Minimum requirements for the RYA Day Skipper Practical Course

Strictly speaking, as a bare minimum, candidates looking to take the 5-day RYA Day Skipper practical course must be at least 16 years of age and have at least 5 days on-the-water sailing experience including 4 night hours and 100 miles logged. 

Candidates are assumed to have passed the RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Theory Course or at least have a good understanding of the course content to that level before joining the practical course. Whilst this is not strictly a prerequisite, it should be noted that the 5-day practical course is an intensive programme that will stretch you, even if you do meet the basic criteria set out above. The Day Skipper practical course syllabus does not allow sufficient time to bring individual candidates up to the required entry competence and a clear understanding of the theory will be required as it is regularly employed whilst sailing and during continuous assessment of the candidate.

Being human, most of us will look at minimum criteria and take it as read that we have the necessary experience and skill set, quickly dismissing the word ‘minimum’ included in the definition!

It’s worth bearing in mind that several of our experienced RYA Cruising & Yachtmaster Instructors have between 15,000 - 100,000 logged miles, so assuming that having 100 miles logged makes you ready to become a skipper is a bold statement!

Of course, many of our students successfully pass the RYA Day Skipper practical course, having entered it with just those minimum levels of experience, but we always recommend that if they have not sailed as skipper for some time or they have just completed their RYA Competent Crew course, they should at least take the RYA shorebased Day Skipper Theory course soon before joining.

In an ideal world, the perfect Day Skipper Practical candidate would have had a season’s sailing as crew under their belt and have studied for and passed the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course not long before joining us for the practical course. But this isn’t set in stone.

You will be assumed to know the theory (and you’ll be tested on it whilst on board), so joining the course without the requisite knowledge is setting yourself up for failure. That said, there are options open to the impatient or time poor amongst us.

We offer two specific courses that combine either the Day Skipper Theory and Day Skipper practical courses into one 9 day week (Friday - Sunday inclusive) or the popular Novice to Day Skipper course which covers an intense fortnight and is designed to take you from complete sailing novice with no experience whatsoever to qualified Day Skipper in just two weeks! 

The course covers RYA Competent Crew, RYA Day Skipper Theory and RYA Day Skipper Practical. All theory elements are taught in our waterside classrooms here in sunny Gibraltar. Students are welcome to stay on board one of our yachts for the duration of the course (free of charge).

For more information on how we can help you become a qualified Day Skipper (or higher) contact Jolly Parrot on 07925 784407 for a chat. Whatever the best solution for you, we’ll find it.

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