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RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course Syllabus

The Essential Navigation and Seamanship course provides an introduction to the basic skills required before taking a small boat to sea or taking an active part in the navigational planning and general running of a boat. This course is delivered online with materials supplied by Nomad Sailing.

Charts, Publications and Terms

  • Basic terms
  • Chart overview
  • Introduction to chart datum and depths


  • Lateral buoys
  • Cardinal buoys
  • Where to find information


  • Plotting a position
  • Measuring distance and bearing
  • Position fix
  • Heading
  • Safety

Personal and Boat Safety Equipment

  • Safety procedures and briefing
  • Communications
  • Engine checks
  • Rescue procedures


  • Where to anchor
  • How to anchor


  • Tidal streams
  • Tidal heights

Electronic navigation

  • GPS terms
  • GPS use
  • Using waypoints

Rules of the Road

  • Risk of collision
  • Who gives way

Weather Forecasts

  • Sources of forecast
  • Terms used in forecast
  • Sea state


  • Harbour information
  • Transits
  • Pilotage plan

Passage Planning

  • SOLAS V requirements
  • Pre-planning
  • Chart choice


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