Before you take the RYA Day Skipper course, there are certain requirements you must meet. The Day Skipper prerequisites are as follows.
Requirements for starting RYA Day Skipper include having logged at least 5 days and 100 sailing miles of which no fewer than 4 hours should have been completed at night. For the Day Skipper practical course, the requirements are that you have completed the Day Skipper Theory course (or at least have knowledge to the same level) and completed the Competent Crew course or have done some sailing to the standard of being ‘competent crew’.
You should also have done a few night hours before doing the Day Skipper. The RYA recommend 4 night hours. The syllabus of the Competent Crew course doesn’t say you have to do any night hours however certainly on our Competent Crew courses it is very rare not to do some night sailing. Either way these night hours can be covered on the Day Skipper course if necessary.
Where we say it is a requirement to have done Day Skipper theory before the practical, or at least have knowledge to that level, we will ask you what experience you have.
The Day Skipper Practical course is about putting together your theory knowledge and your practical sailing skills to help you to become a skipper and to start thinking like a skipper. There isn’t time on the Practical course to go over all that is covered in the Day Skipper Theory course, hence you either need to do the theory first or have knowledge to the same level.
It’s quite difficult to get knowledge to the same level without having done the course. It would take several years of crewing and even then, you would likely have some gaps.
With regards to the Competent Crew course as a prerequisite for Day Skipper, you will have to have completed about 100 nautical miles or so. This is the recommended number of miles as a requirement before taking the Day Skipper practical. Nothing beats a Competent Crew course in terms of quality of learning experience.
However, if you haven’t done the Competent Crew course but have done a reasonable amount of sailing so that you can skip the Competent Crew course then you should probably have done a bit more than 100 nautical miles to be sure you have enough experience.