Yachtmaster Offshore Preparation and Exam

The certificate of Competence allows candidates, should they wish, to apply for their certification to be “Commercially” endorsed enabling them to use their qualification professionally.

Yachtmaster Offshore Preparation and Exam

This course is for those with considerable knowledge and experience of skippering vessels with significant sea time who wish to undertake the Certificate of Competence at Yachtmaster offshore or Coastal level.   The certificate of Competence allows candidates, should they wish, to apply for their certification to be “Commercially” endorsed enabling them to use their qualification professionally.  (This does have additional requirements which can be viewed here).

There is no formal syllabus for this course, but the five days of preparation will focus on areas that candidates identify through self-assessment.  The final two days will be spent with the examiner on board putting candidates through their paces.

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. You will be set tasks to demonstrate your ability and may also be asked questions on any part of the syllabus for all practical and shorebased courses up to Yachtmaster™ Coastal level.

The difference between the Coastal and Offshore Exam is in the complexity of tasks and situations candidates will be asked to perform.

Yachtmaster Offshore Exam Pre-requisites

Minimum sea time

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.

All qualifying sea time must be within 10 years prior to the exam.
See RYA website for information on qualifying passages

Form of examPractical
Certification required

A GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher grade of marine radio certificate.

A valid first aid certificate

Minimum exam duration8-12 hours for 1 candidate, 10-18 hours for two 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 age18

Find out about our Yachtmaster Coastal Exam Preparation Course

Start Yachting

We all have to start somewhere.  The Start Yachting Course provides a short introduction for novices to sail cruising.  At the end of the course you will have the knowledge to enable you to be safe on board and understand the basics of sailing and being a crew member.

Find out more about The RYA Start Yachting Course

Competent Crew

The Competent Crew Course provides a progression from Start Yachting, although can also be undertaken by those with no or little experience.  At the end of the course you will have an understanding of the role of crew on a yacht and have practical experience of all the jobs expected for you to become a safe, proactive and valuable member of the crew.

Find out more about our RYA Competent Crew Course

Day Skipper

Skippering a yacht is a significant responsibility.  The course will help you develop skills and knowledge that will enable you to take a vessel to sea confidently and safely, ensuring the welfare of your crew and vessel on short passages in daylight hours.

Find out more about our RYA Day Skipper Course

Coastal Skipper

This course is for those with good knowledge of sailing and navigation (often gained through the RYA Coastal / Yachtmaster theory course) who wish to develop their skills and experience to undertake coastal passages during the day and night.

Find out more about our Yachtmaster Coastal Exam Preparation Course

Find out more about our courses:

    Yachtmaster™ Offshore Exam Syllabus


    Previous Experience Required: 50 days aboard, 5 days as skipper, 2500 miles logged, 5 passages of over 60 miles including 2 overnight and 2 as skipper (Half the qualifying seatime must have been conducted in tidal waters). VHF radio operators certificate and a valid first aid certificate

    Course Overview: Preparation and brush up for the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence. Revision of advanced skippering techniques, close quarters handling under power and sail, navigation and pilotage by day and night, man overboard recovery and overall yacht management skills

    Candidates may be given the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of competence in the areas listed below. In each section the examiner will expect to see the candidate take full responsibility for the management of the yacht and crew. In Yachtmaster Offshore exams the candidate will be expected to demonstrate competence based on broad experience.

    1. International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

    Questions will be confined to the International Regulations and although candidates must be aware of the existence of Local Regulations, they will not be expected to memorise specific local regulations.

    a. General rules (1-3)

    b. Steering and sailing rules (4-19)

    c. Lights and shapes (20-31)

    d. Sound and light signals (32-37)

    e. Signals for vessels fishing in close proximity (Annex II)

    f.  Distress signals (Annex IV)

    2. Safety

    Candidates will be expected to know what safety equipment should be carried on board a yacht, based either on the recommendations in the RYA Boat Safety Handbook (C8), the ISAF Special Regulations or the Codes of Practice for the safety of Small Commercial Vessels. In particular, candidates must know the responsibilities of a skipper in relation:

    a. Safety harnesses

    b. Lifejackets

    c. Distress flares

    d. Fire prevention and fighting

    e. Liferafts

    f.  Knowledge of rescue procedures

    g. Helicopter rescue

    3. Boat Handling

    Candidates for Coastal Skipper examinations will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate ability in simple situations only. Candidates for Yachtmaster Offshore will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate ability in more complex situations and will also be expected to show a higher level of expertise:

    a. Coming to and weighing anchor under power or sail in various conditions of wind and tide

    b. All berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide

    c. Recovery of man overboard

    d. Towing under open sea conditions and in confined areas

    e. Boat handling in confined areas under sail

    f.  Boat handling in heavy weather

    g. Helmsmanship and sail trim to sail to best advantage

    h. Use of warps for securing in an alongside berth and for shifting berth or winding

    4. General Seamanship, including maintenance

    a. Properties, use and care of synthetic fibre ropes

    b. Knots

    c. General deck-work at sea and in harbour

    d. Engine operations and routine checks

    e. Improvisation of jury rigs following gear failure

    5. Responsibilities of skipper

    a. Can skipper a yacht and manage the crew

    b. Communication with crew

    c. Delegation of responsibility and watch-keeping organisation

    d. Preparing yacht for sea and for adverse weather

    e. Tactics for heavy weather and restricted visibility

    f.  Emergency and distress situations

    g. Victualling for a cruise and feeding at sea

    h. Customs procedures

    i.  Standards of behaviour and courtesy

    6. Navigation

    a. Charts, navigational publications and sources of navigational information

    b. Chartwork including position fixing and shaping course to allow for tidal stream and leeway

    c. Tide and tidal stream calculations

    d. Buoyage and visual aids to navigation

    e. Instruments including compasses, logs, echo sounders, radio navaids and chartwork instruments

    f.  Passage planning and navigational tactics

    g. Pilotage techniques

    h. Navigational records

    i.  Limits of navigational accuracy and margins if safety

    j.  Lee shore dangers

    k. Use of electronic navigation aids for passage planning and passage navigation

    l.  Use of waypoints and electronic routeing

    7. Meteorology

    a. Definition of terms

    b. Sources of weather forecasts

    c. Weather systems and local weather effects

    d. Interpretation of weather forecasts, barometric trends and visible phenomena

    e. Ability to make passage planning decisions based on forecast information

    8. Signals

    a. Candidates for Yachtmaster Offshore and Coastal Skipper must hold the Restricted (VHF only) Certificate of Competence in radiotelephony or a higher grade of certificate in radio telephony.

    Download the Yachtmaster Offshore Exam syllabus (opens in a new window).

    Terms & Conditions and Booking Forms to download

    All forms and documents are Word documents

    What our customers say

    The 5 days that I spent with Tom was honestly one of the best sailing/learning experiences I have had. It has renewed my confidence and love for sailing and I look forward to doing more courses and spending more time on La Girafe III.

    Craig Dutton

    Coastal Skipper Certification, RYA

    “I was made to feel very welcome right from the start. I would thoroughly recommend doing your Day Skipper with these guys, I not only really enjoyed the experience, I came ashore at the end desperate to book my next trip.”

    Joe Halwood

    Day Skipper, RYA Sailing Course

    “The sailing was a real treat, including learning the key skills. As well as the great coastal scenery, there was also the various wildlife including lots of dolphins tracking the yacht, encountering other vessels (including a Royal Navy nuclear submarine).”

    Gerry, Aberdeen

    Competent Crew Certification, RYA