How Do Coastal Skipper And Day Skipper Courses Differ?

Posted on October 22, 2014 by Lee under Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Sailing Courses, Sailing Training Courses 1 Comment

Learning to sail is a process which needs to be done in stages, beginning with the basics before developing more advanced skills as required.

The basics form the foundation block from which progression through other courses can then be made – without these essential skills it can be very hard to develop.

Sailing is built upon learning and putting what is learnt into action – in a similar way to learning to drive a car.

Experience on the water provides an opportunity to practice and skills will be improved over time as a result – the very best sailors reach the top with hard work and determination, alongside their natural ability.

Most courses are backed by the associations such as the Royal Yachting Association or ASA who are keen to ensure the highest standards are maintained among those in control of sailing vessels.

instructor teaching the day skipper course

Mastering the basics first

The basic sailing courses will initially focus on the theories behind sailing and on the manoeuvring of vessels while under sail.

This means learning how to put sails up, as well looking into personal safety and other precautionary measures that are needed at sea.

First aid courses are considered to be of paramount importance when sailing, as it is virtually impossible to remove all of the risks involved.

They can be mitigated with the correct awareness and techniques though, while knowing how to recover people from the water and treat injuries could be vital should an accident occur.

The next stage in sailing development

Once a good understanding of the basics is in place and a sailor has enjoyed plenty of time out of the water putting them into practice, they can consider if they want to prolong their learning experience.

Competent Crew courses are the initial step and these are in place to ensure that people can handle themselves when sailing on a yacht.

Typically, it is suggested that sailors have covered around 100 nautical miles, have spent around five days in total at sea, and have experienced night-time sailing before considering the next step.

This is where day skipper sailing courses come in, designed to provide a sailor with all of the required knowledge to skipper a small vessel in well-known waters.

Navigation, maintenance and repair, yacht handling under power and coping with emergency situations are just some of the key topics that are covered.

A sailor’s basic skills, boat handling and organization, are both developed and tested while anyone completing these courses is eligible for the International Certificate of Competence.

Progressing from day skipper to coastal skipper

Coastal skipper courses differ from day skipper courses in that they are the next grade up in terms of progression for those looking to manage a yacht.

The key difference is that undertaking a coastal skipper course enables a sailor to manage a yacht in coastal waters by night, instead of being limited to sailing in local waters by day.

This opens up a number of opportunities for those involved but it is not without risk – a major reason why these types of qualification are required.

Passage planning and skippering techniques will be examined in greater detail, while consideration will also be given to adverse weather conditions and the need for good preparation.

Experience is essential for these types of courses – it is recommended that a sailor has spent at least 15 days at sea before taking part, two of which will be as a skipper.

Around eight hours of night time sailing is also needed, while a sailor must be at least 17 years of age before a certificate can be issued.

It is expected that sailors taking part in these courses will already be at the standard achieved upon completion of day skipper courses.

Becoming a sailor at the highest level can take time, but the experiences and sights that can be seen all make the process worthwhile.


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