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Coastal Skipper - A Guide

By Kenneth Rumball, Monday, 27th January 2020 | 0 comments
Filed under: Adult Sailing.

Chief instructor Kenneth Rumball details what's involved with Coastal Skipper qualifications.

What the Coastal Skipper is…

Firstly, we should detail what the Coastal Skipper and the Yachtmaster Coastal Assessment are and the requirements for each. The Coastal Skipper Practical Course is a 5-day course that involves intensive passage planning and the execution of such.

Prior to this, participants are required to have obtained the following; minimum 15 days at sea, 300 miles logged, and at least 8 hours at night and 2 days as skipper. It is also essential that you will have completed the Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore Theory Course. Successful graduates of this course will be issued with a RYA Coastal Skipper Course Completion Certificate.

To obtain a Yachtmaster Coastal (or to use its full name “RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competency”) candidates must complete a two day assessment and have the following pre-requisites; Sea time - 800 miles logged within 10 years prior to examination, 30 days living on board, two days as skipper and 12 night hours. Half of the qualifying sea time must have been accrued in tidal waters.

For holders of the Coastal Skipper Practical Course Completion Certificate the sea time requirement is 400 miles, 20 days living on board, 12 night hours and two days as skipper. Half of the qualifying sea time must have been accrued in tidal waters. It’s strongly recommended that candidates for the assessment attend a Yachtmaster Preparation Course, which consists of 5-days training and drills designed to iron out any issues that may crop up during the assessment.

The Yachtmaster Offshore has even more stringent pre-requisits and demands a higher standard of skipper.

Candidates must also hold a Radio Operator’s Qualification, GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher, and a valid first aid certificate.

Programme Dates…

Coastal Skipper Practical Courses 2020

  • Course 1: 2nd - 6th March
  • Course 2: 25th – 29th May
  • Course 3: 31st August – 4th September
  • Course 4: 19th – 23rd October

More Information…

Coastal Skipper & Yachtmaster Offshore Theory Course

This can be completed online, and requires about 40 hours of work. Training is interactive, with an instructor able to help you if you run into difficulty. 

More Information…

Yachtmaster Prep and Exam 2020

  • Week 2: 15th-19th February, Exam 20th and 21st February
  • Week 3: 11th – 15th May, Exam 16th and 17th May
  • Week 4: 19th – 23rd September, Exam 24th and 25th September
  • Week 5: 2nd – 6th November, Exam 7th and 8th November

Learn more...

Building Experience…

Clearly, sufficient yachting experience is required for each programme. To help candidates gain this experience we’ve designed a few programmes.

The first of these is to complete one of our short courses on Mooring and Handling Under Power. This can often be a challenge for even experienced sailors as there are a variety of different techniques under power that are often not practised. This one day course should help you feel confident in close confines of marinas. You can view details of this one day course here.

The second programme is designed to build up your sea time, navigation and pilotage skills. Over the month of July our yacht Beaufort Venture will be cruising the south coast of Ireland under the guidance of our experienced Yachtmaster instructor Gary Curran. He’s designed a number of 5 day cruises taking in beautiful scenery and small harbours along the South-East coastline. Rather than being just mile building passages, Gary encourages participants to take an active role in all parts of the passages, from planning to execution, meaning there’ll be plenty of opportunities to put all the various skills to the test.

Full information on these passages can be found here.

Further Questions…

We hope this guide answers some of your questions regarding these qualifications, however, we would expect that prospective students would have further questions. We’re very happy to answer these, so please do get in touch with us either by email to, calling 01 2844195 or dropping into our offices on the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire.

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