What is an RYA Yachtmaster?

The gold standard

The RYA Yachtmaster® Certificate of Competence is often the ultimate aim of aspiring skippers. It is a well known, highly respected qualification worldwide, proving your experience and competence as a skipper.

Unlike other qualifications in the cruising programme, there is no formal training course to become an RYA Yachtmaster. Instead, provided you have sufficient experience, certification and seatime, you can put yourself forward for an exam to test your skills and knowledge.

There are a number of RYA navigation courses that will help you prepare for your exam. Many RYA Yachtmaster candidates also choose to book themselves into an RYA training centre for some specialised exam preparation training, but this is not compulsory.

RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal

You are capable of coastal passages

RYA Yachtmaster® Offshore

You are competent to undertake passages up to 150 miles offshore

RYA Yachtmaster® Ocean

You have the knowledge and experience to sail worldwide


The Coastal and Offshore exams are practical tests afloat, and the Ocean is an oral exam. Find out more about qualifying passages, exam fees and how to book. 

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Working as an RYA Yachtmaster

With an RYA Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore or Ocean Certificate of Competence you can start a career at sea.

Where can you work?

You'll need to have the appropriate qualification for the vessel and area of operation.

Commercial endorsements

If you want to work commercially, you'll need a commercial endorsement.

Professional qualifications

Find out more about other RYA professional qualifications.


Can you really become an RYA Yachtmaster in as little as 14 weeks? Check out our top tips for getting the most from a Yachtmaster Fast Track course...