The MCA/RYA Yachtmaster™ Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore

The MCA/RYA Yachtmaster™ Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore qualification is a major achievement for which you will need to demonstrate a wide breadth of existing knowledge.

The MCA/RYA Yachtmaster™ Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore qualification is a major achievement for which you will need to demonstrate a wide breadth of existing knowledge. The preparation part of the course enables you to get ready for your exam by covering refresher training in a number of key areas. The course culminates in an exam with an external RYA examiner.

There are two versions of the qualification, depending on the type of sailing you intend to do. A commercially-endorsed Yachtmaster™ Coastal Candidate can use their knowledge to undertake commercial coastal passages up to 60 miles from a safe haven. A commercially-endorsed Yachtmaster™ Offshore candidate can skipper a commercial vessel up to 150 miles from a safe haven as well as considering other options such as becoming an instructor or progressing to the MCA merchant scheme. Both qualifications cover commercial work on board vessels up to 300 gross tonnes, carrying up to 12 passengers.

The preparation section of the Yachtmaster™ Coastal or Offshore course is 5 days. The exam is up to 2 days (depending on the number of students) and usually runs immediately after the preparation days. Passing your Yachtmaster™ exam, Coastal or Offshore alike, is a fantastic achievement; whether you plan to use the qualification for commercial purposes or will continue to sail simply for the fun of it.

Early in the week the instructor will assess your strengths and weaknesses and coach you in the areas required to pass the examination, however our experience normally leads us to work on the following areas; passage planning, man overboard recovery, close quarters handling, skippering techniques, navigation in restricted visibility, pilotage and knowledge of the International Collision Regulations. The instructor will debrief you fully as the week progresses and ensure that you get time to work on those weaker areas. Before joining the course, students MUST have the pre-requisite experience outlined below, navigation theory to RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster theory level, VHF radio operators certificate and a valid first aid certificate, solid boat handling experience in close quarters and a thorough knowledge of the Collision Regulations.

The examiner will ask each candidate to skipper the yacht on several short passages and complete various demonstrations of their skippering and sailing ability over the course of the exam.

Previous Experience Required:

Minimum 50 days aboard, 2,500 miles logged, including at least 5 passages over 60 miles, 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 in tidal waters. All qualifying sea time must be within 10 years prior to the exam.

What’s Included:

Bedding, Towels, Fuel, Safety Equipment, Tuition, Logbook, Certification.

Not Included: 

Transit Log (compulsory) £100 per boat shared between students ,  food & drink,  travel to/from venue, Turkish visa, Instructors food and drink  (to be provided at students expense)

Yachtmaster Offshore Exam Syllabus:

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.

  • General rules
  • Steering and sailing rules
  • Lights and shapes
  • Sound and light signals
  • Signals for vessels fishing in close proximity
  • Distress signals
  1. 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:

  • Safety harnesses
  • Lifejackets
  • Distress flares
  • Fire prevention and fighting
  • Liferafts Knowledge of rescue procedures
  • Helicopter rescue
  1. 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:

  • Coming to and weighing anchor under power or sail in various conditions of wind and tide
  • All berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide
  • Recovery of man overboard
  • Towing under open sea conditions and in confined areas
  • Boat handling in confined areas under sail
  • Boat handling in heavy weather
  • Helmsmanship and sail trim to sail to best advantage
  • Use of warps for securing in an alongside berth and for shifting berth or winding
  1. General Seamanship, including maintenance
  • Properties, use and care of synthetic fibre ropes
  • Knots
  • General deck-work at sea and in harbour
  • Engine operations and routine checks
  • Improvisation of jury rigs following gear failure
  1. Responsibilities of skipper
  • Can skipper a yacht and manage the crew
  • Communication with crew
  • Delegation of responsibility and watch-keeping organisation
  • Preparing yacht for sea and for adverse weather
  • Tactics for heavy weather and restricted visibility
  • Emergency and distress situations
  • Victualling for a cruise and feeding at sea
  • Customs procedures
  • Standards of behaviour and courtesy
  1. Navigation
  • Charts, navigational publications and sources of navigational information
  • Chartwork including position fixing and shaping course to allow for tidal stream and leeway
  • Tide and tidal stream calculations
  • Buoyage and visual aids to navigation
  • Instruments including compasses, logs, echo sounders, radio navaids and chartwork instruments
  • Passage planning and navigational tactics
  • Pilotage techniques
  • Navigational records
  • Limits of navigational accuracy and margins if safety
  • Lee shore dangers
  • Use of electronic navigation aids for passage planning and passage navigation
  • Use of waypoints and electronic routeing
  1. Meteorology
  • Definition of terms
  • Sources of weather forecasts
  • Weather systems and local weather effects
  • Interpretation of weather forecasts, barometric trends and visible phenomena
  • Ability to make passage planning decisions based on forecast information
  1. Signals
  • 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.

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