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RYA Coastal Skipper Motor Course Syllabus

The minimum age for award of certificate is 17.

Recommended pre-course experience
15 days at sea, 300 miles, 8 night hours, 2 days as Skipper
Navigation to Coastal Skipper shorebased standard

Course Duration

The course takes place over 5 days either Monday – Friday, Saturday - Wednesday, Wednesday - Sunday. During the course you will be provided with accommodation onboard one of our motor boats from the evening before the course starts, pillows included.

Course Content

The Coastal Skipper practical course is to teach the skills and techniques required to skipper a cruising vessel safely on coastal and offshore passages by day and night. It will build on and refine your navigation and boat handling skills. We will provide you with our passage planning sheet and look at various watch systems which could be used on longer passages. 

Coastal Skipper Practical Syllabus

Passage planning

  • Can plan a coastal passage including a consideration of the capability of the vessel, navigation, victualling, weather, ports of refuge, tidal heights and tidal streams.
  • Knowledge of publications required and strategy
  • Knows Customs procedures

Preparation for Sea

  • Is aware of safety equipment required for offshore passages
  • Can prepare a cruising vessel for sea including stowage, safety briefing, watch keeping, delegating responsibilities and equipment and engine checks


  • Can prepare a pilotage plan, with consideration of soundings, transits, clearing bearings, buoyage, port or harbour regulations and tidal considerations
  • Can pilot a cruising vessel by day and night

Passage Making and Ability as Skipper

  • Can take charge of a cruising vessel and direct the crew
  • Can organise the navigation, deckwork and domestic duties of a cruising vessel on passage
  • Is aware of the significance of meteorological trends
  • Is aware of crew welfare on passage
  • Can use electronic navigational equipment for planning and undertaking a passage, including the use of waypoints and routes

Yacht Handling Under Power

  • How to identify and take into account wind and current conditions when planning and executing manoeuvres
  • Can control the cruising vessel effectively in a confined space under power, including all berthing and unberthing situations
  • Pick up a mooring bow or stern to
  • Avoid excessive use of power
  • Additional for two-engined vessels: berth and unberth in simple situations using one engine, including the correct use of lines

Adverse Weather Conditions

  • How to handle a cruising vessel in strong winds
  • General conduct in restricted visibilty
  • Prepare a cruising vessel for heavy weather
  • Navigate in restricted visibility

Emergency Situations

  • The actions to be taken when abandoning to a liferaft, and during helicopter and lifeboat rescues
  • How to carry out the aftercare requirements on a casualty who has been in the water
  • Describe to a crew member the effects of cold-water shock on a casualty who has been in the water
  • Recover a man overboard under power


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