Nautical terms

  • Parts of a boat and hull
  • General nautical terminology


  • Knowledge of the properties of synthetic ropes in common use


  • Characteristics of different types of anchor
  • Considerations to be taken into account when anchoring


  • Knowledge of the safety equipment to be carried, its stowage and use (see RYA Boat Safety Handbook C8)
  • Fire precautions and fire fighting
  • Use of personal safety equipment, harness and lifejackets, Ability to send a distress signal by VHF radiotelephone, Basic knowledge of rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

  • Steering and sailing rules (5,7,8,9,10 and 12-19)
  • General rules (all other rules)

Definition of position, course and speed

  • Latitude and longitude
  • Knowledge of standard navigational terms  
  • True bearings and courses
  • The knot

Navigational charts and publications                                                                                                  

  • Information shown on charts, chart symbols and representation of direction and distance
  • Navigational publications in common use
  • Chart corrections

Navigational drawing instruments

  • Use of parallel rulers, dividers and proprietary plotting instruments


  • Application of variation
  • Awareness of deviation and its causes
  • Use of hand-bearing compass


  • Dead reckoning and estimated position including an awareness of leeway
  • Techniques of visual fixing
  • Satellite-derived positions 
  • Use of waypoints to fix position 
  • Course to steer

Tides and tidal streams

  • Tidal definitions, levels and datum
  • Tide tables
  • Use of Admiralty method of determining tidal height at standard port and awareness of corrections for secondary ports
  • Use of tidal diamonds and tidal stream atlases for chartwork
  • Visual aids to navigation
  • Lighthouses and beacons, light characteristics


  • Sources of broadcast meteorological information
  • Knowledge of terms used in shipping forecasts, including the Beaufort scale, and their significance to small craft
  • Basic knowledge of highs, lows and fronts

Passage planning

  • Preparation of navigational plan for short coastal passagesb. Meteorological considerations in planning short coastal passages
  • Use of waypoints on passaged. Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source
  • Keeping a navigational

Navigation in restricted visibility

  • Precautions to be taken in, and limitations imposed by fog


  • Use of transits, leading lines and clearing lines
  • IALA system of buoyage for Region A
  • Use of sailing directions
  • Pilotage plans and harbour entry

Marine environment

  • Responsibility for avoiding pollution and protecting the marine environment

Recommended RYA Books

You may find it useful to do some precourse reading and i can recommend the following:

Buy RYA Navigation Handbook at the RYA Shop

Buy RYA Navigation Exercises - 2nd Edition at the RYA Shop

 Buy Navigation Lights and Shapes Cockpit Cards at the RYA Shop

© Mid-Norway Sailing School AS 2020