• Yachtmaster Ocean
  • Recreational

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Yachtmaster Ocean Qualifications

This certificate is a qualification that indicates that the holder has sufficient knowledge of celestial navigation to navigate a 24-metre vessel globally using a sextant and to plan, undertake and manage an ocean passage together with a comprehensive understanding of the factors involved with regards to routing and meteorology. The minimum age to obtain this certification is 18.

What are the entry level requirements?

To gain the IYT Yachtmaster Ocean certificate, candidates must first hold the IYT Yachtmaster Offshore certificate.

What does the Yachtmaster ocean theory course consist of?

The course consists of six days of astronavigation and worldwide meteorology. A thorough knowledge of all subjects covered in the IYT Yachtmaster Offshore course is assumed. There will be a final written examination on the last day of the course.

It has come to our attention that it has not been made perfectly clear to all IYT Worldwide yachtmaster candidates that this certification is for recreational use only and may never be upgraded to a professional certificate. Therefore, we require all candidates taking a recreational IYT Worldwide Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore or Ocean course to complete an acknowledgement prior to taking the course.

Course outline.

  • The Earth and the celestial sphere
  • The PZX triangle
  • The sextant
  • Measurement of time
  • Meridian altitudes
  • Planet sights
  • Starsight planning
  • The pole star
  • Moon sights
  • Compass checking
  • Satellite navigation systems
  • Great circle sailing
  • Meteorology
  • Passage planning

The IYT Yachtmaster Ocean certificate is a qualification that indicates that the holder has sufficient knowledge of celestial navigation to navigate globally using a sextant and to plan, undertake and manage an ocean passage together with a comprehensive understanding of the factors involved with regards to routing and meteorology.

Certificate Limitations:

  • Command of a vessel up to 24 meters in length
  • all oceans / anywhere in the world
  • not for commercial use
Note: Yachtmaster Ocean is a recreational course that can be taught in any language BUT cannot be upgraded to the professional Master of Yachts certificate.

How Do I Apply for Enrollment?

Candidates may apply to any of the participating IYT Partner Schools worldwide who offer this course.

As you advance and become more proficient as crew or skipper you take on bigger challenges that require proper training to ensure the safety of your family and friends. The bigger the boat or length of adventure the more training you require.

Most of us prefer to spend our time on the water and not in a classroom. To facilitate this, IYT has a series of E-learning courses available for the theoretical part of sail and powerboat training.

  • Take one of our online (Elearning) courses for your next level of training.
  • Plan your practical training at one of our many schools worldwide to earn your final qualification.
  • Book in advance with your school as class sizes and availability may be limited.
  • Review the IYT course progression details to learn about professional level courses.
  • Spend time on the water and properly log your seatime.

The Boating Lifestyle is one of the most rewarding pursuits available. There is something physically and emotionally invigorating when you are offshore. To enjoy the experience fully you need the proper training & skills to be safe, prepared and command a vessel.

Recreational Student Information

Benefits of an iyt certification.

IYT is the largest provider of crew and skipper certificates for the recreational yachting industry in the world. Learn more about the benefits of an IYT Certificate.

Certificate Renewal

For many IYT certificates, there is the need to re-qualify for your certificate every 3 to 5 years. This ensures that our certifications are meeting international standards.

IYT Yachting Passport

The IYT Passport is recognized in over 40 countries around the world and offers you an opportunity to study and train worldwide.

  • Course Progression

A beginner at sailing or operating a powerboat should be familiar with the training path that is available from IYT. Many recreational boaters progress to become crew on superyachts.

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Neptune Maritime Training Sail & Power

Unravel the mysteries of astro navigation, using a sextant, ocean passage making, worldwide meteorology and electronic navigation aids.

This course is for those aspiring to blue water cruising and is ideal for holders of theYachtmaster Offshore certificate who are preparing for their first ocean passage.

Topics covered include:

  • The earth and the celestial sphere
  • Practical guide to use and care of sextant at sea
  • Meridian altitudes
  • Sun, star and other sights
  • Ocean passage planning

Prior to the course your navigation skills should be at the standard of the Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore shorebased course.

If you are working towards your Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence, completion of this shorebased course exempts you from the written exam.

The course is taught over 40 hours with one exam paper. It can be covered as a series of short sessions, as an intensive week-long course.

Ocean Yachtmaster Practical

We regularly organise practical experience in taking sights and plotting positions on board. We can also help you achive your quallifing passage.

We will work with you through the process and review your documentation before submitting for assessment.

you are welcome to borrow one of our sextants and almanacs to help you develop your skills before the practical passage.

A person holding a Yachtmaster Ocean qualification is experienced and competent to skipper a yacht on passages of any length in all parts of the world.

Details of Courses and Prices

The Yachtmaster Ocean exam is an oral and written test of your knowledge of ocean passage making including planning, navigation, worldwide meteorology, crew management, yacht preparation, maintenance and repairs. You will also be questioned on your sights taken at sea during an ocean passage.

We hold regular Yachtmaster ocean theory courses . these cover the essencial knowledge as well as practice in taking sights and plotting positions while sailing.

 
Ocean passage as skipper or mate of watch. The candidate was fully involved in the planning of the passage, including selection of the route, the navigational plan, checking the material condition of the yacht and her equipment, storing spare gear, water and victuals and organising the watch-keeping routine; During the passage a minimum non-stop distance of 600 miles must have been run by the log, the yacht must have been at sea continuously for at least 96 hours and the yacht must have been more than 50 miles from land while sailing a distance of at least 200 miles. Please see the ‘definition of passage’. All qualifying seatime must be within 10 years prior to the exam.
Oral and written assessment of sights take at sea. If you hold the Yachtmaster Ocean shorebased certificate you are exempt from the written assessment.
Hold a DoT Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate issued prior to 1973 or an RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence. An RYA/MCA Coastal Skipper Certificate does not qualify.

 

A restricted (VHF only) Radio Operators Certificate or a GMDSS Short Range Certificate or higher grade of marine radio certificate. A valid first aid certificate* (first aid qualifications held by Police, Fire and Armed Services are acceptable).

Approximately 1.5 hours

Course costs

  • RYA yachtmaster ocean course 790e
  • practical trip for celestial sights 450e (2 days)
  • RYA exam fees for ocean oral 250e (£200 direct to RYA)

What is include

  • Course material
  • use of a sextant during the course
  • RYA course completion certificates
  • teas, coffee soft drinks

What is not included

  • flights and travel to course
  • accomodation ashore
  • meals and drinks ashore
  • personal travel insurance
  • any RYA examination fees for certification

The candidate must provide the examiner with:

  • A narrative account of the planning and execution of the qualifying passage
  • Navigational records, completed on board a yacht on passages, 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 may be required to answer questions on all aspects of ocean passage making in a yacht, including passage planning, astro navigation, worldwide meteorology, crew management and yacht preparation, maintenance and repairs.

The written exam will include questions on star sight planning and reduction and worldwide meteorology. Candidates who hold the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased certificate, Royal Navy Ocean Navigation Certificate or a DoT Certificate of Competence as a Deck Officer will be exempt from the written examination.

Before you book your exam please check that you:

  • have completed the required mileage and experience as skipper
  • hold a VHF Radio Operators License or Short Range Certificate
  • hold a valid first aid certificate
  • have read the syllabus in RYA publications: G15 (sail) or G18 (power)
  • have read and comply with the pre-requisites above.

If you need a Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence in order to work on board a commercial craft subject to the MCA’s codes of practice, you will need to get it commercially endorsed – see left. You can then work worldwide as a Master of commercial vessels of up to 200gt.

The Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence can be used commercially in its own right. It is also a pre-requisite for the MCA’s Chief Mate, Master 500 and Master 3000 qualifications.

Contact details

  • Certificates of Competence
  • RYA Yachtmaster

What is an RYA Yachtmaster?

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.

You are capable of coastal passages

You are competent to undertake passages up to 150 miles offshore

You have the knowledge and experience to sail worldwide

  • Arranging your exam

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. 

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

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

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

Find out more about other RYA professional qualifications.

  • Getting the most from a Yachtmaster Fast Track course

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...

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Call us: +441983 280 641

+441983 280 641

  • Yachtmaster Ocean

The Yachtmaster Ocean certificate is the highest qualification available in the RYA scheme.

  • Become a Yachtmaster
  • Career paths

The Yachtmaster Ocean is the highest qualification awarded by the RYA. Recognised worldwide, the Yachtmaster Ocean certificate proves you have the knowledge, experience, and confidence to skipper a yacht across an ocean.

What does the Yachtmaster Ocean qualify me to do?

The Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence allows the holder to skipper a yacht on an Ocean passage of any length.

The RYA has a structured route from beginner to Yachtmaster Ocean. You can choose sail or Power .

Whether you sail or enjoy powerboats, there is a route to Yachtmaster Ocean. To do the Yachtmaster Ocean, it’s fair to say that most people will choose the sailing route. This is because very few motorboats under 60 meters can cross an ocean. Smaller motorboats have a limited fuel range.

Become a professional skipper.

After passing the Yachtmaster Ocean exam, you have the opportunity to become a professional skipper. You can achieve this by applying for commercial endorsement.

It it worth pointing out at this stage, if you are considering working as a professional skipper then you will need to complete a medical, either the ENG1 or ML5 . The medical confirms you are fit to work at sea.

To apply for Commercial Endorsement you would have completed additional safety training courses, including STCW Basic Safety Training , plus an online Professional Practices and Responsibilities (PPR) course, and passed a medical.

Once you have completed these additional safety qualifications, you can apply for commercial endorsement and start a career as a professional skipper.

Superyacht crew

To become a Chief Mate on a Superyacht, Deckhands, Bosuns, and Officers must first obtain their Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate.

Requirements for RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

To sit the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Oral exam, candidates will be experienced sailors with a good depth of knowledge of sailing offshore, and on extended passages.

The requirements for the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean exam are as follows:

1. Hold the Yachtmaster Offshore certificate of competence.

2. Complete a 600-mile offshore passage acting in a position of responsibility (skipper or watch leader).

3. Have completed a series of celestial sights fixing your position at sea, including a sun run meridian altitude sight and a compass check carried out using a bearing of the sun, moon, or stars.

4. Be a competent offshore/Ocean skipper with good offshore experience.

5. Have extensive knowledge of Ocean weather patterns and conditions that can affect a trip across an ocean.

Once you have met these prerequisites, you can sit for the Yachtmaster Ocean Oral exam. You can sit the  Yachtmaster Ocean Oral exam

The difference between Yachtmaster Offshore and Ocean

Yachtmaster Offshore and Yachtmaster Ocean differ in Astro navigation, using the sun and stars to determine position. If you were sailing across an ocean and all electronic equipment were to fail, then having the knowledge to fix your position using a sextant would prove invaluable.

The Yachtmaster Offshore allows you to take a yacht on a journey no more than 150 miles from harbour. On the other hand, the Yachtmaster Ocean has no restrictions or limitations.

How do I become a Yachtmaster Ocean?

There are two options; the first is if you have your own boat. By having your own yacht, you can learn skills at your own pace with friends and family. You may want some basic training to get you going in the right direction, then build miles and experience. This option is cheaper if you don’t count the yacht’s cost, and you can learn at your own speed.

The drawback is that achieving Yachtmaster Ocean is finding the balance between training, work, friends, and family can be tricky. Furthermore, convincing friends to go sailing in the depths of winter means achieving your goal can take years.

The second option is joining a structured training programme. You can complete all the training at once and not have the hassle of owning your own yacht. A lot of people combine the Yachtmaster Ocean with travel, completing their training somewhere warm and sunny.

Our Yachtmaster Ocean course takes you from a novice sailor to Yachtmaster Ocean in 16 weeks. The training programme includes all the skills, qualifications, and experience you need to become an Ocean Master.

The course is for everyone, regardless of age or experience. It is suitable for beginners and experienced sailors who don’t have any formal qualifications. Whatever your sailing experience.

All you need in one course

Yachtmaster ocean course.

We take you from beginner to Yachtmaster Ocean in one 16-week training course.

Already have Yachtmaster Offshore

Yachtmaster ocean theory and passage.

If you hold the Yachtmaster Offshore qualification and want Ocean, then choose this option.

RYA Certificates of Competence, Part 5 - Yachtmaster Ocean

Sailing qualification recognised around the world as a clear mark of your sailing ability.

By Marcin Wojtyczka

In this article in series about RYA certifications we reveal how to pass the RYA Yachtmaster® Ocean Certificate of Competence.

The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence is proof that you have the knowledge and experience needed to skipper a yacht on passages of any length in all parts of the world. The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean is the highest certification level at RYA.

The holder of a Yachtmaster Ocean qualification should be competent to skipper a yacht of up to 24 metres LOA (up to 200gt) anywhere in the World (Category 0 waters - unlimited).

The assessment is done by oral interrogation (~1.5 hours). You also need to pass the written (~1.5 hours) exam if you did not complete the Ocean Theory course, complete a qualifying passage, and prepare narrative account and navigational records. You have to stand to attention before seasoned RYA-appointed examiner and convince him that you sailed as skipper or first mate and that you know the job. To be honest, there is probably no better way of doing it.

Don’t treat the examination just as an exam. This is a great opportunity to get feedback on your skills and become a better sailor.

Requirements

You can find the official requirements here .

  • Hold an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence
  • Have completed a qualifying passage which meets the following criteria: You were fully involved with the planning of the passage, including a selection of the route, the navigational plan, checking the material condition of the yacht and her equipment, spare gear, victuals and organising the watch-keeping routine. Throughout the passage you must have acted in a responsible capacity either in sole charge of a watch or as a skipper. Qualifying passage should be non-stop by the shortest navigable route with no change of skipper. During the qualifying passage a minimum non-stop distance of 600 miles must have been run by the log, the yacht must have been at sea continuously for at least 96 hours and the yacht must have been more than 50 miles from land or any charted navigational object while sailing a distance of 200 miles. You can find the exact requirements of the qualifying passage here . If you have any doubts about whether your chosen route qualifies, you can always contact RYA at [email protected] During the qualifying passage you should take some sights to prove that you are actually capable of navigating out of sight of land by astro navigation. If circumstances prevent astro sights from being taken on the ocean-qualifying passage you can also take them on another shorter passage. You just have to make sure to be enough far from shore so that the sights are taken out of sight of land.

Preparation

Before taking the oral exam, it is recommended to take Yachtmaster Ocean Theory course . If you complete the course, you will be exempted from the written examination.

Please also take a look at our routes . On all our offshore passages we are navigating using celestial navigation. Some of our passages qualify for the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certification where you can be a watch leader to meet the qualifying passage requirements. Many of our participants passed the prestigious RYA Yachtmaster Ocean exam and keep returning year after year to us in order to become yet more confident and experienced. Our practical on-the-water training builds confidence, teaching you everything from basic terminology and safety tips to how to skipper a yacht and manage its crew.

Exam Syllabus

During the oral exam, the questions should generally be related to your qualifying passage but may also refer to longer passages if needed to find out if you are capable of an ocean crossing. You may 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.

After booking the exam and at least 1 week before the exam date you must provide the examiner with:

  • A narrative account of the planning and execution of the qualifying passage.
  • Navigational records, completed on board a yacht on passage, out of sight of land, showing that you navigated the yacht without the use of electronic navigational aids. 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, star or planet.

The examiner will not be hard on you if you provide a good narrative account and lots of navigational records. You should show him or her that you thought about many aspects of voyage planning and execution, and that you care about the safety of the yacht and the crew. You will definitely fail if you show a cavalier altitude.

The narrative should include the following:

  • Brief description of the chosen vessel and suitability for the voyage
  • Crew selection
  • Pre-checks on the condition of the yacht, including hull, rigging, engine, electrics and fittings checks
  • Navigational passage planning: route selection, sources of information to decide on a strategy, expected and possible durations of the passage if no wind/rig failure/divert to the port of refuge etc.
  • Navigational equipment: electronic and manuals
  • Weather: source of information pre-departure, weather forecasting sources on passage, actual weather experienced
  • Harbours planned: pilotage, reporting, berthing, customs and immigrations procedures
  • Ports of refuge
  • Watchkeeping rota
  • Consumables provisioning: victualling (water and food) and fueling/bunkering - estimating daily usage, the amount carried, allowance for delays, calms and emergencies, preparation for what-if scenarios (e.g. contamination of water, fridge failure etc.)
  • Consumables monitoring en route: fuel, gas, food, water, battery
  • Methods of charging batteries, battery capacity and electrical consumption calculations
  • Medical kit carried and preparation for medical emergencies (e.g. availability of suitable courses)
  • Standing orders
  • Safety briefing conducted
  • Routine equipment checks and maintenance, precautionary replacements
  • Drills practices before departure and during the passage
  • Fire precautions
  • VHF / HF / MF channels monitored
  • Communications equipment carried
  • Position reporting to shore stations
  • Navigational hazards including shipping lanes and shallows
  • Expected shipping traffic and other vessels encountered (e.g. fishing fleets)
  • Use of courtesy ensigns and Q flag
  • Emergency (contingency) plans: MOB, rig failure, hull breach, steering failure, port/hatch failure, engine failure, abandon ship, divert to the port of refuge, heavy weather preparation and tactics, emergency repairs (e.g. jury-rigging, repairing damage to the hull, jury-steering)
  • Spare gear and tools required, carried and used
  • Deck safety: clipping on and numbers of the crew on deck
  • Charts and publications used
  • Copy of ship’s log and charts
  • Navigation by sextant: all written sight reduction, compass check and plotting sheets completed at sea (not tidied up ashore)
  • Procedure for cleaning and securing the yacht at the end of the passage

Example of RYA Yachtmaster Ocean narrative.

The written exam will include questions on celestial navigation (sights and sight reduction) and worldwide meteorology.

If you hold the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean shorebased course completion certificate you will be exempted from the written examination.

Learning materials

  • Celestial Navigation in practice - Astro navigation primer.
  • Celestial Navigation - With the Sight Reduction Tables with Pub. No 249 - This book gives the clearest explanation of how celestial navigation works and how to use it without bogging down in theory.
  • How to use sextant (PDF) , Video
  • RYA Certificates of Competence
  • Certificates

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yacht master ocean

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  • Call Us: 0203 006 3717 (9:30am-4:30pm)

What is the Difference Between Yachtmaster Ocean and Offshore?

First Class Sailing is one of the UK’s leading schools for those seeking to complete their RYA qualifications and certificates. We offer the full ranges of courses, including RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and Yachtmaster Offshore .

We are often asked what the differences are between the two courses, so this short blog posts will explain all you need to know.

The simple difference between the two qualifications, is astronavigation. You should take the Yachtmaster Ocean exam if you want to sail large distances over long periods of time. It will mean you can navigate by the sun and stars, fixing your position with a sextant if your electronic navigation fails.

The difference between Yachtmaster Offshore and Ocean once qualified

Once you hold a qualification, it will make a difference as to what you can do in addition to the astronavigation aspect we discussed. The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualification makes you a competent skipper of a yacht of up to 24 metres in length, in waters up to 150 miles from land.

If you are qualified with RYA Yachtmaster Ocean, the difference is you can skipper a vessel of 24 metres in length and up to 200 gross tonnages anywhere around the globe.

Differences between the practical courses

To take the Yachtmaster Offshore course, you must have at least 50 days’ sailing time, with two of those days as the skipper. You also need to have logged 2,500 nautical miles, 5 passages over 60nm including two overnight and two as skipper, all within the last ten years.

Half the qualifying sea time must have been conducted in tidal waters & on a sailing vessel 24 metres or under.

You will also need a VHF radio licence, a First aid certificate and sound knowledge of using a Radar.

To take the Yachtmaster Ocean course, you must first have the Yachtmaster Offshore certificate.

You also need to have completed a qualifying passage that meets the following criteria:

  • The candidate was fully involved in the planning of the passage, including selection of the route, the navigational plan, checking the material condition of the yacht and her equipment, storing the spare gear, water and victual and organizing the watch-keeping routine.
  • During the passage a minimum non-stop distance of 600 miles must have been run by the log, the yacht must have been at sea continuously for at least 96 hours and the yacht must have been more than 50 miles from land while sailing a distance of at least 200 miles.
  • Qualifying passages for Yachtmaster Ocean and Offshore should be non stop by the shortest navigable route with no change of skipper. Passages such as recognised races which may not comply exactly with these requirements may be submitted to the RYA for approval before the voyage.
  • Hold a First Aid qualification, as for Yachtmaster Offshore
  • For Ocean Passages, the following definition will apply: Throughout the passage the candidate must have acted in a responsible capacity either in sole charge of a watch or as a skipper.

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What is an Ocean Yachtmaster

What is an ocean yachtmaster and how to become an ocean yachtmaster.

The RYA/MCA Ocean Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence (CoC) is the highest level certificate in the RYA scheme. It can be used by blue water leisure sailors and by commercial skippers and crew. Under the MCA Codes of practice the Ocean Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence holder, (with relevant commercial endorsement etc.) can skipper a vessel;

  • Up to 200 tonnes
  • Carrying up to 12 passengers
  • Anywhere globally (i.e. beyond the 150 miles from a safe haven limit imposed upon a Yachtmaster Offshore ).

Furthermore the Yachtmaster Ocean CoC Exam is required for the Chief Officer 3000 Certificate of Competence  (for yachts over 200 tonne).

There are 5 stepping stones to becoming an Ocean Yachtmaster CoC holder. Steps 1-4 can be taken in any order although the order presented below is the most logical. Step 5 can only be completed once the first 4 steps have been completed.

  • Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence

RYA Ocean Yachtmaster Shorebased Course

Ocean qualifying passage.

  • Sights and Compass Check by sextant at sea

RYA/MCA Ocean Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence Oral Exam

It is technically possible to take the Ocean Yachtmaster CoC Oral exam without having previously completed the RYA Ocean Shorebased Course but not advised as it involves an additional written exam and you would require all of the relevant knowledge taught on the course. Further information is detailed the relevant 5 steps below;

Super-Yacht-In-Sea

Becoming a Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence Holder

While you can proceed towards the RYA Ocean shorebased course and the Ocean practical steps (qualifying passage and sights) you can not proceed to the Oral exam without first holding the Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence .

This is a 40-hour theory course. It can be taken;

  • Over 5 consecutive days face to face in the classroom
  • Over 13 evenings face to face night school in the classroom
  • Over 5.5 days face to face using zoom
  • Online in your own time.

Whichever format you choose the course culminates in a written paper.

The course concentrates on astro navigation, i.e using a sextant and the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, stars and planets) to fix your position. The course also devotes time to ocean voyage planning and worldwide meteorology.

Full details can be found at Ocean Yachtmaster Shorebased Course

RYA Ocean Shorebased Theory

While you don’t strictly need to be a Yachtmaster Offshore before taking the Ocean Yachtmaster Shorebased Course , the following knowledge is assumed before the Ocean Shorebased course starts;

  • Use of plotting instruments (plotter, dividers etc.)
  • Latitude and longitude, knots and nautical miles
  • Variation and deviation
  • Application of UT, DST
  • 2/3 Point fixes and angles of cut
  • Dead Reckoning / EP (and ideally the Running Fix)
  • GPS and other electronic nav aids
  • Coastal/offshore voyage planning
  • Sources of forecast information
  • Synoptic charts
  • Low pressure systems
  • Coastal communications /distress comms. (Navtex, VHF, EPIRBs and SARTs)

Is the Ocean Shorebased Written Exam Invigilated?

If you take a face to face Ocean Yachtmaster Shorebased Course then the written paper is invigilated and marked by your Instructor.

If you choose to take the Online or Webinar RYA Ocean Yachtmaster Shorebased Course then face to face invigilation may be required (see table below).

I am taking the course for fun/ and/or for my own interest Invigilation not required
I intend to use the knowledge for leisure sailing Invigilation not required
I intend to use this course as a pre requisite for the RYA/MCA Ocean Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence Exam required by an RYA Instructor, otherwise you will be required to complete a written exam at the time of your Ocean Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence Oral Exam
I intend to use this certificate as a pre requisite for the required by an RYA Instructor
I intend to become a required by an RYA Instructor

What qualifies as a RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Qualifying Passage?

An Ocean Qualifying Passage must have been taken in the last 10 years. Sea time prior to this date does not qualify. The passage must meet the following requirements

Ocean Candidate’s Role On Board

For your qualifying passage you should be either the skipper or mate in sole charge of a watch. You must have been  fully involved in the planning of the passage, including selection of the route, the navigational plan, checking the material condition of the vessel and her equipment, storing with spare gear, water and victuals and organising the watch-keeping routine.

If the skipper changes role at any point during the passage, then neither skipper can use the passage as a qualifying passage.

It is our opinion that it is impossible for multiple Ocean Yachtmaster candidates to use the same passage as their qualifying passage as you can not all fit the definitions above. More than two candidates would be highly unlikely more than three impossible.

The passage has several minimum requirements

  • Departure and arrival ports must be more than 600 miles apart by the shortest navigable route
  • Minimum non-stop distance of 600 miles must have been run by the log
  • At least 200 miles of that passage must have been more 50 miles from land (or charted objects capable of being used for navigation/position fixing, such as an offshore oil rig)
  • The vessel must have been at sea continuously for at least 96 hours

Passages such as recognised races which may not comply exactly with these requirements may be submitted to the RYA for consideration before the voyage.

Examples of Ocean qualifying passages (non stop passages)

  • Trans-Atlantic ARC Rally (Canary Islands to St. Lucia/Caribbean)
  • Between Azores and anywhere in mainland Europe/UK or the Canary Islands
  • Between Bermuda and any of; Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada or most of USA (parts of North Carolina fall below the requirements)
  • Between Bermuda and the Azores or Europe
  • Solent/UK to Cascais/Portugal,Algarve, Southern Spain or Gibraltar (assuming you follow the rum line or stay offshore when crossing Biscay)
  • Trans Pacific Passage (excluding passages between Alaska and Russia, on or close to the Bering Sea)
  • Atlantic Germany (Elbe) to Scotland, where the 200 mile run is impossible due to oil rigs)
  • Gibraltar to Northern Lanzarote where the mileage falls slightly below 600
  • RORC Fastnet Race which does not follow the shortest navigable route or have the 200 mile run
  • Northern Spain to Majorca, although well over 600 miles, very little of the passage is over 50 miles from land

If you still are not sure about whether a passage qualifies, then check out the RYA’s definition of a qualifying passage .

Vessel used for Ocean Qualifying Passage

The yacht (or vessel) must be;

  • Minimum size 7m, LWL
  • Maximum size 500 tonnes (If the vessel is over 24m LOA then the candidate would need to hold an OOW 3000 Certificate of Competence to act as Officer of the Watch on the passage).

Yacht-Turning-1

Sights and Compass Check by Sextant at Sea

You are required to provide your Ocean Examiner with a minimum of’

  • Sun Run Mer Pass (or sun run sun, sun run planet etc.)
  • Compass check carried out using the bearing of the sun, moon, a star or planet

Sights are usually taken on the qualifying passage however in some circumstances (such as lots of cloud cover) this is not possible. If sights have been taken on another passage then the following requirement apply to this passage.

  • The vessel must of been out of sight of land and charted objects when the sights are taken/used.
  • The vessel must be on a passage by the shortest navigable route. You can not therefore simply head offshore take sights and return to departure port.

We always advise candidates to present the examiner with more than the minimum required sights. If you present the examiner with additional sights and your preferred set suffers from errors you still stand a chance of passing the exam.

Prior to the exam you will need to provide the examiner with;

  • A narrative account of the planning and execution of the qualifying passage providing all relevant details.
  • 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 exam you 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.

If you already hold the RYA Ocean Shorebased Course Certificate , the exam typically takes 1.5 hours although examiners can continue questioning considerably longer. If you do not hold the Ocean Shorebased certificate then your exam will take considerably longer as you will also have to take a written test.

Does the Ocean Yachtmaster Qualifying Passage have to be on the same type of vessel as I took my Yachtmaster Offshore Exam on (i.e. power or sail)?

Most candidates will qualify in the same kind of vessel as they passed their Offshore exam, however it is possible to qualify as a Yachtmaster Offshore (power) and then comlpete the Yachtmaster Ocean requirements on a sail vessel (or vice versa).

I hold a OOW (Yacht 3000gt) CoC but not a Yachtmaster Offshore CoC

If you passed the Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence Exam instead of the Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence Exam as your entry requirement into the OOW 3000 CoC then you will not be eligible to hold the Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence. On passing the oral exam you will receive a pass confirmation certificate.

STCW PSSR Course

How do I commercially endorse the Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence?

Those working under the MCA Codes of practice will require a commercial endorsement. Information can be found at RYA Commercial Endorsements . If you already hold a commercial endorsement on your Yachtmaster Offshore CoC then it is simply transferred across.

Do I require any other certificates to operate commercially as an Ocean Yachtmaster?

To operate a coded sailing yacht in Category 1 or 0 waters (i.e. Over 60 miles from a safe haven) you will additionally require a RYA Diesel Certificate .

To operate the mandatory GMDSS radio equipment on a commercial vessel in Sea Area A2 (more than about 35 miles offshore) you require either a Long Range Certificate (LRC) or STCW General Operator Certificate (GOC) .

To skipper a coded vessel in Category 1 or 0 waters (i.e. Over 60 miles from a safe haven) you will additionally need to hold  STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid and Proficiency in Medical Care , unless there is a current qualified nurse practitioner (or higher) on board.

If working aboard a vessel in Category 1 or 0 waters (i.e. Over 60 miles from a safe haven) you will need a ENG1 Medical certificate.  The alternatives which are suitable further inshore such as ML5 Medical Certificate  are not valid in category 1 and 0 waters.

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RYA Yachtmaster Offshore / Yachtmaster Coastal / Master of Yachts 200 Course 300

MPT is the most complete full service private maritime school in the country and has been training mariners since 1983. Our Fort Lauderdale based campuses host over 45,000 square feet of classrooms, deck and engineering training labs, the Ship's Store, and student service facilities.

Preparing for RYA Yachtmaster Offshore / Yachtmaster Coastal / Master...

Course description.

  Yachtmaster Certificate of Competency

The Yachtmaster Qualification is the pinnacle of the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Training and Certification System. It is widely recognized throughout the world as a prestigious accomplishment.

 Holding this credential can:

- Improve your resume for any deck department position on yachts - Serve as prerequisite training for an MCA OOW 3000 GT CoC - Professional Development in your yachting career  - Serve as your Certificate of Competence (CoC) for operators of yachts up to 200 tons

The Yachtmaster Course should be undertaken by crew aspiring to advance to the MCA OOW level up to 3000 tons and by those who are advancing to the command level for Master of Yachts up to 200 tons.

  2 Routes Available – Same Course:

Yachtmaster Coastal Yachtmaster Offshore

Yachting professional candidates are encouraged to start their training and professional development as early in their career as possible. Many will take their STCW Basic Safety Training Program (#140) and then when they qualify, it is recommended to obtain the Yachtmaster Coastal CoC. Candidates wishing to upgrade to the offshore route later can simply examine, without additional required training.

Whether you qualify for the Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore, the training is the same. The only difference is your experience and practical skill level. You will be examined towards whichever level you qualify for.

The MPT Yachtmaster Coastal and Offshore Course (#300) is taught on a Motor Yacht and the practical training and examination are towards a Motor Certificate of Competence. (If you are applying for a Sail Endorsement, this course will not satisfy your practical training and exam requirements). All sea time must be on a power boat and not on a sail boat under power. The Theory, SRC, PPR, and Basic Training courses are the same for both schemes.

The MPT Yachtmaster advanced level certification is available in a 2 week + exam program combining shore-based theory and practical hands-on techniques for a Motor Vessel and the RYA Practical Examination. The first week of class is in the classroom (theory) and the second week is Practical, out on the boat. In addition, there will be class on Saturday of the first week so please plan accordingly.

YACHTMASTER COASTAL & OFFSHORE Subjects Include:

One week (40 hours) of comprehensive shore-based theory module with written assessment papers including navigation, tidal calculations, international and inland rules of the road, coastal pilotage, meteorology, anchoring and mooring, docking and undocking, buoyage systems, safety, voyage and passage planning, general ship knowledge and seamanship.  A theory examination will be conducted after the completion of the 40-hour theory portion of the program.

One week of Yachtmaster Offshore/Coastal practical training is conducted on board one of MPT’s Yachts. These yachts are up to 48’ and are twin screw motor yachts. This part of the instruction covers seamanship skills such as nautical terms, tides, marlinespike seamanship, anchor work, boat handling, docking, general yachting skills, basic weather, navigation and passage planning. This course will be a preparation course for your final Yachtmaster Coastal/Offshore Examination. The practical portion of the course will be conducted during daytime, evening and occasionally may include weekend hours.

The Yachtmaster Course #300 is an Advanced Review Course and it is assumed that candidates will have the prerequisite knowledge of the Basics of Navigation and recommended to the level of RYA Day Skipper, and the very least, the level of the Essential Navigation On-line course. To increase your likelihood of success, we recommend taking the online pre-course - ESSENTIAL NAVIGATION. Additionally, flash cards are available in the MPT Ship's Store for rules study in lights and shapes. Also, many Apps are available to assist in these subjects for pre-study. It is also strongly advised that you pick up your study material well in advance of the start of your course. Pre-study is essential for a successful outcome of this course. 

The RYA Yachtmaster course is accredited by the RYA and MCA and recognized for service as Captain or Mate (OOW) up to 200gt up to 150 miles from a safe haven, at the Offshore level or up to 60 miles from safe haven at the Coastal level. 

The Yachtmaster CoC meets the STCW A-V1/1 and section A V1/1-4 when combined with Basic Training Courses. Yachtmaster Offshore fulfills the prerequisite for MCA OOW 500 and 3000 GT and the MCA STCW A-II/2 Command Certificate for Master 200GT.

Sea Service Prerequisites (minimums): Note you must be able to provide proof of your sea service before undertaking the exam. This should be provided at least 2 weeks before the course when possible to allow our team to review it and ensure your eligibility for the course. Speak to your MPT Career Counselor or your instructor for assistance.

 Sea Service can be proven by submitting one or more of the following: 

  • Log book (RYA or other acceptable)
  • Sea Service Testimonial Letters from captains, owners or operators of vessels outlining vessel specifics, time underway, your capacity served onboard and the location of the service (tidal or non-tidal waters, etc).
  • Sea Service Forms (calendar style - provided you can supply all of the additional information such as number of miles, etc.) Method 2 is preferred.

Yachtmaster Coastal: Motor - Option 1

Without RYA Coastal Skipper Practical certificate:

  • 2 days as skipper on vessels of less than 24 meters

Note: No more than half of the required miles can be on vessels over 24 meters

Yachmaster Coastal: Motor – Option 2 A & B

  With RYA Coastal Skipper Practical Certificate:

Can be used to enter OOW 3000GT program and modules

A. Mariners with Coastal Skipper Practical Certificate and with more than half of required sea service on vessels less than 24 meters

  • 20 days on board
  • 2 days as skipper on vessel less than 24 meters

B. Mariners with Coastal Skipper Practical Certificate and with more than half of required sea service on vessels greater than 24 meters

  • 30 days on board

Yachtmaster Offshore: Motor  

  • 50 days sea time overall on motor vessels
  • 5 days in the command position on the vessel (as Master)
  • 2500 nautical miles logged with half transiting through tidal waters and half on a vessel of less than 24 meters that is not a tender.
  • 5 passages over 60 nautical miles, including 2 overnight and 2 in command (as Master) of vessel.        

Yachtmaster Ocean:

  • Obtain Yeachmaster Offshore
  • Complete the RYA astro/ocean shorebased theory #306
  • Ocean passage of 600 nautical miles or more as captain or mate
  • Complete oral exam with RYA examiner successfully

For Commercial Endorsement:

In addition to the SRC and First Aid (must have been taken within 5 years) you will need to obtain an MCA Certificate of Medical Fitness (ENG-1) as well as the Personal Survival Training (4 Modules of STCW 210) and the online Professional Practices & Responsibilities (PPR) Certificate. If you are planning to work commercially, you should simply add the STCW Basic Training Program, which will include the approved Personal Survival and First Aid automatically and will also allow your Yachtmaster CoC to have the STCW endorsement as well. Most boats internationally require this of all crew working commercially. We also recommend the Security Awareness or Designated Security (VPDSD) Course if you are working commercially as well. These are all separate fees from the Yachtmaster Course however MPT offers Package discounts, speak to an MPT RYA Specialist for more information and assistance. There is also a fee candidates will pay to the RYA for the commercial endorsement.

Written & Practical Exam Information:

The written exams are administered at MPT at the end of the shore-based theory segment of your program. They include all of the topics covered in the course. All of the shore-based courses and experience criteria must be fulfilled before the RYA Examiner will conduct the practical assessment. The final exam will be conducted by an independent and unbiased RYA Yachtmaster examiner and takes the form of an extensive oral and practical examination on a motor yacht. Candidates who have taken MPT's Yachtmaster course may use one of the MPT vessels for the exam at no additional fee. The practical exam will take an additional one-two day and is scheduled when the examiner is available and generally immediately after the course, weather permitting.  Once your eligibility has been reviewed (sea time and prerequisites met), the schedule for the practical examination is predicated on several things:

1)The weather as this is a practical underway examination 2)The availability of the RYA Examiner (this is not an MPT employee)

Examinations may need to be scheduled for additional days which may not be consecutive to the dates of the course.

Exam Subjects:

We will review with you the knowledge-based subjects during your shore-based theory week and also fine tune your boat handling skills during your practical course, but you should be familiar with the following areas when you join the class and proficient by the exam date. (Note if you are not already well versed in these subjects when you arrive, you are strongly encouraged to take the Essential Navigation (online course) as there is not sufficient time to cover the basics in the 2-week program. Ask about #333) 

  • Knowledge of the International and Inland Rules of the Road.
  • Safety. The candidate will be expected to know what safety equipment should be carried on board a yacht.
  • Boat Handling, Maneuvering, Docking: Yachtmaster Coastal students will be expected to answer questions & demonstrate ability in simple situations only. Yachtmaster Offshore candidates are expected to demonstrate ability in more complex situations and will also be expected to show a higher level of expertise.
  • General seamanship, including maintenance.
  • Responsibilities of the skipper
  • Navigation, Basic Weather 
  • Radio Communication & Signaling
  • Command presence, management and direction of crew.
  • Essential Navigation (online course)

Practical Exam Fees:

The RYA Examination Fee for the initial examination will be paid by MPT as part of your course tuition. Additional RYA fees are paid by candidate if a subsequent examination is needed.

 If at the end of your course you wish to postpone the practical exam date, you are permitted to return for exam and RYA exam fee paid by MPT, within one calendar year, space permitting.

Additional Recommended or Required Courses:

  • Essentials of Navigation (Online Pre-Course) #333
  • First Aid & CPR #143 or Take STCW Basic Safety Training #141, 142, 143, 144
  • SRC VHF Radio License #303 Required (offered Online) or GMDSS GOC #404
  • RYA PPR (Professional Practices & Responsibility) #335 ONLINE COURSE
  • MCA Approved Engine Course #440
  • USCG Radar Course #148 & ARPA Course #150 or MCA Nav/Radar/ARPA Course #402

If you have three years of yacht service, speak to a career counselor about continuing straight through your OOW or Chief Mate 3000 GT program.

Required Materials

RECOMMEND PRE-STUDY: Essential Navigation online, course #333, COLREGS Study Apps or flashcard, and course notes. AVAILABLE IN MPT SHIPS STORE or bring with you the following: Pencil (mechanical or #2) Paper Chart Eraser (We recommend white- like magic rub or Staedtler), Navigation Tools (parallel rules/Portland plotter/triangles – your choice), Dividers (we recommend two- one as divider and one as compass), Calculator (we recommend the TI-30x), Hand Bearing Compass - optional though recommended (We recommend Weems & Plath #2004). Pick up at MPT when you register or when you check-in: Yachtmaster Shore based Training Manuals & Charts (provided by MPT).

11 day class in Fort Lauderdale

RECOMMENDED PRE-STUDY: Available at MPT Ships Store Complete Course Training DVD Flashcards AVAILABLE IN MPT SHIPS STORE OR BRING WITH YOU: Pencil (mechanical or #2) Paper Chart Eraser (We recommend white - like magic rub or staedtler) Navigation Tools (parallel rules/Portland plotter/triangles - your choice) Dividers (we recommend two - one as divider and one as compass) Calculator (we recommend the TI-30x) Hand Bearing Compass (We recommend Weems & Plath #2004) PICK UP AT SCHOOL WHEN YOU REGISTER OR WHEN YOU CHECK-IN: Yachtmaster Shorebased Training Manuals & Charts (provided by MPT)

Course Photos

yacht master ocean

Testimonials

Not suggestions. Thanks for letting me be your student! Alejandro, Friday August 2015 RYA Yachtmaster Offshore / Yachtmaster Coastal / Master of Yachts 200
A bit more time would be nice! But Steve was an awesome instructor.Very easy to follow and very thorough. Arthur, Wednesday November 2013 RYA Yachtmaster Offshore / Yachtmaster Coastal / Master of Yachts 200

1915 South Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316, +1-954-525-1014 | +1-888-839-5025 (Toll Free)

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  • Where Do I Start ?
  • RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship

RYA Day Skipper

  • RYA Coastal Yachtmaster

RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

  • Fastrack To RYA Coastal Yachtmaster

RYA CEVNI Test

  • Navathome Basic Training
  • Navathome Diesel Engine Course
  • Navathome ICC Theory Course
  • Upgrade From Navathome ICC to RYA Day Skipper
  • Navathome.com Mobile Phone App
  • Book A Course
  • Vouchers & Gifts
  • Extend Your Course
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yacht master ocean

Theory Course

Rya yachtmaster ocean theory course, get instant access £275.

Revise and retry until you pass

  • Free Diesel Engine Course worth £95
  • Fully Animated & Interactive Lessons
  • Initial 6 months course access - extendable for small fee
  • Multi Device Support
  • Study At Your Own Pace
  • No Classroom Pressure
  • MCA & RYA recognised
  • Lifetime Access To Revision Material
  • 6 Months Access - Extra 6 Months For £30
  • Fully Animated Graphics for Easy Learning

The Ultimate In Navigation

This comprehensive program covers vital topics such as celestial navigation, ocean passage planning, weather forecasting and meteorology. By mastering these essential skills, you'll gain the theoretical knowledge ready to navigate vast and unpredictable waters with confidence. Join our course and embark on a journey towards becoming a competent and capable Yachtmaster Ocean. If you wish to take the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean oral exam, the RYA require the end of course theory assessment to be invigilated by an RYA Instructor at an RYA recognised Training Centre. Alternatively, the candidate can opt to take an extra paper during the oral exam. If you wish to take an invigilated assessment at the end of the theory course rather than take the extra paper during the oral exam, please let us know in advance so we can arrange for you to take the assessment at one of our participating centres. There will be a fee for the invigilation which is at the discretion of the chosen recognised Training Centre.

Most students pass first time but no stress if you don’t; we offer further help and tuition until you are successful.

Is this course right for you?

This course is suitable for those who hold theory knowledge to the level of Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore. The coursework will take approximately 40 hours. No sextant is required for the course as fully interactive animated lessons are included. The final assessment takes 2 hours which is taken in one sitting.

Not convinced ?

Over 2,500 reviews on TrustPilot

Over 1000 five star reviews

‘What sets the course apart is the responsiveness of the support team should you have any questions.’ ‘All in all a super convenient and very efficient way to pass the RYA theory examinations.’

RYA Ocean Yachtmaster Course SYLLABUS

The earth and the celestial sphere:

  • Definition of observer’s zenith and position of a heavenly body in terms of latitude.
  • longitude, GHA and declination.
  • Right angle relationships, latitude and co-lat, declination and polar distance.
  • Relationship between GHA, longitude and LHA.
  • Tabulation of declination in nautical almanac.
  • Rate of increase of hour angle with time.

The PZX triangle:

  • The tabulated components of the triangle, LHA, co-lat and polar distance.
  • The calculable components, zenith distance and azimuth.
  • Relationship between zenith distance and altitude.
  • Introduction to the tabular method of solution in the Air Navigation Tables and the basic sight form.
  • The use of calculators for the solution of the PZX triangle.

The sextant:

  • Practical guide to the use and care of a sextant at sea.
  • Conversion of sextant altitude to true altitude.
  • Application of dip, index error and refraction.
  • Correction of side error, perpendicularity, index error and collimation error.

Measurement of time:

  • Forecasting time of meridian altitude.
  • Reduction of meridian altitude sights.

Sun, star and other sights:

  • Reduction and plotting of sun sights using.
  • Air Navigation Tables.
  • Awareness of the use of calculators for sight reduction.
  • The plotting of sun-run-sun meridian altitude.
  • Awareness of the reduction and plotting of sights obtained from stars, moon and planets.

Compass checking:

  • Use of amplitude and azimuth tables systems and/or calculator.

Satellite Navigation Systems:

  • Principles and limitations of use of all systems.

Great circle sailing:

  • Comparison of rhumb lines and great circles.
  • Verticies and composite tracks.
  • The computation of a series of rhumb lines approximating to a great circle by use of gnomonic and Mercator projections.

Meteorology:

  • General pressure distribution and prevailing winds over the oceans of the world.
  • Tropical revolving storms, seasonal occurrence and forecasting by observation.

Passage planning:

  • Publications available to assist with planning of long passages (routeing charts, ocean passages of the world and other publications).
  • Preparation for ocean passage including survival equipment, victualling, water and fuel management, chafe protection, spares and maintenance.

Passage making:

  • Navigational routine and Keeping watch.
  • Crew management.

Communications:

  • Satellite and terrestrial systems.
  • Weather information.

CHOOSE YOUR COURSE

All courses are completed online, study at your own pace, from anywhere in the world.

No Experience Necessary Learn Basic Navigation & Seamanship

RYA Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster

Day Skipper Theory Needed Enhance Your Knowledge of Navigation & Passage Planning

No Qualification Necessary Complete the RYA CEVNI Test.

Fastrack to RYA Coastal YM

No Qualification Necessary Complete Day Skipper and Coastal YM in one course.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Our goal is to assist you by addressing common questions and offering valuable information about our courses and services. If you’re unable to find the specific answer you’re seeking, we encourage you to reach out to our dedicated team. We are always ready to provide further assistance and support.

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RYA Yachtmaster

Coastal / Offshore

RYA Yachtmaster

Online Theory Course

A challenging course which stretches you but backed up with excellent coaching and instructor support.

yacht master ocean

Advanced training for more experienced skippers to navigate safely on coastal and offshore passages

The RYA Yachtmaster  online theory course takes your theory knowledge to the standard required for the Yachtmaster Coastal and Yachtmaster Offshore practical exams.

This course advances your skills as a skipper of a yacht or motor boat, with an emphasis on navigation and passage planning for more complex coastal or offshore passages by day and night

Includes some time for the revision of Day Skipper subjects then moves on to cover a greater depth of knowledge and more advanced skills in navigation, pilotage & meteorology.

Successfully gaining your RYA Yachtmaster theory certificate will enable you to confidently work towards your Yachtmaster Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore practical qualification.

  • Assumed knowledge To Day Skipper theory level.
  • Minimum duration A minimum of 40 hours of course study time is specified by the RYA, plus time for exercises and exams.
  • Ability after course Theory knowledge to skipper a vessel on coastal and offshore passages by day and night.  

Simply click below to try a free lesson.

Pilotage for RYA Yachtmaster Offshore

  • Charts & Other Publications
  • Definition of Position, Time, Speed & Distance
  • The Compass (including allowance for deviation and swinging the compass)
  • Tidal Theory
  • Tidal Heights (including secondary ports)
  • Tidal Streams (including interpolation of drift)
  • Estimated Position
  • Course to Steer
  • Visual Aids to Navigation
  • Electronic Aids to Navigation
  • Passage Planning
  • Meteorology (including interpreting surface pressure charts)
  • The Collision Regulations
  • Safety & Protection of The Environment

Unlimited support from our dedicated RYA Instructors - 365 days a year via email, phone or Skype/Zoom.

14-day unconditional money-back guarantee.

17 fully-narrated online lessons including animations, videos and realistic 3D graphics.

Embedded quizzes with instant feedback in each lesson.

14 self-assessment exercises with fully worked answers.

Over 50 downloadable or linked resources.

Videos covering: updating paper charts, engine checks, dismasting, jury rig, flood control, firefighting, gas explosions, capsize, lifejacket checks, how to put on a lifejacket and what happens when it inflates, man-overboard recovery, launching and boarding a liferaft.

Free Radar course.

RYA Student Pack (including 2 training charts, training almanac & course handbook).

yminlcuded

Mock exams to prepare you for the real thing and give you the confidence to pass. 

3 final online exams with detailed instructor feedback and free repeat attempts if requried.

RYA Yachtmaster Shorebased Theory Course Completion Certificate.

12 months access to study with instructor support and exams - you can extend this if you want.

Lifetime access to training materials once you’ve completed the course.

Optional Extras

plotter divider23

Plotter and divider You’ll need a course plotter and chart-dividers to complete the chartwork exercises - if you don’t already have these you can purchase a top quality set from us for £28 when you place your order.

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Delivery UK delivery is free.  European delivery is £20, outside Europe delivery is £40.

You can start studying immediately as many of the lessons don’t rely on the printed support materials.

This course is accessed online with no additional software required.

Lessons are accompanied by optional professional narration, and notes. 

They are intuitive and easy to follow, whilst more complex subjects are accompanied by interactive animations and graphics to help you gain a full knowledge of each subject in the course syllabus.

Detailed step-by-step workings for navigational or tidal calculations make it easy for you to follow along as we show you how to plot positions, make tidal height and stream calculations, etc

You can go over these again and again, and test your knowledge with regular quizzes throughout each lesson. 

At the end of each lesson there is an excercise containg similar questions to the exam, with detailed and illustrated answers sent to you immediately to confirm your progress and fully prepare you for your mock and final exams.

You can repeat entire lessons and excercises as often as you wish until you are confident that you fully understand each subject.

When you have completed the course you can request mock and then final exams.

These are assessed by our RYA Instructors and detailed feedback is provided in any areas that may require further study within the course.

If you pass the final exams you will be awarded the RYA/MCA Coastal Skipper & Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased Course Certificate , which will be posted to you.

Additional free resits, with suitable Instructor guidance, are available if required.

RYA Coastal Skipper-Yachtmaster Shorebased Certificate

Call us for advice on 0238 218 2604

Course reviews.

Laura Anderson

Very enjoyable and informative

Impressively prompt and thorough feedback on all queries, tests, mock and real exams. Very high standards and you feel you have earned the Yachtmaster certificate.

Ciaran McIntyre

Comprehensive and well delivered

Excellent course materials and high quality delivery. Very responsive and excellent instructor feedback

Andrew Harvey

Excellent Yachtmaster theory course - I’d definitely recommend it.

Does what it says on the tin and more. I was impressed how well the course managed to tackle teaching relatively complex skills in a logical and easy to understand way.

Oliver Fleming

Well put together course.

I found the Yachtmaster theory course to be really well structured and covered all of the syllabus in great detail. I was impressed by how well the course managed to tackle teaching relatively complex skills in a logical and easy to understand way.

yacht master ocean

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Welcome to TheOceanAcademy

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Superior RYA Yacht Crew Training in South Florida

The Ocean Academy is a fully accredited and recognized Training Center for the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).  We offer superior Theory and Practical Yacht Crew Training 

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore/Coastal (Power)

  • We are the ONLY school in Fort Lauderdale to independently offer accredited Theory and Practical training for RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and Coastal.  This course includes one week of theory training in chart-work, navigation rules, meteorology, tidal height calculations, aids to navigation, voyage planning and more.  Week two includes practical training on our 40' (12m) training vessel, followed by the RYA Practical Examination. The Duration for this course is 6 days, with a total of 40+ hours of direct contact.  Included in your tuition is the RYA Student Pack which includes course notes, Training Almanac and Training Charts.  Plotting tools are not included, but our Yachtmaster FAQ will help you understand the tools that are needed.  We keep our student/instructor ratio to 4:1 maximum for the best training experience.  Please contact Steve from the contact information below for a consult and information on booking your course.

RYA Power Boat Level 2

  • The Ocean Academy is fully accredited to offer the RYA Power Boat Level 2 Course (PBL2).  We offer this course in a two-day theory and Practical course, or a three day evening class for those crew members who are working on-board during the day.  The course is offered on our modern and well equipped 23' (7m) center-console training vessel, with electronic chart plotter, DSC equipped VHF radio and all the latest safety equipment.  Included in the tuition is an online voucher for the Start Boating course notes booklet.  We keep our student/instructor ratio to 3:1 for the best training experience.  Please contact Steve from the contact details below for a consult and infomation on booking your course.

TheOceanAcademy is your best resource for RYA Training In Fort Lauderdale, including custom yacht crew training, PBL2 and RYA Yachtmaster Offshore(Power) instruction

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  • Professional qualifications

Working as an RYA Yachtmaster

Your qualification must be appropriate to the vessel and area of operation. For commercial use, all certificates must be commercially endorsed .

Working with an RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal certificate

A commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence will enable you to skipper vessels up to 24 metres in length, operating in category 3,4,5, and 6 waters - up to 20 miles from a safe haven.

Working with an RYA Yachtmaster® Offshore certificate

A commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence will enable you to work as a Master of commercial vessels of up to 200gt in category 1 to 6 waters - that is up to 150 miles from a safe haven.

This Certificate of Competence can used commercially in its own right, or as a pre-requisite for the MCA's Officer of the Watch qualification, which enables you to work worldwide on vessels of up to 3000gt.

Working with an RYA Yachtmaster® Ocean certificate

A commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence will enable you to work worldwide as a Master of commercial vessels of up to 200gt.

This Certificate of Competence can be used commercially in its own right. It is also a pre-requisite for the MCA's Chief Mate, Master 500 and Master 3000 qualifications.

For more information about working with RYA qualifications, the categorisation of waters and required certification click here . 

RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

yacht master ocean

  • 6th November 2023
  • by Pete Green

Part 1 Theory

Is it still relevant for today?

RYA Yachtmaster Ocean is the RYA’s highest shore-based theory qualification. With multiple sources of GPS on a boat, why is it still relevant to learn an instrument based on 800-year-old technology and look up data from volumes of paper tables?

For centuries sailors have navigated oceans by fixing a position with a sextant observing the sun, moon, stars, and planets. Today, it is not only a fascinating art, but an essential alternative to GPS and electronic plotters when redundancy and reliability are essential for crossing oceans.

Electronics and the power to supply them can and do fail.  Salt water is an enemy and there is plenty of it in the middle of an ocean.  You may have redundancy with multiple GPS devices but that doesn’t help if none of them are receiving because of jamming, interference, or atmospheric conditions.

If you know the sun rises in the East and the North star is in the North, you already have some astronavigation knowledge.  With the reliability of just paper & pencil and a simple mechanical instrument, you can find out where you are on the planet to within a few nautical miles.

Many sailors will embark on learning celestial navigation for their own satisfaction, knowledge and dare I say pleasure.  For others, it is a required vocational qualification and revered standard.  Halcyon Yachts employs yacht delivery skippers with a minimum Yachtmaster Ocean qualification so to become a delivery skipper it is a qualification you rightly need to gain.

RYA Syllabus and Pre-Requisites

To get the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence you need to be a Yachtmaster Offshore, do a qualifying passage, take astro navigation sights and pass an exam.

The qualifying passage must be over 600 nm (and over 96 hours) where 200 nm are more than 50 nm from land or charted objects and completed within the last 10 years. You must evidence taking a full part in the planning and preparation and had a solo watch. The astro navigation requirements are a sun or noon sight transfer position fix and a celestial compass check, not necessarily on the qualifying passage.

The exam is an oral and written test.  The oral test covers all aspects of ocean passage making in a yacht, including planning, navigation, meteorology, crew management and yacht preparation, maintenance, and repairs. Candidates must send the examiner an account of the qualifying passage and evidence of taking sights 48 hours in advance.

The good news is if you pass the Yachtmaster Ocean Theory you don’t need to take the written part of the exam and that is the subject of this blog.

Ocean Theory Courses

The two main routes to learning RYA Ocean theory are classroom and online.  Courses are typically a weeklong or online with 40 hours estimated study and cost from under £300.

There are many providers of online theory courses, I used www.skipperson line.net which has a modern interactive interface, worked on all my devices, and allowed learning at my own pace. The exam can be done at home if just for personal development but if commercial endorsement is required then the exam must be invigilated by any RYA Instructor using only the student tables and sight proforma templates provided.

What is Astronavigation?

I won’t pretend to explain astronavigation in a blog but can give a flavour of the content and principles. It was only on the last course module covering the North Star (Polaris) that I had the eureka moment and things clicked into place, so I’ll start there to give a layman’s guide to the theory.

The North Star is always in the North so it’s bearing (or Azimuth) is always north.  It is almost directly above the North Pole (89° 16’ N) so is in the same place every day!  If you were stood at the North Pole, it would be right above you, on your Zenith (an imaginary point directly above a location). If you were close to the equator, it would be very low in the sky, almost on the horizon (90° from your Zenith).  Some basic trigonometry then proves your latitude (in the Northern hemisphere) is always equal to the height of the North Star above the horizon.

Let’s say you measure Polaris as having an altitude of 50°, then your latitude is also 50°.  This doesn’t tell you where you are, but it does confirm your latitude as one position line.  At 50° latitude you could be anywhere west of the Isles of Scilly, East of New Foundland or in the North Pacific but hopefully you’ll be able to narrow that down!

The principal is then the same as Day Skipper, getting position lines from more than one source (or the same one transferred over time) then plotting where they cross to get a fix. If you get stuck an excellent additional resource is “The Practical Guide to Celestial Navigation” by Phil Somerville.  A copy of which is now on the bookshelf of my boat along with some generic proformas and plotting sheets.

Using a Sextant

The shore-based course teaches how to use a sextant but unless you construct an artificial horizon with a bowl of water you’ll have to wait until on passage to try it out.

It is called sextant because its arc is 1/6 th of a circle i.e., 60° but it can measure angles up to 120° using a principle of double reflection. The mechanics are to adjust the sextant arm whilst using telescope, mirrors, and shades to bring the celestial body being measured down (or up) to meet the horizon.  You should take a series of readings over a minute or two and average them on a chart ignoring outliers to select a reading you will use.

There are then some adjustments to make including “index error” of the instrument, “dip” from curvature of the earth based on your height of eye and various potential altitude corrections such as the semi-diameter of the celestial body, terrestrial refraction, and parallax.

The final corrected result is the True Altitude (Ho).  After looking up in tables what the Calculated Altitude (Hc) should be, the difference is then how far away you are on the earth’s surface from an assumed position giving a position line.

We have produced a series of videos that will also help you to learn and master the sextant:

What Sights Can You Take?

To take a sight both horizon and celestial body must be visible, and you need more than one sight for a fix.  One method is to take a sun sight, update your approximate position to be on the sun sight position line then apply dead reckoning and take another sun sight as a running fix.  This is known as a “sun run sun”, one of the position lines could be a simple latitude derived from a “noon sight”, the sun at local noon (Meridian Passage).

Other options may be available at twilight if the moon and planets are visible along with the horizon. Possibly easier are stars.  Of the 2 x 10 23 stars in the visible universe and the 4,500 visible by eye, the positions of 57 most useful stars are recorded in non-perpetual volumes valid for a few years (epoch). To simplify things, altitude and azimuth are given relative to a hypothetic point in the sky (Aries) and don’t require sight reduction calculations.

yacht master ocean

Meridians and Hour Angles

The Earth is mapped by an imaginary grid of latitude and longitude lines. Latitudes run from 0° at the equator to 90° North and South at the poles.  Latitudes are measured in degrees of declination, the angle north or south from the celestial equator. The declination of the sun changes seasonally from the tropic of Cancer 23.4°N (northern hemisphere summer) to the tropic of Capricorn 23.4°S (northern hemisphere winter) as the Earth orbits the sun.

Longitudes are vertical meridians like segments of a chocolate orange running East to West from a prime meridian. Greenwich meridian was voted by 22 countries as the global prime meridian in 1884, although France continued using the Paris meridian until 1911.

Each minute of longitude is a nautical mile at the surface, and hence a degree of longitude is 60nm. In Astro navigation, the longitude position of a heavenly body is measured by Greenwich Hour Angle (GHA) running west from 0° Greenwich Meridian.  A longitude of 90° East is thus GHA 270°. The earth rotates every 24 hours, hence 15° per hour or 1° every 4 minutes. As you sail west, noon becomes later.

A Local Hour Angle (LHA) is the angle from your position to the heavenly body and is GHA minus your longitude if west or GHA plus longitude if East. For stars we use a Siderial Hour Angle (SHA) which is the angle between GHA and “Aries”, a hypothetical point in where the sun crosses the celestial equator on the northern spring equinox.

Because the earth spins, to measure any hour angle from celestial bodies you need to know the exact time to the second. The British Parliament passed the Longitude Act in 1714 with a reward of £20,000 (£3.35m in 2023) for solving longitude at sea to within half a degree, eventually won by John Harrison, carpenter and clockmaker who invented the marine chronometer.

Today a cheap digital watch set to GMT will work but may still need correcting as can vary 15-30 seconds per month.  In preparation for taking sights, I set three cheap digital watches to the exact time using www.time.is and plan to measure their variation before leaving.

5 Top Tips for Tables

The theory course is full of opportunities to make errors and it can be hugely frustrating having to trace your steps back to the start to try and find the error.  Here are some things that tripped me up when referring to the student tables provided:

Read the headings for columns and rows very carefully.  Column headings can change down the page for blocks of rows (e.g., data for stars) so may it not be the heading at the very top.

Check carefully whether data is positive or negative. In some cases, refer to prior rows where this is given.

The typeface is old and sometimes tricky to read.  Look at the trend for the previous and subsequent periods as a check.

Note how data trends to check if you should add or subtract.  Is declination for example increasing or decreasing and apply that when using data for corrections.

Get used to mental arithmetic in base 60.  A simple technique for subtraction is to re-write degrees and minutes with one less degree (e.g., convert 90° 00’ to 89° 60’) to make base 60 subtraction easier.

Proformas and Spreadsheets

For each type of sight (sun, planets, moon, and stars) there is a separate proforma to use in calculations.  I made my own spreadsheet versions as calculators for backup and for notes to remind me of the process.  Other versions can be found online with various formats, but these worked for me.  They are free to download and whilst I believe they are stress tested they come with no warranty and are no substitute for paper and pen!

yacht master ocean

Example Sun Sight from Excel Templates – Free Download: Astro Nav Templates

More than just Astro

The theory course is not just astronavigation but includes ocean passage planning, communications, global meteorology and how to check your compass.  You may find some parts of passage planning common sense and communications is a rapidly changing subject with advances in satellite internet access.  You will however need to dust off your Yachtmaster Offshore meteorology and learn about great circle passages, tropical cyclones, trade winds and ocean currents.

Taking the Exam

The exam is two hours long and you will have some sight reductions, plotting and non-astro navigation questions to answer.  For an online course, you’ll need a computer, internet connection and venue with any RYA instructor to invigilate.

Take your time to get settled with coloured pens, 2b pencils, plotter, dividers, student tables and some plain A4 paper. Unlike previous theory courses, plotting is not done on charts but on self-made plotting sheets.  You can buy generic plotting sheets, but the course will teach you to make your own based on your approximate latitude to get the relative scale right.  The student tables are all based on 50° latitude so I made a plotting sheet for that and (with permission) printed half a dozen off to take into the exam which I was very glad of.

You start the exam in your own time, then move forwards or backwards through the questions to complete as you wish. When the time is up, you’ll be asked to upload scans or photos of your work, a camera phone is useful for this.

Getting the Result

Once uploaded, a system message said results would come through in 2 or 3 working days’ time, however I had an email that evening confirming I had passed along with detailed feedback and model answers. Shortly after, an electronic copy of the certification was emailed with a hard copy in the post.

If you are a member of Halcyon Yachts, then please update us with any new RYA qualifications by email to [email protected] . To become a yacht delivery skipper with Halcyon Yachts you will need RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Commercially Endorsed, at least 10,000 NM experience as skipper, a trial sail, good references, and skippers’ third-party liability insurance.

Our continued outstanding reputation is based on the skills and dedication of our skippers. We have the highest standards in the industry, as such our Skippers are qualified to RYA Yachtmaster Ocean as a minimum.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and have learned a new skill that will be used.  For nearly a decade I carried a Mark 25 Davis sextant on my 32ft yacht with an equally unopened astronavigation book. Not much use without the sight reduction tables, proformas, plotting sheets and knowledge to use it. Our next long passage I’m going to enjoy impressing the crew by plotting a few sights to update our dead reckoning with a fix.  We will of course still use GPS, but the Mark 25 will no longer be hidden at the bottom of a locker.

Author: Richard Payne, Sales and Operations Manager – Halcyon Yachts. 

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With highly qualified and experienced crew, Halcyon Yachts Ltd offers a dedicated international yacht delivery service. For more information or to see details of their recent deliveries please visit: https://halcyonyachts.com/

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RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail – Everything You Need to Know

Time8 to 48 hour exam (dependant on the number of people) after a potential prep course of up to 5 days
Prerequisites50 days spent at sea
2500nm sailed, with at least 50% in tidal waters
5 days as skipper
5 x 60nm passages, 2 of them as skipper
Min. Age18
Exam8 hours to 2 days on the water
AimTo work commercially on a sailing vessel under 24m in length within 150nm of a harbour.

The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail ticket is considered the most useful and credible of all sail cruising qualifications. Administered on behalf of the UK Maritime and Coastgaurd Agency by the RYA the qualification is accepted as a worldwide standard. To gain an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail qualification you must sit a practical exam. 

What Does the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Allow You to Do?

Gaining an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail will allow you to work commercially on sailing vessels not exceeding 200GT.

The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail exam certifies that you are competent to skipper a cruising yacht on any passage that is not more than 150nm from a harbour.

How Can You Sit an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Exam?

The exam can be organised via the RYA to be done on your own vessel or via an RYA training centre, to be done on an RYA training vessel. It should be noted, that to complete the exam on your own vessel, your vessel must be up to an appropriate safety standard.

Most RYA training centres offering the RYA Cruising Scheme offer some form of pre exam preparation or coaching for those looking to take an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail exam.

These courses are often referred to as ‘RYA Yachtmaster Prep’ courses. This is unique within the RYA training framework in that it does not have a fixed course syllabus, length or course completion certificate.

Who Can Do an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Exam?

The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail exam is open to anyone who meets the minimum criteria, with all experience within the last 10 years.

  • 18 years of age or older
  • 50 days spent at sea
  • 2500nm sailed, with at least 50% in tidal waters
  • 5 days as skipper
  • 5 passages of over 60nm, with at least 2 as skipper

If you have skippering experience but not the required days or passages, then the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Sail might be for you.

If you have the miles, but not the skippering experience, then again, the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Sail might be for you.

Additionally, exam candidates must also hold a relevant GMDSS VHF certification and an RYA First Aid certificate or recognised equivalent.

Can You Go Straight to the Exam?

You can indeed jump straight into the RYA Cruising Scheme at this stage, however, it is imperative that you understand the levels that are required of you, both in your knowledge and practical skills.

It is suggested that as a minimum you have completed (and passed) the RYA Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Theory course as the knowledge in here is both required for you to be at the level required, but will be formally tested during your RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail exam, both orally and in practical applications.

What Do You Need to Know before Attending an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Course and Exam?

You, of course, need to be a suitably experienced skipper and this involves meeting the prerequisites mentioned above to be eligible. You should be able to handle your vessel competently in close quarters and at sea. You should be comfortable applying this in various day and night time passages.

As mentioned, it is strongly recommended to have completed the RYA Coastal and Yachtmaster Theory as the depth of knowledge gained from this shore based course will be tested throughout your exam. 

How Long Does a Prep Course and Exam Take?

The exam itself can take anything from 8 hours to 2 days depending on how many candidates are being examined on one vessel at a time. Up to 4 candidates can sit the exam at once and this would last for a maximum of 48 hours if so.

An RYA Yachtmaster Prep course is generally four and a half days long and is usually directly followed by the practical exam.

yacht master ocean

Is There a Set Syllabus for the Prep Course?

No, this is the one time that while there is a recognised ‘course’, there is no syllabus. It is up to the experienced instructor on the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Prep course to tailor the learnings to your needs. This is more about refining your skills rather than teaching new ones.

You should be honest with yourself and your instructor in order for learnings throughout the week to be tailored to improve yourself on any weak areas that you may have.

What Should I Expect from an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Prep Course?

These courses run as a standalone course and while there may be students on another course, generally everyone onboard is a candidate for an RYA Yachtmaster Exam. The courses should however be run with no more than 4 students on board.

The content will depend on the needs of all students and is aimed at fine-tuning existing skills rather than teaching new ones. This will involve a lot of night time sailing and navigation, carrying out challenging boat handling while using theory knowledge and ensuring general skippering skills are up to scratch.

There is a basic syllabus that is used to help shape the exam content, but in reality, you can be tested on anything from the RYA Cruising Scheme within the exam.

Before choosing the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Prep course you need to be honest with yourself and your own abilities. While on the course you need to take on the advice and guidance given by the instructor on what areas need work. If you speak to your instructor before the course, they can tailor the instruction to your needs.

What Should I Expect on an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Exam?

On the exam, you will be given the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and competence. You will be expected to take full responsibility of your vessel and crew. The examiner will be looking for you to demonstrate competence and show your broad range of experience.

The exam will be an intensive experience and even when you are not the designated skipper, you will still be asked questions and observed and examined as a participant of the crew.

During the exam you will be asked to complete various tasks, ranging from leaving the dock, skippering a short passage, casualty recovery, night pilotage and even blind navigation. Additionally, you will be tested on theoretical aspects such as how to deal with an engine failure, knowledge of your vessel’s stability, meteorology and IRPCS.

As a potential RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail, these tasks are ones that should now be second nature to you and should take minimal time to plan while the theoretical knowledge should be able to roll off your tongue. 

yacht master ocean

What Is the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Exam Syllabus?

The following topics make up the basis for the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail exam syllabus. IRPCS, safety, boat handling, seamanship, responsibility as skipper, navigation, meteorology and signals.

But, as mentioned above, anything from the whole RYA cruising syllabus scheme can be tested.

What Is the Cost of an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Course and Exam?

As ever, many schools differ in price. We would recommend that you take a look around at the various options and find what suits your needs the best. Cheapest is not often better.

This can range from knowing if you will have to share a cabin while onboard to whether food and berthing charges are included to how many other students you will be sharing your week with.

The exam fee is usually not included, which is currently £231.

Where Should I Do My RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail?

As always there are many thoughts and pros on cons on this, and as a potential RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail you should consider yourself experienced enough to sit the exam anywhere. However, if you choose to sit the exam in an area that you are familiar with then you will take a little bit of the stress out of learning a new area and start with a small advantage of having that all important local knowledge at your disposal.

What Happens If I Struggle on the Prep Course?

Your instructor should be able to update you on your ability levels throughout the course. They will be highly experienced and it is suggested that you listen to their advice given.

If you are learning something for the first time you should consider if you are ready for the exam. Talk to your instructor and they will be able to guide you on if you are ready for the exam, if they would advise further training or if they recommend that you aim for the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Sail exam instead.

What Is the Pass Mark for the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail Exam?

There is no pass mark as such and the examiner will be looking to see that you are a competent and complete skipper, capable of looking after both your vessel and crew in a safe manner.

Every exam is different and no examiner will be setting out to fail any candidates, but they must ensure and check that each candidate is able to demonstrate their ability, knowledge and skills in a safe and timely manner.

If you were to fail to reach the levels of an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail certificate of competence then the examiner will give you a thorough debrief complete with action points to work on before you have another attempt at the exam. 

What Comes after RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail

After completion of the exam, you will have gained the highly sought after RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail certificate of competence and you can get this commercially endorsed by adding a sea survival certification, a personal medical and a PPR course, all of which, along with your GMDSS VHF and First Aid should be sent off to the RYA for certification upgrade. This will now allow the holder to skipper a vessel commercially, so long as it is less than 200 gross tonnes, up to 150nm from a harbour.

The next step is of course to get out on the water and to keep learning, keep gaining experience and keep improving on the skills and knowledge learned so far. No skipper is the finished article and we should all keep seeking to improve.

Within the RYA cruising scheme, there are a couple more steps that are possible. This is to progress and upgrade your RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail certificate of competence to an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Sail certificate of competence.

To do this there is 3 main steps, first, you will need to complete an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory course, where you will learn about astro navigation, ocean meteorology and ocean navigation, join the waiting list for our ocean theory course here . Next, is to complete an ocean qualifying passage that meets the necessary requirements. Finally, you will then need to complete another exam, this time an oral exam, where you will discuss your ocean qualifying passage and general ocean skippering skills.

On successful completion of this, you will be awarded the highest accolade within the RYA cruising scheme, the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Sail certificate of competence.

One other direction of travel is to become an RYA Cruising Instructor for Sail. To do this, you will first want to consolidate your skippering skills and knowledge then look to come back and start off with an RYA Cruising Instructor course. On this course, RYA Instructor Trainers will assess and guide you through what is required and expected in order to work as an RYA Cruising Instructor for Sail.

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RYA Yachtmaster™ Ocean Theory

Price: from £485 (Finance now available)

Location: Starts from our base at Premier Gosport Marina

Duration: 5 days

The RYA Yachtmaster™ Ocean Theory Course brings students with at least the RYA Yachtmaster™ Coastal or Yachtmaster™ Offshore qualification and some sailing experience, up to Yachtmaster™ Ocean level (Theory only).

Take a look at our live course calendar  for dates for the RYA Yachtmaster™ Ocean Theory course!

Booking details

No dates currently available. Please contact us for more info.

Course Information

Joining Instructions: Please click here for course joining instructions

The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Exam application fee isn’t included in the above cost. Please click here to print-off the RYA Yachtmaster exam application form :

Recommended Reading: RYA Day Skipper Handbook Sail (G71), RYA Yacht Sailing Techniques (G94), RYA Yachtmaster™ scheme and syllabus (G158)

Course Prerequisites:  RYA/MCA Yachtmaster™ Offshore Certificate of Competence for those intending to ultimately gain the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster™ Ocean Certificate of Competence, otherwise a knowledge of navigation to RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster™ Offshore theory level

Minimum Age: 17+

Holiday Insurance: We would advise ALL our customers to ensure they have suitable holiday insurance in-place. Yachtsman’s insurance is available from a variety of souces like Topsail Insurance and can cover things like cancellations and personal effects cover.

yacht master ocean

Who is the course for:

This is perfect for those sailors who have completed their RYA/MCA Yachtmaster™ Offshore and want to explore the world with some blue water sailing experience or major ocean-going passages.

What we cover on the course:

The course does cover all aspects of ocean navigation with particular emphasis on the use of astro-navigation and worldwide meteorology.

The lessons on astro-navigation will unlock the mysteries of the sextant and allow you to confidently take sights at sea to obtain your position and carry out compass checks.

  • The earth and the celestial sphere
  • Practical guide to use and care of sextant at sea
  • Meridian altitudes
  • Sun, star and other sights
  • Ocean passage planning

Another important aspect of ocean sailing is worldwide meteorology, passage planning and communications at sea.

Publications and charts that assist the ocean navigator such as routing charts and other pilot books will be discussed and used.

The course also recognises that there has been a vast improvement in technology available to help with ocean routing and weather prediction.

Time will be spent discussing the various computer programmes, internet sites and satellite/radio broadcasts available to the modern ocean navigator.

Crew management, watch keeping, victualling, water and fuel management and emergency equipment are also covered to give a real all-round course and a vast depth of knowledge.

Upon having successfully passed this theory course you will be ready to put the theory into practice on an ocean voyage and passage.

If you return form your ocean passage and have done the required navigation and sights, you are eligible to sit the ocean master certificate of confidence exam.

This can be arranged through ourselves or direct with the RYA.

yacht master ocean

Course formats & details:

Courses run in a choice of two formats:

  • 3 consecutive weekends: (Saturday to Sunday)
  • 5 continuous days: (Monday to Friday)

The course includes free overnight accommodation aboard our immaculate, well-maintained yachts, and free tea and coffee, although no meals are included in the course cost (Free accommodation is during low season only and subject to yacht availability – Please check with us beforehand).

All meals are at the students own cost and are taken at any of the great local establishments in Gosport, or a short ferry hop across the harbour to Portsmouth.

Please note that during high season accommodation on-board cannot be guaranteed, so please ensure if you need to take advantage of this benefit you inform us of your requirements well in advance. Should we have no free boats available, you will need to arrange overnight accommodation at your own cost.

Fancy going VIP and having your own exclusive private course for you and your friends or family? You can book the whole yacht just for your own exclusive course from only £485 per person. Enjoy the course in style, with up to five persons on the boat being taught by one of our friendly, experienced Yachtmaster Instructors! What a way to start your sailing adventure!

Our Chief Instructor says this about the Yachtmaster™ Ocean Theory Course:

This is one of the coolest things you possibly can do as a Yachtsman.

Being able to use a sextant and navigate with confidence in the middle of the ocean is one of the pinnacles of sailing.

Being out in the middle of the ocean, stood in the cockpit taking sights and then using reduction tables to work out where you are makes some of the most amazing journeys throughout your time as a Yachtsman.

Carrying that wooden box with you onto the vessel as you move towards your passage can be an amazing feeling. With the additions of world meteorology and also ocean passage planning the course really is a good all rounder for those who want to prepare themselves for an ocean voyage of a lifetime.

yacht master ocean

Related courses

Channel island cruises.

Our exciting and very popular luxury 7-day Channel Island Cruises are aimed at breaking the confines of the Solent for a relaxed and enjoyable Channel Islands adventure. They are a great way to relax, gain sea miles, enhance your sailing skills and see the beautiful Channel Islands. All under the watchful eye of our professional Skipper.

Take a look at our live course calendar  for dates for the Channel Island Cruise!

Spinnaker & Downwind Sailing

The popular and fun Spinnaker & Downwind Sailing Weekend is a great introduction to flying the “big kite”, especially for budding racing sailors wanting a taster of the skills required. This is an essential for those wanting to do any offshore racing, including the iconic RORC Fastnet race!

Take a look at our live course calendar  for dates for the Spinnaker & Downwind Sailing Weekend!

RYA Sea Survival

The RYA Sea Survival Course is an essential for any sailor. Teaching self-help techniques and what to do when all is lost, it’s a prerequisite for longer passages and those wanting to get into racing like RORC Fastnet!

Take a look at our live course calendar  for dates for the RYA Sea Survival course!

Customer reviews

A fantastic weekend of sailing, almost 130 NM in all, with a relaxed, but fully engaging skipper. Great set up and brilliant on the admin. Thanks Stef, Tom et al!

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I did a weeks coastal skipper course getting ready for my yacht master and I have to say it was one of the best training weeks I’ve had - our training instructor was superb, exactly the sort of person that you want. He could inspire, provide discipline and impart knowledge as well as let you learn through your own mistakes. Tom and Steph run an excellent operation there and I highly recommend it. They’re flexible and very helpful when it comes to your journey into being a qualified sailor.

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Book via email: [email protected] Book via Móbilel / WhatsApp: 00 34 622922542

yacht master ocean

YACHTMASTER OCEAN

Ocean

Ocean Passages 

If you are wanting to experience ocean passages as crew, to build miles or to qualify for the rya ocean passage using the sextant (ideally you will have completed your rya ocean theory before hand and have your rya offshore yachmaster), these passages will be of at least 600 miles from gibraltar to the cannaries or sardegna., depending on the weather these ocean passages can take up to 3 weeks., the cost will be 2600€ for individual bookings and from 6650€ for whole boat bookings., the price includes returning the boat to its home port of which you can participate if you wish., the boat will be fully equipped for ocean passages (e.p.i.r.b, sea anchor, drogues, storm sails, spray hood, bimini and autopilot etc..), yachtmaster ocean exam pre-requisites.

Minimum seatime. All candidates must have completed a qualifying passage within the past 10 years as skipper or mate in sole charge of a watch on a suitable vessel, which meets the following criteria:

The candidate was fully involved in the planning of the passage, including selection of the route, the navigational plan, checking the material condition of the vessel and her equipment, storing with spare gear, water and victuals and organising the watch-keeping routine.

During the passage a minimum non-stop distance of 600 miles must have been run by the log, the yacht must have been at sea continuously for at least 96 hours and the yacht must have been more than 50 miles from land or charted objects capable of being used for navigation/position fixing while sailing a distance of at least 200 miles.

To be eligible as an ocean qualifying passage the distance between departure and arrival points by the shortest navigable route must be more than 600 mile.

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

Certification required

RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence, or

Officer of the Watch (Yachts 3000gt) issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Minimum exam duration

Approximately 1.5 hours

The exam consists of an oral and written test.

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:

have completed the required mileage and experience as skipper

have read the syllabus in RYA Logbook (G158)

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

The candidate must provide the examiner with the following information 48 hours prior to the exam: 

 A narrative account of the planning and execution of the qualifying passage providing all relevant details.

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.

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COMMENTS

  1. 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.

  2. Yachtmaster Ocean

    The IYT Yachtmaster Ocean certificate is a qualification that indicates that the holder has sufficient knowledge of celestial navigation to navigate globally using a sextant and to plan, undertake and manage an ocean passage together with a comprehensive understanding of the factors involved with regards to routing and meteorology.

  3. 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.

  4. RYA/MCA Ocean Yachtmaster Theory Online

    The online RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean theory course teaches advanced techniques to those aspiring to blue water cruising and is ideal for holders of the Yachtmaster Offshore certificate who are preparing for their first ocean passage, and for commercial Skippers or Mates planning on operating more than 150nm from a safe haven.. This course will introduce you to the principles of astro ...

  5. RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Online Course

    The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean qualification is a bolt-on to your Yachtmaster Offshore theory certification which upgrades your commercial licence to allow you to skipper vessels worldwide with no restrictions. For the cruiser, it teaches you about ocean currents and global weather patterns which will give you the knowledge you need to undertake ...

  6. details of rya.mca yachtmaster ocean

    Yachtmaster Ocean exam pre-requisites: Minimum seatime: Ocean passage as skipper or mate of watch. The candidate was fully involved in the planning of the passage, including selection of the route, the navigational plan, checking the material condition of the yacht and her equipment, storing spare gear, water and victuals and organising the watch-keeping routine; During the passage a minimum ...

  7. 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.

  8. Yachtmaster Ocean

    Requirements for RYA Yachtmaster Ocean. To sit the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Oral exam, candidates will be experienced sailors with a good depth of knowledge of sailing offshore, and on extended passages. The requirements for the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean exam are as follows: 1. Hold the Yachtmaster Offshore certificate of competence.

  9. RYA Certificates of Competence, Part 5

    The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean is the highest certification level at RYA. The holder of a Yachtmaster Ocean qualification should be competent to skipper a yacht of up to 24 metres LOA (up to 200gt) anywhere in the World (Category 0 waters - unlimited). The assessment is done by oral interrogation (~1.5 hours).

  10. Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Course

    Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Course. A course in astro navigation, worldwide meteorology and passage planning, which also unravels the mysteries of the sextant. ... Meridian altitudes; Sun, star and other sights, ocean passage lanning. Certificate issuing criteria Background knowledge to skipper a yacht on ocean passages. Format ...

  11. The Difference Between Yachtmaster Ocean & Offshore Explained

    The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualification makes you a competent skipper of a yacht of up to 24 metres in length, in waters up to 150 miles from land. If you are qualified with RYA Yachtmaster Ocean, the difference is you can skipper a vessel of 24 metres in length and up to 200 gross tonnages anywhere around the globe.

  12. What is an Ocean Yachtmaster

    Furthermore the Yachtmaster Ocean CoC Exam is required for the Chief Officer 3000 Certificate of Competence (for yachts over 200 tonne). There are 5 stepping stones to becoming an Ocean Yachtmaster CoC holder. Steps 1-4 can be taken in any order although the order presented below is the most logical.

  13. RYA Yachtmaster Offshore / Yachtmaster Coastal / Master of Yachts 200

    The RYA Yachtmaster course is accredited by the RYA and MCA and recognized for service as Captain or Mate (OOW) up to 200gt up to 150 miles from a safe haven, at the Offshore level or up to 60 miles from safe haven at the Coastal level. The Yachtmaster CoC meets the STCW A-V1/1 and section A V1/1-4 when combined with Basic Training Courses.

  14. RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

    Get your RYA Ocean Yachtmaster Theory qualification with this MCA RYA-approved online course. Includes RYA question paper & almanac. The most comprehensive online ocean navigation course available. Invigilated assessments arranged if required. Book your free trial today!

  15. RYA Yachtmaster Theory Online

    The RYA Yachtmaster online theory course takes your theory knowledge to the standard required for the Yachtmaster Coastal and Yachtmaster Offshore practical exams.. This course advances your skills as a skipper of a yacht or motor boat, with an emphasis on navigation and passage planning for more complex coastal or offshore passages by day and night

  16. 600-Mile Qualifying Passage Criteria for RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

    Specific Criteria. Distance: The passage must be a non-stop journey of at least 600 nautical miles. Offshore Distance: At least 250 miles of the passage must be more than 50 nautical miles offshore. This requirement is designed to ensure that the passage includes a significant amount of open ocean sailing, testing navigational skills away from ...

  17. The Ocean Academy

    The Ocean Academy is fully accredited to offer the RYA Power Boat Level 2 Course (PBL2). We offer this course in a two-day theory and Practical course, or a three day evening class for those crew members who are working on-board during the day. The course is offered on our modern and well equipped 23' (7m) center-console training vessel, with ...

  18. Working as an RYA Yachtmaster

    A commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence will enable you to work worldwide as a Master of commercial vessels of up to 200gt. This Certificate of Competence can be used commercially in its own right. It is also a pre-requisite for the MCA's Chief Mate, Master 500 and Master 3000 qualifications. For more information ...

  19. RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

    RYA Syllabus and Pre-Requisites. To get the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence you need to be a Yachtmaster Offshore, do a qualifying passage, take astro navigation sights and pass an exam. The qualifying passage must be over 600 nm (and over 96 hours) where 200 nm are more than 50 nm from land or charted objects and completed ...

  20. RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail

    The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail exam is open to anyone who meets the minimum criteria, with all experience within the last 10 years. 18 years of age or older. 50 days spent at sea. 2500nm sailed, with at least 50% in tidal waters. 5 days as skipper.

  21. RYA Yachtmaster™ Ocean Theory

    RYA Yachtmaster™ Ocean Theory. Price: from £485 (Finance now available) Location: Starts from our base at Premier Gosport Marina. Duration: 5 days. The RYA Yachtmaster™ Ocean Theory Course brings students with at least the RYA Yachtmaster™ Coastal or Yachtmaster™ Offshore qualification and some sailing experience, up to Yachtmaster ...

  22. Yachtmaster Ocean

    These passages will be of at least 600 miles from Gibraltar to the Cannaries or Sardegna. Depending on the weather these ocean passages can take up to 3 weeks. The cost will be 2600€ for individual bookings and from 6650€ for whole boat bookings. The price includes returning the boat to Its home port of which you can participate if you wish.