The RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship course is our entry level online theory program, giving you an introduction to the basic skills required to be part of the crew taking a small yacht out for a cruise. It offers a great introduction to navigation and safety awareness for new or inexperienced skippers and crew, and those wanting to refresh their skills.

We recommend this theory course to students taking our practical Start Sailing or Competent Crew programs, as it will give you a strong introduction to the theory side of these courses. With this theory course under your belt, we will be able to spend more time developing your hands-on sailing skills when you join us for a practical training course!


None! No prior experience or knowledge required to take this online theory course. Open to ages 16 and up.

Course Duration

The online theory course takes approximately 6 hours, students progress at their own pace.

RYA Certification

Successful completion of this course will earn you the RYA Essential Seamanship & Navigation certificate.


Coming soon!

5% GST added at checkout
Includes shipping fees for student Course Pack. Note that there is a short delay after registration before you can begin your training as your Course Pack must be mailed to you.

What is Included?

  • Access to the online course for a period of 6 months. The course is fully compatible with any PC or OS operating system and any major browser.

  • A course pack including a chart, Breton plotter, dividers, course handbook, exercises and an electronic chart plotter CD.

  • Email support from one of Sea to Sky’s instructors.

  • RYA certification upon successful completion of the course.

Course Curriculum

Essential Seamanship & Navigation is a highly informative course with many interactive exercises to help reinforce the information and lots of chances to try out what you've learned. Our Sea to Sky instructors are on standby to help answer any questions by email if you get stuck!

Just some of the topics included in the course:

  • How to read a nautical chart

  • Basic buoyage

  • How to plot a position on a chart and get a position fix

  • Personal and boat safety equipment

  • Emergency and rescue procedures

  • Communication basics

  • Tidal stream and height basics

  • Anchoring theory

  • Electronic navigation with waypoints

  • Introduction to international collision regulations

  • Weather forecasts

  • Basic pilotage and passage planning essentials

What's Next?

Take the Start Sailing or Competent Crew course with Sea to Sky Sailing to put your theory into practice!  

You can also join us for some of our cruising adventures in order to gain more experience and mileage or start learning some techniques to get the boat going faster in our Learn to Race program.