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Old 11 October 2011, 09:49   #1
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Shorebased courses: Dayskipper etc

I'm toying with investigating some shore based learning over the winter. I'm thinking of Dayskipper / Coastal Skipper type stuff.

There appear to be 2 options:

- sit in a classroom and learn
- learn at home

Whilst I can see some advantages to the former, the realities of life mean I am probably unlikely to be able to commit to several week nights on a strict pattern or a couple of solid weekends without family or work commitments getting in the way. On the otherhand I could quite easily find the time on an ad hoc basis to squeeze in 40 hours over the winter.

Even the correspondence courses aren't cheap. So what are they bringing to the table? Course notes, worked examples, the RYA sample charts etc - but I can buy all that from Amazon for much less than the cost of a course. Obviously they will provide a "tutor" of some sort - but certainly at Dayskipper level I can't see me using up too much of his time. So would I really be paying about 300 for an exam? I'm not that fussed about having a bit of paper. So am I being too cocky that Dayskipper is not that tricky if you work through the materials and examples in the books? I intend at some point to go and do my Advanced PB (probably coinciding with some future boat upgrade). That will require Dayskipper level navigation as an entry point, but doesn't insist on the certificate - obviously if I'm kidding myself on that I have that level of nav then I will be digging a whole for myself - does anyone produce on-line self assessment materials?

The Coastal Skipper type stuff is a bit more new to me so I can see the value in paying for specific coaching/tutoring on that. I'd be hesitant at jumping in at the deep end without proving to myself I really did know the dayskipper stuff though. Also, is the Coastal Skipper relevant to RIBs (not that I have a repulsion to other vessels, but at the moment the plan is to stick to reasonably fast power boats). I wouldn't want to spend that sort of money to discover it all assumes you are doing 4 knots and tacking across the wind...

Any thoughts?
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Old 11 October 2011, 10:23   #2
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if you have a reasonably comfortable level of maths (i.e. you will be happy with the more technical side of navigation) and experience of practical boating (which helps as it brings the theory to life!) and are happy in the way in which you learn fitting in with book based learning then I believe that you can def. learn that level on your own...

the RYA handbooks are very good (available on Amazon) and give you the information you need... looking at Costal Skipper:
- colregs - learn by rote
- tidal knowledge - simple process, learn and apply
- position fixing - simple to learn
- use of almanacs & admiralty publications - get hold of some and read them!
- forecasts - o-level geography - not difficult to learn, plenty of online info...
- plotting weather systems - ditto
- weather predictions - simple
- customs & excis regs for abroad - rote learning
- course shaping / plotting - core boating knowledge / common sense / etc.

for those who are competent boaters there isn't much in here which is taxing, so yes - possible.

however for those who are more nervous about how to learn / need the ability to bounce ideas of others to learn them / etc. - then a course may be more appropriate - it all depends on confidence / learning styles / practical experience / etc.

Alasdair
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Old 11 October 2011, 10:36   #3
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My wife and I did a correspondence course for our dayskipper theory, it was excellent but cant remember the company that we did it with, if you have a basic understanding of being on the water, half a brain and the will to learn then it is easy - although it's tough to see it through, unlike a classroom course where there are deadlines.

When I say it was excellent, it didn't help me remember nav lights for small motor boats
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Old 11 October 2011, 10:48   #4
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There is always a trade off between actual learning, getting valuable experience and obtaining a certificate when you attend any course whether it is shore based or practical.

It will come down to what you want to want to be able to do in real life and what your options are. All RYA Navigation courses are suitable for both power and sail but if you want to do the Advanced Powerboat Course, and good on you, getting the right Training centre/Instructor/support is very important as the practical aspect of navigating in an open boat on the plane is different from being "down below" doing 5 knots.

There is also the option of the RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship to consider which a lot of people ignore as being too basic but which I think is a cracker of a course as I work on the principle of "crawl before you walk".

But what ever course you decide on - it is massively important that you put the theory into practise. You can achieve a lot by just floating in a boat with a handheld compass, a Portland plotter and a folded chart on your knee and looking as what you see with your eye and what is on the chart. Try taking a 3 point fix - remember to change from magnetic to true or running a back bearing or navigate to a waypoint without GPS - all of this is great experience
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Old 11 October 2011, 11:40   #5
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If you're confident that you can teach yourself then the sailtrain.co.uk website is very good. In the navigation section there is everything you need to know, split into chapters with questions at the bottom of each so you can test yourself.

There still is a lot to be said for classroom teaching, I did a non RYA course equivalent to dayskipper many years ago when I started out. The course run using local charts so as we learned to navigate we were also getting familiar with the area at the same time. The course was run by one of the local pilots who was also coxswain of our RNLI ALB so we were getting tons of local knowledge/pilotage thrown in as well, stuff you can't buy anywhere. (RIP Mike Berry)

I've just completed my Yachtmaster theory online through Channel Ribs with a training centre called navathome.com
It was a pretty good course although there is little things that need to be ironed out with it.
I think I would've found the course much easier to do in the classroom, at that level it can be tricky to get the point across with the more complicated aspects when you're not face to face with a tutor.
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Old 11 October 2011, 12:21   #6
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This is interesting, I've been thinking along the same lines as Polwart and would have got round to asking the same question at some stage.

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Old 11 October 2011, 14:32   #7
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Interesting stuff just done my examiners update for Advanced Powerboat and talk is of upping the standards of Navigation to Coastal skipper .


Any way I offer online courses if interested 290 and you get me as your tutor .

Tim
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Old 11 October 2011, 15:02   #8
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I did my day skipper theory about 12 years ago at my local adult education centre. It was a very good experience, I bumped into an old mate from school and met a few guys from local sailing clubs so it became a decent social night out. The tutor was a local yacht owner so there was lots of good local knowledge imparted.

Being at 'night school' the price was pretty good too.

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Old 11 October 2011, 15:26   #9
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There is a major jump from Day Skipper to Coastal, and - although some people manage to do it - I would suggest that starting at Coastal is not the best idea. You will find when you do move up to Coastal that you're covering the same things, but in a lot more depth (like Standards to Highers) and having a good grounding in the basics will help.

If you do go for the home study route, there are several good providers (I'm not going to promote them on here, but pm me and I'll send details), and if you want any help with any of it - send me an email or give me a call. I'd be pleased to help if I can

Good luck with it. It is well worth doing
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Old 11 October 2011, 15:40   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ribochet
There is also the option of the RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship to consider which a lot of people ignore as being too basic but which I think is a cracker of a course as I work on the principle of "crawl before you walk".
Without wanting to blow my own trumpet - I am pretty sure that I wouldn't get what I wanted out of that, although it does seem like the perfect start.
Quote:
But what ever course you decide on - it is massively important that you put the theory into practise. You can achieve a lot by just floating in a boat with a handheld compass, a Portland plotter and a folded chart on your knee and looking as what you see with your eye and what is on the chart. Try taking a 3 point fix - remember to change from magnetic to true or running a back bearing or navigate to a waypoint without GPS - all of this is great experience
I think that is a very good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by martini
If you're confident that you can teach yourself then the sailtrain.co.uk website is very good. In the navigation section there is everything you need to know, split into chapters with questions at the bottom of each so you can test yourself.
Thanks for the tip.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tim griffin View Post
Interesting stuff just done my examiners update for Advanced Powerboat and talk is of upping the standards of Navigation to Coastal skipper .
I could certainly see the logic in that, since if I understand correctly Day Skipper (as the name implies) doesn't include night nav, which is an essential part of the Advanced course!

Quote:
Any way I offer online courses if interested 290 and you get me as your tutor
How do you deal with the client who isn't sure if he already has the required knowledge and would be paying 290 to relearn stuff he knows? You presumably have a similar issue for APB candidates - or do you just tell them all if they aren't sure they need to cross your palm with another 290 quid?
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