RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail

A Testing Week’s Training

A RYA Yachtmaster Offshore is an experienced yachtsman or woman, capable of skippering a yacht or motor boat on any offshore or coastal passage anywhere in the world, up to the point where celestial navigation is required.


Duration: 5 days (Monday to Friday) Practical training.

Previous experience required: A minium of 50 days in total spent on board a sailing yacht at sea (yachtmaster offshore sail) or a motor vessel (yachtmaster offshore power); 2500 miles offshore logged in RYA log book (of which 50% must be in tidal waters) including 5 passages of over 60 nautical miles. Two of these passages must be as skipper and 2 on overnight trips.

Any one contemplating this course should have a knowledge of navigation to the level of RYA Coastal Skipper. The school offers this shorebased theory as a separate course. Persons unsure of their level should undergo an assessment prior to the commencement of the practical course. Please contact the Principal to arrange this.

Exam candidates must be 18 years or older, hold a recognised First Aid certificate and a Restricted Radio Operators Certificate.

For an MCA (UK’s Marine and Coastal Agency) Commercial endorsement on the Yachtmaster Offshore certificate you also require a Sea Survival certificate (RYA/MCA Basic Sea Survival for Small Craft or YA Safety and Sea Survival are both acceptable), a Professional Practices and Responsibilities Certificate (PPR) which is available online at www.ryainteractive.org with Southern Cross Yachting and completion of a Medical examination form (see below).

Instructor/Student ratio: A maximum of 5 pupils to 1 Instructor.


Course content: The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence is one of the highest and most respected yachting qualifications available and is recognised throughout the world. It is recognition of the holder’s knowledge and experience and can lead to a commercial qualification.

A Yachtmaster Offshore is an experienced yachtsman or woman, capable of skippering a yacht or motor boat on any offshore or coastal passage anywhere in the world, up to the point where celestial navigation is required. They must have the ability to do this without recourse to electronic navigation equipment such as GPS and must be capable of entering any port anywhere in the world, given sufficient navigational information and depth of water, for the first time at night.

This Yachtmaster (sail) preparation is designed as a practical refresher course for experienced sailors and will cover all skills likely to be examined. Typically, students join the course on Monday morning, meet the crew and are briefed on all aspects of the yacht and its equipment. After some intensive boat handling under power exercises the yacht will leave Manly Yacht Harbour and will not return until the following Friday. During the course each student will, in turn, take command of the vessel on short passages by day and night as the instructor coaches each on the various disciplines required to skipper the boat successfully (and pass the exam).

Specific intensive exercises are undertaken giving students the opportunity to practice for the exam. These include pilotage exercises by day and night, “blind” navigation to assimilate restricted visibility, finding an un-lit buoy in the dark, boat handling both under power and sail and man overboard procedures. Early in the week each student is given an honest appraisal of their chances of success in the exam and any weaknesses that may have been highlighted will be addressed.

The course is an extremely intensive one with much of the training taking place after dark. Students take the yacht to a different harbour or anchorage each night and whilst this is not designed as a theory course, there is time to recap on subjects such as weather, tides and collision regulations. Students should however have a sound knowledge of these before the course particularly the regulations for lights, shapes and sounds. Please note these will be examined!

The Southern Cross School of Yachting offers the best possible preparation for a Yachtmaster exam as you have been on board the yacht, with the same crew, for 5 days and should be feeling relaxed and confident.

Our tuition is second to none as these courses are conducted by Australia’s most qualified and experienced Yachtmaster Instructors who can still clearly remember the stress involved during their Yachtmaster exams.

Yachtmaster Power preparation courses can be arranged by special arrangement. Contact the office for more details.

Fees: The RYA exam fee is paid direct to RYA who issue the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and is  £260 plus £34.50 for the MCA commercial qualification.

There will be an additional charter fee of $390/person for the yacht (yachtmaster sail) unless the exam is on your own yacht. For yachtmaster power there is a boat charter fee of $1320 plus fuel (which can be shared if there are 2 candidates).

The exam will take approximately 8 – 12 hours for one candidate and 10 to 18 hours for two.

Links to Application forms and Medical forms are below. These application forms need to be filled in and brought along to the examiner on the day.

All students should have an RYA logbook with their qualifying passages and personal log of experience entered.

The cost of a conversion from a RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Sail certificate to RYA Yachtmaster Power is £140 plus £34.50 for commercial endorsement. The exam will take approximately 3 hours. The boat hire will be $860 plus fuel.
The pre-exam requirements for a conversion are:
At least half the minimum required experience for Yachtmaster must be in a power vessel such as a motor cruiser. Minimum seatime 1250 miles, 25 days, 3 days as skipper, 3 passages over 60 miles including 1 overnight and 1 as skipper.

Good Luck

Click here to go to Practical Sailing Courses Dates and Prices

Application for Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore Exam

Application for MCA Commercial Endorsement

FM18 Student Exam Checklist

Accepted Medical Certificates (any one of the following):

  • AMSA 303 (Available only through AMSA recognised doctors – list available here) OR
  • ENG1 (Available only through MCA recognised doctors – list available here) OR
  • ML5 (Available only through MCA recognised doctors – list available here) OR
  • NSCV – Part D Medical Fitness for Marine Qualification Form (available from AMSA National System website)*
    * Only applicable if you are applying for Instructor endorsement and your intention is to teach in Australian waters only

RYA Yachtmaster Exam – How to Prepare – Essential reading if you are planning to sit a yachtmaster exam

Check our calendar for scheduled courses, course prices and then fill out a booking form