RYA Competent Crew Practical Course

Pre-course experienceNone
Assumed knowledgeNone
Minimum duration5 days. Often run over 3 weekends or 3 days plus a weekend. If you have done the Start Yachting course, this course can be completed in 3 or 4 days
Minimum ageNone
Course contentKnowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat, her rigging and sails, sail handling, ropework, fire precautions and fighting, personal safety equipment, man overboard, emergency equipment, meteorology, seasickness, helmsmanship, general duties, manners and customs, rules of the road, dinghies
Ability after the courseAble to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day routines

RYA Day Skipper Practical Course

Pre-course experience5 days, 100 miles, 4 night hours on board a sailing yacht
Assumed knowledgeTheory to the level of Day Skipper. It is recommended you attend the Day Skipper shorebased course beforehand.
Minimum duration5 days, 3 weekends or 3 days plus 2 days
Minimum age16
Course contentPreparation for sea, deck work, navigation, pilotage, meteorology, rules of the road, maintenance and repair work, engines, victualling, emergency situations, yacht handling under power, yacht handling under sail, passage making, night cruising

RYA Coastal Skipper Practical Course 

Pre-course experience15 days, 2 days as skipper, 300 miles, 8 night hours
Assumed knowledgeBoat handling to the standard of Day Skipper and navigation to shorebased Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster™ Offshore
Minimum duration5 days
Minimum age17
Course contentPassage planning, Preparation for sea, Pilotage, Passage making and ability as skipper, Yacht handling under power, Yacht handling under sail, Adverse weather conditions, Emergency situations
Ability after the courseAble to skipper a yacht on coastal passages by day and night

Yachtmaster™ Coastal exam pre-requisites

Minimum SeatimeDocumented minimum sea time1 completed on a seagoing sailing or motor yacht (as appropriate) in the last 10 years: 30 days at sea on a vessel less than 24m LOA, which may be reduced to 20 days at sea on vessels less than 24m LOA or substituted with 30 days at sea on yachts under 500gt2 if an RYA Coastal Skipper Practical course completion certificate is held; 2 days as skipper on a vessel less than 24m LOA; 800 miles, which may be reduced to 400 miles on vessels less than 24m LOA or substituted with 800 miles at sea on yachts under 500gt2 if an RYA Coastal Skipper Practical course completion certificate is held; 12 night hours
See: Information on qualifying passages.
1 At least half the qualifying sea time should be gain in tidal waters.
2 Contact [email protected] if your sea time is on a yacht greater than 24m and 500gt.
Form of examPractical
Certification requiredA GMDSS compliant Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate such as the RYA Short Range Certificate or higher. An RYA First Aid Certificate or another valid first aid certificate, as detailed on the RYA website. RYA Coastal Skipper Practical course completion certificate (either Sail or Power, as appropriate) ONLY IF claiming reduced sea time detailed above.
Minimum exam duration6-10 hours for one candidate, 8-14 hours for two candidates
Minimum age17 at the time of the exam.

What Kind Of Boat Can I Take The Exam On?

You may use your own boat or a boat that you have chartered or borrowed. You will be responsible for ensuring the boat is seaworthy and suitable for the area in which the exam takes place and equipped as shown below.

The boat used must be between 7m and 18m LOA and be in sound, seaworthy condition, equipped to the standard set out in the RYA book Cruising Yacht Safety (code C8). The boat must be equipped with a full up to date set of charts and navigational publications and be efficiently crewed, as the examiner will not take part in the management of the boat during the exam.

Before you book your exam please check that you:

  1. Can provide a boat (either your own or a training centre’s boat)
  2. Have completed the required mileage and experience as skipper
  3. Hold an SRC (Short Range Certificate) or higher level GMDSS radio operators qualification
  4. Hold a valid first aid certificate
  5. Have read the syllabus in the RYA Logbook (code G158)
  6. Have read and comply with the pre-requisites above.

If you need your Certificate of Competence in order to work on board a commercial craft subject the MCA’s codes of practice, you will need to get it commercially endorsed

Yachtmaster™ Offshore exam pre-requisites

Minimum seatimeDocumented minimum sea time1 completed on a seagoing sailing or motor yacht (as appropriate) in the last 10 years:50 days at sea on yachts up to 500gt2;5 days as skipper on vessels less than 24m LOA;2500 miles on yachts up to 500gt2, half of which must be on vessels less than 24m LOA;5 passages over 60 miles long, which must include 2 overnight passages and 2 as skipper.See: Information on qualifying passages1 At least half the qualifying sea time should be gained in tidal waters.2 Contact [email protected] if your sea time is on a yacht greater than 24m and 500gt.
Form of exam Practical
Certification requiredA GMDSS compliant Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate such as the RYA Short Range Certificate or higher.An RYA First Aid Certificate or another valid first aid certificate, as detailed on the RYA website.
Minimum exam duration 8-12 hours for 1 candidate, 10-18 hours for 2 candidates. No more than two candidates can be examined in 24 hours and no more than four candidates can be examined in one 2 day session.  
 Minimum age 18 at the time of the exam

What Kind Of Boat Can I Take The Exam On?

You may use your own boat or a boat that you have chartered or borrowed. You will be responsible for ensuring the boat is seaworthy and suitable for the area in which the exam takes place and equipped as shown below.

The boat used must be between 7m and 18m (LOA) and be in sound, seaworthy condition, equipped to the standard set out in the RYA Boat Safety Handbook 2nd Edition (code G103). The boat must be equipped with a full up to date set of charts and navigational publications along with working instruments and either plotter or GPS. In addition to the candidate there should be two crew on board as the examiner will not take part in the management of the boat during the exam.

There may be vessels that will meet the guidelines outlined above but by virtue of their layout, construction, handling characteristics or other factors may be unsuitable for use for an RYA Yachtmaster™ Practical examination. The RYA reserves the right to refuse an exam on a vessel that, in the view of the RYA Chief Examiner, will not allow the examiner to conduct an examination to the standard required by the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster™ Qualification Panel.

Before you book your exam please check that you:

  1. can provide a boat
  2. have completed the required mileage and experience as skipper
  3. hold a n SRC (Short Range Certificate) or higher level GMDSS radio operators qualification
  4. hold a valid first aid certificate
  5. have read the syllabus in RYA Logbook (G158)
  6. have read and comply with the pre-requisites above.

If you need your Certificate of Competence in order to work on board a commercial craft subject the MCA’s codes of practice, you will need to get it commercially endorsed

2021 Yachtmaster Exam Fees

Type of exam
Advanced Powerboat & Yachtmaster™ Coastal£193
Yachtmaster™ Offshore£224
Yachtmaster™ Ocean£169
Power/sail conversion£120
Short Range Certificate£60
Partial Re-Exam£102.00

Start Yachting Course

Pre-course experienceNone
Assumed knowledgeNone
Minimum duration2 days
Minimum ageNone
Course contentThe yacht, ropework, underway, rules of the road, man overboard recovery, clothing and equipment, emergency equipment and precautions, meteorology.
Ability after the courseBasic knowledge of yachting.

Basic Skills Course

The Sail Cruising Basic Skills Course builds on the skills gained during your Sailing course, with the main focus being on the skills required to sail a cruising yacht.

This course is great for families or individuals who wish to improve their existing yacht handling skills under sail. Although primarily aimed at improving the skills of someone who has completed the Sail Cruising Start Sailing course, if a student has completed a Start Sailing course under the National Sailing scheme (ie in smaller keelboats or dinghies) they would also be eligible to attend this course.

This course is also very useful for improving the ability of an existing Competent Crew or Day Skipper to handle a yacht under sail. It covers all the sailing techniques and manoeuvres on a yacht under sail both as crew and helm, including slipping and coming alongside under sail, some basic yacht handling under power, sailing theory and basic safety including personal safety at sea, and sailing a yacht in tide or current.

On completion of this course, you will have a basic knowledge of sailing and be capable of sailing a yacht as crew and helm with a skipper on board in light winds.

It is assumed that every student starting this course has already mastered the practical skills and absorbed the background knowledge required for 

Start Sailing. Both courses can be combined which will then count towards two days of a Competent Crew Course.  

Duration: Approximately 16 hours (either spread over a series of sessions or two full days).

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