RYA Day Skipper practical

RYA Day Skipper practical course


Sunsail's RYA Day Skipper practical course enables students to gain the experience and qualifications necessary to set sail with confidence on one of Sunsail's yacht charter or flotilla holidays, in some of the most breathtaking sailing destinations in the world.

This is a practical course for sailors with significant previous sailing experience (a minimum of five days sailing and living on board, 100 miles logged and four hours night sailing is required) and a comprehensive understanding of the theory behind the practice. This course is very much a hands-on course with little time to teach navigation or other theoretical subjects. It is therefore recommended that you take the RYA Day Skipper shorebased course prior to your practical course so you can put those skills into practice on the water or have theory knowledge to a Day Skipper level. 

We suggest all students invest in additional reading material, such as the RYA Day Skipper handbook. You can buy this book from our base in Port Solent.

This is an internationally recognised certificate and it is strongly recommended that you gain either this, or the ICC (International Certificate of Competence) certificate as more countries move towards compulsory certification.

RYA Day Skipper or ICC are requirements for chartering in Croatia and Greece.

Additional information for UK course    

Class size: 5:1 maximum ratio

What’s included: 5 nights’ accommodation on board the yacht. Breakfast and lunch on board. Certificate awarded upon successful completion of the course.

Where to take this course with Sunsail

Tortola, BVI

Portsmouth, UK (Operated by Prometheus Sailing LTD)

Agana, Croatia

Lefkas, Greece


Why take this course with Sunsail?

The Sunsail RYA Day Skipper practical course will enable you to skipper a yacht by day in familiar waters. You will gain the qualifications and experience needed to set sail on board your own yacht, on a yacht charter or flotilla holiday to many of our breathtaking worldwide destinations.

Following the five-day Day Skipper practical course you'll have experience of deck work, navigation and passage making, as well as the confidence to skipper under sail and power.

The course will teach you basic practical skippering techniques which will enable you to skipper a yacht on short coastal passages by day, in both tidal and non-tidal waters. As a skipper you'll be responsible for the management of a yacht, and therefore the course includes elements of meteorology, engine checking, passage planning, preparing the yacht for sea and rules of the road.

The minimum pre-course experience required is five days sailing and living onboard, 100 miles logged and four hours night sailing. You will also need to have completed your Day Skipper theory course prior to taking your practical, or have knowledge equivalent to this level.

To book your course or to find out more:

For overseas sailing schools in Greece, Croatia BVI & Australia, please contact our Holiday Planner team on 0330 332 1172 or email [email protected]

For dates and availability at our Port Solent, UK sailing school please call on 02394 350 505 or email [email protected]

Courses start at 19.00hrs and finishing on your last day at 17.00hrs for UK sailing schools. 

What’s included: 5 nights’ accommodation on board the yacht. Breakfast and lunch on board. Waterproof hire. Certificate awarded upon successful completion of the course.

Day Skipper Practical Syllabus

1. Preparation for sea

Is able to prepare a yacht for sea, including engine checks, selection of sails, securing and stowage of all gear on deck and below

2. Deck Work

Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions
Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or alongside berth

3. Navigation

Is proficient in chartwork and routine navigational duties on passage including: Taking and plotting visual fixes Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing
Use of waypoints
Working up to DR and EP
Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams
Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift
Knowledge of IALA buoyage
Maintenance of navigational records
Use of echo sounder and lead line

4. Pilotage

Can prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour
Understands the use of leading and clearing lines
Use of transits and surroundings as aids to pilotage

5. Meteorology

Knows sources of forecast information
Can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid

6. Rule of the road

Has a working knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

7. Maintenance and repair work

Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks
Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes

8. Engines

Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system

9. Victualling

Understands how to victual a yacht

10. Emergency situations

Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of man overboard
Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft
Can operate a radiotelephone in an emergency and send a distress message
Understands how to secure a tow
Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

11. Yacht handling under power

Can bring a boat safely to and from an alongside berth, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide
Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing

12. Passage making

Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew

13. Night cruising

Has experienced sail cruising at night, including leaving and entering harbour.
Understands the special consideration for pilotage plans, keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night.

14. Seasickness

Working efficiency is unaffected/partially affected/severely affected by seasickness

15. Helmsmanship and sailing

Understands the basic principles of sailing and can steer and trim sails on all points of sailing
Can steer a compass course, under sail and power

16. General duties

Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel