Develop your navigational skills

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The RYA Coastal Yachtmaster Theory course offers advanced online training for more experienced skippers. It is delivered by Navathome, a RYA Recognised Training Centre specialising in online training. The course equips you to navigate safely on coastal and offshore passages and builds on the knowledge attained during the RYA Day Skipper Theory course. The RYA Coastal Yachtmaster Theory course will raise your theoretical knowledge to the standard required for either the RYA Coastal Skipper practical course or any of the Yachtmaster examinations, concentrating on advanced navigation and meteorological skills.

This course covers:
Position fixing and compass work.
How to plot a course to steer taking into acount tidal flow and leeway.
How to use GPS.
Use of almanacs and admiralty publications.
Passage planning
Preparation for sea
Passage making and ability as skipper
Adverse weather conditions
Emergency situations
Taking and interpreting forecasts .
Plotting weather systems .
Weather predictions using a barometer and by observation.
Collision regulations
Customs and excise regulations for cruising abroad
Tidal knowledge, heights and streams,  including detailed secondary port calculations.

The RYA Coastal Yachtmaster theory course is delivered online. It involves about 40 hours of study with support provided by an experienced RYA Sail Boat Project instructor, working on behalf of You will receive a pack of course notes and to help you after the course a post course revision pack will be issued. At the end there are three assessment papers on Collision Regulations (1.5 hours), Meterology (1.5 hours) and Chartwork (2 hours).

£300 Now £250 including all course materials – 2 x RYA training charts, almanac, theory book.

Note: plotters and dividers are not included, as this is a follow-up to the Day Skipper theory. If you require plotters and dividers, we can add them to your order for £15. Upon purchase of the online course Navathome allow access for six months. This can be extended for further six month periods at a cost of £30.

If you are buying the course as a present for someone else, please make this clear using the note section at the checkout and let us know the name of the person to enroll on the course.

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Pre course requirements

  • Navigation to Day Skipper shorebased ability.
  • Internet and email access.
  • Approximately 40 hours of time.
  • You will receive a pack with a training chart and training almanac

Course content

1. Position

  • Dead reckoning and estimated position
  • Satellite derived positions
  • Use of waypoints to fix position
  • Radar fixes
  • Techniques of visual fixing
  • Fixes using a mixture of position lines
  • Relative accuracy of different methods of position fixing
  • Areas of uncertainty2. The magnetic compass
  • Allowance for variation
  • Change of variation with time and position
  • Causes of deviation
  • Swing for deviation (but not correction)
  • Allowance for deviation
  • Different types of compass

    3. Tides

  • Causes of tides – Springs and Neaps
  • Tide tables – sources
  • Tidal levels and datum
  • Standard and secondary ports
  • Tidal anomolies (Solent, etc)

    4. Tidal streams

  • Sources of tidal information
  • Tidal stream information in sailing directions and Yachtsmen’s Almanacs
  • Allowance for tidal streams in computing a course to steer
  • Tide rips, overfalls and races
  • Tidal observation buoys, beacons etc

    5. Buoyage

  • IALA system buoyage in Region A
  • Limitations of buoys as navigational aids

    6. Lights

  • Characteristics
  • Ranges – visual, luminous and nominal
  • Rising and dipping distances
  • Light lists

    7. Pilotage

  • Harbour regulations and control signals
  • Methods of pre-planning
  • Clearing lines
  • Use of soundings
  • Transits and leading lines

    8. GPS and chart plotters

  • Principles of operation and limitations of use
  • Raster and vector charts
  • Datum
  • Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source and keeping a separate record of position
  • Importance of paper charts

    9. Echo sounders

  • Principles of operation and limitations of use

    10. Logs (speed and distance measuring)

  • Principles of operation and limitations of use

    11. Deck log

  • Importance of log as yacht’s official document
  • Layout of log, hourly and occasional entries

    12. Meteorology

  • Basic terms, the beaufort scale
  • Air masses
  • Cloud types
  • Weather patterns associated with pressure and frontal systems
  • Sources of weather forecasts
  • Ability to interpret a shipping forecast, weatherfax and weather satellite information
  • Land and sea breezes
  • Sea fog
  • Use of a barometer as a forecasting aid

    13. Rule of the road

  • A sound knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, except Annexes 1 and 3

    14. Safety at Sea

  • Personal safety, use of lifejackets, safety harnesses and lifelines
  • Fire prevention and fire fighting
  • Distress signals
  • Coastguard and boat safety scheme
  • Preparation for heavy weather
  • Liferafts and helicopter rescue
  • Understanding of cababilities of vessels and basic knowledge of stability

    15. Navigation in restricted visibility

  • Precautions to be taken in fog
  • Limitations to safe navigation imposed by fog
  • Navigation strategy in poor visibility

    16. Passage planning

  • Preparation of charts and notebook for route planning and making and use at sea
  • Customs regulations as they apply to yachts
  • Routine for navigating in coastal waters
  • Strategy for course laying
  • Use of waypoints and routes
  • Use of weather forecast information for passage planning strategy
  • Sources of local and national regulations

    17. Marine Environment

  • Responsibility to minimise pollution and protect the marine environment


How long will the course take to complete?
The course takes approximately 40 hours to complete. There is an initial access period of 6 months. Your course access can be extended at any time for up to two years after your initial or extended course access period has expired for an admin fee of £30.
Access lapses completely and your log in is deleted if your course has expired and you have not extended within two years of your course access expiry date.
Once you have completed the coursework and passed the assessment, your course is completed and your course access is terminated. You can request access to the revision course at this time.

What is included in the course fee?
The price includes all course materials to be able to complete the course and exam fees – Plotters and dividers, training charts and almanac. Email supervision/contact from Sail Boat Project instructors. Invitation to join our learners Whatsapp Group.

What qualifications or experience do I need to complete the course?
You need to be able to navigate to Day Skipper Shorebased standard.

How quickly can I start?
Course materials and online instructions will be despatched as soon as payment has been confirmed. On receipt you can begin the course.

Are there any exams?
There are three final assessment papers. The first paper covers the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (1.5 hours). The second paper is on meteorology (1.5 hours) and the third paper is on chartwork (2 hours). For commercial use the exams must be invigilated by a suitable person such as a teacher, banker, lawyer which we can arrange.

How is the course awarded?
Certificates are awarded on completion of the exams.

Can I do this course if I’m not a UK resident?

What qualification will I get once I have completed the course?
On successful completion of the course you will be issued with the RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Certificate.

Can I cancel once I have booked?
The pack must be complete, unopened and in an ‘as new’ condition. All materials must be returned. Access to the online course material is terminated immediately. You will not be able to claim a refund if the course material has been damaged or if you have no proof of purchase.

A refund will be made less a £30 administration fee. The cost of returning the student pack will be payable by the student.

What will I be sufficient in upon completion?
On successful completion you will have enough knowledge to navigate around familiar waters by day.

What can I do after completing the course?
On completion of the course you will have a good grasp of navigational theory and will be well placed to take your RYA Day Skipper practical course.

Terms and conditions

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