RYA Day Skipper Theory
Online or Classroom Learning before taking the Day Skipper Practical

RYA Day Skipper Theory

Sail Grenadines offers classroom courses in the Grenadines for 5 days prior to Day Skipper Practical. We recommend studying the Day Skipper Theory online giving more time for working through the exercises prior to arrival in the Caribbean.
Sail Grenadines works with select theory operators for online theory tuition – ask us for our recommendations. Our instructors are then available to assist in answering questions throughout the learning process.

View our full range of RYA courses here

The RYA Day Skipper theory course is a comprehensive introduction to chart work, navigation, meteorology and the basics of seamanship. You will find this course invaluable if you want to learn to start making decisions as a skipper / captain onboard. At Sail Grenadines Sea School, it is considered an essential pre-requisite before taking the RYA Day Skipper Practical course.

You’ll need about 40-45 hours to complete the Day Skipper theory course plus three hours for the final assessment papers. All this can be taken in the comfort of your own home.

The course covers:

  • Nautical terms
    • Parts of a boat and hull
    • General nautical terminology


  • Ropework
    • Knowledge of the properties of synthetic ropes in common use


  • Anchorwork
    • Characteristics of different types of anchor
    • Considerations to be taken into account when anchoring


  • Safety
    • Knowledge of the safety equipment to be carried, its stowage and use (see RYA Boat Safety Handbook, C8)
    • Fire precautions and fire fighting
    • Use of personal safety equipment, harnesses and lifejacketsd.
    • Ability to send a distress signal by VHF radiotelephonee.
    • Basic knowledge of rescue procedures including helicopter rescue


  • International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
    • Steering and sailing rules (5,7,8,9,10 and 12-19)
    • General rules (all other rules)


  • Definition of position, course and speed
    • Latitude and longitude
    • Knowledge of standard navigational terms
    • True bearings and courses
    • The knot


  • Navigational charts and publications
    • Information shown on charts, chart symbols and representation of direction and distance
    • Navigational publications in common use
    • Chart correction


  • Navigational drawing instruments
    • Use of parallel rulers, dividers and proprietary plotting instruments


  • Compass
    • Application of variation
    • Awareness of deviation and its causes
    • Use of hand-bearing compass


  • Chartwork
    • Dead reckoning and estimated position including an awareness of leeway
    • Techniques of visual fixing
    • Satellite-derived positions
    • Use of waypoints to fix position
    • Course to steer


  • Tides and tidal streams
    • Tidal definitions, levels and datum
    • Tide tables
    • Use of Admiralty method of determining tidal height at standard port and awareness of corrections for secondary ports
    • Use of tidal diamonds and tidal stream atlases for chartwork


  • Visual aids to navigation
    • Lighthouses and beacons, light characteristics


  • Meteorology
    • Sources of broadcast meteorological information
    • Knowledge of terms used in shipping forecasts, including the Beaufort scale, and their significance to small craft
    • Basic knowledge of highs, lows and fronts


  • Passage planning
    • Preparation of navigational plan for short coastal passagesb. Meteorological considerations in planning short coastal passages
    • Use of waypoints on passaged. Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source
    • Keeping a navigational


  • Navigation in restricted visibility
    • Precautions to be taken in, and limitations imposed by fog


  • Pilotage
    • Use of transits, leading lines and clearing lines
    • IALA system of buoyage for Region A
    • Use of sailing directions
    • Pilotage plans and harbour entry


  • Marine environment
    • Responsibility for avoiding pollution and protecting the marine environment