RYA YachtMaster Coastal

RYA YachtMaster Coastal (Certificate of Competency)

The RYA YachtMaster Coastal exam should be taken by those individuals who have the knowledge and experience needed to skipper a yacht on coastal passages, but not necessarily the experience needed to undertake longer passages.

The exam will take between 6 – 10 hours during which time you will be set tasks to demonstrate your ability to skipper a yacht safely.  You do not need to have completed any other RYA courses although some people would benefit from a RYA YachtMaster Coastal preparation course prior to the exam.

Pre-exam requirements:
Aged 17 or over
VHF licence
First Aid
Sea-time – 800 miles logged within 10 years of exam, 30 days living aboard, 2 days as skipper and 12 night hours

For holders of the RYA Coastal Skipper Certificate, the sea-time is reduced to 400 mile, 20 days living on board, 12 night hours and 2 days as skipper.

RYA YachtMaster Coastal Syllabus

During your exam you will be expected to demonstrate an understanding, but not necessarily have the experience of all aspects of the syllabus under a range of different weather conditions.

International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
Questions will be confined to the International Regulations and although you must be aware of the existence of Local Regulations.

  • 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)

You will be expected to know what safety equipment should be carried on board a yacht, either from recommendation in the RYA Boat Safety Handbook (C8), the ISAF Special Regulations or the Codes of Practice for the Safety of Small Commercial Vessels. In particular you should know the responsibilities of the skipper in relation to:

  • Safety harnesses
  • Lifejackets
  • Distress flares
  • Fire prevention and fighting
  • Liferafts
  • Knowledge of rescue procedures
  • Helicopter rescue

Boat Handling
You will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate your ability in simple situations only. For RYA YachtMaster Offshore you will be expected to answer questions or demonstrate your 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 man overboard
  • Towing under open sea conditions and in confined areas
  • Boat handling in confined areas under sail
  • Boat handling in heavy weather
  • Helmsmanship and sail trim to sail to best advantage
  • Use of warps for securing in an alongside berth and for shifting berth

General seamanship, including maintenance

  • Properties, uses and care of synthetic fibre ropes
  • Knots
  • General deck-work at sea and in harbour
  • Engine operations and routine checks
  • Improvisation of jury rigs following gear failure

Responsibilities of skipper

  • Can skipper a yacht and manage the crew
  • Communication with crew
  • Delegation of responsibility and watch keeping organisation
  • Preparing yacht for sea and 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


  • Charts, navigational publications and sources of navigational information
  • Chartwork including position fixing and shaping courses 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 and chartwork instruments
  • Passage planning and navigational tactics
  • Pilotage techniques
  • Navigational records
  • Limits of navigational accuracy and margins of safety
  • Lee shore dangers
  • Use of electronic navigational aids for passage planning and passage navigation
  • Use of waypoints and electronic routing


  • Definition of terms
  • Sources of weather forecasts
  • Weather systems and local effects
  • Interpretation of weather forecasts, barometric trends and visible phenomena
  • Ability to make passage planning decisions based on forecast information


  • You must hold a restricted VHF certificate of competence in radiotelephony of higher

Please look at our Sailing manual for useful worksheets.

If you need to attend a VHF course please follow the link to courses we are running.

If you are interested in booking your RYA YachtMaster Coastal exam then please contact us.

If you have any other question please contact us or check out our FAQ page.