Why take the RYA / MCA Yachtmaster Certificates of Competence?
The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency has authorised the RYA, through its Yachtmaster Examiners, to examine candidates and award the successful ones the world renowned Yachtmaster™ Offshore or Yachtmaster™ Coastal qualifications. The Examiners are completely independent of the RYA Training Centres and Schools and work directly for the RYA - which is another reason that the examination is so sought after.
The Yachtmaster™ qualification is recognised internationally from Canada to Australia, Russia to Spain and Thailand - and accepted across the world as THE standard showing the candidates ability to skipper a sail or motor yacht.
Why an RYA Yachtmaster?
We often get asked the question what is an Yachtmaster - and should I do this qualification rather than the qualification taken with IYT (the Master of Yachts) or a qualification from your country of origin. The RYA has written a great article which explains why the qualification is at the pinacle of yacht training.
The qualification is valid (with the commercial endorsement) for skippering a yacht (sailing yacht with the Yachtmaster (Sail) and for a motor yacht the Yachtmaster Motor) of up to 24m LOA. For a licence as Captain of a yacht of over 24m (often called a super yacht) you need a higher level of MCA certification known as "Master 200gt, OOW 500gt" - see MSN 1802.
MCA / RYA Yachtmaster is available for Motor (sometimes called Power) and also for Sail (sailing vessels)
Going on towards being a Super Yacht Captain
To be eligible to take the Master 200gt/OOW500gt Oral Board you need a Notice of Eligibility (NOE). To get this you need:
RYA Yachtmaster Coastal minimum requirements and qualifying passages
- Seatime - 800 nm in the last 10 years
- Living on board - 30 days
- Days as skipper - 2 days
- Night hours - 12 night hours
RYA Yachtmaster Offshore minimum requirements and qualifying passages
- Seatime - 2500 nm in the last 10 years (at least 50% in tidal waters: i.e. the Canaries, Solent)
- Living on board - 50 days
- Days as skipper - 5 days
- Night hours - 12 night hours
- Passages - 5 passages of at least 60nm, 2 as skipper
|Exam||Between 7m LWL and 24m LOA (less than 80gt)||Over 24m LOA and less than 500gt||200gt to 500gt|
|RYA Yachtmaster Coastal||YES||YES (up to 50% of qualifying mileage and days)||YES (up to 50% of qualifying mileage and days)|
|RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Conversion (sail to Motor or Motor to Sail)||YES||YES (up to 50% of qualifying mileage and days)||YES (up to 50% of qualifying mileage and days)|
|RYA Yachtmaster Offshore||YES||YES (up to 50% of qualifying mileage and days)||YES (up to 50% of qualifying mileage and days)|
|RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Conversion (sail to Motor or Motor to Sail)||YES||YES (up to 50% of qualifying mileage and days)||YES (up to 50% of qualifying mileage and days)|
Need extra miles?
Besides the qualifying passages what else do I need for the Yachtmaster Exam?
You will also need:
Radio Operators certificate - GMDSS Short Range Certificate or VHF (SRC) Certificate (please note that the VHF certificate issued by IYT is no longer accepted by the MCA, more details on this can be obtained via the Certification department at the RYA)
What size of vessel can I do the exam on?
|Exam||Between 7m LWL and 24m LOA (less than 80gt)||Over 24m LOA up to 500gt|
|RYA Yachtmaster Coastal||YES||NO|
|RYA Yachtmaster Offshore||YES||NO|
What would I be examined on?
International Rules for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (IRPCS)
The IRPCS rules are broken into the following areas:
- Rules 1 to 3 - general Rules
- Rules 4 to 19 - Steering and Sailing rules including overtaking, crossing etc
- Rules 20 to 31 - Which lights and shapes shall be displayed
- Rules 32 to 37 - sound signals etc
- Annex II - Fishing vessels in close proximity
- Annex IV - Distress signals
For more details see our handout
If you are doing the Yachtmaster Offshore exam you should be able to demonstrate skills in more complex situations, with a higher level of expertise, and answer questions to a higher standard than for those doing the than required for Yachtmaster and will also be expected to show a higher level of expertise:
- Laying and weighing an anchor under power (and also sail for those doing the sail exam) in various conditions, of tide and wind
- Leave and enter a berth in various conditions of wind and tide
- Recovery of man overboard (by day and night, including a Williamson Turn when on a motor yacht)
- Towing under open sea conditions and in confined areas like harbours
- Boat handling in confined areas (also under sail for the sail exam, i.e. leaving a berth under sail)
- How to prepare and boat, and a handle yacht in heavy weather
- Good helmsmanship, and also sail trim on a sailing yacht
- Use of warps for securing a yacht stern to, alongside berth and for shifting berth/turning a yacht around
A good RYA publication is the RYA Introduction to Boat Handling for Sail and Power
Safety Equipment and how to use it
A detailed knowledge of safety is needed.
- Safety briefing - we suggest you write your own to bring with you
- Use of safety harnesses and lifejackets
- Signals to use in distress (including flares)
- Stability and Buoyancy
- Fire prevention and fire fighting
- The contents and how to use a liferaft
- Knowledge of helicopter and other rescue procedures
The RYA Boat Safety Handbook is a great revision aid prior to joining us for a preparation course.
General seamanship and yacht maintenance
- Use, care and properties of synthetic fibre ropes
- Knots including: bowline, reef knot, figure of eight, round turn and two half hitches, clove hitch, sheet bend and rolling hitch
- General deck-work in the harbour and at sea
- Routine engine checks, describe how the engine functions, maintenance and fault finding - if you need assistance in this area we suggest a Diesel Engine course especially for those sitting Yachtmaster Motor
- Use of jury rigs following gear failure
- The ability to manage the yacht and crew of a motor cruiser or sailing yacht
- Good crew communications
- Delegation of responsibility to the crew, and and organisation of watch-keeping
- The preparing of a yacht for sea, and the additional items required for sailing in adverse weather
- Skills and the tactics required for heavy weather and sailing in restricted visibility
- What to do in distress and emergency situations
- How to victual a yacht for a cruise and cooking at sea (including feeding the Examiner during the exam, and making lots of cups of tea)
- Customs procedures
- Standards of behaviour required and courtesy
Chartwork and navigation
- Knowledge of charts, navigational publications, sources of navigational information and their upkeep
- Tidal steams and leeway
- Chartwork including position fixing, estimating position and course to steer
- Buoyage and other visual aids to navigation
- Use of electronic equipment including GPS, RADAR, compasses, logs, and echo sounders
- Passage planning and navigational tactics
- Pilotage techniques
- Keeping a log, plotting your position on a chart and other navigational records
- Limits of navigational accuracy and margins of safety
- The danger of a lee shore
- Use of electronic navigation aids for passage planning and passage navigation
- Use of waypoints and electronic routeing
- Use of RADAR for navigation, pilotage and collision avoidance - if you are doing the Yachtmaster Motor exam we suggest doing a RADAR course first if you are unfamiliar with using a RADAR
If you feel that you need to refresh your skills prior to the Preparation and Yachtmaster Exam week we suggest the RYA Navigation Exercises, o if you prefer classroom tuition we offer a couple of days revision; or the Yachtmaster Theory classroom course or if you prefer the on line course
- Definition of meteorological terms
- Sources of weather forecasts
- Understanding weather systems and local weather effects
- Interpretation of synoptic charts, weather forecasts, barometric trends and visible phenomena
- Ability to make passage planning decisions based on forecast information