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Requirements for the Yachtmaster Offshore exam

Thoes who complete Yachtmaster Offshore exam know that they have reached a high standard, gaining a certificate that is recognised around the world. The RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate of competence opens the door to a professional career as a commercial skipper. owever, there is some confusion to the requirements for the Yachtmaster Offshore exam. We hope this artice helps explain these requirements.

Requirements for the Yachtmaster Offshore exam?

To sit the  RYA Yachtmaster offshore exam you are required to have, as a minimum, the following experience. All completed within the last 10 years:

  1. 50 days and a minimum of 2,500 miles logged before you sit the exam. At least half the sea time must be in tidal waters
  2. During this time you would have completed five passages of over 60 miles. Two of these passages would have been at night and two acting as skipper
  3. Five days experience as skipper
  4. GMDSS short range radio certificate (VHF)
  5. A valid first aid certificate
  6. You need to be 18 years old to sit the Yachtmaster Offshore exam. 17 years old for Yachtmaster Coastal
Yachtmaster Offshore Prep course

Yachtmaster power or sail?

The RYA run two practical sail and Motor schemes depending on whether you like Power or Sail. Both schemes lead to the RYA/MCA Yachmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence. The requirements for the Yachtmaster Offshore power or sail exam are the same. If you own or work on a motorboat then you will need to have accumilated 2,500 miles at sea. Sailors, 2,500 miles on a sail boat.

How is sea time recorded?

The miles that you have gained during your time onboard can be recorded in either the RYA’s G18 logbook, a CV or even an Excel spreadsheet. You will need to record the dates, name and type of vessel, details of the passages, miles sailed, any night hours and the number of days onboard. Your experience would have been built up over a period of time on various types of yachts.

Sea Service testimonials

Superyacht crew record seatime (days onboard) on a sea service testimonial. Theses testimonials are not accepted by the RYA, Testimonials are a record of days onboard not miles gained.

All my sea time has been on Superyachts

The RYA want to make sure candidates sitting the Yachtmaster Offshore exam have the required “command experience”. For this reason candidates MUST have completed at least 1,250 miles onboard a motor or sailing yacht between 7 and 24m in length.

Superyacht Deckhands

Commercial endorsement

Many choose to complete the RYA Yachtmaster offshore exam as it is the qualification that leads to a career as a Commercial Skipper. If this is your chosen path then then in addition to the requirments above you will need:

Once you have completed these three steps then you can apply for commercial endorsement through the RYA. It can take a couple of weeks for your certificate to arrive in the post, so plan ahead.

STCW Endorsement

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 tones, which may be greater than 24m in length.

What other skills do I need?

If you are considering a Yachtmaster Prep course then as well as the requirements above it would help you if you did some background reading before your prep week. We are not suggesting you must complete the list below, nor are we saying that the skills will not be covered. It will be beneficial to you and allow us to spend more time on the practical skills.

  • Knowledge of I.R.P.C.S (rules of the road) and distress signals
  • Have an understanding of Weather, the passage of frontal depression, sea breeze, fog, effects of wind and tide and terminology used in a weather forecast.
  • Navigation. Have an understanding of how to calculate tidal heights, course to steer and estimated position
  • Are able to tie the basic knots
  • Have an up to date G158 logbook (which can be purchased online)with all your sea time, skippered passages filled out. The general outline of the exam syllabus can be found on page within the G158..
yachtmaster Theory

RYA Yachtmaster Theory

If you are considering a career on a Superyachts then holding the RYA Yachtmaster Theory as well as your Yachtmaster Offshore or Coastal certificate of competence is required if your goal is the Officer of the Watch 3000GT.

To become Chief mate or Master you are required to hold the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and shore based certificate.

For full information on whats required to become the Office Of the Watch on large sailing or Motor Yachts then see section 3.3 of MSN 1858.

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