May 16, 2012
The Day Skipper qualification is one of the most widely recognised worldwide qualifications in sailing. Most yacht charter companies will insist that at least one person holds the Day Skipper qualification before allowing them to charter a yacht.
The Day Skipper qualification demonstrates that the holder has a basic level of skills in boat handling and navigation. The course has two parts – Theory and Practical courses – which take you from being a crew member to being able to confidently handle small to mid-sized sailing yachts in day light hours in familiar waters. It is assumed you are already a competent crew member before taking the Day Skipper.
Day Skipper Theory Course
The shore based course includes a lot of the basics for those new to sailing: nautical terms, how to handle ropes and anchors, plus critical safety information. The course involves a great deal of training on navigation, including the use of GPS and electronic charts, meteorology, collision regulations and safety procedures.
The course does not assume any level of knowledge but is proving both popular and useful for experienced crew as well as novices, who are keen to learn navigation skills so they can skipper a yacht for themselves.
The course is often split into weekend or evening classes rather than being delivered in one session of five days.
Day Skipper Practical Course
The Day Skipper practical course provides the practical skills and knowledge you need to make sure you are able to put all the theory you have learnt into practice. You will learn how to handle a yacht effectively which includes preparing to sail, manoeuvring and mooring.
During the Day Skipper Practical course you will also be responsible for plotting a course, and making sure the course is accurately maintained, as well as mastering the critical aspect of piloting in and out of the harbour.
Part of the course involves practicing for emergencies, such as a man overboard or emergency towing, so that in a real life emergency both the skipper and the crew are able to respond quickly and efficiently.
The practical course takes 5 days to complete but assumes that you have at least some basic skills. It is therefore best if you have a week or two of practical experience on board a yacht or have completed the Competent Crew practical course previously, before undertaking this course.
The course can be taken over 5 consecutive days or split over 2 weekends (a short and a long).
What comes after Day Skipper Qualification?
You can go on to complete the Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster courses if you are feeling inspired following the completion of the courses above. These courses give you the skills and knowledge you need to sail and navigate for longer periods of time and to sail further from shore, or even around the world! It’s a legal requirement that someone on board must have a VHF Radio Licence, obtained by taking a 1 day course. So you should be thinking about doing this before or after your Day Skipper courses
First Class Sailing offers the complete range of RYA Sailing courses including the Day Skipper practical and theory courses. They have centres in London, Southampton (Solent) and Burnham (East coast).
You can book their complete range of sailing courses online at www.FirstClassSailing.com.