Course Overview

The MCA/RYA Yachtmaster™ qualification is recognised and respected worldwide with candidates demonstrating a wide breadth of existing knowledge. The preparation part of the course enables you to get ready for your exam by covering refresher training in a number of key areas. The course culminates in an exam with an external RYA examiner.

There are two versions of the qualification, depending on the type of sailing you intend to do. A commercially-endorsed Yachtmaster™ Coastal can use their knowledge to undertake commercial coastal passages up to 60 miles from a safe haven. A commercially-endorsed Yachtmaster™ Offshore can skipper a commercial vessel up to 150 miles from a safe haven as well as considering other options such as becoming an instructor or progressing to the MCA merchant scheme. Both qualifications cover commercial work on board vessels up to 300 gross tonnes, carrying up to 12 passengers.

The preparation section of the Yachtmaster™ Coastal course is 5 days. The exam is up to 2 days (depending on the number of students) and usually runs immediately after the preparation days. Passing your Yachtmaster™ exam, Coastal or Offshore alike, is a fantastic achievement; whether you plan to use the qualification for commercial purposes or will continue to sail simply for the fun of it.

Book and complete this course between October and March and receive your RYA SRC Radio course for just £39.00 (normal price £99.00).

Price : £660.00
(+Exam fee £210)

Pre-Course Experience

Yachtmaster™ Coastal exam pre-requisites
Minimum seatime 30 days, 2 days as skipper, 800 miles, 12 night hours. If you hold the Coastal Skipper practical course completion certificate this is reduced to 20 days, 2 days as skipper, 400 miles, 12 night hours.
Yachtmaster™ Offshore exam pre-requisites
Minimum seatime 50 days, 2,500 miles 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. 5 days experience as skipper.
Half the qualifying sea time must be conducted in tidal waters.
All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years prior to the exam.
VHF Radio Operators Certificate and a valid first aid certificate are required. Please contact us if you have a non RYA First Aid certificate to check if it is valid. It was also recommended that you take the sea survival course, although this is not essential.

Assumed Knowledge

A sound knowledge of navigation theory. Solid boat handling experience in close quarters, plus an understanding of efficient sail trim and how to make a boat go faster under sail.

Student Instructor Ratio

Maximum 5:1


5 days, plus the exam which is up to 2 days (depending on the number of students).

Course Content
  • Responsibilities of skipper
  • Close quarters boat handling
  • Hoisting, reefing and dropping sails
  • Tacking, gybing and efficient sail trim
  • Berthing and anchoring
  • Rules of the road and signals
  • Safety, plus man overboard
  • General seamanship, including maintenance
  • Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • Passage Planning
  • Navigation in restricted visibility
Ability after Course

A Yachtmaster™ Offshore is competent to skipper a yacht on passages up to 150 miles from a safe haven, day or night.

Course Syllabus
  1. International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

    Questions will be confined to the International Regulations and although candidates must be aware of the existence of Local Regulations, they will not be expected to memorise specific local regulations.

    • General rules (1-3)
    • Steering and sailing rules (4-19)
    • Lights and shapes (20-31)
    • Sound and light signals (32-37)
    • Signals for vessels fishing in close proximity (Annex II)
    • Distress signals (Annex IV)
  2. Safety

    Candidates will be expected to know what safety equipment should be carried on board a yacht, based either on the recommendations in the RYA Boat Safety Handbook (C8), the ISAF Special Regulations or the Codes of Practice for the safety of Small Commercial Vessels. In particular, candidates must know the responsibilities of a skipper in relation:

    • Safety harnesses
    • Lifejackets
    • Distress flares
    • Fire prevention and fighting
    • Liferafts
    • Knowledge of rescue procedures
    • Helicopter rescue
  3. Boat Handling

    Candidates for Coastal Skipper examinations will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate ability in simple situations only. Candidates for Yachtmaster Offshore will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate ability in more complex situations and will also be expected to show a higher level of expertise:

    • Coming to and weighing anchor under power or sail in various conditions of wind and tide
    • All berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide
    • Navigation in restricted visibility
    • Recovery of man overboard
    • Towing under open sea conditions and in confined areas
    • Boat handling in confined areas under sail
    • Boat handling in heavy weather
    • Helmsmanship and sail trim to sail to best advantage
    • Use of warps for securing in an alongside berth and for shifting berth or winding
  4. General Seamanship, including maintenance

    • Properties, use and care of synthetic fibre ropes
    • Knots
    • General deck-work at sea and in harbour
    • Engine operations and routine checks
    • Improvisation of jury rigs following gear failure
  5. Responsibilities of skipper

    • Can skipper a yacht and manage the crew
    • Communication with crew
    • Delegation of responsibility and watch-keeping organisation
    • Preparing yacht for sea and for adverse weather
    • Tactics for heavy weather and restricted visibility
    • Safety briefs
    • Emergency and distress situations
    • Victualling for a cruise and feeding at sea
    • Customs procedures
    • Standards of behaviour and courtesy
  6. Navigation

    • Charts, navigational publications and sources of navigational information
    • Chartwork including position fixing and shaping course to allow for tidal stream and leeway
    • Tide and tidal stream calculations
    • Buoyage and visual aids to navigation
    • Instruments including compasses, logs, echo sounders, radio navaids and chartwork instruments
    • Passage planning and navigational tactics
    • Pilotage techniques
    • Navigational records
    • Limits of navigational accuracy and margins if safety
    • Lee shore dangers
    • Use of electronic navigation aids for passage planning and passage navigation
    • Use of waypoints and electronic routeing
  7. Meteorology

    • Definition of terms
    • Sources of weather forecasts
    • Weather systems and local weather effects
    • Interpretation of weather forecasts, barometric trends and visible phenomena
    • Ability to make passage planning decisions based on forecast information
  8. Signals

    • Candidates for Yachtmaster Offshore and Coastal Skipper must hold the Restricted (VHF only) Certificate of Competence in radiotelephony or a higher grade of certificate in radio telephony

What’s Included

When you book a course with Bacchus Yachting we do our best to ensure there are no surprise costs – however, please be aware that your RYA Yachtmaster™ Exam Fee is not included in this particular course as it is paid direct to the RYA.

Everything else you need to complete your course is included:

    • A shared cabin on board one of our yachts
    • Meals and refreshments whilst on board (except the evening of joining and one other)
    • Mooring fees (home marinas only)
    • All fuel costs
    • Use of safety kit (wet weather gear can be hired should you need it)

Please bring with you a passport photograph for your certification.


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