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RYA Day Skipper Theory Course FAQ's

How much will the course cost including exam fees?

The RYA Day Skipper Theory course will cost around £300 (approx $450, or 390 EUROS) depending on where you take it and what time of year.

What will you learn?

For the person learning to sail, this will be your first really technical, in depth navigation course. It can be a baptism of fire, with a lot to get your head around.

You will learn enough to navigate safely along the coast in daylight, though you will have to learn about night navigation – everyone gets into a pickle some time and you will almost certainly have to distinguish the difference between an Isolated Danger Mark and a channel marker at night, for instance.

Some people never get a higher qualification than a Day Skipper because the theory course is comprehensive for what you need in most sailing conditions – not everyone will sail across the Atlantic, and most will hop between ports - part of the fun of cruising is the pubs and shorebased nightlife, not just the sea!

What are your limitations when passing the course?

This is a theory only course and must be completed as part of your Day Skipper qualification. It does not stand on its own.

With the Day Skipper Practical it enables you to do more involved, longer passages competently as a skipper. You will learn your limits, and be able to make an informed judgement as to when it is safe within your own limits to go out to sea.

Is the course onshore?

Yes, this is a purely shorebased course.

Where can you take it?

The Day Skipper Theory can be done at night school, at home, or at a sailing school that offers the course as part of its wider sail training packages. 

Can you do the course in another country?

Yes. RYA courses are offered all over the world. Search our website for available courses and accredited training centres..

What level of experience do you need before you begin the Day Skipper Theory?

None at all, though to complete the RYA Day Skipper as a whole you need a certain level of experience. See our Day Skipper FAQ's for further details.

How long does it take to complete?

The course requires 40 hours of tuition and then you must sit two exam papers to attain the Day Skipper Theory certification.

What does the theory course involve?

  • You will learn a range of topics to get you safely around British waters. 
  • You will learn how to read tide tables and calculate secondary tide ports and tidal flows. 
  • You will cover meteorology to a certain depth, for instance how to draw a synoptic chart based on a marine radio weather forecast.
  • You will learn how to navigate according to currents, tides, markers and lights.
  • You will look at lights and how to decode what you see at night, for example telling from a chart what a rhythm of flashes a specific lighthouse will make.
  • You will also learn the basics of seamanship.

You will also learn about boat maintenance and safety procedures should you run into trouble – everyone gets in trouble sometime at sea, which is part of the fun of sailing.

How do I progress after completing the course?

With the RYA Day Skipper Theory you can successfully complete your Day Skipper exam. From there you can consider doing the RYA Coastal Skipper.

The course lays solid foundations for a life at sea. Many people go years before going onto the Coastal Skipper and gain lots of experience before taking the next step.

Does it give you international accreditation?

The RYA Day Skipper is recognised as a good qualification in most countries around the world. You can get your International Certificate of Competence on application to the RYA when you have your Day Skipper certificate, but most charter companies will recognise the RYA certificate in its own right.

Where can I learn more?

Have a look at the this section of the RYA website for further details about the course. 

You can view the full course syllabus here.

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