RYA Coastal Skipper Practical


Skippering a yacht on coastal and offshore passages demands strong navigation, seamanship and leadership skills. The RYA Coastal Skipper Practical course prepares those with previous skippering experience to undertake longer voyages.

During the RYA Coastal Skipper course your instructor will guide you through navigation, both offshore and in limited visibility, weather forecasting and passage planning, watch keeping and preparation for sea. You will put this all into practice as each student plans and executes passages taking complete command of the yacht. Coastal skippers must be good boat handlers and you will receive plenty of practice mooring the yacht and longer coastal passages with plenty of night sailing.

Upon successful completion of the RYA Coastal Skipper course you will be awarded the RYA Coastal Skipper Course Completion Certificate and will be able to skipper on coastal passages safely and confidently by day or night.

Safety is paramount on all RYA courses. To learn more about our standards and our school, see the RYA Training Centres page

Course Requirements

Minimum: Aged 17 or over with 15 days at sea – 2 as skipper, 300 miles and 8 night hours. Navigation to Coastal Skipper shorebased standard. Sailing to Day Skipper standard. If you don’t meet the requirements you might be interested in the Day Skipper Course.

Recommended: To get the most out of this course we recommend that you have some recent sailing experience within the last year and have completed either the online or shorebased coastal/yachtmaster navigation theory. We recommend some theoretical revision prior to the start of the course.

Before this course, you should complete the Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore shorebased course as there is insufficient time to teach you theory during the week. You should also have some practical experience as the skipper of a yacht

Where you can take this course

The RYA Coastal Skipper course has a minimum duration of 5 days.

In the UK this is run over a continues period of 5 days or a week if you prefer to take more time.

For both schools in the Mediterranean, this 5-day course is delivered over 6 days as part of a week-long holiday. Giving the flexibility to combine some swimming and longer breaks into the curriculum.

To help decide where to do the course, please see our Training Centres overview page

Next Steps

After this course, you will be given a full debrief from your instructor who will be able to provide you with advice on the best next steps for you.

By the end of the course, you should have the knowledge, but perhaps not yet the experience, to become a Yachtmaster.

Course 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, 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
  • Pilotage – 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 – 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 – Anchoring and mooring in various conditions of wind and tide – Can sail efficiently on all points of sail.
  • Adverse weather conditions – Preparation for heavy weather and yacht handling in strong winds – Navigation and general conduct in restricted visibility.
  • Emergency situations – Recovery of man overboard under power and sail – Understands action to be taken when abandoning to the life raft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescue.

The completion certificate is included in the cost of your course.

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