The minimum requirements for the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore examination

25 September 2018

The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate is the first penultimate qualification in the RYA’s training programme with Yachtmaster Ocean and subsequent instructor certifications being the only RYA qualifications superior to it.

The certificate is only available after an independently assessed practical examination has been set and passed. The candidate is examined on the water by an RYA appointed Yachtmaster Examiner. The candidate may be quizzed on any part of the Yachtmaster Syllabus including the shorebased theory component.

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

  1. 50 days at sea and 2,500 miles including
  2. 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
  3. including two which have involved overnight passages.
  4. 5 days experience as skipper.

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

The minimum age for candidates is 18 years of age.

Bear in mind that these are the bare minimum requirements for taking the examination and whilst candidates pass with this minimum criteria it should be noted that, whilst you may have met the criteria necessary to pass the 8 - 12 hour examination, you are still relatively inexperienced.

After all, collecting a certificate is one thing; being a confident and competent skipper offshore 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 with our comments on the Yachtmaster Coastal candidate, 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.

The difference between a RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and RYA Yachtmaster Coastal is primarily one of depth of knowledge and competence. A good candidate has probably been RYA Day Skipper qualified for a few years (perhaps Coastal Skipper too) and he should have sailed extensively in different areas as skipper. He should also have recently studied for and passed the RYA Yachtmaster Shorebased Theory Course.

At Jolly Parrot Sailing 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.

Contact our Yachtmaster Instructor and Training Centre Principal for more information on 07925 784407.

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