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Yachtmaster Shorebased Theory

On completing this course you will have a thorough knowledge of all the theory required for the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence.

This comprehensive shore-based course is essential preparation for those working towards a Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence and is a requirement under the MCA Large Yacht Code (Superyachts) for masters and deck officers operating on vessels from 24 m to 3000 tonnes. 

It is also extremely valuable for recreational sailors and boaters who are undertaking coastal and offshore passages.

Course programme 

The course runs over 6 days and includes 40 hours of teaching and 7 hours of invigilated examinations. 

Day 1 runs from 10 am to 5 pm,  Days 2 - 6 run from 830 am to 530 pm. This allows enough time for lunch and breaks.

Course content 

Marine Charts and Position 

  • Projections, depths, heights and datums, distance and symbols. 
  • Latitude and longitude, position fixing, position lines

Tools of the Navigator

  • Ships compass, plotter, depth sounder, speed log, deck log.
  • Direction, compass variation, deviation and error.


  • Tide causes, tide terms, range, springs and neaps, tide tables
  • Tidal heights, standard & secondary ports, high and low water curves

Tidal Streams and Navigation

  • Tidal streams, set and drift, diamonds, tidal stream atlas, computation of rates.
  • Dead reckoning, estimated position, course to steer, leeway, overfalls and races.

Buoyage and Lights

  • IALA buoyage (A and B),
  • Lights, characteristics, sectored lights, ranges (visual, luminous and nominal), rising and dipping distances


  • Pilotage planning, transits, clearing lines, leading lines, use of soundings.
  • Harbour regulations and signals.


  • Basic terms, global weather pattern, highs and lows, air masses and fronts, frontal depression, synoptic charts.
  • local effects, fog, sea and land breeze, thunderstorms, katabatic winds. Weather forecasts and the barometer.

Safety at Sea

  • Personal safety (lifejackets, harness and lifelines), distress signals, liferafts, safety management system.
  • Stability, heavy weather, restricted visibility, high traffic.

Passage planning 

  • Working up a plan, victualling, before take off checklists, log set up.
  • Route planning, course shaping, charts prepared, GPS route set up, communication schedule, watch system organised.


  • Steering and sailing rules, lights and shapes.
  • Detailed knowledge of the collision regulations


You will sit three invigilated exams during the course and will be awarded the RYA Yachtmaster theory certificate on successful completion of all three.


  • Oct
    25 Oct - 30 Oct
    6 days
    10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
    Sydney, Australia
    • $1,295.00 incl. GST
    Event is fullJoin waiting list
  • Mar
    7 Mar - 12 Mar
    6 days
    10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
    Sydney, Australia
    • $1,295.00 incl. GST

What's included

Tuition, publications and certification.

The course begins at 10 am on the first day.

For the rest of the week the schedule runs from 8:30 am to 5 pm. 


  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Theory Certificate

Before you start

You have completed RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship or RYA Day Skipper Shore based Theory, or have equivalent knowledge. 

What next?

You are now ready to start Coastal Skipper training or go on to a Yachtmaster Prep and Exam course.

    See also

    • Yachtmaster Prep and Exam

      This live-aboard course leads to a practical assessment, conducted independently by an RYA Yachtmaster Examiner. Depending on your prior skills and experience your objective may be a Yachtmaster Offshore or Coastal Certificate of Competence.
    • Coastal Skipper Practical

      The Coastal Skipper course provides you with the opportunity to develop your seamanship, boat handling and navigation skills offshore by day and night. It is a stepping stone towards the Yachtmaster Certificates of Competence.
    • Professional Practices and Responsibilities (PPR)

      Professional Practices and Responsibilities (PPR) is a compulsory online course for qualified RYA Yachtmasters who require a Commercial Endorsement. Ignore the dates shown here!
    • Yachtmaster Practical Skills

      This course is for anyone at, or above, RYA Day Skipper standard who wants to develop their boat handling, seamanship and navigation skills and their confidence as a skipper.
    • Yachtmaster Milebuilder and Qualifying Passages

      Our Yachtmaster Milebuilders provide the opportunity to log sea miles and qualifying passages in preparation for assessment for the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate. You will take part in a series of extended passages by day and night, operating a watch system on board.
    • Yacht Cruising Instructor

      The RYA Cruising Instructor course is a requirement for commercial Yachtmasters to teach RYA courses up to Day Skipper level. Qualified instructors are in demand for work at RYA approved schools in Australia, the UK, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.