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Yachtmaster Coastal Examination »

Yachtmaster Offshore Examination »


1. International Regulations for Preventing Collision 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 regulations.

  • General rules (1-3)
  • Steering and Sailing rules (4-9)
  • Lights and shapes (20-31)
  • Sound and light signals (32-37)
  • Signals for vessels fishing in close proximity (Annex II)
  • Distress signals (Annex IV)


2. Safety

Candidates will be expected to know what safety equipment should be carried on board a yacht, based either on the recommendations of the RYA Boat Safety Handbook (C8), the ISAF Special Regulations or 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
  • Lifejackets
  • Distress signalling (flares and electronic means)
  • Fire prevention and fighting
  • Liferafts
  • Knowledge of rescue procedures
  • Helicopter rescue
  • Working knowledge of stability


3. Boat Handling

Candidates for Yachtmaster Coastal examinations will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate ability in simple situations only. Candidates for 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
  • All berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide
  • Recovery of a 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.
  • Towing under open sea conditions and in confined areas
  • Boat handling in confined areas under sail
  • Boat handling in heavy weather
  • Using helmsmanship and sail trim to sail to best advantage
  • Use of warps for securing in an alongside berth and for shifting berth or winding


4. General Seamanship including Maintenance

  • Properties, use and care of synthetic fibre ropes
  • Knots
  • General deck work at sea and in harbour
  • Engine operations and routine checks
  • Working knowledge of how a diesel engine works
  • Improvisation of jury rigs following gear failure


5. Responsibilities of Skipper

  • Can skipper a yacht and manage the crew
  • Communication with crew
  • Delegation of responsibility and watch-keeping organization
  • Preparing 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 behavior and courtesy


6. Navigation

  • Charts, navigation publications and sources of navigational information
  • Chartwork including position fixing and shaping course to allow for tidal stream and leeway
  • Tide and tidal stream calculations
  • Buoyage and visual aids to navigation
  • Instruments including compasses, logs, echo sounders, radio navaids and chartwork instruments
  • Passage planning and navigational tactics
  • Pilotage techniques
  • Navigational records
  • Limits of navigational accuracy and margins for safety
  • Lee shore dangers
  • Use of electronic navigation aids for passage planning and passage navigation
  • Use of waypoints and electronic routing
  • General understanding of AIS
  • Working knowledge of radar in navigational situations and restricted visibility


7. 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


8. Signals

  • Candidates for Yachtmaster Coastal and Offshore must hold the Restricted (VHF only)) Certificate of Competence in radiotelephony or a higher grade of certificate in radiotelephony