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RYA Yachtmaster® Certificates of Competence are the most widely accepted yachting and motor cruising qualifications in the world. Many nations accept them in their own right for

both commercial and recreational use, whilst others accept them on the basis of equivalency with their own qualifications.

There are three types of RYA Yachtmaster®

Certificates of Competence

RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal RYA Yachtmaster® Offshore RYA Yachtmaster® Ocean

Which certificate is relevant to you depends on where you are

likely to be boating. Near coastal waters for short passages would be best served by the RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal qualification. Longer passages offshore and in a more challenging range of conditions would be more suited to someone holding the RYA Yachtmaster® Offshore qualification. For those whose time on the water sees them travelling more than 600 miles or on trans-ocean passages the RYA Yachtmaster® Ocean qualification is more appropriate. Details of the minimum experience and pre-requisite

requirements are shown in the table below. RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal and Offshore exams are practical exams

conducted afloat over a number of hours, whilst the Ocean exam is an oral exam carried out ashore. Both forms of exam are carried out by RYA examiners who are independent of RYA training centres.

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I AM READY FOR THE EXAM? This is a tough question for any candidate. There are two important steps for you to follow to get some idea of whether you are ready:

CHECK YOUR THEORY Review the relevant theory syllabus to ensure that you have a detailed grasp of all elements to be covered: Yachtmaster® Sail: RYA Sail Cruising and Yachtmaster® Log Book (G15), Yachtmaster® Power: RYA Motor Cruising and Yachtmaster® Log Book (G18) At RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal level you are expected to

have a sound knowledge of all parts of the syllabus, whilst at RYA Yachtmaster® Offshore level you would be expected to have a very thorough knowledge and understanding.

CHECK THE EXAM SYLLABUS Ensure that you review the relevant exam syllabus in the RYA log book and are confident that you are able to carry out all of the practical tasks detailed to a competent level. It is well worth your while undertaking a Yachtmaster® Prep course at an RYA recognised training centre. This will help fine tune your skills and provide you with some useful guidance from an RYA Yachtmaster® Instructor as to whether or not you are ready for the exam.



RYA/MCA Yachtmaster® Coastal*

RYA/MCA Yachtmaster® Offshore

RYA/MCA Yachtmaster® Ocean


30 days, 2 days as skipper, 800 miles, 12 night hours

50 days, 5 days as skipper, 2,500 miles, 5 passages over 60 miles, including 2 overnight and 2 as skipper

Ocean passage as skipper or mate of watch


Practical: 6-10 hours for 1 person; 8-14 hours for 2 people

Practical: 8-12 hours for 1 person; 10-18 hours for 2 people

Oral and assessment of sights taken at sea (written exam in lieu of shorebased course completion certificate)


VHF or SRC Radio Operator’s Certificate, First Aid Certificate

VHF or SRC Radio Operator’s Certificate, First Aid Certificate

RYA/MCA Yachtmaster® Offshore CoC and Yachtmaster® Ocean Shorebased course completion certificates – recommended

*Sea time reduced for holders of RYA Coastal Skipper Practical course completion certificate. Full details of the RYA/MCA practical examinations are contained in the RYA publications Sail Cruising, G15, and Motor Cruising, G18. These are available from training centres and the RYA.

8 Sail and Motor Cruising Courses 2012

WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN THE EXAM? RYA examiners are tasked with finding out what you know, what your practical skills are and how well you manage and lead your crew. The level of expectation in performance is higher for a Yachtmaster® Offshore than it is for Coastal, and each examiner will find different ways of examining the same elements of the syllabus for each candidate. The objective is not to try and trick you or catch you out, but rather to put you in the types of situations you are likely to face on the water and to see how well you respond.

THE QUALIFICATION The RYA Yachtmaster® qualifications are highly regarded around the world. The main reason for this is the standard of training that underpins the qualification and the integrity of the exam that candidates are required to pass. It is not easy, but nothing of value is. If you believe you have the required experience and knowledge to

undertake the exam have a chat with your local RYA recognised training centre to find out how to arrange an exam through them. If you feel you may need some further training or development they will be able to advise you the best way to go about achieving this.

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