RYA Day Skipper Practical

First step into the world of skippering a yacht. Hold on tight!

Course information

This 5 day course aims to provide you with all the skills you require to successfully skipper a yacht by day, and includes a number of night hours to boost your confidence at night work.

Most students will have completed a Day Skipper Theory Course before joining the practical, although this is not always necessary, but you do need to know your navigation theory up to this level. Please see our recommended list of literature below.

Over the 5 days you will cover berthing and boat handling in a range of situations, carry out several sailing passages, including navigation, and will experience life on board a cruising yacht. All food is provided (except the first evening meal) and this is a great opportunity to learn not only from our experienced instructors, but also the others on the boat.

This course is popular with those looking to charter yachts, in the UK and abroad, as it is often the minimum requirement for chartering.

Successfull completion

Successful candidates will be awarded an RYA Day Skipper Practical certificate. Successful completion of a course will give you the confidence to control a boat in basic circumstances and know what to do should things change, such as adverse weather.

This course will also enable you to apply for the International Certificate of Competence (ICC). This qualification is required by most European countries to validate your competence to own or charter a boat. The ICC, obtained via the RYA, will cover sailing yachts up to 24 metres in length, in inshore and coastal areas.

Course syllabus

Preparation for sea, deck work, navigation, pilotage, meteorology, rules of the road, maintenance and repair work, engines, victualling, emergency situations, yacht handling under power, yacht handling under sail, passage making, night cruising

Other information

Age requirements: 11 to 17 accompanied by parent or guardian. Over 18 – no guardian required!

Minimal experience: 5 days aboard, 100 nautical miles logged, 4 night hours. Basic sailing ability and a knowledge of navigation to the level of the RYA Day Skipper Theory.

Duration: 5 days, Start time of the course 18.00, end time of the course 15.00

Maximum number of students per boat: 4 or 5

What’s included: All food on board, fuel, marina fees, pillow and pillow case

Not included: Sleeping bag hire (available at £15 per 5 days), wet weather gear hire (available at £25 per 5 days). For details of what you should bring please have a look here.

Additional courses VHF, First Aid



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Course dates

Number of people

Experience to date and special requests.

Available dates

  • 02 – 07 March
  • 07 – 12 March
  • 06 – 11 April
  • 11 – 16 April
  • 27 April – 02 May
  • 02 – 07 May
  • 01 – 06 June
  • 06 – 11 June
  • 13 – 18 July
  • 18 – 23 July
  • 17 – 22 August
  • 22 – 27 August
  • 07 – 12 September
  • 12 – 17 September
  • 05 – 10 October
  • 10 – 15 October
  • 02 – 07 November
  • 07 – 12 November

Telephone payment

Not sure about paying online? No problem, call us and we can take payment over the phone. Or if you have any questions, we are here!

01273 987 087 or 07980 213 020

I came for a 5 days course and it was freeezing! I did come in February though, so serves me right. There was a proper heater onboard though, so we we fine. The course structure was excellent, Aubrey [instructor] really knew his stuff and it was fun. Lots of mooring, which is what I was after. Feel much more confident now, and thanks for the pies, v. good 🙂

James Clover

IT Consultant

Staying in a different marina every night was the highlight for me. This is what cruising is about, I guess, so not coming back to Mercury was ideal, I got to know the Solent pretty well. Lee [instructor] was good at stepping back and letting us do it ourselves, which was very useful. Thanks again, and see you next year!

Dan Collier


Hi guys, just a quick note to say THANKS! I was really nervous, but it was all good in the end. We just practiced every day and little by little I figured it out, I can moor! Still a little nervous, but the basics are there now, I understand what needs to be done. I’ll come back for the mile building, I think. All in all, the course was well structured, very much hands on and I liked the boat, very plush :J Thanks for a great week!

Elena Godfrey

Projects director, WorldVision UK