RYA Day Skipper Shorebased

RYA Day Skipper shorebasedThis can be taken as a 5 day intensive course, 2 weekend or over 16 evenings. Held in our comfortable classes in Galway Harbour Enterprise park, you will be taught by experienced, friendly instructors who will take you through the course with professionalism & understanding. A comprehensive introduction to chartwork, navigation, weather & the basics of seamanship.

RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Training CourseThis is an invaluable course in learning how to start making decisions on board, & thinking about taking the RYA Day Skipper practical course. The course covers navigation around familiar waters by day & gives a basic knowledge of night lights, weather & IRPCS. There are 2 assessment papers during the course to see if you have taken everything onboard. The first is based on chartwork and navigation, & the second is a more generic overview of the subject.

  • Course Type: Theory
  • Required Experience: Some practical experience desirable but not essential
  • Assumed Knowledge: None
  • Course Content: Basic seamanship and introduction to navigation and meteorology
  • Ability After Course: The syllabus arms would-be skippers with enough knowledge to navigate around familiar waters by day. A basic knowledge of lights, weather and IRPCS is also included.
  • Duration: 40 hours and 2 assessment papers
  • Cost: €595 including charts, books, course notes, exercises and tea or coffee.

To get the most out of doing a Navigation course like this it is best to follow it up with either Day Skipper Sail or Day Skipper Power. Also having VHF Short Range Radio, First Aid, Diesel engine or Sea Survival done can be beneficial as you can develop these skill in parallel with your Day Skipper Skills. 

RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship

 RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship training courseThe courses are designed to help learn the skills of navigation, pilotage, passage planning and meteorology. They are great as stand alone courses, but also complement our various practical courses.

Whether you are a sailor or drive a power boat, our shorebased courses equip would-be and experienced skippers with enough knowledge, at least in theory, to go afloat and take charge. The next logical step is to attend one of our practical courses.

Bow Waves provide a unique pack with tools, books and information most others don't provide.

  • Course Type: Theory
  • Required Experience: None
  • Assumed Knowledge: None
  • Course Content:Basic navigation, sailing and seamanship training course
    • How to read, use, and understand charts
    • Chart terminology
    • Anchoring
    • The use of position lines
    • Rules of the Sea
    • Variation & deviation
    • Lights and Shapes
    • Fixes
    • Signals
    • Tides & Weather
    • VHF procedure
    • Pilotage
    • Passage planning
    • Echo sounders and logs
    • Maintaining accurate Logbooks

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Exam Prep.

It is recomended that the Yachtmaster Offshore Preparation is completed before the exam as this gives the candidate a higher chance of success.

The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence Syllabus - Yachtmaster Offshore Exam Syllabi (RYA MCA) - Candidates may be given the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge or competence in the areas listed below

In each section the examiner will expect to see the candidate take full responsibility for the management of the yacht and crew. In RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exams the candidate will be expected to demonstrate competence based on broad experience.

International Regulations for preventing Collisions at Sea

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Exam prep and Exam(Power)Questions will be confirmed to the International Regulations and although Yachtmaster candidates must be aware of the existence of Local Regulations they will not be expected to memorise specific local regulations:

  • General rules (1-3)
  • Steering and sailing rules (4-19)
  • Lights and shapes (20-31)
  • Sound and light signals (32-37)
  • Signals for vessels fishing in close proximity (Annex II)
  • Distress signals (Annex IV)

Enquire about this course


Yachtmaster Candidates will be expected to know what safety equipment should be carried on board a Motorboat, based either on the recommendations in RYA booklet C8, the Special Regulations of the ORC or the Codes of Practice for the Safety of Small Commercial Vessels. In particular, candidates must know the responsibilities of a skipper in relation to:

  • Safety harnesses
  • Lifejackets
  • Distress flares
  • Fire prevention and fighting
  • Liferafts
  • Knowledge of rescue procedures. Helicopter rescue.

Boat Handling

  • Candidates for Yachtmaster Offshore exam will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate ability in more complex situations and will also be expected to show a higher level of expertise:
  • Coming to and weighing anchor, under power in various conditions of wind and tide
  • All berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide
  • Recovery of man overboard
  • Towing, under open sea conditions and in confined areas
  • Boat handling in confined areas
  • Boat handling in heavy weather Helmsmanship to best advantage Use of warps for securing in an alongside berth and for shifting berth or winding

General Seamanship & Maintenance

  • Properties, use and care of synthetic fibre ropes
  • Knots
  • General deck-work, at sea and in harbour
  • Engine operations and routine checks
  • Improvisation of jury rigs following gear failure Responsibilities of Skipper
  • Can skipper a Motorboat and manage the crew
  • Communication with crew
  • Delegation of responsibility and watch-keeping organisation
  • Preparing Motorboat for sea and for adverse weather
  • Tactics for heavy weather and restricted visibility
  • Emergency and distress situations
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Exam Prep. Victualling for a cruise and feeding at sea
  • Customs procedures
  • Standards of behaviour and courtesy Navigation
  • Charts, navigational publications and sources of navigational information
  • Chartwork, including position fixing and shaping course to allow for tidal stream and leeway
  • Tide and tidal stream calculations
  • Buoyage and visual aids to navigation
  • Instruments, including compasses, logs, echo sounders, radio navaids and chartwork instruments
  • Passage planning and navigational tactics
  • Pilotage techniques
  • Navigational records
  • Limits of navigational accuracy and margins of safety
  • Lee shore dangers
  • Use of Radar and electronic navigation aids for passage planning and passage navigation
  • Use of waypoints and electronic routing Meteorology
  • Definition of terms
  • Sources of weather forecasts
  • Weather systems and local weather effects
  • Interpretation of weather forecasts, barometric trends and visible phenomena
  • Ability to make passage planning decisions based on forecast information Signals

Course programme

  • Exam Type: Practical may have theory assessment.
  • Required Experience: A restricted (VHF only) Radio Operators Certificate or a GMDSS Short Range Certificate or higher grade of marine radio certificate. A valid first aid certificate. 50 days, 2,500 miles including at least 5 passages over 60 miles measured along the rhumb line from the port of departure to the destination, acting as skipper for at least two of these passages and including two which have involved overnight passages. 5 days experience as skipper. At least half this mileage and passages must be in tidal waters. All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years prior to the exam.
  • Assumed Knowledge: Navigation, Meteorology, Collision Regulations, Safety and Passage Planning up to Yachtmaster and above standard
  • Exam Content: Navigation, Meteorology, Collision Regulations, Safety and Passage Planning up to Yachtmaster and above standard.
  • Ability After Course: RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Power. Skipper boats up to 200 tonne or 80 foot.
  • Minimum Duration: 8-12 hours for 1 candidate, 10-18 hours for 2 candidates. No more than two candidates can be examined in 24 hours. day and night.



RYA Coastal Skipper

RYA Coastal Skipper courseThe RYA Coastal Skipper course is suitable for more advanced skippers who have a practical ability to RYA Day Skipper level, a knowledge of; navigation, meteorology, collision regulations safety and passage planning up to RYA Coastal Skipper / RYA Yachtmaster Shorebased standard; and have logged a minimum of 15 days onboard (2 days as skipper), 8 night hours and 300 miles. Additional mileage attained on the course will count towards the minimum pre-exam requirements.

The course concentrates on the techniques and skills required to skipper a yacht on passages involving more complex decision making, cruise planning, navigation, and pilotage. A passage of longer duration, with particular emphasis placed on watch keeping techniques will usually be undertaken to demonstrate how to manage the yacht on such a passage.

RYA Coastal Skipper training courseIn addition, you will be given the opportunity to improve your close quarters boat handling skills under power and sail. Preparation of the yacht for heavy weather cruising and navigation in restricted visibility is also discussed and practiced. By the end of this course the successful Coastal Skipper will have sufficient knowledge to skipper a yacht safely on long coastal and offshore passages by day and night, in both tidal and non-tidal waters. This course is suitable those who wish to go on to take the RYA / MCA  Coastal Skipper examination. Candidates must also hold the Restricted (VHF only) Radio Operator's Certificate, RYA SRC VHF Radio (Short Range Certificate) and RYA First Aid Certificate or recognised alternatives. 5 Days RYA course completion certificate; plus weekend examination by an independent examiner if the full RYA / MCA Coastal Skipper certificate of competency is required.

  • Course Type: Practical
  • Required Experience: Practical ability to Day Skipper level
  • Assumed Knowledge: Navigation, Meteorology, Collision Regulations, Safety and Passage Planning up to Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster shore based standard
  • Course Content: Skippering techniques for passage planning.
  • Ability After Course: Skipper a yacht on coastal passages by day and night.
  • Minimum Duration:5 Days continuous

RYA Day Skipper

RYA Day Skipper courseAfter completing the day skipper theory course you will put into practice all that you have learned in the classroom when each person is given the opportunity to navigate and take control of the yacht on short coastal passages. Your instructor is there to ensure that your first, perhaps hesitant steps as skipper are taken in safety. You will be given the opportunity to practice your boat handling in a variety of mooring situations, and whilst at sea your instructor will cover subjects such as watch keeping, deck work, sail trim and how to cope in emergency situations.

RYA Day Skipper course, Yacht Sailing Training Course

  • Course Type: Practical
  • Required Experience: Basic sailing ability
  • Assumed Knowledge: Navigation to Day Skipper shore based theory course
  • Course Content: A skipper is totally responsible for the management of a yacht, so the course also includes meteorology, basic engine checks, passage planning, preparing the yacht for sea, and rules of the road. Night sailing is also undertaken to give you a taste of pilotage in the dark.
  • Ability After Course: Able to undertake short coastal passages by day, in both tidal and non-tidal waters. Successful completion of this course means that you can charter a yacht.
  • Duration: 5 Days continuous or 3 weekends

RYA Competent Crew

RYA Competent Crew introductory sailing courseRYA Competent crew training courseRYA Competent Crew is the basic RYA introductory sailing course for both the complete beginner and those who have some experience of either dinghy sailing or cruising. The RYA Competent Crew course can be completed by attending either five days or over weekends. The Competent Crew course is planned to give you as much fun and enjoyment as possible. While you learn to sail you will be taught about safety at sea and will be given lots of competent crewing opportunities. Master the RYA Competent Crew skills of steering, changing sails, reefing and tying the essential knots. Living onboard throughout the RYA Competent Crew course, each night is spent in new place, allowing you to savour the delights of a real cruising experience.

  • Course Type: Practical, some theory
  • Required Experience: None
  • Assumed Knowledge:
  • Course Content: Steering, changing sails, reefing and tying the essential knots.
  • Ability After Course: By the end of this course the successful RYA Competent Crew will have sufficient knowledge and skill to be a useful and able crew member on any sailing yacht.
  • Minimum Duration: 5 Days continuous or 3 week ends
  • Cost: On Enquiry

RYA Start Yachting

RYA Start Yachting Traning CourseRYA Start Yachting - Beginners Sailing CourseIf you want to find out whether you might love sailing then this is the course for you. You do not need to have any previous sailing experience. It provides an opportunity to be involved in handling the boat under sail and power and can be completed over a weekend. By the end of the course participants will have experienced steering the yacht, sail handling, rope work and be aware of safety on board.

  • Course Type: Practical
  • Required Experience: None
  • Assumed Knowledge: None
  • Course Content: Cruising and exploring. Elements out of competent crew.
  • Ability After Course: Have experienced the fun and adventure of a Cruising yacht. Understands the basic safety and running of a yacht.
  • Duration: 2 Day
  • Cost: On Enquiry