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RYA Coastal Skipper Practical 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 sailing yachts Nomad I or Menai III 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 yacht 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 yacht, 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 yacht 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 yacht by day and night

Passage Making and Ability as Skipper

  • Understands the practical uses of integrated electronic aids to navigation, including AIS, radar, electronic navigational charts (ENCs) and raster navigational charts (RNCs)
  • Can take charge of a yacht and direct the crew
  • Can organise the navigation, deckwork and domestic duties of a yacht 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

  • Can control the yacht effectively in a confined space under power
  • All berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide

Yacht Handling Under Sail

  • Can use the sails to control the yacht in a confined space
  • Consistently pick up a mooring buoy
  • Can sail efficiently on all points of sailing. including downwind techniques

Adverse Weather Conditions

  • Prepare a cruising vessel for heavy weather and yacht handling in strong winds
  • Navigation and general conduct in restricted visibility

Emergency Situations

  • Understands action to be taken when abandoning to the liferaft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescues
  • How to carry out the aftercare requirements on a casulaty 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
  • Recovery of a person overboard under power and sail
  • Understands action to be taken when abandoning to the liferaft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescues


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