yachtmaster ocean

Yachtmaster Ocean

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.

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 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.
Form of 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.
Certification required 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).

Minimum exam duration Approximately 1.5 hours


The candidate must provide the examiner with:

  1. A narrative account of the planning and execution of the qualifying passage
  2. 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:

  1. have completed the required mileage and experience as skipper
  2. hold a VHF Radio Operators License or Short Range Certificate
  3. hold a valid first aid certificate
  4. have read the syllabus in RYA publications: G15 (sail) or G18 (power)
  5. 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.

*All candidates are required to hold a first aid certificate. Acceptable certificates include the RYA’s First Aid Certificate, First Aid at Work, First Aid at Sea, or any other certificate issued on completion of a course which is a minimum of one day’s duration, recognised by the Health and Safety Executive and includes the treatment of hypothermia, cold shock and drowning.

Full details of the exam syllabus and requirements are shown in the RYA’s Sail Cruising Logbook (code G15) and the Motor Cruising Logbook (code G18), both available from the RYA webshop (see right).

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