The minimum requirements for the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal exam

28 August 2018

The RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal is the first RYA qualification that is subject to an independently assessed practical examination. The candidate is examined on the water by an RYA appointed Yachtmaster Examiner.

In order to be qualified to take the examination you must have the following logged mileage / experience and certifications;

  1. 30 days sailing with 2 days as skipper
  2. 800 miles personally logged with 12 night hours

If you hold the Coastal Skipper practical course completion certificate this requirement is reduced to 20 days, 2 days as skipper, 400 miles, 12 night hours. 


In addition the RYA require that;

  1. Half the qualifying sea time must be conducted in tidal waters.
  2. All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years prior to the exam.
  3. Candidates must hold a GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher grade of marine radio certificate.
  4. Candidates must hold a valid First Aid certificate

Bear in mind that these are the bare minimum requirements for taking the examination! Some of our instructors have been sailing for 30 years and have upwards of 200,000 logged miles. That puts 800 miles of experience into perspective - so some personal humility and a sanity check beforehand is sensible. After all, collecting a certificate is one thing; being a confident and competent skipper in coastal waters is quite another.

It is always hard to determine who is ready to take the examination and who is not (at least, without some time on the water with them) but as a rule, anyone that does not know how to confidently come alongside under motor, recover a man overboard under sail or sail onto a mooring buoy in tidal waters (and know which sail plan to use in differing conditions and why) - or cannot plot a fix derived from a running fix or explain the passage of a low pressure weather system is probably not ready to take the examination.

A good candidate has probably been RYA Day Skipper qualified for a year or more and during that time has sailed extensively as skipper. She should also have recently studied for and passed the RYA Yachtmaster Shorebased Theory Course.

At Jolly Parrot we offer bespoke preparation weeks and use of one of our yachts for candidates looking to take the examination thereafter. Student numbers are limited to four and courses are aimed at candidates looking to brush up on weaknesses and prepare for the exam itself.

If you have any questions or require more information please contact us.

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