RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Exam

The RYA Yachtmaster® Offshore is competent to skipper a cruising yacht on any passage during which the yacht is no more than 150 miles from harbour.

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

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore practical exams can be taken under sail or power and your certificate will be endorsed accordingly. The candidate or a training centre provides 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.

There is no formal training course leading up to the exam, but those who have not previously taken RYA courses often find it useful to book themselves in for some informal training at an RYA centre prior to their exam. This training can be tailor-made to your specific needs and helps to fill any gaps in your knowledge that may become apparent.

The exam will include an assessment of your skippering skills, boat handling, general seamanship, navigation, safety awareness and knowledge of the IRPCS, meteorology and signals.

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exam pre-requisites

Minimum seatime

Documented 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 500gtwhich may be reduced to 25 days if the candidate already holds an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence3;
  • 5 days as skipper on vessels less than 24m LOA, which may be reduced to 3 days if the candidate already holds an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence3;
  • 2500 miles on yachts up to 500gt2, which may be reduced to 1250 miles if the candidate already holds an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence3;
  • 5 passages over 60 miles long, which must include 2 overnight passages and 2 as skipper, which may be reduced to 3 passages  including 1 overnight and 1 as skipper if the candidate already holds an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence3.

See: Information on qualifying passages

1 At least half the qualifying sea time should be gained in tidal waters and on vessels less than 24m LOA, and all seatime must be on vessels of the same discipline as the exam to be taken, i.e. sail or power.

2 Contact training@rya.org.uk if your sea time is on a yacht greater than 24m and 500gt.

For example, an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail wishing to be examined for RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Power

Form of exam
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.
  • Photographic ID card or document, such as passport or driving license
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


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 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 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 RYA Logbook (G158)
  6. have read and comply with the pre-requisites above.

Additionally if not on the boat, you will need to bring to the exam:

  1. laminated or waterproof charts
  2. GPS set (may be hand held)
  3. tide tables
  4. pilotage information for the local area, eg pilot books, port information etc
  5. plotting instruments.
  6. Photographic ID card or document, such as a passport or driving licence


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.

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