Day Skipper Practical

This practical course gives you a chance to take charge on short passages under instruction.

Course Journey


    You must have at least two days experience on a Motor Cruiser. Knowledge of basic navigation and helmsmanship is also required.


    This course aims to teach pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the standard required to skipper a motor cruiser safely by day in familiar waters.


    This page details the 10-topic practical component of the course. Please see Shore Based courses for the navigation theory section.


    You will be capable enough to skipper a motor cruiser by day in familiar waters.


    Once having undertaken the Practical and Theory components of this course, we recommend progressing to our Coastal Skipper Practical course.


This practical course gives you a chance to take charge on short passages under instruction with plenty of advice and help from the instructor. It is designed for tidal waters and must be undertaken in a motor cruiser of at least 7 metres LOA.

Pre-course Experience

You must have at least 2 days experience on a Motor Cruiser.

Assumed Knowledge

Knowledge of basic navigation and helmsmanship is required.

Course Content

During this course you will experience and develop skills in pilotage, boat handling, seamanship and navigation. There is also an opportunity to experience night driving.

Minimum Duration – 4 Days, or 2 weekends.

Minimum Age

This is course is for adults only.

Ability after Course

You will be able to skipper a motor cruiser in familiar waters by day.

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Below are the syllabus topics for the practical component of this course. Please see HERE for the navigation theory section.

Practical -

1. Preparation for sea

• Is able to prepare a motor cruiser for sea, carry out fuel engine checks, secure and stow all gear on deck and below

2. Boat handling

• Can carry out the following manoeuvres under power in various wind and tide conditions. Has understanding of the different styles of hull and propulsion systems
• Steering a straight course
• Turning in a confined space
• Anchoring at a pre-determined position
• Berthing alongside
• Leaving an alongside berth
• Correct use of power trim and tabs
• Awareness of other water users

3. Navigation

Is proficient in chart work and can carry out the following tasks:
• Taking and plotting visual fixes
• Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing
• Use of waypoints
• Working up DR and EP
• Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams
• Working out course to steer and allow for tidal stream and leeway
• Knowledge of IALA buoyage
• Maintenance of navigational records
• Use of echo sounder

4. Pilotage

• Can prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour
• Understands the use of leading and clearing
• Use of transits and soundings as aids to pilotage

5. Passage making

• Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking into account the relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat, weather, tide and the strength of the crew
• Has been introduced to practical benefits and limitations of GPS

6. Meteorology

• Knows sources of forecast information
• Can interpret shipping forecasts and use of a barometer as a forecasting aid

7. Rules of the road

• Has a working knowledge of the application of International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

8. Engines

• Checks before starting, whilst running and after stopping
• Periodic maintenance checks on engines and electrical installations
• Requirements for tool kits, spares and lubricants
• Can clean water filters and knows locations of impellors
• Knows location of filters and bleed points for fuel
• Knows tensions of drive belts and how to change
• Fuel consumption at various speeds and the effect of fouling

9. Emergency situations

• Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of man overboard
• Can operate a radiotelephone in an emergency to send a distress message
• Understands how to secure a tow
• Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue
• Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft

10. Night cruising

• Has experienced motor cruising at night, including leaving and entering harbour, and understands the special considerations for pilotage plans, keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night

  • Many thanks for the excellent and enjoyable “Day Skipper & ICC” course. Your patience and calmness helped to create the perfect environment for the course and I was amazed at how little I knew when I joined and how easy you made the learning experience. I will definitely be back for the Coastal Skipper Course.

    Michael Harding
  • I decided to change from sail to power in recognition of my ‘maturing’ years and it seemed prudent to take a Day Skipper course in motor boating to practice amongst other things, close quarter manoeuvring under two engines rather than one. This proved to be a wise move when Phil Jackson , the principal of Sun Coast Marine in Puerto Duquesa on the Costa Del Sol, put me through my paces and taught me new skills such as how to roll a boat around a buoy on the bow! A manoeuvre I had never attempted with a twelve foot bowsprit!! Consequently, it seemed logical to ask Phil once again to help take my new motor boat from Rotterdam to Gibraltar and combine a Coastal Skipper course with the delivery. En-route we practiced navigation with the new equipment on board and then just to keep me on my toes, entering a strange harbour at night with the equipment switched off ! Except of course, for the radar, which was our safety back up. Subsequently, I became a RYA Yachtmaster Offshore, but I still turned to Phil and Sun Coast Marine to help me return with my boat to Rotterdam for a small re-fit. Notwithstanding my new qualifications, Phil took every opportunity to test my skills and practice every procedure en-route. I have no doubt that I will be sailing with Phil again, a Skipper/trainer whom I consider to be the consummate professional.

    David Gray
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This course is a one day introduction to power boating where you will learn essential boating techniques…


This two day course provides the skills and background knowledge needed to drive a power boat and is the basis of the International Certificate of Competence…


This two day course is ideal for new owners, covering basic boat handling, engine checks and safety…


The more ambitious motor cruising skipper can improve his or her skills on a Coastal Skipper Course…


With this examination you will be set tasks to demonstrate your ability as skipper of an offshore motor yacht…


A comprehensive refresher course for those with sufficient sea miles, looking to take the Yachtmaster Offshore Practical Examination…


Shore Based Courses cover Day Skipper Shore Based, Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore courses as well as Marine Radio and Electronics…


This course is compulsory for all RYA Commercial Endorsement holders. It allows people to professional use their RYA qualifications…

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