RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Exam

The RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal has the knowledge needed to skipper a yacht on coastal cruises but does not necessarily have the experience needed to undertake longer passages.

Full details of the exam syllabus and requirements are shown in the RYA Yachtmaster Scheme and Logbook (G158) available from the RYA webshop.

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal practical exams can be taken under sail or power and your certificate will be endorsed accordingly. You or a training centre provide the boat and the RYA provides an examiner. Note: All qualifying sea time and passages must be gained on vessels appropriate to the type of exam i.e. gained in sailing vessels for a sail exam and power vessels for a power exam.

The exam will include an assessment of your skippering skills, boat handling, general seamanship, navigation, safety awareness and knowledge of the IRPCS (collision regulations), meteorology and signals. You will be set tasks to demonstrate your ability and may also be asked questions on any part of the syllabus for all practical and shorebased courses up to RYA Yachtmaster Coastal level.

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal exam pre-requisites

Minimum seatime

Documented 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 12 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 or an RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence 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 or an RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence 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 training@rya.org.uk if your sea time is on a yacht greater than 24m and 500gt.

Form of exam Practical
Certification required
  • A 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 duration 6-10 hours for one candidate, 8-14 hours for two candidates
Minimum age 17 at the time of the exam.

Boats used for exams

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.