Responsibility for issuing certificates of competence for sail and power vessels is given to the RYA by the British Government through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). The MCA is an agency of the Department of Transport.
The RYA is authorised to qualify examiners, provide examinations and issue certificates on behalf of the MCA for the following qualifications:
(*commercial endorsements may be added to these certificates to enable their professional use in relation to UK codes of practice for small commercial vessels.)
The RYA also accredits training centres who provide training towards these qualifications. RYA examinations are conducted independently of the training centres to ensure the integrity of these qualifications.
The RYA regularly meets Government officials at a high level to discuss issues in its maritime sector. The RYA also negotiates internationally on acceptance of its certificates worldwide.