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Yachtmaster Ocean Exam

The Yachtmaster Ocean is experienced and competent to skipper a yacht on passages of any length in all parts of the world.

Full details of the exam syllabus and requirements are shown in the RYA Yachtmster Scheme Syllabus and Logbook (G158), which is available from the RYA webshop.

Yachtmaster Ocean exam pre-requisites

Minimum seatime All candidates must have completed a qualifying passage within the past 10 years as skipper or mate in sole charge of a watch on a suitable vessel, which meets the following criteria:
  1. The candidate was fully involved in the planning of the passage, including selection of the route, the navigational plan, checking the material condition of the vessel and her equipment, storing with spare gear, water and victuals and organising the watch-keeping routine.
  2. During the passage a minimum non-stop distance of 600 miles must have been run by the log, the yacht must have been at sea continuously for at least 96 hours and the yacht must have been more than 50 miles from land or charted objects capable of being used for navigation/position fixing while sailing a distance of at least 200 miles.
  3. To be eligible as an ocean qualifying passage the distance between departure and arrival points by the shortest navigable route must be more than 600 mile.
    See: Information on Qualifying passages
Form of exam Oral and written assessment of sights take at sea.
Certification required
  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence, or
  • Officer of the Watch (Yachts 3000gt) issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Minimum exam duration Approximately 1.5 hours
The exam consists of an oral and written test.


The candidate must provide the examiner with the following information 48 hours prior to the exam:
  1.  A narrative account of the planning and execution of the qualifying passage providing all relevant details.
  2. Navigational records, completed on board a yacht on passage, out of sight of land showing that the candidate has navigated the yacht without the use of electronic navigational aids. The records must include as a minimum, planning, reduction and plotting of a sun run meridian altitude sight and a compass check carried out using the bearing of the sun, moon, a star or planet. 
During the oral test the candidate will be required to answer questions on all aspects of ocean passage making in a yacht, including passage planning, navigation, worldwide meteorology, crew management and yacht preparation, maintenance and repairs.


The written exam will include questions on sights and sight reduction and worldwide meteorology.

Candidates who hold the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased Course Completion Certificate (final exam must have been invigilated at an RYA RTC), or a MCA issued full STCW Certificate of Competence as a Deck Officer (Unlimited) will be exempt from the written examination.

Before you book your exam please check that you:

  1. have completed the required mileage and experience as skipper
  2. have read the syllabus in RYA Logbook (G158)
  3. 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 - see 'Related articles'.


Please note: Only those who hold the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence are eligible to receive the Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence on passing the oral exam. Those holding OOW (Yacht 3000gt) will receive a pass confirmation certificate.

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