RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Online Theory Course

This course is ideal if you're interested in water-based sports such as fishing, sea angling, diving or RIB driving. It provides you with the essential knowledge and skills you'll need for pottering about in a small boat - and best of all, you can study wherever and whenever you like.

› Why Choose Us?

What Will You Learn?

  • Safety - usage of safety equipment & basic procedures for staying safe on board
  • Engine checks - avoiding breakdowns on the water
  • Awareness of tidal conditions
  • How to use visual and electronic navigation systems
  • Pilotage - procedure for leaving and entering harbour
  • Buoyage - identifying and navigating types of buoys
  • Collision regulations - the 'rules of the road'
  • Considerations for using anchors
  • Understanding of the effects of weather conditions on sailing trips
  • Safe passage planning

Perfect for beginners but appropriate for all skill levels, the RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship Online Course is a complete introduction to the practicalities of being on the water.

The course is split into individual modules, each featuring easy-to-follow diagrams, graphics and animations to ensure your learning experience is always interesting and engaging. The more complex modules also include a "Try It" section where you can practice the skills you've learnt, and every module finishes with a Test It section which will check your knowledge.

You'll be supplied with a student pack which contains all the materials you'll need to supplement your online learning, and First Class Sailing will be happy to provide more guidance if you're struggling.

The Essential Navigation & Seamanship course will help you get the most out of nautical hobbies such as RIB driving and sea angling. By the end of the course, you will have built up a basic knowledge of what is involved in navigating a small watercraft, safely and confidently.

If you develop a taste for sailing and want to take your learning further, there's plenty of opportunities to progress. First Class Sailing offer a full range of RYA sailing courses, including Day Skipper and Competent Crew (which are the first port of call for those who want to move on from the Essential Navigation and Seamanship course).

For more details on the RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Online Theory course, get in touch with First Class Sailing on 0203 006 3717.

The Essential Navigation and Seamanship Online Theory Course is an online course.

The course is split into modules and each module is split into either two or three sections, depending on the complexity: Learn It, Try It and Test It.

Learn It imparts all the information needed for that module. You can work through it as many times and at whatever speed you choose.

Try It gives you a chance to practice the more complex modules before moving on to Test It. You can have a go as many times as you like.

Test It checks your knowledge. It is marked automatically and recorded on the site. You have two chances to complete it, re-visiting Learn It between attempts if you need to.

There is no pass/fail mark for the course, but you will be given feedback when you complete Test It. Your online instructor is on hand to answer questions if you get stuck and can coach you up to the appropriate level in order to qualify for the certificate. There is an email link on the site direct to your instructor.

  • Charts and Publications
  • Safety
  • Engine Checks
  • Buoyage
  • Tidal awareness
  • Visual and electronic navigation
  • Pilotage
  • Rules of the Road
  • Anchoring
  • Weather forecasts
  • Passage Planning

To check if your device is compatible see below.

Upon booking the course

When you book and pay for the online course, you will be issued with a pack of materials which includes everything you need for the course and a set of chart plotters and dividers. You will also be emailed an enrolment key and details of how to log on.

The materials include:

  • RYA Course Book
  • Charts
  • Training Almanac
  • Chartplotter
  • Dividers
  • Postage of Materials
  • Full Instructor Phone Support


Minimum requirements:
Mac or PC (not iPad)
Windows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.6 or later

Minimum hardware:
1.0GHz Intel processor or better
128MB free RAM
100MB free hard disk space
32 bit colour graphics card
1024 x 768 screen resolution
Sound card and speakers or headphones

Minimum web browsers:
Internet Explorer 6, Safari 4 or Firefox 3

Software requirements:
Adobe Flash Player
JavaScript must be enabled in your web browser.

A connection speed of 512kbps is required.

If using Internet Explorer 10 you may need to view the course in Compatibility Mode (see FAQs for advice).

You will need to switch the pop-up blocker off in your web browser.

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
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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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