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RYA Yachtmaster exam

The RYA Yachtmaster is like a driving licence for the sea. Having your RYA Yachtmaster certificate means you have the knowledge and competence to skipper a yacht up to 24m in length, up to 150 miles from a safe haven.

The exam

The RYA Yachtmaster exam is conducted by an independent RYA examiner. Most candidates do the Yachtmaster, sail or power through an RYA sailing school, like Flying Fish.

Assuming you have your own boat and a willing crew you can complete the Yachtmaster exam on your own boat. Simply contact the RYA through the RYA’s website. It is fair to say that most candidates choose a prep course to brush up before sitting the exam.

The Yachtmaster exam will last between 8 – 48 hours depending on the number of candidates being examined (there may be up to 4). The examiner will want to see that you are a safe, competent skipper. You can read more about how to pass your Yachtmaster exam for a more detailed look at whats involved.

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore prerequisites?

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

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Prerequisites

  1. 30 days and a minimum of 2 days acting as skipper.
  2. 12 night hours logged
  3. 800 miles logged, half of the qualifying sea time must be conducted in tidal waters.

If you hold the Coastal skipper practical course completion certificate then the above sea time is reduced to:

  1. 20 days, 2 days as skipper
  2. 400 miles and 12 night hours

Wish list

If you are considering a Yachtmaster Prep course then as well as the prerequisites 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
  • Knots. are able to tie the 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.

Do I need my Yachtmaster to work on Superyachts?

Yes and No. You don’t need to have an RYA Yachtmaster offshore when you start out. You are required to hold STCW Basic Safety training. Some yachts do ask for the Yachtmaster Offshore certificate for Deckhand positions. If you are looking to progress up the ranks from Deckhand to Officer of the Watch (OOW) then yes, you will need your Yachtmaster offshore.

Superyacht Deckhands

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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