Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased Theory

The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased week teaches you celestial navigation, including the use of a sextant. You will leave the course confident that you have the knowledge and skills required to navigate an ocean passage using traditional methods.

22 January
Mon 22 Jan 2024 - Fri 26 Jan 2024
5 days, 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • $2,190.00 incl. GST
15 April
Mon 15 Apr 2024 - Fri 19 Apr 2024
5 days, 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • $2,190.00 incl. GST
Register2 places remaining
2 December
Mon 02 Dec 2024 - Fri 06 Dec 2024
5 days, 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • $2,190.00 incl. GST
27 January
Mon 27 Jan 2025 - Fri 31 Jan 2025
5 days, 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • $2,190.00 incl. GST


It is not surprising that, in a world that is increasingly dominated by technology, there is an awakening of interest in traditional methods of using the celestial bodies to help us to navigate the oceans.

Astro navigation is an interwoven mix of geography, astronomy, history, and mathematics and should appeal to both mariners and scholars. 

This course will introduce you to the principles of astro navigation and the practice of finding your position using a sextant and the celestial bodies.   

You’ll also study ocean currents, global meteorology, including tropical revolving storms, and ocean passage planning.

Course content 

  • The earth and the celestial sphere
  • The PZX triangle
  • The use of a sextant
  • Measurement of time
  • Meridian altitudes
  • The nautical almanac and sight reduction tables
  • Plotting of position lines
  • Sight planning
  • Sun, star, and other sights
  • Sight reduction and plotting
  • Ocean meteorology
  • Ocean currents
  • Passage planning and preparation
  • Satellite, HF communications, and obtaining weather data

Course details 

The programme includes 40 hours of teaching plus exam time.

The course is classroom-based but there will be practical sessions organised nearby to practice sights. 

Location and instruction 

The week is run in our comfortable, well-resourced, waterside classroom at Middle Harbour Yacht Club by an experienced and qualified RYA Yachtmaster Ocean theory instructor. 

By the end of the course, you will be familiar with the sextant and able to take sights and plot your position using sight reduction.

You will also be well prepared to plan an ocean passage. 

What's included

  • Tuition, course publications, course pack, and certification.
  • Plotting sheets, dividers, sextants, and compasses are provided for loan. 


  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased Course certificate upon successful completion of examinations 

Before you start

  • You have passed the RYA Yachtmaster Shorebased Theory course or have the equivalent knowledge of navigation and seamanship.

What next?

  • You now need to complete your qualifying ocean passage, after which you will be ready to submit your celestial sights to the RYA for an oral examination for the Yachtmaster Ocean certificate of competence.
  • On passing your Yachtmaster Ocean oral examination you will have been deemed competent to skipper a yacht up to 24 m in length on passages unrestricted by distance anywhere in the world. 
  • For a complete package of training including Yachtmaster Ocean theory, and a qualifying passage, see Yachtmaster Ocean Theory and Passage.