The RYA Yachtmaster qualification has long been recognised by many as the premium sailing qualification for the experienced leisure sailor. In recent times, the Yachtmaster qualification has been further defined and is now split into three subsections, namely Yachtmaster Coastal, Yachtmaster Offshore and Yachtmaster Ocean. Unlike the RYA Day Skipper qualification, all three qualifications are gained through external examination.
The holder of a Yachtmaster Coastal qualification should be competent to skipper a yacht of up to 24 metres LOA in waters up to 24 miles from a safe haven. A Yachtmaster Offshore is qualified to skipper a vessel of the same size up to 150 miles from a safe haven. Yachtmaster Ocean extends the Yachtmaster Offshore qualification and qualifies the holder to skipper a vessel of the same size and up to 200gt anywhere in the World.
As one would expect, each examination requires that the candidate have a minimum level of experience prior to the examination. Prior to the Yachtmaster Coastal examination, a candidate must have a minimum of 30 days at sea, with 2 days as skipper and at least 800 miles logged, including 12 night hours. If you hold the Coastal Skipper course certificate already then this is reduced to 20 days at sea with 2 days as skipper, 400 miles logged and 12 night hours. Half the qualifying sea time must be conducted in tidal waters.
To qualify to undertake the Yachtmaster Offshore examination, you must have a minimum of 50 days at sea, 2,500 miles logged, including 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 including two which have involved overnight passages. The candidate must have 5 days experience as skipper. At least half this mileage and passages must be in tidal waters. All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years prior to the exam.
In both instances you will also need to hold a GMDSS short range radio certificate.
For advice on what examination you should be studying for, call our senior instructor and RYA Yachtmaster Instructor for a chat on email@example.com or call 02380 970824.