The Day Skipper course is our second level of cruising instruction, giving students the knowledge and confidence to skipper a boat on their own. We follow the International Yacht Training curriculum for the International Bareboat Skipper standard, which includes the highly valuable International Certificate of Competency (ICC).

The ICC certification really opens the doors for you to sail anywhere in the world as it is considered the gold standard of licensing by dozens of governments around the world and by charter companies in some of the most popular cruising destinations. The ICC is now also approved by Transport Canada in lieu of the Pleasure Craft Operator's Card (PCOC).  The PCOC is the mandatory boating license in Canada for operators of any boat with an engine.  Students no longer need two separate licenses for legally boating in Canada and abroad- now the ICC is your passport to sailing anywhere!   

The goal of the Day Skipper with ICC standard is to ensure you are prepared to safely skipper a yacht on your own. At the end of the course you will be prepared to act as the skipper for sailing trips in daylight hours and fair to moderate conditions, staying within 20 miles of shore. 

Day Skipper is taught over 5 days in a ‘live-aboard’ format, meaning you join the boat on the morning of Day 1 and you are on board until the end of Day 5.  In this intensive program you will rapidly develop your navigation skills including an in-depth understanding of tides, and learn to plan for longer and more complex passages. See the full curriculum below.


You need to have sailing experience before taking the Day Skipper course.  This should be one of the following:

1.  IYT International Crew certificate (our Competent Crew course) or equivalent certification.

+  Minimum 5 days at sea
+ 100 nautical miles on a sailing yacht
+ 4 hours of night sailing


2.  Considerable equivalent sailing experience and knowledge of sailing theory, international regulations, and basic navigation.  

+  Minimum 5 days at sea
+ 100 nautical miles on a sailing yacht
+ 4 hours of night sailing 

Sign up for our mileage builders to get the extra experience!

Contact us if you're unsure about your readiness for the Day Skipper level.


Before we can issue Day Skipper/ICC certification, students must have a VHF license to legally use the marine radio.  Students are welcome to register in the Day Skipper course and take the VHF course afterwards, but we cannot issue the IYT Day Skipper or ICC certificate until proof of VHF licensing is presented.  

Check the Canadian Power & Sail Squadron's calendar for a Maritime Radio course offered near you.  Courses are usually 8 hours including an exam to achieve the VHF Restricted Operator's Certificate (VHF ROC).  This is a legal requirement for operating a VHF radio in Canada and in most other jurisdictions around the world.


Register Now

Courses begin at 9am on Day 1 and finish by 4pm on Day 5.  This is a live-aboard course.

Maximum of 5 spots available. 
This course is open to ages 18 and up.
20% off for ages 18-25.  Contact us to access this pricing.

5% GST is added at checkout for Canadian customers.

Included in Registration

You will receive 5 full days of hands-on training from our talented instructors.  The Day Skipper program is not just an exceptional training course, it is also an adventure.  You get to live on a boat for a whole week!  You can expect a lot of fun and new experiences with a rustic level of comfort.  

Registration includes all food and beverages for the duration of the course, from lunch the first day to lunch the final day.  Check this section of our FAQs for what else is included and not included.

What to Bring & What to Expect?

Please check the required and recommended items listed for liveaboard sailing, as well as reviewing the section on what to expect life to be like on board.  Find both on our FAQ page here.

IYT Certification

The Day Skipper course requires both knowledge of theory and demonstration of practical skills in order to receive IYT International Bareboat Skipper and International Certificate of Competency (ICC), allowing them to charter sailing yachts all over the world.  Unless otherwise requested, students will be issued the ICC as the physical certificate at the end of the course rather than two separate redundant certificates which require additional processing fees by IYT.   

Your instructor will assess you throughout the course on your practical sailing skills.  Your knowledge of theory is assessed through a written exam at the end of the course with a passing grade of 75% or more required for certification.

The IYT and ICC certification indicates that you are ready to be the skipper on a vessel up to 24 metres in length, in coastal waters up to 20 miles offshore, and in daylight hours with moderate conditions.

Day Skipper Course Curriculum

The Day Skipper with ICC course provides a mix of theory and practical training outlined in the following sections.  The course is designed to greatly increase your understanding and confidence in all the topics introduced at the Competent Crew level, as well as prepare you for the additional responsibilities of being solely in charge of a yacht:

Safety Checks
Students learn how to check every aspect of a boat before taking charge (for example what to look for when chartering a boat).  This includes hull and rig checks, instrument checks, gas and propane system checks, basic engine checks, safety equipment checks, and ensuring suitable tools and spares are on board.

Safe Seamanship
We will cover good safety practices such as filing a trip plan and topics specific to skippers.  These include effective communication with crew, duty of care, delegation of tasks, and good leadership.

Life Afloat
Menu planning, planning for re-provisioning, understanding fuel and water capacity and range, and other aspects of preparing for a short cruise are covered.

Collision Regulations
Students are expected to already have some familiarity with the collision regulations, lights, sounds, shapes and buoyage.  These will be reviewed and knowledge assessed throughout the course.

Emergency Procedures
Crew overboard procedures and recovery, and actions to take for first aid, fire, flood, grounding, abandoning ship and other emergencies will all be practiced.

Sail Handling
Students will learn about true, apparent and boat wind, the combined forces of CE and CLR, and how to fine tune sail and rig trim to adjust lee and weather helm.

Boat Handling
All aspects of boat handling will be reinforced and practiced, especially maintaining control with, against and across strong currents.  Students will learn how to assess situations with strong currents and how to use them to their own advantage.

Docking, Mooring & Anchoring
Students learn how to assess conditions and develop strategies to safely arrive and depart from a dock, mooring or anchorage.    

Major emphasis will be placed on the importance of understanding tides and currents including the use of almanacs, tide tables and atlases, calculating tidal heights in primary and secondary ports, as well as general tidal theory.

Meteorology including weather patterns associated with frontal systems, the cause and characteristics of sea and land breezes, cloud types and formations, and precipitation and fog are all covered.  Students will learn how to use this theory in combination with personal observation to determine where and when to sail safely and enjoyably.

Students will continue to improve their navigating techniques and new concepts will be introduced like taking a running fix, plotting a course to steer with tidal vectors and navigation with the use of depth contours. 

Passage Planning
We will go into a great deal of depth on sources of information for passage planning, tidal gates and their implications for a trip, contingency planning, pilotage plans, and port regulations and reporting requirements.  Students will prepare real-life passage plans for a multi-day coastal cruise.


On Board Details

The Day Skipper program is not just an exceptional training course, it is also an adventure.  You get to live on a boat for a whole week!  You can expect a lot of fun and new experiences with a rustic level of comfort.  

We provide all food and drink on board the boat for all 5 days of the course.  Please indicate any dietary requirements on your registration form.


Day Skipper is taught over 5 days, from 9am on Day 1 to 4pm on Day 5.  We start and finish the course at our home port in West Vancouver at 5750 Eagle Harbour Road.

By Public Transit
Bus #250 between downtown Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay offers access with a stop at Eagle Harbour Road.  5 minute walk from the bus stop to the club.

By Car
Free parking on the street around the corner from the club lot.  Please do not park in the club parking lot as it is reserved for members and you will be towed.

By Bicycle
Marine Drive is a popular cycle route although does not have much of a shoulder on many parts of the road.  There are plenty of secure locations to lock your bicycle while sailing. 

What's Next?

Time to log more sailing miles to solidify the skills you have just learned as a Day Skipper!  Join us for some of our cruising adventures or start learning some techniques to get the boat going faster in our Learn to Race program.

More questions? Contact us!