In this intermediate course, we help you develop your sailing and navigation so you can explore farther and escape to sea for longer. The Coastal Skipper follows the Royal Yachting Association standard of training and results in globally recognized certification.
The goal of the Coastal Skipper course is to develop your skills as a skipper beyond the basics learned at the Day Skipper level. At the end of the course you will be fully trained to act as the skipper safely on coastal and offshore passages by day and night, including experience watch-keeping rotations.
Coastal Skipper is taught over 5 days in a live aboard format. Contact us for details and see the full curriculum below for details on the topics covered.
You need substantial sailing experience before taking the Coastal Skipper course. This must include:
1. Minimum 15 days at sea covering 300 nautical miles.
2. At least 2 full days in command of the sailing yacht as skipper or watch captain.
3. At least 8 hours of experience on watch at night while underway.
4. Knowledge of all sailing theory, seamanship and navigation to the Day Skipper level.
We do strongly recommend that students take the Yachtmaster Online Theory prior to joining the Coastal Skipper practical course, in order to really get the most out of your time on the water.
Contact us if you're unsure about your readiness for the Coastal Skipper level and we will help you gain the necessary experience.
5% GST and 6% booking fee is added at checkout.
This is a live-aboard course for 5 days, from 9:00am on day 1 to 4:00pm on day 5.
This course is open to ages 18 and up.
Maximum of 5 spots available per course.
20% off for ages 18-25 at time of booking.
Included in Registration
You will receive 5 full days of hands-on training from our talented instructors to ensure you are prepared for some serious sailing! The Coastal 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. Please check the required and recommended items listed for live aboard sailing, as well as reviewing the section on what to expect life to be like on board. Find both on our FAQ page here.
Registration includes all food and beverages for the duration of the course, from lunch the first day to lunch the final day. We often choose as a crew to enjoy one dinner on shore during the course, students are responsible for their own costs on shore. Check this section of our FAQs for what else is included and not included.
Coastal 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. You will receive joining instructions upon booking.
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.
Coastal Skipper Course Curriculum
The Coastal Skipper course provides a mix of theory and practical training outlined in the following sections. The course is designed to increase your depth of knowledge of all topics introduced at the Day Skipper level and further hone your skills as a skipper so you are prepared and confident in embarking on longer passages, farther from familiar waters. The course covers:
Students will be responsible for performing daily safety checks of all equipment and systems on board, and describing what additional checks should be performed on a less frequent basis. 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.
Effective communication with crew, duty of care, delegation of tasks, good leadership, and essential steps such as filing a trip plan on shore will all be reviewed and put into practice. Students will also become familiar with ship to ship and ship to shore communication, including use of the phonetic alphabet and VHF radio protocol.
Menu planning, planning for re-provisioning in remote areas, understanding fuel and water capacity and range, and other aspects of preparing for longer cruises are covered.
Students are expected to already have a full working knowledge of international collision regulations, lights, sound signals, day shapes and both IALA A and B buoyage. These will be reviewed and knowledge assessed throughout the course.
We will introduce and practice a variety of crew overboard recovery maneuvers under power and sail. Procedures for first aid emergencies, fire, flood, grounding, abandoning ship, storm survival and other emergencies will all be covered in depth.
Students are expected to be familiar with 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; we will put this knowledge into practice daily during sailing drills to enhance each student's sail trim skills. Time and conditions permitting, we will introduce use of the spinnaker for optimal downwind cruising.
Power handling in close quarters, helming under sail in waves and in strong currents will all be practiced in order to ensure students can conduct rapid risk assessment and mitigation while underway.
Docking, Mooring & Anchoring
Students will have the opportunity to practice docking under a variety of conditions and dock configurations, including springing off and entering/exiting berths in reverse. Anchoring drills will include a discussion of heavy weather anchoring, the use of dual anchors, trip lines, how to stern tie and how to clear a fouled anchor.
Major emphasis will be placed on the importance of correctly calculating tidal heights in primary and secondary ports, understanding the causes of spring and neap tides, using tide tables and current atlases, and applying all this knowledge to passage planning and chart work.
Obtaining and analyzing marine forecasts, surface pressure charts and other weather information is a key component of the course. Students will be expected to understand cloud formations and what they indicate, weather patterns associated with frontal systems, the cause and characteristics of sea and land breezes as well as different types of fog. Students will use this theory to determine where and when to sail.
We build on the charting skills introduced at the Day Skipper level, helping students to improve their navigation techniques so they are prepared to navigate accurately both by day and at night (yes, night sailing is involved in this course!). Taking a running fix, plotting a course to steer with tidal vectors and leeway, and navigating with the use of depth contours, plotting DR and EP, and use of the various instruments on board will all be covered. Students will practice keeping a precise ship's log throughout the course, use some electronic navigation tools, and understand the limits of accuracy and margins of safety inherent in marine navigation.
Students will prepare passage plans each day and plan for a multi-day coastal cruise. This will include calculating trip timing for safe passage through tidal passages, harbour pilotage plans for entry by day and at night, understanding harbour regulations, assessing hazards along the route, safe harbour contingency planning, and various strategies for skippers to develop strong passage plans efficiently.
Join us for some of our cruising adventures or continue developing advanced sailing skills by participating in some racing events. Once you’ve accumulated considerable mileage and experience as a skipper, you’ll be ready to pursue our highest standard: Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore.
More questions? Contact us!