1.     How far is it?

2.     What time do we need to arrive?

3.     Weather forecast?

4.     How long will the passage take?

5.     Tidal gates.

6.     Departure time and Course to Steer for each leg.

7.     Navigation – Route, waypoints. Hazards? Charts, Publications – Pilot book, Almanac.

8.     Pilotage plan for departure and entry. Preparing for arrival in darkness.

9.     Able to sustain course with any changes in wind direction?

10.   Suitable places of refuge? Contingency plan.

11.   Enough food, water, fuel and spares on board?

12.   Crew gear and other personal equipment.

13.   Watch system. When does the skipper needs to be on deck?

14.   Brief the crew, assigning responsibility where appropriate.

15.   Is the passage within the limits of skipper, crew and boat?

16.   See the Safety and Domestic Briefing checklist.

17.   Passport, visa and others travel documents.

18.   Information ashore. Log the voyage plan with the coastguard.

In addition:

  • Annex 25 – Guidelines For Voyage Planning – IMO Resolution A.893(21)Day



  1.      Victuals available for collection. Oilskins.
  2.      Students Arrive. Dinner on board.
  3.      Aims. Programme. Students’ experience. Swimmers.
  4.      Clothing and boots. Gear stowage and tidiness.


  1.      Basic Layout. Fresh Water. Electrics.
  2.      Correct use of Heads and Galley. Gas routine. Kettle on.

III.    SAFETY (Below deck):

  1.      Location and use of Lifejackets and Harness.
  2.      Location and use of Firefighting equipment.
  3.      Location of First Aid kit.
  4.      Seacocks, Smoke detectors, Fuel cut-off valve.
  5.      Operation of Radios.
  6.      Location of Navigation and other Lights switches.
  7.      Use of onboard Manual.

IV.    SAFETY (On deck):

  1.      Location and use of Flares.
  2.      Location and contents of Grab bag.
  3.      Location of Liferaft and method of launching.
  4.      Location of Jackstays and strong points on deck.
  5.      Location and use of Lifebuoys and Dan buoys.
  6.      General Do’s and Don’ts on deck.
  7.      Gybing – dangers of. Correct procedure. Boom awareness.
  8.      Engine starting and stopping procedure.


  1.      Method of starting, stopping and controlling. Lines. Pumping water.
  2.      Engine Check:
    1. Water (liquid cool).
    2. Oil – check level and quality.
    3. Belt – 12mm, 90º scratches, dust.
    4. Bilges – clean? // Batteries.
    5. Leaks.
    6. Electrics.
    7. Sea Water Strainer.

VI.    AT SEA:

  1.      Man Over Board demonstration under power and sail.


I.    All the points listed above, plus:

  1.       Emergency tiller
  2.       Emergency navigation lights
  3.       Fuel and Water tank key
  4.       Shore power 220v; Charger, Inversor
  5.       Water tank switch
  6.       Softwood bungs
  7.       Manual bilge pump
  8.       Snorkeling gear + knife
  9.       Huge wire cut
  10.       Use of Anchor winch; Tripping line
  11.       Spare anchor+buoy
  12.       Boat hook
  13.       Anchor light for cockpit
  14.       Dinghy
  15.       Hand bearing compass, binoculars
  16.       Pair of dividers, Brenton ruler
  17.       Almanac, charts, pilot book
  18.       RYA books; Flip/Cockpit cards
  19.       Boat Manual, incl. Stability Guidance Booklet
  20.       Draft; Air Draft
  21.       Boat documents

II.    TEST:

  1.      Parts of a Sailing Boat:
    1. Rig
    2. Sails
    3. Standing Rigging
    4. Running Rigging



1 – Mooring lines (bow/stern line, bow/stern spring, bow/stern breast line)

2 – Fender knots (clove hitch, round turn)

3 – Making fast to a cleat (one turn, oxo, lock)

4 – Bowline (on a ring, looped)

5 – Bollards (accommodate more than one mooring line, tugboat hitch)

6 – Throw a rope (lasso)

7 – Slip-line

8 – Using warps for shifting berth or winding


1 – Forces: Tide, Wind, Propwalk, Momentum

2 – Pivot points

3 – Propwalk, Propwash

4 – Tight Turning

5 – Going astern


1 – Coming alongside in a marina(always against the strongest element and at the slowest speed that will allow steerage)

1.1 – No wind or tide: Basic approach

1.2 – Onshore wind: Ferry gliding

1.3.1 – Offshore wind: Positive approach

1.3.2 – Offshore wind: Mid-ships spring

2 – Stern-to berthing

3 – Mediterranean mooring, lazy lines

4 – Rafting


1 – Onshore wind

1.1 – If the stream is from astern: Bow spring

1.2 – If the stream is from ahead: Stern spring

2 – Offshore wind: No spring required

2.1 – Upstream exit

2.2 – Downstream exit

3 – Deutsch spring

4 – Leaving a raft

5 – Leaving a berth with wind/gale off the pontoon


1 – Coming alongside

1.1 – Heading into the stream + Onshore wind: Main sail

1.2 – Heading into the stream + Offshore wind forward of the beam: Main sail

1.3 – Heading into the stream + Offshore wind abaft the beam: Head sail

1.4 – Downwind: Head sail, surging

2 – Sailing off



RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal Certificate of Competence:

Pre-exam requirements:

1 – A Radio Operator’s Qualification – A GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher grade of marine radio certificate.

2 – A valid First Aid certificate.

3 – Seatime: 800 miles logged, 30 days living on board, 2 days as skipper and 12 night hours

Note: Half of the qualifying seatime must have been gained in tidal waters

RYA Yachtmaster® Offshore Certificate of Competence:

Pre-exam requirements:

1 – A Radio Operator’s Qualification – A GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher grade of marine radio certificate.

2 – A valid First Aid certificate.

3 – Seatime: 2500 miles logged, 50 days living on board, 5 passages over 60 miles acting as skipper for at least 2 of these passages and including 2 which have involved overnight passages. 5 days’ experience as skipper.

Note: Half of the qualifying seatime must have been gained in tidal waters



RYA Yachtmaster® Coastal and RYA Yachtmaster® Offshore Exam Syllabus

Note 1: In each section the examiner will expect to see the candidate take full responsibility for the management of the yacht and crew.

Note 2: In RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exams, the candidate will be expected to demonstrate competence based on broad experience.

Note 3: In RYA Yachtmaster Coastal exams, the candidate will be expected to demonstrate understanding but may not have had the opportunity to practice all aspects of the syllabus under a range of different weather conditions.


  1.    International Regulations for preventing Collisions at Sea

Questions will be confined to the International Regulations and, although candidates must be aware of the existence of local regulations, they will not be expected to memorise specific local ones.

  • General rules (1-3)
  • Steering and sailing rules (4-19)
  • Lights and shapes (20-31)
  • Sound and light signals (32-37)
  • Signals for vessels fishing in close proximity (Annex II)
  • Distress signals (Annex IV)
  1.    Safety

Candidates will be expected to know what safety equipment should be carried on board a sailing yacht or motor vessel, based either on the recommendations in the RYA Boat Safety Handbook (G103), the ISAF Special Regulations of the Codes of Practice for the Safety of Small Commercial Vessels. In particular, candidates must know the responsibilities of a skipper in relation to:

  • The safety briefing;
  • Safety harnesses;
  • Life jackets;
  • Distress signaling (flares and electronic means);
  • Stability;
  • Fire prevention and fighting;
  • Life rafts;
  • Knowledge of rescue procedures;
  • Helicopter rescue.


  1.    Boat Handling

Candidates for RYA Yachtmaster Coastal will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate ability in less complex situations only.

Candidates for RYA Yachtmaster Offshore will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate ability in more complex situations and will also be expected to show a higher level of expertise:

  • Coming to and weighing anchor, under power or sail in various conditions of wind and tide;
  • In all berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide;
  • In recovery of man overboard and being able to describe the effects of cold-water shock and the aftercare requirements of a casualty who has been in the water;
  • When towing under open sea conditions and in confined areas;
  • In boat handling in confined areas under sail;
  • In boat handling in heavy weather;
  • When using helmsmanship and sail trim to sail to best advantage;
  • Using warps for securing in an alongside berth and for shifting berth or winding.
  1.    General Seamanship, including Maintenance
  • Properties, use and care of synthetic fibre ropes
  • Knots
  • General deck-work at sea and in harbour
  • Engine operations, routine checks and troubleshooting
  • Improvisation of jury rigs following gear failure
  1.    Responsibilities of the Skipper
  • Can skipper a yacht and manage the crew
  • Communication with crew
  • Delegation of responsibility and watchkeeping organisation
  • Preparing the yacht for sea and for adverse weather
  • Tactics for heavy weather and restricted visibility
  • Emergency and distress situations
  • Victualling for a cruise and feeding at sea
  • Customs procedures
  • Standards of behaviour and courtesy
  1.    Navigation
  • Charts, navigational publications and sources of navigational information
  • Chartwork, including position fixing and shaping course to allow for tidal stream and leeway
  • Tide height and tidal stream calculations
  • Buoyage and visual aids to navigation
  • Instruments, including compasses, logs, echo sounders, radio navigation aids and chartwork instrument
  • Passage planning and navigational tactics
  • Pilotage techniques
  • Navigational records
  • The limits of navigational accuracy and margins of safety
  • Lee shore dangers
  • Use of electronic navigation aids for passage planning navigation
  • Use of waypoints and electronic routeing
  • General understanding of AIS
  • Navigational techniques for reduced visibility
  1.    Meteorology
  • Definition of terms
  • Sources of weather forecasts
  • Weather systems and local weather effects
  • Interpretation of weather forecasts, barometric trends and visible phenomena
  • Ability to make passage-planning decisions based on forecast information
  1.    Signals
  • Candidates for RYA Yachtmaster Coastal and Offshore must hold the SRC Certificate of Competence in radiotelephony or a higher grade of certificate in radiotelephony