No More Non-Tidal Day Skippers


No More Non-Tidal Day Skippers

Until now, students taking an RYA Day Skipper course with us were issued with the RYA Day Skipper Non-Tidal certificate. From January 2017 there will only be one certificate. All RYA Day Skipper certificates will be valid in both tidal and non-tidal waters, ending the distinction between the two certificates that was introduced when the first sailing schools were set up in the Mediterranean.

In Greece, as in all the Mediterranean, the tidal range is so small that the area is considered ‘non tidal‘. This makes navigating and boat-handling here easier. You have only one natural force, the wind, to consider. In areas with a bigger tidal range you need to consider the effect of both wind and tide on your boat, and make plans accordingly.

Until now, if you wanted to sail in tidal waters you would either have to take a course in a tidal area, such as northern Europe or the Atlantic coast of Spain, or you could take a non-tidal course, followed by a 2-day tidal upgrade course at an RYA training centre in a tidal area.

Now you can take a course in sunny Greece and get the same certificate as you would if you took it in rainy Britain. Great news!

However, this change means that, in order to pass your Day Skipper course, you will need the same level of theory as someone taking their course in tidal waters. All students must be able to plan a passage taking account of the tidal stream and must be able to work out the time they can cross a sand-bank and/or how much water will be under their yacht at low tide.

Before coming on your RYA Day Skipper practical course you will need to ensure you have theory to the required level. It is not possible to learn the theory during your practical course; you must know it beforehand. This has always been a pre-requiesite of taking a Day Skipper course and now the theory must include an adequate knowledge of tidal calculations.

The RYA Day Skipper Shorebased course covers everything you need to know. It can be taken in a classroom over 4-5 days (depending on class size) or you can do the course online, taking 30-40 hours.

We are considering the best way or ways to help our students gain the theoretical knowledge they will require. There are several options:

Online Day Skipper Shorebased course

There are companies that offer an online course at the required level. You will have a tutor to help you and to answer questions. The advantages of taking an online course are:

  • you can work at your own pace & take as long as you need
  • you can do the course when it suits you, not at a fixed time
  • information is written rather than spoken which may help if you find some accents hard to understand

The main disadvantage is that it takes quite a bit of discipline to complete a 30-40 hour online course and some people prefer to have face-to-face instruction.

Classrooom Theory Course over 4 days

Many UK centres offer the RYA Day Skipper Shorebased course over 4 days and we are considering doing the same. We’d keep class numbers small – never more than 6 people. You could book into a hotel of your choice on the island (we can help you arrange accommodation), learn theory during the day, then go swimming or explore the island in the evening. The advantages of this are:

  • you have a live instructor to help you & to answer your questions
  • you have set aside the time to do the course so won’t get distracted
  • you have other students to discuss things with
  • you can make this part of your holiday by swimming or exploring the island when you are not in class

The only disadvantage is that you need to plan and budget for spending a full nine days in Greece to take your Day Skipper Theory + Practical.

Classroom Theory Course over Two Weekends

Our weekend RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship courses have proved to be extremely popular. You stay in a hotel on Friday & Saturday night and attend the course in our bright classroom with modern teaching equipment. At lunchtime we pop over the road to a taverna where you can try home-cooked food, and in the evening you can explore the shops, bars and restaurants of Aegina Town.

One option for next year is to run the higher level Shorebased course over two weekends, so you would do two days in a classroom, then your practical course, followed by a further two days in a classroom to complete the more advanced tidal work. The advantages of this are:

  • you have a live instructor to help you & to answer your questions
  • both theory and practical fit into a week + the weekends either side
  • you get a break from studying theory in the middle when you do the practical element

Depending where you live, you may need to take a day at each end of the course for travelling.

Online Essential Navigation & Seamanship (ENS) course followed by Weekend Classroom course

This is a sort of compromise between the options above. Under this arrangement, you would complete the RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship course online before you come to us. This takes about 10-12 hours to do. You then come for a weekend to study tidal theory and some supplementary material, such as light characteristics, to ensure you have theory at the standard you’ll need for your practical course. The advantages are:

  • you can come to Greece for 7 days and complete both courses
  • you can work at your own pace for the online material but get a chance to ask an instructor about anything you have not understood
  • everything is fresh in your mind before taking the practical

Which Will You Choose?

It’s likely that we’ll offer both 4-day and two-weekend courses at various times next year to see which works best. We’re doing a survey at the moment on what students would prefer. This will help us decide what to offer and when. If you’d like to complete our survey please .

What If I already have a Non-Tidal certificate?

At present the only way to upgrade your Non-Tidal certiticate to Tidal is to take a Day Skipper Shorebased course (if you don’t already have it) followed by a two-day tidal upgrade. We’ll keep you posted if these requirements change.

… you could always come and take a Day Skipper Plus course with us 🙂



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