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Bareboat Skipper

The Bareboat Skipper certificate allows you to take charge of a vessel yourself. The Bareboat Skipper course combines on-going practical assessment with theory examinations to check the depth of your theory knowledge.



  • At least 100 miles of logged experience


Aims and Objectives

Spend the first day of the course learning about navigation and passage planning in our classroom, then put this knowledge into practice during four days living onboard the boat, gaining all the boat handling skills required to be a competent skipper.


Finally it's back to the classroom at the end of the week to sit your theory examination.






  • Introduction - aims and objectives of the course

  • Taking Over a Vessel - hull and rig checks; instrument checks; engine checks; fuel and water capacity; provisioning

  • Tidal Theory - causes and effects of tide; tide tables, diamonds, tidal streams atlas; rule of twelfths

  • Chartwork - different position fixes; estimated position; course to steer

  • Responsibilities of the Skipper - crew management; planning; safety briefing

  • Safety Briefing - location and use of safety equipment (flares, lifejackets, liferaft, sea-cocks); fire safety; gas safety; preparing to sail

  • Rules of the Road - review of rules; lights, shapes and sound signals; applying collision regulations

  • Meteorology - interpreting a forecast; characteristics of fronts and pressure systems; sea and land breezes; katabatic wind; fog

  • Passage Planning and Pilotage - planning a passage; use of nautical publications; pilotage tools (clearing bearings, back bearings, etc)

  • Sailing Theory - how a sail works; points of sail; effect of sail controls on performance




  • Rope Work - can tie and knows uses for common sailing knots; use of winches, jammers and cleats

  • Sail Handling - good working knowledge of sail hoisting, reefing, dropping; trimming on all points of sail

  • Manoeuvres - Man Overboard recovery; picking up a mooring; taking charge during routine manoeuvres (tacking, gybing)

  • Marina Berthing - berthing and unberthing in different wind/tide conditions; use of spring lines

  • Boat Handling - handling in close quarters; using prop-walk and prop-wash

  • Anchoring - selecting a suitable anchorage; dropping and weighing anchor; knowledge of different types of anchor

  • Dinghy Handling - can drive a dinghy safely; safe loading, launch and recovery

  • Passage Making - carrying out a passage plan; crew management; navigation underway; practical pilotage; use of instruments

  • Heavy Weather Handling - understands how to deal with heavy weather, including reefing and seeking refuge


What can I do with this qualification?

The Bareboat Skipper certificate enables you to skipper boats up to 78ft, no more than 20 miles from shore, in fair conditions and daylight hours.  In real terms, this allows you to charter boats in some of the world's best cruising locations, including south-east Asia, many Mediterranean countries, and the Caribbean.


What next?

There are many directions you could take your sailing from here: join us for a regatta, build up your miles by cruising or chartering with friends, work your way up to the Yachtmaster qualifications, or even buy your own boat.  The choice is up to you.  If you would like advice on your next steps, feel free to get in touch with us - we'd be happy to help.

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