Yachtmaster Exam Prep

The RYA Yachtmaster Exam Prep in Canada is no different from Yachtmaster exam preps anywhere in the world.  The purpose of the course is to analyse a candidate’s practical sailing abilities, assess their theory knowledge and focus on eliminating their weaknesses so they have the best opportunity to pass the RYA Yachtmaster Exam.

If you want to work as a skipper in the yachting industry then the Yachtmaster is exactly what you need.

In Brief:

  • Advanced course.
  • 3rd party Examiner.
  • 7 days (Kingston).
  • $2135.
  • Need over 2500 nautical miles of experience to be eligible.

Is it an official RYA course?

Here’s what the RYA has to say: “There is no formal training course leading up to the exam, but those who have not previously taken RYA courses often find it useful to book themselves in for some informal training at an RYA centre prior to their exam. This training can be tailor-made to your specific needs and helps to fill any gaps in your knowledge that may become apparent.” 

So no, it’s not an official RYA course BUT it will lead to you becoming a Yachtmaster.

A Yachtmaster is?

A Yachtmaster Offshore is competent to skipper a cruising yacht on any passage during which the yacht is no more than 150 miles from harbour.  A Yachtmaster Coastal is competent to skipper a vessel on coastal passages (Category 3 – up to 20 miles from safe haven).  These are the two levels of Yachtmaster assessed in the exam.

What kind of experience do I need?

RYA says a Yachtmaster Offshore candidate must be able to show they have: “50 days, 2,500 miles including at least 5 passages over 60 miles measured along the rhumb line from the port of departure to the destination, acting as skipper for at least two of these passages and including two which have involved overnight passages. 5 days experience as skipper. At least half this mileage and passages must be conducted in tidal waters.  All within ten years of the exam date.”

Not quite there?  Here’s what the requirements are for Yachtmaster Coastal:  “30 days, 2 days as skipper, 800 miles, 12 night hours (if you hold the Coastal Skipper course certificate this is reduced to 20 days, 2 days as skipper, 400 miles, 12 night hours). Half the qualifying sea time must be conducted in tidal waters.” 

The RYA also says a candidate must have: “A GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC) or higher grade of marine radio certificate. A valid first aid certificate.”

Translation to Canadian: ROC (M).  RYA recognised first aid certificates can be found here.

Tidal means?

RYA says: “An area is deemed tidal if published stream, current or tidal range data is available, the influence of which is significant enough to require the effects to be taken into account to plan and execute a safe and efficient passage.”

As an example, here on the Great Lakes, the St Clair River (between Lake Huron and Lake St Clair) has published current data which is significant enough to be taken into account when passage planning.

How long is the exam?

The Examiner (who is independent and appointed by the RYA) is required to spend 6-10 hours evaluating a Yachtmaster Coastal and 8-12 hours evaluating a Yachtmaster Offshore.  The time is reduced slightly when two candidates are being assessed in a 24 hour period.  4 candidates can be examined over 2 days (which is typical).  Part of the exam is carried out in darkness and will involve a night entry into a marina.

How much is the Yachmaster exam?

The exam fee is paid directly to the RYA.  Topmast does not include the exam fee in the course fee (currency fluctuations aside, it’s an admin nightmare).  Currently the RYA exam fee for YM Offshore is £231 and for YM Coastal £200 (convert to cdn here)but this is subject to change so please consult with us at Topmast before the course.

*Candidates will also be expected to cover the Examiner’s travel expenses (which may mean a flight from Halifax).

How much is the Yachtmaster exam prep and how long is it?

We budget 5 days for the course.  Candidates can stay on the boat (no additional charge) or make arrangements at a B&B or one of the many hotels in and around Kingston if that’s more comfortable.

Topmast charges $2135 for the 5 days and the use of the boat for the exam.

So, other than our fee the cost should look something like this:

  • Topmast: $2135
  • RYA: +/- $400 (depends on currency fluctuations)
  • Examiner Travel: +/- $400 (split between candidates, usually 3)

You should also budget for daily meals.

($2750-$3000 altogether is a reasonable expectation depending on your needs/wants.)