So you want to be a RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore?

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Mile building

A few hints on what to expect in the Exam & what preparation you should do…….

Your Preparation week for the exam is not a chance to learn something new – it is your opportunity to refine and refresh skills that you already have, but maybe haven’t practiced for a while. Your preparation Instructor will help you to identify weaknesses, so that you can focus on them. When the examiner joins the yacht he will expect candidates to take full responsibility for the yacht and the crew while they are ‘under the spotlight’.

Before applying for the exam please double check that you have the necessary required criteria. See here:
Yachtmaster Explained

• You will need to have a full and comprehensive knowledge of the IRPCS.
• You should be able to give a full and thorough briefing on all matters involving Safety on Board (Personal Safety, Fire, Flood, M.O.B. and Abandon Ship procedure).
• Your boat handling skills should be confident under sail or under motor (Anchoring, Berthing, M.O.B., in confined areas, and Heavy Weather practices)
• Your seamanship should be second nature – handling lines/warps, what properties different fibre lines display, strong on knots, engine operation and maintenance (as well as routine troubleshooting!)
• Demonstrate full awareness of your Responsibility as a Skipper.
• Your Navigation skills should be comprehensive, including in depth knowledge of Tidal calculations, Passage Planning, Pilotage Techniques, Reduced visibility practices, Use of Instrumentation (Including GPS, AIS and Radar)
• You should be well informed about the Weather – and able to assess the possibility of significant changes in the conditions to avoid being ‘caught out’ by bad weather.

If you think you might be a ‘bit rusty’ on some of the Theory Elements of the syllabus it is well worth considering taking the Coastal Skipper & Yachtmaster Theory before your preparation week – this will make sure you are ‘up to speed’ and able to focus on the more practical elements of the syllabus while you are out and about on the yacht with your Yachtmaster Instructor. The Examiner will soon know if you are weak in certain areas!

It is well worth doing a bit of ‘homework’ before your exam – revising those collision regulations, lights and day shapes, sound signals and buoyage. Read about the weather. Read articles about Heavy Weather boat handling. Get well prepared and Good Luck!

Pippa Turton
Chief Instructor
Miramar Sailing School

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