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Is the Rya Yachtmaster Theory Course Right for Me?

If you are a more experienced or intermediate sailor, you may well be considering qualifying with a formal RYA qualification. 

However, it can sometimes be tricky to know which certification is best for you now and which you can work towards in the future. 

Read our handy guide today and find out which RYA course is right for you.

What order should RYA courses be completed in? 

When selecting an RYA course, it is important to work through them in order, to ensure you have the skills and knowledge needed to pass each and carry it forward to the next qualification. 

RYA theory courses include:

  1. RYA Day Skipper 
  2. RYA Yachtmaster 
  3. RYA Ocean 

Once you have completed your chosen theory course, you can move on to studying and passing the corresponding RYA practical course, which comprises:

  1. RYA Day Skipper 
  2. RYA Coastal Skipper/ Yachtmaster Offshore
  3. RYA Yachtmaster Ocean

Once you have completed each theory and practical qualification, you will be fully certified to commercially skipper a yacht on passages of any length in all parts of the world – quite literally making the world your oyster. 

Who is the RYA Yachtmaster theory course designed for?

The RYA Yachtmaster Theory Course is designed for more experienced skippers looking to undertake more complex passages, which can include offshore and night cruises. 

It builds on the knowledge gained in the RYA Day Skipper theory and practical courses, making it the next logical step for skippers looking to expand their passage possibilities. 

The RYA Yachtmaster theory course is also the ideal pre-emptive step for skippers looking to move on to the RYA Ocean theory course and RYA Yachtmaster Ocean practical course in the future – especially if they are looking to explore a profession in skippering. 

What is included in the RYA Yachtmaster theory course? 

The RYA Yachtmaster syllabus is more challenging than the RYA Day Skipper theory course and includes a greater emphasis on navigation and passage planning for more complex coastal or offshore passages by day and night. 

Instructors strongly encourage passing the RYA Day Skipper theory course before starting the RYA Yachtmaster theory course, to set yourself up for the greatest chance at success. It includes the following modules:

  • Definitions of position, time, speed, and distance 
  • The use of charts and other publications 
  • The compass – including deviation allowance and swinging the compass 
  • Tidal theory, heights (including secondary ports), and streams (including interpolation of drift)
  • Estimated position 
  • Course to steer 
  • Visual and electronic aids to navigation 
  • Pilotage 
  • Passage planning 
  • Meteorology (including interpreting surface pressure charts)
  • The Collision Regulations 
  • Safety and protection of the environment 

Find online providers for the RYA Yachtmaster theory course

If you are looking for well-reviewed providers of RYA theory courses, be sure to consider online theory courses. 

Compared to classroom providers that can cost more and require days in class, studying for your RYA Yachtmaster theory course online can be much more economical and allow you to study in your spare time – saving you from using valuable holiday days from work for online study. 

Whoever you choose, make sure you compare each provider’s Trustpilot rating – which often includes real reviews from verified learners who have studied for their RYA theory qualifications.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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