Take your knowledge learnt in the classroom to the water.


MCA/RYA Yachtmaster™ Coastal (Preparation and Exam) Syllabus

Discover the syllabus

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 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)

2.    Safety

Candidates will be expected to know what safety equipment should be carried on board a yacht, based either on the recommendations 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, candidates must know the responsibilities of a skipper in relation:

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

3.    Boat Handling

Candidates for Coastal Skipper 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 crew 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 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
  • 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 organisation
  • 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 behaviour and courtesy

6.    Navigation

  • Charts, navigational 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 if safety
  • Lee shore dangers
  • Use of electronic navigation aids for passage planning and passage navigation
  • Use of waypoints and electronic routeing

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 Offshore and Coastal Skipper must hold the Restricted (VHF only) Certificate of Competence in radiotelephony or a higher grade of certificate in radio telephony


  • Pre-course experience: 30 days, 2 days as skipper, 800 miles, 12 night hours ,Or, if you hold a Coastal Skipper certificate, you need 20 days, 2 days as skipper, 400 miles, 12 night hours. At least half of the qualifying sea time must be in tidal waters.
  • Assumed knowledge: solid knowledge of navigation theory, good experience in boat handling in close quarters, as well as a good knowledge of sail trimming and how to make the boat more efficient under sail.
  • Student Instructor 3:1 ratio or 2:1 ratio
  • On board breakfast, lunch, snacks & 1 dinner on board  included. 
  • Mooring fees included


3:1 RATIO PRICE: £1’750 (+ £200 RYA exam fee) /pp

2:1 RATIO PRICE: £2’550 (+ £200 RYA exam fee) /pp


  • Responsibilities of skipper
  • Close quarters boat handling
  • Hoisting, reefing and dropping sails
  • Tacking, gybing and efficient sail trim
  • Berthing and anchoring
  • Rules of the road and signals
  • Safety, plus crew overboard
  • General seamanship, including maintenance
  • Navigation
  • Meteorology

Knowledge gained after the course:

After successfully completing the course, you will gain the competence to skipper a yacht on a passage up to 60 miles from a safe haven during the day or night.

Successful students will receive an official RYA certificate.