Day Skipper Practical

A course for aspiring skippers with some yachting experience and basic navigation and sailing skills.

Learn to skipper a short passage with the instructor on hand to give advice and encouragement and ensure your safety. Experience being in charge, taking credit when it all goes well and being responsible when it doesn’t.

If it’s help with navigation that you need, you should take our Day Skipper online theory course.

Pre-course experience 5 days, 100 miles, 4 night hours on board a sailing yacht
Assumed knowledge Basic navigation and helmsmanship. Your theory knowledge should be to the Day Skipper theory level. Click here for details.
Minimum duration 5 days, 3 weekends or 3 days plus 2 days
Minimum age 18
Course content Preparation for sea, deck work, navigation, pilotage, meteorology, rules of the road, maintenance and repair work, engines, victualling, emergency situations, yacht handling under power, yacht handling under sail, passage making, night cruising
Whats included All food except the evening of joining, wet weather gear and accommodation onboard, mooring fees, boat fuel.

Maximum student:instructor ratio is 5:1

Practical courses are held in the Felixstowe, Suffolk area.

Full Day Skipper Syllabus

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

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