Day Skipper & Watch Leader Practical Course Syllabus Tidal

The Day Skipper Course is conducted on board a cruising yacht (7 to 13m LOA), to teach pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the standard required to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in tidal waters with which the student is familiar. The Watch Leader Course is conducted on board a large yacht or sail training vessel, to teach navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the standard required to take charge of a watch on deck, at sea or in harbour. The Watch Leader syllabus can be conducted in tidal or non-tidal waters.

By the end of the course, the student is expected to have demonstrated their ability in the following areas.

Section A – (All candidates)

  1. Preparation for sea
    • Ability to prepare a yacht for sea, including engine checks, selection of sails, securing and stowage of all gear on deck and below.
  2. Deck work
    • Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions.
    • Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or an alongside berth.
  3. Navigation – Is proficient in chartwork and routine navigational duties on passage including:
    • Taking and plotting visual fixes.
    • Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing.
    • Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams.
    • Use of waypoints.
    • Working up DR and EP.
    • Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift.
    • Knowledge of IALA buoyage.
    • Maintenance of navigational records.
    • Use of echo sounder and lead line.
  4. Pilotage
    • Can prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour.
    • Understands the use of leading and clearing lines.
    • Use of transits and soundings as aids to pilotage.
  5. Meteorology
    • Knows sources of forecast information.
    • Can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid.
  6. Rule of the road
    • Has a working knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
  7. Maintenance and repair work
    • Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks.
    • Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes.
  8. Engines
    • Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system.
  9. Victualling
    • Understands how to victual a yacht.
  10. Emergency situations
    • Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of a man overboard.
    • Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft.
    • Can operate a radio telephone in an emergency and send a distress message.
    • Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue.
    • Understands how to secure a tow.
  11. Section B – (Sail Training Candidates only – Watch Leader)

  12. General organisation
    • Understands the organisation and is fully competent to take charge of a watch at sea and in harbour.
  13. Section C – (Yachting Candidates only – Day Skipper)

  14. Yacht handling under power
    • Can bring a boat safely to and from and alongside berth, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide.
  15. Yacht handling under sail
    • Can bring a yacht safely to and from a mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide.
    • Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing.
  16. Passage making
    • Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew.