This intermediate course is for sailors with previous sailing experience, who want to become eventually bareboat skippers or simply improve on their sailing knowledge and boat handling.

Palawan Sailing school école voile ISSA El Nido Philippines

The objective of Watchleader course is to prepare sailors to become a competent watchleader.
Pre Course Experience: Competent crew or equivalent
Assumed knowledge: A good command of sailing
Duration: 5 days
Cost: €830

What I will learn?

  • Chart work and navigation
  • Dead reckoning and estimated position
  • Meteorology
  • How to use and recognize lights and shapes
  • Rules of the road – Collision regulation (IRPCS)
  • Tides
  • Anchoring
  • Engine check
  • MOB (Man Over Board) under engine.
  • Safety on boat

What’s next?

Once you have completed this course, you will be ready to go to the next level which is the certified 5 days Bareboat Skipper Course.

More details

The Watchleader Course is the essential step towards becoming a recognized bareboat skipper. This course introduces the experienced sailor to in depth handling of a yacht. At the end of this 5 days course you will have become knowledgeable about a cruising yacht and the command of a crew.

This course is both theoretical and practical. In our comfortable classroom, we will go over the major aspects of chart work, understanding of tides and meteorology, rules of the sea (IRPCS), instruments and safety on boats.

During your practical session, you will be at the helm of our fully equipped 45 foot cruising yacht and your qualified instructor will devote plenty of time to supervise your command of the vessel. He will start by teaching you how to take over a ship and go over the safety procedures, how to check the engine and the overall features of the boat , how to assign your crew to specific tasks on the boat such as leaving a mooring, hoisting and adjusting the sails.

While sailing you will instruct the helmsman on the course to steer, plot your current position using a hand bearing compass with 2 or 3 point fix and compare it with a GPS fix. During that trip someone will probably fall off the boat and you will supervise the Man Over Board rescue operation under engine. At the end of the sailing day, you will be in charge of bringing the boat safely back to her mooring.

You will improve on making good coffee!

Chart work and navigation

You will learn how to read a marine chart and decipher all its symbols. We will explain the meaning of longitude and latitude and how every point on earth is represented by lat/long coordinates.


A compass points to North. We all know that. But which north ? We will go over the difference between the ‘magnetic’ and ‘true’ north and how to convert from one to the other.

Dead reckoning and estimated position

Without using a gps or a sextant, can we find our position if we know our speed, time, some reference points and if we have a compass ? The short answer is yes. After all this is all Christopher Columbus had on his voyage to the New World. You will learn how to do a 2/3 points fix using a hand bearing compass, how to use the log to write your speed and course and include leeway to determine your position.


How air pressure differences result in wind ? What are the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells and how does the Corioli force affect trade winds. You will learn how to read a synoptic chart and deduce the strength of the wind just by looking at isobars.

How to use and recognize lights and shapes

You can’t drive a car without knowing road signs. Same with boating and unless you are in the middle of the Pacific ocean, you will come across green, red, yellow floating buoys, some with triangles shapes, some with circles … We will make sure you know how to recognize an ‘isolated danger’ buoy from a lateral marker. Time will be spent at deciphering the various night lights on boat, from fishing boats to vessel engaged in mine clearance…

Rules of the road – Collision regulation (IRPCS)

There are no traffic lights on the ocean, so the IRPCS (International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea) has given us rules for who is the ‘stand on’ vessel and who is the ‘give way’ vessel. We will go over the scenario between different type of vessels such as sailing boats and motor boats.


We all know that tides are due to the moon gravity … well that is a very basic and somehow wrong explanation . Tides are more complex than that. We will look at the theory of tides, where to find tide information and the different types of tide tables. We will go over the rule of twelves and use a semi graphical tool correlate tidal depth and time.

Anchoring and mooring

How much chain should I put ? What type of anchor is the best ? What will happen if the wind shifts ? We will look at the precautions when anchoring a boat, especially overnight.

Engine check

Welcome to the fascinating world of marine diesel engine. Prepare to get your hands dirty as you will be asked to check the engine oil, verify the batteries, ensure the alternator belt has the right tension, stick your finger in the cooling tank to check if there is enough antifreeze liquid…

MOB (Man Over Board) under engine

So … Aunt Martha has decided to check the water temperature during a gybing maneuver. How do we recuperate her ? You will learn to prepare your boat and your crew to get Aunt Martha back safely under engine.

Safety on boat

It does not mean tying Aunt Martha to the mast … We will go over the types of flares to use to get attention, the risks of fire on a boat, what are the procedures when the visibility deteriorates ….

This course is taught on our 45 foot Levrier des Mers.

Book your course now:

Palawan Sailing courses start at 9:30am and finish at around 4:30pm.
We have a maximum of 4 students per boat and a minimum of 2 students. It is recommended that you contact us to book your course.
Call +639060185714 (please remember the time difference with the Philippines : UTC/GMT +8 hours) to inquire or book or use our contact form.

Watchleader Course price: 


You can pay by cash or Paypal. All our prices are fixed.
Our course package includes: 
boat rental and instructive materials, instructor’s fee, warm lunch made from fresh local ingredients. Our package does not include the Eco Tourism Development fee and has to be paid in cash. This ticket costs P200 and is valid for 10 days.

Note: All our courses have to be paid in Philipino Pesos. The prices in Euros are informative.