Southampton Coastal Skipper Practical Course (Starts evening 23 May)

Shamrock Quay, Southampton, 24 - 28 May

The Coastal Skipper Practical course teaches advanced skippering techniques for those wanting to undertake coastal passages by day and night.

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Shamrock Quay, Southampton
24 - 28 May

Student Instructor Ratio - 4:1. There will be a maximum of 4 students to 1 instructor on this course. The RYA allow us to take a higher number of students but this lower number allows for more focused and intensive instruction. It also allows for more space on board.

The RYA Practical Coastal Skipper Course is your next step after the Day Skipper Practical Course. It covers the more refined skippering techniques required for sailing in coastal and offshore waters.

In moving to this more advanced level, it is assumed you have navigation skills to the same standard as the Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Shorebased Course, and sailing training and experience to the previous course level.

The RYA Practical Coastal Skipper Training Course lasts for five days and must be completed over five consecutive days. On successful completion of the course you will be awarded a Coastal Skipper Course Completion Certificate.

Accommodation and food are on board and you will visit a different marina, harbour or anchorage each evening.

You can come and do the course by yourself or with friends. If your friends/partner wants to do the Competent Crew course they can do it at the same time you do your Coastal Skipper and on the same boat as yourself.

Looking for the theory Course? View Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory Course.

Like the Day Skipper course the Coastal Skipper course consists of skippered passages in a variety of situations however there is more emphasis on passage making. It is a satisfying and intense week. You can use this qualification to obtain an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) by sending the certificate to the RYA with an application form.

As emphasis is placed on passage making it is the one course that has to be carried out over 5 consecutive days.

Minimum Pre Course Experience: 15 days (2 as skipper), 300 miles, 8 night hours. Your level of experience will already be approaching that required for the Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence.

Recommended Knowledge: It is assumed you are up to Day Skipper Practical standard and have navigation skills to the same level as the Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Shorebased course. There is insufficient time on the course to teach the basic skills of seamanship, helmsmanship and navigation, as well as teach how these skills should be applied by the skipper of a yacht.

Course Content: Skippering techniques for coastal and offshore passages.

Ability after the Course: You will be able to skipper a yacht on coastal passages by day and night. On successful completion of the course you will be awarded a Coastal Skipper Course Completion Certificate.

A relatively tough week! You will be pushed and may well do a fair amount of night sailing. You will be assessed during the course and certificates of satisfactory completion will not be awarded to those who:

Are adversely affected by sea sickness to the extent that their ability to skipper a yacht is reduced to a dangerously low level.

Are unable to demonstrate sufficient ability in basic seamanship, navigation and yacht handling to appreciate the technique and skills required of a yacht skipper.

Demonstrate a lack of understanding of any part of the syllabus to the extent that it would be dangerous for them to go to sea as the skipper of a yacht.

You will sail and around the Solent. Here is a map of the Solent. As this course is about passage making you will probably venture further a field as well. Perhaps Weymouth, Brighton, maybe even across to France or the Channel Islands if the weather is favourable.

The Solent is a great place to learn to sail and get qualified. There are numerous harbours, bays, creeks, rivers, marinas and anchorages making it ideal to practice a whole range of yachting skills. Because of the large volume of other boats and busy shipping activity, the Solent is always fun and interesting.

The Isle of Wight provides some protection from the worst of the Channel weather, meaning the sea within the Solent can stay relatively flat compared with conditions in the open sea. But at the same time the tides in the Solent provide students with a challenge to their seamanship and navigational skills.

Accommodation during a sailing course is on board the yacht. There are almost always three double cabins and two single berths in the saloon which is a large airy space. This provides accommodation for eight people. However, there would only ever be a maximum of 4 students on board, plus the instructor for this course.

You will get your own sleeping space be this a cabin or the saloon. If you have booked as a couple/with a friend you will share a cabin.


There are showers on board, but most nights you will be in a marina with good hot showers and shoreside facilities.

Except for supper on the evening you join the boat, we cater on board for all meals. We provide food that is healthy and nutritious, including salads, vegetables, wholemeal bread, chicken, lean minced beef, salmon, muesli, and cereal. In fact, just the kind of food that you might buy yourself. For snacks there is plenty of fruit, but also a supply of chocolate and biscuits.

If you have any special dietary requirements, be it vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten free, or allergies, we can normally accommodate these. Just let us know when you fill out your booking form.


Our boats are based in Shamrock Quay, Southampton. Getting to Shamrock Quay is very easy. It's about an 8 minute taxi ride from Southampton Central Station, or 15 minutes from Southampton Airport if you are coming from abroad. If you arrive by car there is plenty of free parking and there is security 24/7.

Occasionally a course may start on one of our boats when it is not at Shamrock Quay. It may be very close to Shamrock Quay or in Hamble. We will give you plenty of notice when this is the case.

Start/Finish Times

We find it is better if you arrive the evening before your course starts. This way you can start getting to know the yacht, the skipper and your crew mates before the course really gets under way. If this is not possible then you need to be at the boat by 8.00am on the first day of the Sailing Course.

You can expect to get away by 5/5.30pm on the final day of your course. If you are catching a train we recommend you do not book a ticket in advance as we can’t guarantee you will get away at 5pm on the dot. It may be a bit earlier it may be a bit later.

The aim of the course is to teach the skills and techniques required to skipper a yacht safely on coastal and offshore passages by day and night.

Passage planning

  • Can plan a coastal passage including a consideration of the capabilities of the yacht, navigation, victualling, weather, ports of refuge, tidal heights and tidal streams, publications required and strategy
  • Knows customs procedures

Preparation for sea

  • Is aware of safety equipment required for offshore passages
  • Can prepare a yacht for sea including stowage, safety briefing, watch keeping, delegating responsibilities and equipment and engine checks


  • Can prepare a pilotage plan, with consideration of soundings, transits, clearing bearings, buoyage, port or harbour regulations and tidal considerations
  • Can pilot a yacht by day and night

Passage making and ability as skipper

  • Can take charge of a yacht and direct the crew
  • Can organise the navigation, deckwork and domestic duties of a yacht on passage
  • Is aware of the significance of meteorological trends
  • Is aware of crew welfare on passage
  • Can use electronic navigational equipment for planning and undertaking a passage, including the use of waypoints and routes

Yacht handling under power

  • Can control the yacht effectively in a confined space under power
  • All berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide

Yacht handling under sail

  • Can use the sails to control the yacht in a confined space
  • Anchoring and mooring in various conditions of wind and tide
  • Can sail efficiently on all points of sailing

Adverse weather conditions

  • Preparation for heavy weather and yacht handling in strong winds
  • Navigation and general conduct in restricted visibility

Emergency situations

  • Recovery of man overboard under power and sail
  • Understands actions to be taken when abandoning to the liferaft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescues

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing", Billy Connolly.

Whilst the weather sailing of the south coast is actually fairly mild it is important to have the correct clothing. We provide state of the art Waterproofs that are brand new every year.

Space on a boat is always at a premium, so you should pack your clothes in a soft holdall that can be stowed away in a locker. Bags with wheels or metal buckles should be avoided, as these may damage the woodwork on boats. You will need:

  • Sleeping bag.
  • Pillow.
  • Towel.
  • Warm clothing. It can sometimes be considerably cooler at sea than on land.
  • Fleeces and thermals are good for chillier times of the year.
  • A sunhat/baseball cap.
  • A woolly hat for cold weather.
  • Suncream.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Retaining strap for glasses/sunglasses.
  • Sailing gloves.
  • Non marking shoes (Trainers or deck shoes)
  • Non-slip/non-marking waterproof sailing boots (not agricultural-type wellies). These can be purchased from the chandlery at Shamrock Quay for about £40.
  • Waterproof clothing (unless you have asked us to provide it for you).
  • RYA Logbook, if you have one, if not we can provide one for £7.49.
  • Current passport (if sailing holiday or trip may involve other countries)
  • European Health Insurance Card (if sailing holiday or trip involves other EU countries)
  • Health insurance documentation (if applicable)
  • For clothing, remember that you will be outdoors most of the day. A range of sporty, layered clothing is best. Jeans are OK, but not ideal as they are hard to dry if they get wet. You want to be warm, comfortable and able to move easily. We provide waterproof Mustojackets and trousers free of charge. Just let us know your sizes on the booking form.
  • Soft bag for all your belongings (no hard suitcases please)

We provide all safety equipment such as lifejackets and harnesses.

What did you like most about about your course? Well-defined and beautifully balanced act between people, didactics and technology. Combo is rarely achieved successfully but it hits the bull's eye! How would you rate the support you received during your course on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being very poor and 5 being excellent? 5 no doubt. From the first feedback onwards it's guaranteed you are not alone! I like the way anecdotes and facts are sprinkled occasionally alongside the syllabus, like recent ship wrecks in the Channel, etc. This certainly makes reading more interesting as text books tend to be somewhat drier. Please use any occasion to exploit that approach. That enriches the reader immensely as it is first-hand knowledge in its purest form, and that is certainly difficult to obtain anywhere else. Well done. "


"The Instructor was an excellent coach and really took the time with our class to ensure we all understood all aspects of the course. He was patient and prepared to take the time to ensure we all had the best knowledge transferred to us. He was an excellent instructor and had a significant amount of detailed knowledge that was most helpful to me and the rest of the class. He is passionate and fully committed to his work and goes above and beyond to ensure you are capable and have a really enjoyable experience learning with him. First Class Sailing are well organised and the logistics, course material and facilities were all top notch "

David, Director

"First Class Sailing should be your only choice for embarking on any theoretical or practical learning experience you may require. Regardless of previous experience it is defiantly No1. Choice for getting the best start around your sailing experience requirements. "

David, Director

"An excellent outfit, well equipped with good boats and brilliant instructors, that is small enough to give a warm personal service but big enough to cope with the full gamut of yachting experiences"

Thomas H.,

"I am no longer scared of the engine, touching bolts etc."

Georgina, Office Manager

"Excellent instructor - gave freely of his experience - very dedicated and enormously helpful."

Colin McKnight,

"Professional and effective. Good equipment, taught by knowledgable and enthusiastic professionals."

Ron G.,

"The instructor was the perfect balance of show and tell mixed with letting you make your own mistakes safely. (The booking process) was all very professional and friendly. I felt the booking official actually cared about getting my booking right. Friendly, personalised, professional with out being officious. "

Andy C.,

"Excellent and I highly recommend to take any of First Class Sailing's courses"

Daniel O., Senior Manager

"Best Sailing School in the UK!"

Stefano D, Director

"Don't choose courses on basis of price. All courses are not the same. Both First Class Sailing Theory and Practical courses are 'First Class'."

Michael T,

"Great practical use of equipment. Good class size. Relaxed. "

Hannah T.,

"Good clear explanations and pragmatic approach, was very easy to follow. Excellent instructor."

Neil M.,

"Hands on, excellent instructor. Very professional, excellent course, 1st Class Service. "

Julian N.,

"Clear and focused on practical needs. "

Julein Q.,

"Concise, covered all relevant and necessary material without unneeded extra time. Instructor was friendly, informative and extremely competent. "

Troy B.,

"Good level of detail and experience from instructor. "

Robert A.,

"Good entertaining tuition. Lots of anecdotes to make it interesting, great practical experience."

Nick S.,

"The booking was well handled and the confirmation emails received speedily. Very helpful to receive pre course notes. Professional, helpful, good value. "

Sarah R.,

"Friendly informative courses delivered in a relaxed environment by knowledgeable instructors. "

Allyson F., Head if UK Retail Marketing, Henderson Global Investors
Book Here Today!
Shamrock Quay, Southampton
24 - 28 May
Monday - Friday

24 - 28 May

Monday - Friday

Shamrock Quay, Southampton

24 - 28 May

Monday - Friday

Shamrock Quay, Southampton

24 - 28 May

Monday - Friday

Shamrock Quay, Southampton

24 - 28 May

Monday - Friday

Shamrock Quay, Southampton

24 - 28 May

Monday - Friday

Shamrock Quay, Southampton

24 - 28 May

Monday - Friday

Shamrock Quay, Southampton

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Contact us
0203 006 3717
Our Locations

Shamrock Quay

William Street



SO14 5QL


c/o Cruising Association

CA House

1 Northey Street


E14 8BT

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