RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal Skipper – commercially endorsed – detailed syllabus

RYA Competent Crew (Practical) (5 days)

This course introduces the complete beginner to cruising and teaches personal safety, seamanship and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful crew member on a cruising yacht. The syllabus includes the following topics:

  • Sea Terms and Parts of a Boat, her Rigging and Sails
  • Sail Handling
  • Ropework
  • Fire Precautions and Fighting
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Man Overboard
  • Emergency Equipment
  • Manners and Customs
  • Rules of the Road
  • Tender Usage
  • Meteorology
  • Seasickness
  • Helmsmanship and Sailing
  • General Duties

RYA Day Skipper Shorebased (Theory) (6 days)

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to chartwork, navigation, meteorology and the basics of seamanship. The syllabus includes the following topics:

  • Nautical Terms
  • Ropework
  • Anchorwork
  • Safety
  • International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
  • Definition of Position, Course and Speed
  • Navigational Charts and Publications
  • Navigational Drawing Instruments
  • Compass
  • Chartwork and Navigation – Traditional and Electronic
  • Tides and Tidal Streams
  • Visual Aids to Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • Passage Planning
  • Navigation in Restricted Visibility
  • Pilotage
  • Marine Environment

RYA Day Skipper Tidal (Practical) (5 days)

This course teaches pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the standard required to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in tidal waters with which the student is familiar. The syllabus includes the following topics:

  • Preparation for Sea
  • Deck Work
  • Navigation
  • Pilotage
  • Meteorology
  • Rules of the Road
  • Maintenance and Repair Work
  • Engines
  • Victualling
  • Emergency Situations
  • Handling under Power
  • Handling under Sail
  • Passage-making
  • Night Cruising

RYA VHF/SRC Radio (2 days)

The course content is as follows:

  • Basics of radio operation
  • Correct frequencies (channels) to use
  • Distress, emergency and medical assistance procedures
  • Making ship-to-shore telephone calls
  • Digital Selective Calling (DSC) using simulators
  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB)
  • Search and Rescue (SART)

 Super Yacht / Deckhand Training (2 days)

The syllabus includes the following topics:


  • Cleaning
  • Varnishing
  • Painting
  • Splicing
  • Minor Repairs
  • (Gel Coat & Fibre Glass)
  • Rope Work
  • Winch Service

Boat Etiquette:

  • Day Work
  • Dockwalking
  • Crew Agents
  • Crew Salaries
  • C.V.
  • Crew Accommodation
  • Offshore Bank Accounts

RYA Diesel Engine (1 day)

The aim of this course is to give awareness of the main systems of a marine diesel engine and the ability to take simple measures to prevent mechanical breakdown at sea and rectify defects which do not require workshop support. The course content is as follows:

  • Principles of Diesel Engine
  • The Four-Stroke cycle
  • The Fuel System
  • The Cooling System
  • The Air Systems
  • Engine Electrical Systems
  • Spares and Tool Requirements
  • The Importance of Winterisation and Servicing
  • Fault Finding

RYA Power Boat Level II (2 days)

Section A – Practical:

  • Launching and Recovery
  • Boat Handling
  • Securing to a Buoy
  • Anchoring
  • Leaving and Coming Alongside
  • Man Overboard
  • Some fun: skiing, wakeboarding and tubing!

Section B – Theory:

  • Types of Craft
  • Engines and Drives
  • Siting of Fuel Tanks
  • Routine Engine Checks
  • Close Down Procedures
  • Advice to Inland Drivers About Coastal Waters
  • Use and Limitations of GPS
  • Application of Local Bylaws
  • Source of Weather Information

STCW 2010 (Standard of Training & Certification of Watch keepers)

The STCW 2010 syllabus includes the following modules:

  • Elementary First Aid at Sea – 2 days
  • Marine Fire Fighting – 3 days
  • Personal Safety & Social Responsibility (PSSR) – 2 days
  • Personal Safety Training (PST) – 2 days
  • Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD) – 2 day

 Mileage Trip

(qualifying passages and miles for RYA Coastal Skipper pre-requisites)
(the above is weather dependant)


RYA Coastal Skipper & Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased (Theory) (7 days)

This is an advanced course in navigation and meteorology for candidates for the Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate. The syllabus makes some provision for the revision of subjects in the Day Skipper Course but those who have not acquired the knowledge set out in the Day Skipper Course are unlikely to be able to assimilate all the subjects covered in this advanced course in the time available. The syllabus includes the following topics:

  • Position
  • The Magnetic Compass
  • Tides
  • Tidal Streams
  • Buoyage
  • Lights
  • Pilotage
  • GNSS and Chart Plotter
  • Echo Sounders
  • Logs (Speed and Distance Measuring)
  • Deck Log
  • Meteorology
  • Rules of the Road
  • Safety at Sea
  • Navigation in Restricted Visibility
  • Passage Planning
  • Marine Environment

RYA  Coastal Skipper Practical (5 days)

This course aims to teach the skills and techniques required to skipper a cruising yacht (7 – 15m LOA) safely on coastal and offshore passages by day and night. The syllabus includes the following topics:

  • Passage Planning
  • Preparation for sea
  • Pilotage
  • Passage making ability as skipper
  • Yacht handling under power
  • Yacht handling under sail
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Emergency situations

Exam Preparation Week (Practical) (5  days)

This course is designed to revise the theoretical and practical aspects of the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Skipper Exam. It is assumed that all aspects of boat handling and theory are familiar to the student and only revision is required.

  • Practical Navigation
  • Boat Handling (sailing on and off docks, ferry gliding, blind navigation, picking up moorings, tidal stream work etc)
  • General Seamanship
  • Responsibilities of Skipper
  • Safety Checks & Briefing

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Skipper & Yachtmaster Offshore Exam (3 days)

Exam time is allocated as follows:

  • 1 day passage plan
  • 2 – 4 days practical exam

Optional beneficial modules (bookings made upon request by student)

These modules are very desirable in the eyes of potential employers and will give you an edge over other job seekers in the yachting industry:

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