RYA Day Skipper Theory – The Best Course For Getting A Captains Licence

RYA Day Skipper Theory/Shorebased – Your Questions Answered

TimeMinimum 40 hours + Exams. 5-6 days in a classroom, or work at your own pace, anytime, anywhere online.
PrerequisitesSome practical experience is desirable, such as a Competent Crew course, but not required.
Min. AgeThere is no minimum age.
Exam2 x 90 minute assessment papers at the end to be taken under exam conditions.
AimA comprehensive introduction to chartwork, navigation, meteorology, and the basics of seamanship.

What Is the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course?

The RYA Day Skipper Theory course is a theoretical-based course aimed at prospective yacht skippers and keen crew to aid them in making better decisions on board. 

It provides basic knowledge to help in the skippering of a small vessel in familiar waters by day.

What Does the RYA Day Skipper Theory Allow You To Do?

The RYA Day Skipper Theory sets you up to be ready for your RYA Day Skipper Practical Sail or Motor course.

The course will also provide you with the relevant nautical theory knowledge to help progress you on your maritime journey.

Who Can Do an RYA Day Skipper Theory?

The RYA Day Skipper Theory course is open to anyone. Some practical experience is desirable, but not required. There is no age limit.

If you are a complete novice to nautical sailing, then you may also want to consider the RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship course. However, the RYA Day Skipper Theory course is also suitable for novices.

Can You Go Straight to the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course?

A practical experience in line with the RYA Competent Crew course is desirable but not required.

Anyone, can indeed, go straight into an RYA Day Skipper Theory course.

Where Can I Take This Course?

There are many thoughts on where is best, but to be truthful, it is what works for you best. 

Your 2 main options are in a classroom course or via an online provider. The 2 different types of learning suit different types of people.

Classroom courses benefit from listening to and talking to other students as well as having the instructor in front of you. Online courses benefit from being able to work at your own speed, repeat lessons and get a more in-depth learning experience as you are not working to a tight timetable.

At Ardent Training we pride ourselves on bringing the best of both of these worlds together with built-in discussions, live events, and student forums on our online platform. Also, every single lesson is recorded in video format as well as visual and text, to really bring the subjects to life.

You can take a free trial of our online RYA Day Skipper Theory course and see what it is all about for yourself:


How Long Does The Course Take?

The RYA Day Skipper Theory is suggested to take a minimum of 40 hours of learning, plus exam time. 

How this time is shaped can vary. In online courses, you can generally work at your own speed. In classroom environments, anything from evening classes of 2-3 hours a week to 3 weekends in a row, to a 5 or 6 day course over a week is possible.

Is There a Set RYA Day Skipper Theory Syllabus?

There is indeed a syllabus. Each of the following topics represents a specific part of the learnings that will be covered on an RYA Day Skipper Theory course in varying levels of detail.

Nautical terms, introduction to navigation, position fixing, ropework, tidal heights, anchorwork, chartwork, IRPCS, meteorology, safety, pilotage, passage planning and marine environment detail the various aspects of the syllabus.

Read on to learn in a little more detail about how each of these is covered in a little more detail.

What Will I Learn in an RYA Day Skipper Theory Course?

The RYA Day Skipper Theory course covers a wide range of topics and introduces many topics and important knowledge that will be useful not only for completing an RYA Day Skipper Practical Course but in all sailing beyond this too.

You will begin with learning some general nautical knowledge and boat terms that will lay the foundations for further learning.

Navigational instruments, aids to navigation, charts and publications will then all be introduced which will allow you to begin your positional plotting.

Further topics will be introduced to help build on these skills such as compass awareness, latitude and longitude, tidal theory, understanding tidal streams and how we plot our course will all be taught to gain a greater understanding of chartwork.

Ropework and anchorwork, while mainly practical subjects will also be touched on at this stage, allowing you to understand the principles of these.

You will learn about the rules of the road at sea, how we can tell if a risk of collision occurs, what we should do about it and even how to tell different boats from one another at night time. 

In meteorology, we will learn about the basics of weather, where we can get this information from and what it all means.

You will also learn all about safety onboard a vessel, both personal and the various safety items we have at our disposal on board and when we should use them.

As the course progresses you will learn how to bring all your newfound knowledge together in what is known as a passage plan, taking into account pilotage techniques and other navigational aspects we need to be aware of.

Finally, you will learn about the responsibilities we have at sea and why we should be thinking of the marine environment when onboard vessels.

How Much Does an RYA Day Skipper Theory Course Cost?

As ever, many schools differ in price and it is important to understand everything that is included within your course such as materials, available content and instructor help. As always, the cheapest is not often better.

At Ardent Training, our online RYA Day Skipper Theory is priced at £315 and that includes everything. A unique student pack with Ardent Training extras, free worldwide postage, access to materials and instructor help and of course, your end-of-course certificate.

What Is the Pass Mark for the Day Skipper Theory Exam?

There is no specific pass mark as such. This is more of a learning experience than a test. The instructor’s aim is to bring you up to a level where you have a satisfactory level of theory knowledge across the subjects covered to be able to put your new learnings into practice during your RYA Day Skipper Practical course.

What Comes Next?

After your RYA Day Skipper Theory, we suggest progressing on with your RYA Day Skipper Practical Sail or Motor course as soon as possible. That way, all your recent learnings are still fresh in your mind and you can use the practical tasks to consolidate all your knowledge.

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