RYA Day Skipper Theory

Video-Conferencing Course

Doing chartwork

Due to the continuing uncertainties and ever-changing rules around COVID 19 we're introducing a new video-conferencing course starting in February 2021.

This new way of studying day skipper theory will take place on two evenings a week, each 'live' session lasting for 2 hours, plus two sessions on a Saturday. 

Mondays 7-9 pm, Thursdays 7-9 pm and Saturdays 10-12 am and 2-4pm. 

The course starts on Monday 1st February and ends on Saturday 6th March. There are also two exam papers to complete and you'll need to set aside time for private study of the topics taught during the 'live' sessions. 

Cost: £335 (this includes the RYA course pack. However you'll need to provide your own Breton plotter and dividers). 

Direct bank payments are preferred or you can pay by credit card to a PayPal account.  Please get in touch if you're interested and we'll send you the details. 

FREE trial sessions available on Saturday 16th January for anyone unfamiliar with zoom meetings or unsure about this new way of doing day skipper theory.  When you book your slot we'll send you a link by email which you simply click to 'join the meeting' at the agreed time. We can then talk you through how video-conferencing works. 

In the meantime we recommend you take advantage of an excellent introductory course called Essential Navigation and Seamanship.  The RYA themselves created this excellent short online course.  It's a great way to prepare for your video-conferencing day skipper theory course.  And, you get a free set of dividers and plotter with this introductory course pack!  You'll cover the same material in Day Skipper but in more detail and at a faster pace.  So it's entirely up to you whether you prefer this headstart or not. 


The RYA Day Skipper theory course involves 40 hours of tuition. It covers the basic theory you need to know to navigate safely on short tidal passages by day. It's the required level of theory knowledge to undertake the 5-day, Day Skipper practical course.

Normally Bay Sea School teach two Day Skipper theory courses each winter. The first is on Sundays in the autumn, with a second course on Saturdays in the new year. Classes are held in spacious facilities at a local school, just 10 mins from junction 34 on the M6 motorway.  Due to Covid these courses are currently not possible.  The video-conferencing course is offered in the meantime.

What's Special About Bay Sea School?
The course is delivered by the award-winning RYA 'Instructor of the Year'. John is no ordinary RYA theory instructor. He's a Yachtmaster Instructor and Examiner. That's top notch in the RYA Instructor world! So if experience, quality instruction and depth of knowledge are important to you, don't miss John's next classroom Day Skipper theory course. Deirdre assists John with the class. She's an RYA shore-based instructor & professional violin teacher too!

Extra Online Facility
When you choose Bay Sea School you'll have access to John's unique online study feature. There are explanatory videos to remind you of some of the key things you'll learn each week and extra exercises if you want more practice. John's available during the week by phone and email to answer any questions during your course.

Day Skipper course pack

What do I need?
The RYA course pack and certificate is included in the course price. You'll need to provide your own writing equipment, notebook, pair of dividers & Portland course plotter. Scroll to the bottom of this page for links to buy the plotter and divider kit.

Optional Online Preparatory Course
With the 'Essential Navigation & Seamanship' course you'll get a free plotter and dividers with your RYA course pack! It's a short online introduction to many of the topics covered in more depth on the day skipper theory course. You can get started learning about navigation right now.  Day Skipper theory covers a huge amount of material & moves on quickly to cover it all. Many people really appreciate getting a head-start on this short introductory course. They like the free plotter & dividers too!

Day Skipper course topics include:
Use of both traditional and electronic navigation, position fixing, estimated position, planning a course to steer, tidal streams & tidal heights, weather, navigation buoys, collision regulations, emergency & safety equipment, making a VHF distress call on real radios, flares, life-jackets, life-rafts and much more!


"What an amazing course and instructor...
John Parlane thank you for sharing your expertise and for your patience." Justine 2017

Feedback from our clients suggests they prefer having more time between classes than is possible with the intensive options of every day for 5 days or three consecutive weekends. If you work full-time & have family life to juggle as well, you'll appreciate the extra time to absorb what you learn each class. We want the journey from beginner to day skipper to be an enjoyable and rewarding one for you.  

Want a Day Skipper refresher?
"If you don't use it, you'll lose it" is an all too familiar saying. If this is you, you might be interested in refreshing your knowledge on one of our Day Skipper refresher sessions.  These will be run via zoom.   

'Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore' Theory
You don't have to attend a Day Skipper practical course before moving on with your navigation knowledge. Day Skipper theory is a beginner level course. So it doesn't cover everything you need to know. That's where the 'Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore' theory course comes in. It's another 40 hour course. You use your day skipper theory tools to plan longer passages by night & day. If you're sailing in UK waters, you'll definitely need this level of knowledge to stay safe!  Our Day Skippers frequently ask questions about longer passages and tides that fall between the averages. These are some of the gaps filled in on the improver course 'Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore' theory.

Private Day Skipper courses & coaching
These can be arranged throughout the year though are a more costly option than the class. John has more availability in the winter months mid-week outside of the sailing season. Please get in touch for more details.  

40-hr Course Dates Start Time Places Left
NEW Video Conferencing Course: Feb 1, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, March 1, 4, 6, + exam papers.

Weekdays 7-9pm

Saturdays10-12 & 2-4

We hope to run a classroom theory course in the autumn subject to the COVID 19 situation.  Please join our mailing list to be the first to hear about new course dates. There's a sign-up form on the home page. 9.30 am  

Click here for course joining instructions