RYA Qualification Offshore

RYAThe RYA, Royal Yachting Association is the English and worldwide standard for international recognition. The Dutch Offshore Sailing Acedemy/Zeezeilers.nl is a RYA Trainings Centre. The levels are comparable with the Dutch CWO, but not interchangeable. Qualification as a RYA Yachtmaster™ is the ultimate aim of many skippers, both professional and recreational. Curious about where you are in the scheme? Please contact us for advise.

The Dutch Offshore Sailing Acedemy/Zeezeiler.nl provides the whole RYA Scheme:

  • Pracitical courses • Online theory courses
  • First Aid • Diesel-engine • SRC VHF license Short Range Certificate
  • Qualifying Miles and passages to Yachtmaster Offshore
  • Yachtmaster Offshore prep week and exam
  • A special Fast Track package: from zero to hero
  • Cruising Instructor Training
  • Yachtmaster Ocean and Theorydays (Astro)
Overview RYA practical courses  • theory  • qualifying miles with pilotage and passages to Yachtmaster Offshore:


Competent Crew Course (5 days practical)
This course is for beginners who would like to become active crew members rather than just passengers. Dates and Prices >
Additionally you can choose for a jump start in navigation with the RYA's Essential Navigation online. More information >

Day Skipper Course (5 days practical)
A course for aspiring skippers with some yachting experience and basic navigation and sailing skills. Dates and Prices >
We strongly advise to do a Day Skipper online theory course beforehand. More information >

  • Qualifying miles (6-14 days praktical )
    Training and Milesbuilders with challenging destinations to apply knowledge. Dates and Prices >

Coastal Skipper Course (5 days practical)
Advanced skippering techniques for yachtsmen and women with considerable knowledge of sailing and navigation. Dates and Prices >
You must have your theory up to speed on a Coastal Skipper / YM Offshore level beforehand. More information >

  • Qualifying Miles (30-40 days sailing + training)
    A mix of training and guiding with challenging passages and pilotages to apply knowledge. Dates and Prices >
    In these variety of trips are at least 5 x 60 qualifying miles. For these we advise to obtain a Coastal Skipper qualification first.

Yachtmaster Offshore Prep & Exam (5+2 days)
Preparation Course prior to the exam. The final exam takes 2 days. Dates and Prices >

Cruising Instructor (5 days)
Preparation Course voor Instructors and an Assesment. Dates and Prices >

RYA First Aid (1 day)
You need this for your YMO exam. Preparation Course voor Instructors and an Assesment. More information >

RYA VHF Short Range Certifacte (online + practical assessment)
Qualification required to operate marine VHF radio equipment. More information >

More about qualifying miles
Adequate training and qualifying miles during passages and pilotages in challanging trips are very usefull. The instructor quides you and note your miles

For Yachtmaster Offshore you make 5 x 60 qualifying mile passages in the role of skipper spread over the 2000 seamiles to be done.
1) The 60  mile 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.
2) Trainee skippers undertaking 60 mile passages are strongly advised to obtain a Coastal Skipper qualification first!
3) Supporting testimonials or a Seaman’s Discharge book

  • Skipper: The skipper is the person nominated and responsible for the planning and execution of a passage including vessel and watch management. The skipper is not necessarily the most experienced or qualified person on board, but must be the person with responsibility for the safe execution of the passage. If the skipper's role is transferred to another person at any time during a passage then neither person can claim to have skippered that passage.
  • Mate: For the purpose of qualifying passages, a mate is any person on board who has sole responsibility for managing a navigational watch during a passage. They must be actively engaged in the planning and execution of a passage.
  • Tidal: An area is deemed tidal if published stream, current or tidal range data is available, the influence of which is significant enough to require the effects to be taken into account to plan and execute a safe and efficient passage. 
  • Days on board: A day on board or as skipper is a period of eight consecutive hours living on board, the majority of which the vessel should have been at sea. Periods of less than eight hours cannot be aggregated to make up eight hours. Only one eight-hour period may be counted in any 24 hour period.
  • More information about qualifying miles on the RYA website >

What is RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore
Competent to skipper a cruising yacht on any passage during which the yacht is no more than 150 miles from harbour. An RYA Yachtmaster™ needs a wealth of knowledge, not only to cope with plain sailing or motor cruising, but also to be able to manage demanding situations. RYA qualifications, in particular the RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore and Yachtmaster™ Ocean Certificates of Competence are recognised and respected around the world. Qualification as a RYA Yachtmaster™ is the ultimate aim of many skippers, both professional and recreational. The RYA has a long, distinguished history in professional and recreational boating, with more than a century of experience and knowledge. We work tirelessly at local, national and international level to ensure that your RYA qualifications are accepted and respected as the pinnacle of yacht training. Certificates are becoming increasingly important in the international world of sailing. Charter companies liabilities become heavier as more people explore exotic and far away waters that are far free from risks. Insurance companies demand more and proven experience from skippers on charter- or rental yachts. This tendency is noticeable as professional and semi-professional charterskippers enhance their position by obtaining internationally recognised certificates. Yachtmaster is such a certificate. Not only does it display your level as a sailor, it is also one of the sailing documents recognized throughout the world.

The exam will include an assessment of your skippering skills, boat handling, general seamanship, navigation, safety awareness and knowledge of the IRPCS, meteorology and signals. Our Boats are suitable for YM exams. We strongly recommend a preparation Course prior to the exam. This training can be tailor-made to your specific needs and helps to fill any gaps in your knowledge that may become apparent. Dates & Prices Yachtmaster prep and Exa

Fast Track to Yachtmaster Offshore
The original comprehensive professional seamanship training programme. Designed for professionals and those who want to increase their skills. The course includes practical: 50-60 days, > 2500 miles sailing with a mix of Navigation Cruises and days of Theory. With more experience it can be shorter. We advise you to check your capacity with our Course Leader.

Yachtmaster™ Offshore exam

Minimum seatime

Better results
for the exam can
be achieved in
the case of diverse
and adequate
nautical miles.
Check your capacity
with our Course leader

50 days, 2,500 miles
including at least 5 passages over 60
miles measured along the rhumb line
from the port of departure to the
destination, acting as skipper for at
least two of these passages and
including two which have involved
overnight passages.
5 days experience as skipper.
At least half this mileage and passages
must be in tidal waters.
All qualifying seatime must be within
10 years prior to the exam.

Form of exam Practical

A GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or
higher grade of marine radio certificate.

A valid First Aid certificate

Minimum exam
8-12 hours for 1 candidate, 10-18 hours for
2 candidates. No more than two candidates
can be examined in 24 hours and no more
than four candidates can be examined in one
2 day session.
Minimum age 18

Commercial Endorsed
If you need a Yachtmaster™ Offshore 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. You can then 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 harbour. The commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore Certificate of Competence can be used commercially in its own right. It is also a pre-requisite for the MCA's Officer of the Watch qualification, which enables you to work worldwide on vessels of up to 3000g.

RYA Yachtmaster Ocean
Definition of a Passage:
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”. Ocean candidates may take their sights on a shorter passage than the qualifying passage. The examiner will determine whether the candidate is competent at astro navigation. Examiners are responsible for establishing the level of a candidates competence during the exam. Where a candidate’s qualifying mileage is doubtful examiners will question the candidate carefully. You can prepare your self before or after a ocean passages with Ocean Theory.

Competent crew Day Skipper Coastal Skipper
A course for those wanting to be active crew members, not just passengers

Take charge on
short passages
under instruction

Skipper more challenging passages by day and night
Pre-course experience None 5 days, 100 miles, 4 night hours on board a sailing yacht 15 days, 2 days as skipper, 300 miles, 8 night hours
Assumed knowledge None Essential navigation and helmsmanship and a dayskipper course Shorebased Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster standard
Minimum duration 5 days. Often run over 3 weekends or 3 days plus a weekend. 5 days, either as 3 weekends or 3 days plus 2 days 5 consequent days
Minimum age None 16 17
Course content Knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat,
her rigging and sails, sail handling,
ropework, fire precautions and fighting,
personal safety equipment, man overboard,
emergency equipment, meteorology,
seasickness, helmsmanship, general duties,
manners and customs, rules of the road,
Preparation for sea, deck work, navigation,
pilotage, meteorology, rules of the road,
maintenance and repair work, engines,
victualling, emergency situations, yacht
handling under power, yacht handling under
sail, passage making, night cruising
Passage planning Preparation for sea
Pilotage Passage making and ability as skipper. Yacht handling under power
Yacht handling under sail. Adverse weather conditions. Emergency situations
Ability after course Able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day routines Able to skipper a small yacht in familiar waters by day Able to skipper a yacht on coastal passages by day and night