so we often need to identify what experience they have and assess their levels of competence in each of the key skills required to confidently and safely manage a vessel and crew. In this way we can work with candidates to agree at which level they should enter the RYA sail training scheme and where required we can offer one to one coaching and training both on and off the water.

What will the Day Skipper course do for you?

Becoming a safe day skipper will require a bit of learning.  By the end of this course you should have the skills and knowledge required to confidently make decisions about how appropriate weather conditions are for safe sailing.  You will also be able to develop your skills in boat manoeuvres for berthing and put in to practice the navigation theory for planning a passage.

2019 Summer course dates

2 day weekend dates
30 June - 1 July | 21 - 22 July | 4 - 5 August | 25 - 26 August | 1 - 2 September | 22 - 23 September


3 day weekend dates
23 - 25 June | 7 - 9 July | 18 - 20 August | 29 September - 1 October


5 day dates
14 - 18 July | 11 - 15 August | 8 - 12 September

If you don't see the dates you are looking for, please contact us as we will try to be flexible to accommodate you.

Is this course on land or on the water?

This particular course is a five day long yacht-based course.  You can take the course over five continuous days, or split between two weekends.  We also offer the Day Skipper theory training.

Where is the Day Skipper course?

Viking Mariners is based in Ipswich, Suffolk so the Day Skipper course will take place on local waters, including Rivers Orwell, Stour, Walton backwaters, Deben, Ore, Blackwater, Crouch and Roach and local waters between them. The waters we use can be dictated to some extent by the weather, the season or the activities required during the Day Skipper course.

In some circumstances we can provide your Day Skipper training course in a different location, if this is something you are interested in please contact us to discuss your requirements.

How can I sign up for the Day Skipper course?

We run multiple courses throughout the year, we also offer one to one training where appropriate.  To find out more about how to sign up for the RYA Day Skipper Course please call us on 01394 421209 or get in touch via our contact page.

RYA Day Skipper course - the details

On the day of your course we will do everything we can to ensure that you learn at a pace that is comfortable and useful to your development as a sailor.  Here are some, but not all of the areas you’ll be covering on your Day Skipper course.


1. Preparation for sea
Knowledge of basic stability and buoyancy
Prep yacht for sea, including engine checks, sails, secure & stow

2. Deck work
Reef & shake out, change sails for prevailing conditions
Take charge, including prep anchor & lines, and anchoring, weighing anchor
Take charge, prep mooring warps etc and alongside berthing & unberthing
Take charge, prep mooring warps, and coming to buoy, and slipping

3. Navigation - chartwork & routine nav duties on passage including:
Taking and plotting visual fixes
Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing
Use secondary means of position fixing
Use of waypoints and routes
Working up DR and EP
Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams (Logbook 3T)
Working out CTS to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift (Logbook 3T)
Knowledge of IALA buoyage
Knowledge of uses and limitations of AIS
Maintenance of nav records
Use of echo sounder and lead line

4. Pilotage
Prep and execute plan for harbour entry or departure
Use leading and clearing lines
Use transits and soundings for pilotage

5. Meteorology
Knows sources of forecast information
Understands how to interpret forecasts & use barometer as forecasting aid

6. Rules of the road
Demonstrate practical understanding of IRPCS

7. Maintenance and repair work
Understands and able to carry out maintenance tasks
Knowledge of properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes

8. Engines – working knowledge for prevention of common faults
Understands: need for periodic maintenance (engines & electrics)
Requirements for tool kits, spares, and lubricants
How - change fuel & water filters, pump impeller, & bleed fuel system
Engine checks – before, during, and after running
Estimate fuel consumption at varying speeds, effects of fouling
Basic troubleshooting

9. Victualling
Understand how to victual a yacht

10. Emergency situations
Able to take correct skipper action for recovery of man overboard
Understands use of liferaft
How to issue distress signals including: flares, VHF distress messages
Can operate VHF, including emergency
Understands how to secure a tow
Understands rescue procedures - including helicopter rescue
Effects of cold water shock, and aftercare of casualty who has been in water

11. Yacht handling under power - various conditions wind & tide (incl 11T)
Knowledge of effect of waves, tide, and wind on boat handling and crew
Differing styles of hull and propulsion systems
Understands how to moor and leave a bow/stern to mooring
Steer a straight course
Turn in a confined space
Bring a boat safely to and from alongside
Bring a boat safely to and from mooring buoy
Bring a boat safely to and from anchor – in pre-determined position

12. Yacht handling under sail (including 12T)
Understands characteristics of different types of keel
Bring boat safely to and from mooring buoy - varying wind & tide
Bring boat safely to and from anchor - varying wind & tide
Steer and trim sails effectively - all points of sail

13. Passage making
Knowledge of marina locks
Understands benefits and limitations of chart plotter and GNSS
Plan & make coastal passage - hazards, limitations of boat & crew

14. Night cruising
Experience leaving & entering harbour - pilotage plans, keep lookout, ID marks

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