RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship



This online course is the perfect introduction to the key background knowledge required by all those who go to sea. Whether it’s for sailing, powerboating, diving, sea angling or any other activity on the water, the core skills remain the same. 

This short but comprehensive entry-level course aims to give all boaters a solid foundation in the fundamental subjects of navigation, seamanship and safety. It particularly compliments the RYA Powerboat Level 2, Start Yachting and Helmsman courses, completed either before or after the practical course.

The course is fully interactive and consists of various modules, followed by short quizzes to test your new knowledge. Making use of the RYA training charts and plotting instruments provided, you will have the opportunity to practice hands-on chartwork skills.

None. This is an entry-level course and can be undertaken regardless of experience level.

It suits beginners but equally it will help fill gaps in knowledge for those who already have some experience afloat or perhaps own their own boat.

Being an online course, you can work at your own pace. As a guide, the course will take around 6-8 hours to complete.

From your initial login, you will have a maximum of 12 months to complete the course.

Being an online course, you can complete the course from anywhere, using a suitable device (PC or Mac) with an internet connection.

  • Access to the RYA Interactive site, valid for one year
  • Course pack containing RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship course book, Exercises and Course Information booklet, RYA Training Charts, RYA Training Almanac, RYA Handy Plotter and Dividers
  • Remote support (email or phone) from an experienced RYA Instructor
  • Charts
  • Buoyage
  • Navigation
  • Safety
  • Anchoring
  • Tides
  • Electronic navigation
  • Rules of the road
  • Weather
  • Pilotage
  • Passage planning


The course is split into 11 modules, broken into sections. Each module consists of a ‘Learn It’ section, followed by a ‘Test it’ section. Some of the more advanced modules also include a ‘Try It’ section to practice some questions prior to the ‘Test It’ section.

Access to the ‘Learn It’ and ‘Try It’ sections is unlimited and a module is marked as complete once the ‘Test It’ section is successfully accomplished. Students have two attempts at each ‘Test It’ section. On successful completion of all the modules, you will receive your course completion certificate in the post.

As part of your course pack, you will receive a copy of the course handbook. This is a helpful aide-memoir.

As a further learning resource, you may wish to consider the RYA book ‘An Introduction to Navigation’.


Being an online course, you can start at any time.

Once you have contacted us to an express an interest and paid for your booking, we will provide you with login details for the RYA Interactive site and send you out a course pack in the post.

On successful completion of the course, you will have a good understanding of a range of key subjects and should feel more confident when out on the water.

It is crucial to put theory into practice. The skills you will acquire on this course will be consolidated when used in context on the water.

In terms of practical RYA training, this course is an ideal accompaniment to the Powerboat Level 2, Start Yachting and Helmsman courses.

Please contact us to book and pay for this course. On receipt of payment, we will provide you with joining instructions and login details for the RYA Interactive site, along with your course pack.

To enable access to your online course we need to share some of your personal data with the RYA via your user profile in www.ryainteractive.org. This learning management website is hosted and maintained by a third party called Learning Pool, who will not use your personal information for any reason other than enabling your course.

Your name and email address will be entered on www.ryainteractive.org in order to create your user account. On your first access to the site, you will be asked to enter your address and date of birth. You will have access to the site for one year in order to complete your online course. During this period, your personal information will be held on the website by Learning Pool and be available to this training centre and the RYA for the purpose of managing your course.

Instructional support will be provided by this training centre for a period of 12 months from the date of your course booking.

On completion of your course, your name, email, date of birth and address will be transferred to the RYA’s central database for the purpose of recording details of the course and any certification you gain as a result of it. This information allows the RYA to record your certification, to update any records they may already hold about you or your qualifications and to verify your certificate if required.

After one year from the date of your enrolment on a course, your user account will be removed from www.ryainteractive.org.

Full details of how the RYA will deal with your personal information will be displayed when you first access www.ryainteractive.org.

For the duration of your access to the site, your data will be held in accordance with the RYA Interactive Data Policy, Terms and Conditions.