RYA Day Skipper - Theory

Looe Channel StreetA comprehensive introduction to chart work, navigation and the basics of seamanship. This is course is suitable for people with little sailing experience. You will find this course invaluable if you want to learn how to start making decisions on board and if you are considering taking the Day Skipper practical course.

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The course includes exercises, which will mostly be done as homework – you should allow sufficient time for this. There are also 2 assessment papers to be sat during the course.

As you will be based in the Sussex Yacht Club (Shoreham club house), you will meet like minded members whose passion is yachting. Many skippers are looking for crew to help with club racing and rallying and if you become a member you can join the Crew Register and get an opportunity to sail on these craft.

The course fee includes all training materials from the RYA. However, you will require your own plotting equipment – a Breton/Portland or Parallel Rules and a set of Dividers. You can either purchase these from a local chandler, or given at least a week’s notice ahead of your course commencing, may be ordered through Sussex Yacht Club.

Following on from this course you will have the opportunity to put these new found skills into practice on a 5 day RYA Day Skipper Practical Course. Several courses are arranged by Sussex Yacht Club through Fairview Sailing at Port Hamble Marina for the Spring or Autumn time in the Solent.


The cost of this course which is based at the Sussex Yacht Club Shoreham club house is £275 for SYC members and £395 for non-members.

Course dates and times

The duration of this course is 40 hours including two assesments, which are spread over five Sundays 09:00 to 17:00.

The next course runs from November 2022 through to February 2023


13th & 27th November

11th December

8th & 22nd January

Please book your place as early as possible as this is a very popular programe.



A comprehensive introduction to chart work, navigation, meteorology and the basics of seamanship for Competent Crew and Helmsmen. You will find this course invaluable if you want to learn how to start making decisions on board.

Nautical terms

  • Parts of a boat and hull
  • General nautical terminology


  • Knowledge of the properties of synthetic ropes in common use


  • Characteristics of different types of anchor
  • Considerations to be taken into account when anchoring


  • Knowledge of the safety equipment to be carried, its stowage and use (see RYA Boat Safety Handbook C8)
  • Fire precautions and fire fighting
  • Use of personal safety equipment, harnesses and lifejackets
  • Ability to send a distress signal by VHF radiotelephone
  • Basic knowledge of rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

International regulations for preventing collisions at sea

  • Steering and sailing rules (5,7,8,9,10 and 12-19)
  • General rules (all other rules)

Definition of position, course and speed

  • Latitude and longitude
  • Knowledge of standard navigational terms
  • True bearings and courses
  • The nautical mile

Navigational charts and publications

  • Information shown on charts, chart symbols and representation of direction and distance
  • Navigational publications in common use
  • Chart correction

Navigational drawing instruments

  • Use of parallel rules, dividers and proprietary plotting instruments


  • Application of variation
  • Awareness of deviation and its causes
  • Use of hand-bearing compass


  • Dead reckoning and estimated position, including an awareness of leeway
  • Techniques of visual fixing
  • Satellite-derived positions
  • Use of waypoints to fix position
  • Course to steer

Recommended Reading

  • RYA Navigation – Author:  Tim Bartlett – ISBN 090150193X
  • RYA Weather – Author:  Chris Tibs – ISBN 0901501956
  • Small Boat Guide to the Rules of the Road – Author:  John Mellow – ISBN 0906754542


Back to the RYA Yacht Training Homepage where you can also find out how to book ››