RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Exam

The RYA 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 Yachtmaster Scheme Syllabus and Logbook (G158), which is available from the RYA webshop.

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 RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence on passing the oral exam. Those holding OOW (Yacht 3000gt) will receive a pass confirmation certificate.

RYA Yachtmaster Ocean exam pre-requisites

Minimum seatime

Have completed a qualifying passage on board a sailing or motor yacht up to 500gt1 which meets the following criteria:

  • 600M including at least 200M more than 50 miles from land or charted objects capable of being used for navigation;
  • Duration of at least 96 hours;
  • The candidate must have taken a full part in the planning and preparation of the passage, including: navigational plan, checking the material condition of the yacht and her equipment; storing with spare gear, fuel, water and victuals.
  • Throughout the passage, the candidate must have acted in a responsible capacity, either in sole charge of a watch or as skipper.
  • Candidates must have successfully navigated a yacht at sea by astro navigation. As a minimum this should include the planning, reduction, and plotting of a sun-run-meridian altitude or sun-run-sun sight and a compass check carried out using the bearing of the sun, moon, a star or planet.

The minimum qualifying passage must have been accrued within 10 years of the examination date.

1 Candidates must hold OOW (Yacht 3000gt) to claim qualifying passages on vessels greater than 24m LOA. Contact training@rya.org.uk if your passage is on a vessel greater than 500gt.

See: Information on qualifying passages.

Form of exam Oral and written assessment of sights take at sea.
Certification required

Hold either:

  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence, or
  • MCA issued Certificate of Competence as officer in charge of a navigational watch (OOW), Yachts less than 3000gt, unlimited area, Reg II/1.
  • Photographic ID card or document, such as passport or driving license
Minimum exam duration Approximately 1.5 hours