The Yacht Skipper course teaches pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the required standard to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in tidal waters with which the student is familiar.

1. Preparation for sea 

  • The candidate is able to prepare a yacht for sea, including engine checks, selection of sails, securing and stowage of all gear safely on deck and below 

2. Deck Work 

  • Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions 
  • Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or alongside berth 

3. Navigation 

  • Is proficient in chartwork and routine navigational duties on passage including: Taking and plotting visual fixes Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing 
  • Use of waypoints 
  • Working up to DR and EP 
  • Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams 
  • Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift 
  • Knowledge of IALA buoyage 
  • Maintenance of navigational records 
  • Use of echo sounder and lead line 

4. Pilotage 

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

5. Meteorology 

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

6. Rule of the road 

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

7. Maintenance and repair work 

  • Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks 
  • Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes 

8. Engines 

  • Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system efficiently

9. Victualling 

  • Understands how to provision a yacht and cater for the crew

10. Emergency situations 

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

11. Yacht handling under power 

  • Can bring a boat safely to and from an alongside berth, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide 
  • Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing 

12. Passage making 

  • Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew 

13. Night cruising 

  • Has experienced sail cruising at night, including leaving and entering harbour. 
  • Understands the special consideration for pilotage plans, keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night. 

14. Seasickness 

  • Working efficiency as unaffected/partially, affected/severely ,affected by seasickness 

15. Helmsmanship and sailing 

  • Understands the basic principles of sailing and can steer and trim sails on all points of sailing 
  • Can steer a compass course, under sail and power 

16. General duties 

  • Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel