Day Skipper Theory Course

(67 customer reviews)


SKU: DSTC Categories: , ,

The course is broken into modules designed to introduce and develop the skills & knowledge required. Each one contains bite-sized sessions allowing you to jump in and out of the module as and when time permits.

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Tap on any module to find out more about its content, or to see the full course syllabus click here.

The RYA defines the Day Skipper / Watch leader syllabus. It includes a comprehensive introduction to chart work, navigation, meteorology and seamanship for those ready to take the next step in their skippering journey and start making decisions onboard.

The list below indicates the depth of knowledge required and the minimum time which is to be spent on each subject area.

A: Full knowledge

A depth of knowledge which is fundamental to safe navigation and good seamanship. The student will be able to apply the knowledge in a practical situation and also appreciates why the knowledge is so important.

B: Working knowledge

Understands what knowledge to apply, when and how to apply it for a particular undertaking. Recognises what their level of knowledge is relative to the given situation. The student is aware that their knowledge is broad but not necessarily deep.

C: Outline knowledge

An awareness of the subject area but only a superficial understanding of its application in practice. The student recognises that further knowledge of the topic will be required in some practical situations and knows enough to find appropriate sources of information for learning.

    Depth of knowledge Minimum time (hours)
1. Nautical terms   2
  Parts of a boat and hull B  
  General nautical terminology B  
2. Ropework   ½
  Knowledge of the properties of synthetic rope. B  
3. Anchorwork   1
  Characteristics of different types of anchor B  
  Factors to take into account when anchoring B  
4. Safety   3
  Knowledge of the safety equipment to be carried, its stowage and use (see G103 RYA Safety Handbook) B  
  Fire precautions and firefighting B  
  Use of personal safety equipment, harnesses and life jackets B  
  Ability to send a distress signal by VHF radio B  
  Basic knowledge of rescue procedures including helicopter rescue B  
  Stability C  
5. International regulations for the prevention of collisions at sea   3
  Steering & sailing rules (5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 – 19) A  
  General rules (all other rules) B  
6. Definition of position, course and speed   1
  Latitude and longitude B  
  Knowledge of standard navigational terms B  
  True bearings and courses B  
  The knot C  
7. Navigational drawing instruments   1
  Information shown on charts, chart symbols and representation of direction and distance B  
  Navigation publications in common use C  
  Chart correction C  
8. Navigation drawing instruments   1
  Use of parallel rulers, dividers and propriety plotting instrument B  
9. Compass   2
  Application of variation B  
  Awareness of deviation C  
  Use of hand-bearing compass B  
10. Chartwork and navigation  
  Dead reckoning and estimated position B  
  Awareness of leeway C  
  Techniques of visual fixing B  
  Use of GNSS and chart plotters for position fixing B  
  Use of waypoints to fix position A  
  Course to steer B  
11. Tides and tidal streams   4
  Tidal definitions, levels and datums B  
  Tide tables B  
  Use of Admiralty method of determining tidal height at standard port B  
  Awareness of corrections for secondary ports C  
  Use of tidal diamonds and tidal stream atlases B  
12. Visual aids to navigation   1
  Lighthouses and beacons, light characteristics B  
13. Meteorology    
  Sources of broadcasting meteorological information B  
  Knowledge of terms used in shipping forecasts, including the Beaufort scale, and their significance to small craft B  
  Basic knowledge of highs, lows and fronts C  
14. Passage planning   4
  Preparation of navigation plan for short coastal passages C  
  Meteorological considerations in planning a short coastal passage C  
  Use of and visual confirmation of position by an independent source B  
  Importance of confirmation of position by and independent source A  
  Keeping a navigational record A  
15. Navigation in restricted visibility   1
  Precautions to be taking in, and limitations imposed by, fog B  
16. Pilotage   4
  Use of transits, leading lines and clearing lines B  
  IALA system of buoyage (Regions A & B) B  
  Use of sailing directions B  
  Pilotage plans and harbour entry B  
17. Marine environment   1
  Responsibility for avoiding pollution and protecting the marine environment    

Our courses have been designed to work on any device, allowing you to study when and where you want. You will use charts and tools when working on some modules, so space to work will be required. Both tablets and desktop devices allow you to view the content full-screen, removing those pesky distractions and allowing you to focus on the session.


Perfect for checking your progress or doing some revision on the move.


Great for working on navigation modules alongside your charts and navigation tools.


We’ve got you covered–Mac or PC–, beautifully.

When booking this course, you will get immediate, lifetime access to our fantastic content. You’ll also get a course pack dispatched the same day (if booked before 3pm), which includes everything you need to complete the lessons.

  • Lifetime access to the course content and recourses
    You retain access to the content for as long as you need it. You can use it for revision, particularly useful before taking the practical course or perhaps before you embark on that charter holiday.
  • Engaging, fully animated lessons
    We might be fresh-faced in the online provision of theory courses, but we’ve been teaching in the classroom for over a decade. We’ve tested our online content with students for the last two years, getting feedback, improving & refining.
  • The best content in the industry!
    We designed everything from the ground up, asking one straightforward question; Why are so many people who start an online course end up in our classroom? Proclaiming a 100% pass rate is easy; we strive for a 100% completion & pass rate.
  • Built with you in mind
    Every topic is broken into bite-sized sessions, allowing you to fit them in between your busy lives. Yes, it’s multi-device compatible, and you can use it anywhere, but more importantly, it builds layers of skills and techniques and ensures you are confident in everything you have learned.

We’re confident you will love the course and our content, but for your peace of mind, we offer a 14-day, no questions asked money-back guarantee.

14-day money-back satisfaction guarantee

If you’re not completely satisfied with the course, return your course pack to us, and we’ll issue a no-questions-asked refund.

We pride ourselves in supporting your journey, recognising that this is only one stage of getting to your destination. Whatever your motivation for taking this course, we’ll be here to help you achieve your goals.

You’ll be sent a course pack (dispatched the same day if ordered before 3pm) that contains everything you need to complete the course.

Day Skipper theory course pack contents:

  • Two Admiralty Training Charts
  • RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Notes revision book
  • RYA Exercises and Course info booklet
  • RYA Training Almanac
  • Two 2b chart work pencils
  • Soft chart work rubber
  • Professional quality Portland Plotter and Dividers
  • Two lengths of rope for practising knots

Order by 3pm for same-day dispatch

Orders received before 3pm UK time are dispatched the same day. If ordering from the UK, your course pack should arrive the following day.

We’re here to support you—wherever your journey takes you. We believe achieving your goals doesn’t stop once you complete the course, nor should our support. We provide several ways to help you achieve your objectives.

Course support

Once enrolled, you get 12 months of support from our instructors. You get a briefing room where you can ask questions. If you’d rather, you can schedule a call at your convenience or message us. Whatever channel you choose, everything is stored in your briefing room so you can refer back to the answers.

After twelve months, you will still have access to all the great content and can extend your instructor support should you need more time to complete the course.

Assessment de-brief

Every student receives a live debrief using zoom following the assessment. You will walk through your answers with an instructor and get constructive feedback. This briefing is the ideal way to ensure you are prepared for the next stage of your journey, usually the Day Skipper Practical Course.

Post course support

In addition to your briefing room, you also get access to our support groups & forums. This is a great place to meet other like-minded people at the same stage of their journey as you.

We can connect you with local RYA training centres and help organise your practical course.

You’ll have access to our downloadable & support content. We have over 50 supplementary downloads to help you learn the topics and techniques.

Download Examples

10 reasons to learn with us

Want to find out why our students love what we do? It only takes two minutes to find out why we’re different from the rest.

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We have taught the RYA Yachtmaster scheme in a classroom for over ten years, always with 5-star reviews.

We took everything we’ve learned and applied it to when building the online content for our course. Simply put, it’s as close to a classroom course as online gets!

To pass, you have to finish the course!

It’s easy to say online provides ‘flexibility’ and ‘you can do it in your own time’, it’s harder to construct engaging course content to overcome specific digital learning challenges and keep students motivated. Through thorough testing, using our classroom students as guinea pigs*, we have structured a course to support how you learn online, building confidence in each topic, tool and skill at every stage.

* No students were harmed in the testing of our content!

Content designed to provide support at every stage

We questioned why the other providers put so much emphasis on their instructor support. Our view is simple: the better the content, the less support a student should need. We are here to support you at every step of your journey but have fed ten years and hundreds of students’ worth of understanding into building content that teaches, supports, reaffirms and checks the knowledge of a topic, tool or technique. And, above all, fun!

Everything you need is included – no hidden ‘extras’

We are the only provider that has no hidden extras. Everything you need to complete and pass the course is included.

  • No hidden extras
    Everything you need to complete the course is included.
  • No course extension fees
    Once you sign up, you control when your instructor support starts and can pause it (in fact, if we don’t see you for a while, we’ll pause it automatically so you don’t accidentally run out of time).
  • Lifetime access
    You retain access to the content for as long as you need it. You can use it for revision, particularly useful before taking the practical course or perhaps before you embark on that charter holiday.

Day Skipper theory is a RYA shore-based qualification and the required level of navigational & sailing theory for anyone intending to take the Day Skipper Practical course. It provides an excellent foundation and platform for learning how to put out to sea safely.

The course includes everything you need to earn the Day Skipper theory certificate successfully. The only thing you need to provide is your time.

Course pack

You’ll be sent a course pack (dispatched the same day if ordered before 3pm weekdays) that contains everything you need to complete the course.

Instructor support

You’ll get 12 months of unlimited support from RYA-qualified instructors 365 days a year; all managed using your briefing room.

Course content

You’ll have immediate, lifetime access to over 50 hours of engaging, interactive teaching content with practice exercises providing debriefings and support.

Social group

You’ll have immediate access to the Day Skipper social group, where you can meet and connect with like-minded people at the same stage of their journey as you.

Downloadable & support content

You’ll have access to our downloadable & support content. We have over 50 supplementary downloads to help you learn the topics and techniques.

See the ‘What’s included?’ tab on the Day Skipper theory enrolment page for more details.

The Day Skipper theory course is a minimum of 40 hours of teaching. Additionally, there are two assessment papers, each lasting 1½ hours.

You can complete the online course at your own pace; everything is stored so you can take a break and return anytime. There isn’t a time limit, and you get 12 months of instructor support spread over any timeframe you like.

However long it takes you to complete the course, you will retain access to the content allowing you to revise before your practical course.

Lifetime access!

You have access to the course content for life!

12 months of instructor support on your terms

Once enrolled, you get 12 months of instructor support, but you are in control of when this starts and can pause it should you need a break.

The Day Skipper theory certificate is valid for life. However, like many things, brushing up and learning new skills is continuous. Anyone who thinks they’ve completed their learning is probably not best suited to skipper a boat!

No! Any progress in Sailing Essentials is migrated to your Day Skipper progress, so you won’t have to do it again.

In fact, we know that most students ask to help when doing the navigation modules, so your 12-month instructor support time only starts once you start the ‘How to read the map!’ module of the Day Skipper theory course.

If you are in the UK, delivery is free. If you live further afield, see the ‘Where do you ship to?‘ FAQ for pricing.

We’re happy for anyone to study with us and will support you wherever you are.

  • For UK addresses, delivery is free,
  • For European addresses, there’s a £20 delivery surcharge and, 
  • Further afield, a £40 delivery surcharge is applied. 

You can start the online course immediately wherever you are based, as many lessons don’t require the course pack.

We hope you won’t, but we have a 14-day satisfaction guarantee on our courses. You can ask for a refund if you decide it’s not for you. 

You’ll need to return your unused course pack to us, but using our self-serve returns system is easy.

If you are unsatisfied with the course and want a refund, you must initiate a return process. Your course pack needs to be returned to us, complete and intact. We cannot offer a full refund for items returned damaged or missing, and replacement charges may be deducted from the course price to reflect this.

To start a return and refund process, go to your account and tap on ‘refund’. You will be issued a refund number and returns label that covers the cost of sending the course pack back to us.

Once your course pack is received, we will refund the card you placed the order with. It can take 5 & 7 days for the refund to appear on your statement. This is in the hands of the card issuer, and we cannot control this. We cannot process refunds to other cards or by other means for security reasons.

67 reviews for Day Skipper Theory Course

Based on 67 reviews
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1-5 of 67 reviews
  1. Verified reviewVerified review – view originalExternal link

    Great course. Great to have my RYA day skipper theory and practical. Can’t wait to get sailing again.

    (0) (0)
  2. Verified reviewVerified review – view originalExternal link

    Brilliant course, very helpful and clear

    (0) (0)
  3. Verified reviewVerified review – view originalExternal link

    Brilliant course. Very clear step through of all of the components of the day skipper theory. Lots of questions and answers to help test knowledge as you go. All content online but when I did need to get clarification of something response was really fast and helpful.

    (0) (0)
  4. Verified reviewVerified review – view originalExternal link

    Amazing, I had been thinking about doing this course for a while and finally took the plunge. The classes were interesting and engaging. Superb

    (0) (0)
  5. Verified reviewVerified review – view originalExternal link

    Combining both the online content and classroom sessions really helped me to pass this course.

    The online content is fantastically written with lots of interactive sections as you progress through the modules. I was able to work through these in my own time and at my own pace.

    All of our classroom sessions contained a mixture of presentations, videos, discussions , hands on exercises and plenty of help from the chief instructor.

    The course is worth doing if you are looking to pass your day skippers course!

    (0) (0)
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