Essential Navigation and Seamanship - Online

This self-paced online course provides a beginner's introduction to the navigation theory and safety knowledge required to go boating safely at sea.

  • Online activity

    Complete online at your own pace (Self-paced)
    • $320.00 incl. GST
  • Description

    Navigation and Seamanship

    The RYA Essential Navigation course is great for anyone new to sailing, motor boating, kayaking, fishing, or diving.

    This 16-hour online course is great for anyone interested in sailing or boating.

    It forms a valuable companion course to our entry-level sailing and powerboating courses including RYA Competent Crew and RYA Day Skipper Practical NSW Boat Licence, and RYA Powerboat Level 2.

    Course content 

    Charts and publications

    • Basic terms
    • Introduction to chart datum and depths

    Buoyage / Navigation

    • Lateral buoys / Cardinal buoys
    • Measuring distance, bearing and heading
    • Plotting a position, position fix


    • Harbour information
    • Transits, pilotage plan


    • Personal and boat safety equipment
    • Safety procedures, comms, and rescue procedures


    • Where to anchor
    • How to anchor


    • Tidal streams
    • Tidal heights

    Electronic Navigation

    • GNSS terms and use 
    • Using waypoints

    Rules of the Road

    • Risk of collision
    • Rights of way

    Weather Forecasts

    • Sources of forecast
    • Terms used in forecast

    Passage Planning

    • SOLAS V requirements
    • Pre-planning


    What's included

    • Online course login 
    • RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship course pack includes basic navigation tools
    • Instructor support if required


    • RYA ESS certificate of course completion.  

    Before you start

    • No previous experience is required.
    • The course is suitable for sailors, power boat owners, fishermen, and all boaties wanting to learn the foundations of navigation and seamanship. 
    • The course is 100% online. All you need is an internet connection and a computer. Access to the course is 12 months.

    What next?

    If you plan to skipper your own boat or are considering commercial qualifications you should go on to complete Day Skipper Shorebased Theory and Day Skipper Practical courses.