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RYA Yachtmaster Prep and Exam

An RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence is often the ultimate aim of aspiring skippers. It is a well known, highly respected qualification worldwide, proving your experience and competence as a skipper.

Unlike other courses in the cruising programme, there is no formal training to complete in order to become a Yachtmaster. Instead, provided that you have sufficient experience and seatime, you can put yourself forward for an exam to test your skills and knowledge.

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal 

The Yachtmaster Coastal has the knowledge needed to skipper a yacht on coastal cruises but does not necessarily have the experience needed to undertake longer passages.

Like the Day Skipper course, this course consists of skippered passages in a variety of situations. Each trainee will skipper more challenging passages and learn more about passage planning, pilotage by day and night, boat handling, safety and emergency situations.

Coastal Skippers should be able to undertake more difficult passages by day and night and handle the yacht in more demanding conditions. By the end of the course you should have the knowledge, if not the experience, to become a Yachtmaster.  

The exam will include an assessment of your skippering skills, boat handling, general seamanship, navigation, safety awareness and knowledge of the IRPCS (collision regulations), meteorology and signals. Candidates will be set tasks to demonstrate their ability and may also be asked questions on any part of the syllabus for all practical and shorebased courses up to Yachtmaster™ Coastal level.

Yachtmaster Coastal exam pre-requisites

Minimum seatime 30 days, 2 days as skipper, 800 miles, 12 night hours (if you hold the Coastal Skipper course certificate this is reduced to 20 days, 2 days as skipper, 400 miles, 12 night hours). Half the qualifying sea time must be conducted in tidal waters.
Definition of tidal waters 
All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years prior to the exam.
Form of exam Practical
Certification required A GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher grade of marine radio certificate. A valid first aid certificate – click here for a list of acceptable first aid certificates.
Minimum exam duration 6-10 hours for 1 candidate, 8-14 hours for 2 candidates
Minimum age 17

 

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore

 

The Yachtmaster Offshore is competent to skipper a cruising yacht on any passage during which the yacht is no more than 150 miles from harbour.

 

Yachtmaster Offshore exam pre-requisites

Minimum seatime 50 days, 2,500 miles including at least 5 passages over 60 miles measured along the rhumb line from the port of departure to the destination, acting as skipper for at least two of these passages and including two which have involved overnight passages. 5 days experience as skipper. At least half this mileage and passages must be conducted in tidal waters.
Definition of tidal waters 
All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years prior to the exam.
Form of exam  Practical
Certification required A GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher grade of marine radio certificate. A valid first aid certificate – click here for a list of acceptable first aid certificates.
Minimum exam duration 8-12 hours for 1 candidate, 10-18 hours for 2 candidates. No more than two candidates can be examined in 24 hours and no more than four candidates can be examined in one 2 day session.
Minimum age 18

RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

A person holding a Yachtmaster Ocean qualification is experienced and competent to skipper a yacht on passages of any length in all parts of the world.

The Yachtmaster Ocean exam is an oral and written test of your knowledge of ocean passage making including planning, navigation, worldwide meteorology, crew management, yacht preparation, maintenance and repairs. You will also be questioned on your sights taken at sea during an ocean passage.

Yachtmaster Ocean exam pre-requisites

Minimum seatime Ocean passage as skipper or mate of watch. The candidate was fully involved in the planning of the passage, including selection of the route, the navigational plan, checking the material condition of the yacht and her equipment, storing spare gear, water and victuals and organising the watch-keeping routine; During the passage a minimum non-stop distance of 600 miles must have been run by the log, the yacht must have been at sea continuously for at least 96 hours and the yacht must have been more than 50 miles from land or charted objects while sailing a distance of at least 200 miles. Please see the ‘definition of passage’. All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years prior to the exam.Click here to see the definition of a passage.
Form of exam Oral and written assessment of sights take at sea. If you hold the Yachtmaster Ocean shorebased certificate you are exempt from the written assessment.
Certification required RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence. An RYA/MCA Coastal Skipper Certificate does not qualify.
A GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher grade of marine radio certificate. A valid first aid certificate – click here for a list of acceptable first aid certificates.
Minimum exam duration Approximately 1.5 hours
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