RYA Qualification Offshore

RYAThe RYA, Royal Yachting Association is the English and worldwide standard for international recognition. "De Zeezeilers is a RYA Trainings Centre. The levels are comparable with the CWO, but not interchangeable, you can easily continue with the RYA. Qualification as a RYA Yachtmaster™ is the ultimate aim of many skippers, both professional and recreational. Take a look to the Tailor-made programs to your specific knowledge and skills. Check our Course leader for:

  • Targeted RYA courses,
  • Qualifying Miles and passages to Yachtmaster Offshore
  • Fast Track package.
  • Cruising Instructor Training
  • Yachtmaster Ocean and Theorydays (Astro)

Overview RYA courses & qualifying miles passages to Yachtmaster Offshore

From zero you will find three courses + adequate training and miles + preparation and an exam.



RYA Competent Crew Course (5 days)
This course is for beginners who would like to become active crew members rather than just passengers. Dates and Prices >

RYA Day Skipper Course (5 days + 1 day theory)
A course for aspiring skippers with some yachting experience and basic navigation and sailing skills. Dates and Prices >

RYA Coastal Skipper Course (5 days) (40 hours navigation theory)
Advanced skippering techniques for yachtsmen and women with considerable knowledge of sailing and navigation, Dates and Prices >

Qualifying Miles and Passages ( 30-40 days) (First Aid+SRC)
60 mile passages and pilotages. We advise to obtain a Coastal Skipper qualification first. Check your capacity with our Course leader. Dates and Prices >

Yachtmaster Offshore Prep & Exam (5+2 days)
Preparation Course prior to the exam. This training can be tailor-made to your specific needs. The final exam takes 2 days. Dates and Prices >

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

More details of the Courses, miles and Fast Track?

RYA Competent Crew Course
This course is for beginners and those who would like to become active crew members rather than just passengers. 
Experience living on board and really get to know the boat. Virtually all the course is hands on. You are the crew - without you, the sails won't go up and the boat won't be steered. By the end of the course you should be able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day duties on board. You should also have visited some interesting places and had an enjoyable holiday. Dates & Prices Competent Crew Courses

RYA Day Skipper Course
A course for aspiring skippers with some yachting experience and basic navigation and sailing skills. Learn to skipper a short passage with the instructor on hand to give advice and encouragement and ensure your safety. Experience being in charge, taking credit when it all goes well and being responsible when it doesn't. If it's help with navigation that you need, you should take our Day Skipper shorebased course. Dates & Prices Day Skipper Courses

RYA Coastal Skipper Course
Advanced skippering techniques for yachtsmen and women with considerable knowledge of sailing and navigation, This course is for the more ambitious sail cruising skipper wanting to undertake coastal passages by day and night on tidal waters. Like the Day Skipper course, this course consists of skippered passages in a variety of situations. Each trainee will skipper more challenging passages (25-50 miles) and learn more about passage planning, pilotage by day and night on tidal waters, boat handling, safety and emergency situations.The Course is ideally in less or un-familiar waters than you already know. Our instructor will be on hand to guide you when required. We often mix Coastal Skipper Students with Competent Crew students (as there would not be time for everyone to skipper a suitable passage if the boat was all Coastal Skippers Candidates). It is also a great opportunity for the Competent Crew to experience some proper offshore or coastal yachting. It is a satisfying but intensive week with candidates often working towards a Certificate of Competence. Most centres will expect you to complete the Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster™ Offshore shorebased course beforehand as there is insufficient time to teach you theory during the week. Coastal Skippers should be able to undertake more difficult passages by day and night and handle the yacht in more demanding conditions on tidal waters. By the end of the course you should have the knowledge, if not the experience, to become a Yachtmaster™.  Dates and Prices Coastal Skipper Courses

Qualifying Miles and Passages
1. 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.
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.

Qualifying Miles and Passages on a wide range of yacht skipper training and sailing trips in Dates & Prices: "Western Europe" or "Ocean & Caribbean".

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 for RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore

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 Exam


If you use your own or private boat 
The boat used must be between 7m and 24m waterline length and be in sound, seaworthy condition, equipped to the standard set out in the RYA Boat Safety Handbook 2nd edition (code G103). The boat must be equipped with a full up to date set of charts and navigational publications along with working instruments and either plotter or GPS. In addition to the candidate there should be two crew on board as the examiner will not take part in the management of the boat during the exam. There may be vessels that will meet the guidelines outlined above, but by virtue of their layout, construction, handling characteristics or other factors may be unsuitable for use for an RYA Yachtmaster™ Practical examination. The RYA reserves the right to refuse an exam on a vessel that, in the view of the RYA Chief Examiner, will not allow the examiner to conduct an examination to the standard required by the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster™ Qualification Panel.

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 15 days of Theory. With more experience it can be shorter. We advise you to check your capacity with our Course Leader.

Cruising Instructor
Preparation Course for Instructors and an Assessment

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.


Theory Competent Crew:
None or Essential Navigation & Seamanship Course. This course is available online.

Theory Day Skipper:
1) Essential Navigation & Seamanship course online.
2) One day practical exercises. The rest during the practical course. It's a highly informative course with lots of opportunities for you to put your new found knowledge into practice. If you decide to take the course online, you will find many interactive exercises to help reinforce the information and lots of chances to try out what you've learned. Course topics include:

  • the basics of seamanship
  • the essentials of coastal navigation and pilotage
  • chartwork
  • electronic charts
  • position fixing
  • plotting a course to steer
  • weather forecasting and meteorology
  • tides
  • collision regulations
  • construction, parts and equipment of a cruising boat
  • emergency and safety procedures including distress
    calls,use of flares, safety harnesses, lifejackets and

Theory Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Offshore
Advanced training for more experienced skippers building on the Day Skipper Course. This course equips you to navigate safely on coastal and offshore passages.
This course will take your theory knowledge to the standard required for the Yachtmaster™ Coastal and Yachtmaster™ Offshore practical exams, concentrating on advanced navigation and meteorology skills. As with the Day Skipper shorebased course, the RYA’s specially designed chart plotter software will be used during the course to give you a realistic taste of modern electronic navigation. Students in the southern hemisphere can take advantage of the southern hemisphere version of our training materials, ensuring that your course is relevant to you. The course is taught over 40 hours with three exam papers. It can be covered as a series of short sessions, as an intensive week-long course, or by distance learning. It allows some time for revision of the basics and then moves on to advanced navigation techniques. Course topics include: In The Netherlands you can use the "Theoretische kustnavigatie" diploma. Aangevuld met zelfstudie Colregs and Weather

  • position fixing
  • course shaping and plotting
  • tidal knowledge
  • use of almanacs and admiralty publications
  • electronic position finding equipment
  • taking and interpreting forecasts
  • plotting weather systems
  • weather predictions using a barometer and by
  • collision regulations
  • customs and excise regulations for cruising abroad

Overview courselevels according the RYA standard

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