Difference Between Day Skipper vs Coastal Skipper?

4,027 views  |   March 8th, 2023 

First Class Sailing has been teaching people how to sail for over twenty years. Thousands of students have taken courses with us, including RYA Day Skipper and RYA Coastal Skipper. This short guide will explain the key differences between the RYA Day Skipper and RYA Coastal Skipper courses, and why we recommend this progression in your learning. If you want to compare Day Skipper vs Coastal Skipper, see below.

The primary difference between Day Skipper vs Coastal Skipper is that the latter RYA qualification lets you skipper a yacht in coastal waters by night and has an emphasis on higher levels of independence. RYA Day Skipper limits you to sailing in local waters by day.

RYA Day Skipper vs RYA Coastal Skipper

Day Skipper and Coastal Skipper are two different levels of sailing RYA qualifications, recognised worldwide, which give you the experience and tools you need to skipper a yacht.

The main difference of Day Skipper vs Coastal Skipper and the two levels is the level of experience and knowledge you qualify with, plus the important aspect we just mentioned – being able to skipper at night vs day.

Day Skipper is the lower level sailing qualification and is designed for aspiring skippers with some yachting experience plus basic navigation and sailing skills. The RYA Day Skipper Practical qualification is the sailing qualification that most charter companies, such as in the Mediterranean, require you to have before chartering a yacht.

Before you take Day Skipper, we ask that you have already completed the Competent Crew Course or have sailing experience to the same level; and have taken the Day Skipper Theory Course or have navigational knowledge to that level before signing up.

Upon completion of the course, you will then be qualified to skipper a yacht during daylight hours in familiar waters.  It is worth mentioning that you do actually do some night sailing on the Day Skipper course just so you get some experience of sailing at night.

The Practical Coastal Skipper Course is your next step up after the Day Skipper Practical Course. It covers the more refined skippering techniques required for sailing in coastal and offshore waters. This includes a more in-depth analysis of passage planning and skippering techniques, with a focus on preparing for challenging weather conditions and emphasising the importance of thorough preparation.

In moving to this more advanced level, it is assumed you have navigation skills to the same standard as the Yachtmaster Theory course level as it is a more advanced level of qualification that builds on the knowledge gained in the Day Skipper course.

This course is designed for individuals with a good amount of sailing experience and covers more advanced topics in navigation, passage planning, and boat handling in a variety of conditions. The aim is to make you a more experience skipper, and it is recommend you have at least 15 days experience at sea before taking part, two of which will be as a skipper.

Upon completion of the course, you will then be qualified to skipper a yacht on coastal passages, both during the day and at night.

If you are interested in either course, please contact us today to book.

Posted by: First Class Sailing


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