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Requirements for the Yachtmaster Offshore Exam

To sit the RYA Yachtmaster offshore exam, you are required to have the following miles and experience. All completed within the last ten years:

  • A minimum of 2,500 miles are logged before you sit the exam. At least half the miles must be in tidal waters.
  • Five passages over 60 miles long**. Two of these passages must have been at night, and two acting as skipper. 
  • 50 days at sea on yachts up to 500gt.
  • At least five days experience as a skipper.
  • A valid First Aid Certificate (If STCW, completed within the last 5 years)
  • A GMDSS short-range VHF radio certificate.

** Note: All five passages must have been on a vessel between 7m and 24m in length.

Requirements for the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal exam

  1. 30 days at sea on a vessel less than 24m in length, and a minimum of 800 miles logged before you sit the exam. At least half the sea time must be in tidal waters.
  2. Two days as skipper, on a vessel less than 24m in length.
  3. 12 night hours.
  4. A GMDSS short-range VHF radio certificate.
  5. A valid First Aid certificate.
  6. You must be 17 years old at the time of the exam.

If you hold the RYA Coastal Skipper course completion certificate, then the miles required for Yachtmaster Coastal are reduced to 400.

What is considered tidal waters?

An area is deemed tidal if published stream, current or tidal range data is available, the influence of which is significant enough to require the effects to be taken into account to plan and execute a safe and efficient passage.

But, all my sea miles has been on a vessel OVER 24m….

Good news! The RYA accepts 50% (1,250) of your qualifying sea miles gained on a vessel over 24m. 

It’s crucial to provide a Testimonial or Discharge book as proof of your 1,250 sea miles.

The other 50% (1,250 miles) must be from vessels between 7m and 24m in length.

Some Superyachts have large tenders and chase boats. In this case, any miles and qualifying passages gained at the helm go some way to 1,250 sea miles.

Do I need RYA Yachtmaster Theory?

Depends on your goal.

Technically, you don’t need it to sit your Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore exam, however:

To become an RYA Yachtmaster, you need to be able to navigate using traditional and electronic navigation techniques. The RYA Yachtmaster Theory Course teaches you everything you need to know to navigate a yacht offshore and we recommend it to everybody thinking of sitting the RYA Yachtmaster practical exam.

RYA Yachtmaster Theory is a requirement for Officer of the Watch 3000GT.

At Flying Fish we combine both Yachtmaster Theory and a practical prep week into one course.

How do I convert from sail to power?

To convert from Yachtmaster offshore sail to power you must have completed, in the last 10 years:

    1. Minimum of 1,250 miles on a vessel between 7m and 24m in length.
    2. 25 days living onboard.
    3. 3 days as skipper.
    4. Three passages of over 60 miles, including one overnight and one as skipper.

How to record your miles.

Your experience would have been built up over some time on various types of yachts. The miles that you have gained on vessels between 7 and 24 meters in length in the past ten years can be recorded in either:

  1. RYA’s G158 logbook
  2. A CV detailing the information below
  3. An Excel spreadsheet

Please note, when recording your miles and experience, make sure you detail the following:

  • Dates the passage/trip took place.
  • Name and type of vessel
  • Details of the passages
  • Miles sailed on each passage
  • Night hours

Flying Fish has created a personal log that you can use to record your sea miles.

What First Aid qualification do I need?

You must have a valid, in-date First Aid qualification to sit the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore exam. 

The RYA, STCW, and Seafish First Aid certificates are all accepted by the RYA.

How long are certificates valid?

The RYA First Aid certificate is valid for 3-years.

STCW First Aid certificates do not have an expiry date. However, It is accepted that after 5 years, our knowledge of CPR and other life-saving techniques tends to fade.

Therefore, the RYA requires holders of STCW First Aid to refresh every 5-years from the date of issue.

At flying Fish, we offer STCW Elementary First Aid courses that coincide with our Yachtmaster Power Theory and practical courses. If you need to update your STCW Elementary First Aid qualification, we invite you to click on the link below to book an update.

Commercial Endorsement

By commercially endorsing your Yachtmaster qualification, you not only meet the necessary requirements for taking paying passengers on a commercial vessel but also equip yourself with the confidence and readiness for professional opportunities.

Superyacht tenders are usually registered as a “tender too” the larger yacht, and in most cases, Commercial Endorsement is not required.

Many individuals choose to endorse their RYA Yachtmaster for commercial use. This endorsement prepares you for potential opportunities, such as working as a professional skipper. If this is your goal, in addition to First Aid and VHF, you will need the following:

  1. Either an ENG1 or ML5 medical
  2. STCW or RYA Sea survival certificate
  3. Complete the RYA’s online PPR course

Once you have completed these three steps, you can apply for commercial endorsement through the RYA.

Upgrade to RYA Master 200 GT

Complete STCW Basic Safety Training, then the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate will be endorsed to allow the holder to skipper a commercial or privately owned vessel up to 200 gross tonnes, which may be greater than 24m in length.

What other skills do I need before I join a prep course?

If you are considering a Yachtmaster Prep course then Flying Fish will provide some pre-course reading. If you did some background reading before your prep course, it would help if you had a good knowledge of the following:

  • I.R.P.C.S (rules of the road) and distress signals.
  • Weather. The passage of frontal depression, sea breeze, fog, effects of wind and tide, and terminology used in a weather forecast.
  • Navigation. Understand how to calculate tidal heights, course to steer, and estimated position.
  • Ability to tie the basic knots.
  • Have knowledge of Radar, rule 19, and how to use it for collision avoidance.
  • The G158 logbook provides all sea time requirements and a section where you can record all your sea time.