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Coastal Yachtmaster and Offshore Yachtmaster Exam

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Examination for Certificate of Competence

An Offshore or Coastal Yachtmaster needs a wealth of knowledge and skills - not only to cope with plain sailing but also to be able to cope when things go wrong. This experience is not gained only by sailing thousands of miles on passage, but more importantly by skippering yachts close to land, by day and night and in poor visibility; dealing with complex situations such as boat handling at close quarters, navigation in shoal waters in and out of harbour - and the negotiation of busy shipping channels. The RYA exams will test not only your practical sailing ability but ensure that your understanding of safety, seamanship, navigation and passage planning is of the highest level.

Should I take pre-exam training?
Before attempting the exam, even if you have worked through the RYA courses, it is often worth receiving tuition to find your strengths and weaknesses. It is recommended that you have completed the Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster shorebased course as you will have time to put the theory into practice with passage planning and chartwork. We would be happy to discuss your requirements.

What happens during an exam?
All exams are nerve-racking, even for highly experienced or professional skippers. The Yachtmaster syllabus is in the RYA log book and talk to the examiner prior to the assessment to make sure that you understand what is required. You will be asked to undertake a short passage, although you may have to plan a longer one. You will be put under pressure with decisions about sail changes, blind navigation, man overboard etc.

Do I need a yacht for the exam?
The exam can be completed on your own yacht or you can charter one of our Beneteau 40 yachts. The duration of the exam depends on the number and the assessment level of the candidates, but will be at least 10 hours and will include some time sailing at night.

There are 2 levels of RYA Yachtmaster Certification:
They are Coastal or Offshore Yachtmaster. Both of these certificates allow you to work commercially as a yacht captain, but those with a Coastal YM have vessel size and distance from a safe haven restrictions. To work as an RYA sailing instructor you must have the Offshore YM and complete an instructor training course.

Pre-requisites for Offshore Yachtmaster Certificate:
Minimum sea time requirement 50 days sailing including 5 days as skipper
2500 miles, at least 5 passages over 60 miles where you were skipper for at least 2 passages, and at least 2 passages involved overnight sailing.
First Aid Certificate
Restricted Radio Operators License (VHF only)

Pre-requisites for Coastal Yachtmaster Certificate:
Minimum 800 miles logged at sea within the last 10 years
30 days living aboard, 2 days as skipper and 12 night hours
For holders of the Coastal SkipperPractical Course Completion Certificate the seatime is reduced to 400 miles, 20 days living aboard, 2 days as skipper and 12 night hours.
First Aid Certificate
Restricted Radio Operators License (VHF only)

RYA-yachtmaster

Recommended courses/certificates:

Requirements to work commercially in Australia:


Requirements for international commercial endorsement:


Documentation for the exam:
To organise your exam contact us and we can give you a list of examiners.

Price guide:
Contact Martin Silk from Australian Sailing training@sailing.org.au for details of exams and fees in Australia. You will need to supply a yacht, or charter an EastSail Beneteau 40. Depending on the number of candidates being examined you may also need to supply a crew member or two. Discount given to EastSail graduates. The yacht will need to have full safety equipment and food and beverages for all aboard, including the examiner.
After scheduling an examination date the examiner will ask for your sailing CV and send you details of a passage and pilotage plan to be prepared and presented on the day. See RYA log book for full syllabus.
Click here for the application form.


For more information on our RYA sailing and training courses and being able to work as a charter skipper or sailing instructor please call us on 02 93271166 or training@eastsail.com.au

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