RYA Coastal Skipper practical sailing course syllabus

RYA Coastal Skipper


COASTAL SKIPPER PRACTICAL is for those with at least 300 miles logged, 8 night hours, some skippering experience and who are aiming to skipper a yacht on longer coastal and offshore passages by day and night. The course concentrates on effective passage planning, day and night pilotage, yacht handling in confined spaces under power and sail, boat handling in emergency situations.

The Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster shorebased Course should be successfully completed before attending this Course.

The Coastal Skipper course is intended to teach the skills and techniques required to skipper a
yacht safely on coastal and offshore passages by day and night. The Syllabus is broken down into sub paragraphs showing the subjects and skills taught on the Course.


Passage Planning
Can plan a coastal passage including consideration of the capability of the yacht, navigation,
victualling, weather, ports of refuge, tidal heights and tidal streams, publications required and

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.

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 navigation 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 or wind and tide.
Can sail efficiently on all points of sailing.

Adverse weather conditions
Preparation for heavy weather and yacht handling in strong winds.
Navigation and general in restricted visibility.

Emergency situations
Recovery of man overboard under power and sail.
Understands actions to be taken when abandoning to the liferaft and during helicopter and
lifeboat rescues.

Pdf copy for printing

Reproduced with kind permission from the Royal Yachting Association


RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal Skipper Exam

For those that want to work as a commercial Skipper operating vessels within 20 Nm the Coast you can take an RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal Exam. This invloves an RYA Examiner coming onboard and testing you on the above and subjects from the shorebased course.

The minimum pre exam experience is 30 days at sea, 8 night hours 400 miles and 2 days as Skipper. You will also need a First Aid Certificate and Short Range radio operators Certificate. The Exam will last around 6-8 hours and the Examiner will also check your knowledge on any of the subjects in the RYA Cruising Scheme.

Successful completion of this Exam and a medical will allow you to apply for a commercial Skipper Endorement. See links below

Exam Application Form

Commercial Endorsement Application Form





Updated Sep 2013