RYA Day Skipper Theory

RYA Day Skipper Theory Course

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RYA Day Skipper Theory Course Overview

Enjoy this Day Skipper Theory course. A comprehensive introduction to chartwork, navigation, meteorology, and the basics of seamanship. This online RYA course is delivered in video and text format, to give you flexibility and control over your learning. Made up of 15 modules with interactive activities and knowledge checks to get the most out of your distance learning experience.

This online course will give you more confidence and ability as a crew and even allow you to take command as a competent skipper.

What You Can Do With a Day Skipper Qualification.

RYA qualifications are the most internationally recognized yachting qualifications in the world. With an RYA Day Skipper license, you can charter a boat for your own holiday, across worldwide destinations. You can even work commercially as a professional seafarer, whilst building experience towards your RYA Yachtmaster qualifications. As a boat owner, you will be able to use your vessel to its full potential whilst enjoying reduced insurance costs.

The combination of the Day Skipper theory and practical courses will enable you to step up from crew to skipper, with the confidence and knowledge to take charge of a motor or sailboat. Be prepared to challenge yourself, the RYA day skipper theory covers a wide range of subjects and we have packed this course with important and useful content. Once you have completed it with Ardent Training you'll have the foundations to build experience as a safe and knowledgeable Skipper.

What You Get In This Online RYA Theory Course

On booking your course with us you will receive immediate log in details for 12 months access to the course website and app (app coming soon). We will post your Student Training Pack to you within 24 hours via express delivery.

RYA Day Skipper Theory training pack contents:

  • 2x Admiralty Training Charts
  • RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Notes revision book
  • RYA Exercises and Course info booklet
  • RYA Training Almanac
  • 2b mechanical chartwork pencil
  • 'Handy hints' bookmark
  • Professional quality Portland Plotter and Dividers.
  • Two lengths of Marlow rope

You will gain access to:

  • Our 'Knowledge Base' for extra learning resources.
  • The 'Communities - Student Forum', a place to engage with other students and Instructors.
  • LIVE SUPPORT from our Instructors via our chat window, email, by phone or video calls between 0800 and 2000 (UK time) 364 days a year.
  • RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Certificate on completion of the course and assessment.
  • 50 hours of video and written content for 12 months

How Is The Day Skipper Theory Course Delivered?

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You'll be led through the course module by module. We aim to cover all material in text AND video so that you can choose which works best for you.

Each module will be broken up into lessons and knowledge checks. We have designed the lessons to be as engaging as possible and the knowledge checks are implemented to consolidate your knowledge and keep you on track.

At the end of each module there will be a 'module assessment.' These will be made up of the official RYA exercise questions and will give you some familiarity of what the final exam will look like. Your answers to the module assessments are checked by our qualified instructors, your results are saved and you'll be given personal feedback on your progress. Have a question? Ask away, we have instructors on hand 7 days a week to answer your queries!

Still not sure? Why not check out our free trial

What About the Day Skipper Theory Final Assessment?

Once all coursework has been completed and when you have the instructors go ahead, you are ready for the end of course assessment. The assessment is broken in to two 1.5hr parts, that are designed to be taken consecutively. It's all completed in your own home, in a format that you will be familiar with from the coursework and you'll be given live feedback from your examiner.

Whilst this is not an attendance course and we cannot guarantee everyone who signs up a certificate, we do endeavour to coach every student to a passing standard and inspire them along the way.

After completing your Day Skipper Shorebased qualification you will have the theory knowledge needed to take charge of a motor or sail boat in day time. You will also gain an introductory knowledge of night navigation.

You will walk away with the RYA Day Skipper Shorebased certificate. To obtain the full RYA Day Skipper qualification you will also need to complete a practical part of the course at a practical centre of your choosing.

RYA Day Skipper Theory Course Content

Good Seamanship

Nautical terminology, ropework and tools of the trade. From compasses and chartplotters, to buoyage and radar.

Chartwork and Navigation

From how to find your way around a chart, to fixing a position and calculating a course to steer.


Calculating tidal heights and the rate of tidal streams is a key component to the day skipper course.


International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea, the 'rules of the road'.


From personal safety to processes such as abandoning ship and helicopter rescue.


Understanding the weather: Land and Sea breezes, fog, and pressure systems. How do all these affect us at sea?

Marine Environment

How do we best look after the marine environment and what laws must we be aware of? Find out about our responsibilities as skippers.

Plan your first trip!

Bring everything together and uncover the art of pilotage and passage planning.

  • Nautical Terminology
  • Charts
  • Buoyage
  • Latitude and longitude
  • Measuring bearings
  • Measuring distance
  • The compass and magnetic variation
  • GNSS
  • Chartplotters
  • Transducers
  • Radar
  • AIS
  • Position fixing including range and bearing, transits and three-point fixes
  • Rope materials and construction
  • Knots
  • Tidal theory
  • Tidal curves
  • Anchors
  • Anchoring
  • Dead reckoning
  • Tidal streams
  • Estimated positions
  • Course to steer
  • Vectors
  • International regulations for the prevention of collisions at sea
  • Pressure systems and the passage of fronts
  • Land and sea breezes
  • Fog
  • Forecasts
  • Personal care
  • Lifejackets
  • Man overboard
  • Stability
  • Fire
  • Distress signals
  • Helicopter rescue
  • Abandon ship
  • Safety brief
  • Pilotage
  • Passage planning
  • Marine environment

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Our Instructors

The Ardent Training team of instructors are passionate about sailing. Find out more about them.

Alan Denham

Content Creator & Instructor

Specialist Topics

  • Traditional navigation
  • Celestial navigation
  • Marine conservation
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What People Say

“ A very good way to study at your own speed. And probably you'll store the course contents more in long-term memory than any classroom based course can.”

Nethor Doct -Developer Jennifer Sun -Student

“ Taking the course RYA Day Skipper was a great pleasure. Very informative on a broad scope of various topics like safety, navigation and passage planning and meteorology.”

Nethor Doct -Developer Niall Cohen -Student

“ I found the course very informative, and the response time and support to the exams very helpful.”

Nethor Doct -Developer Elaine Thomas -Student

“The lessons were put together very well and easy to understand. ”

Nethor Doct -Developer Josh Smith -Student