RYA Yachtmaster Training

Become a certified RYA Yachtmaster with Flying Fish and start your career as a professional yacht captain.

An RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Certificate is the benchmark qualification for professional yacht captains and a passport to worldwide employment in the yachting industry. For recreational skippers, it is a validation of competence and substantial personal achievement.

Ready for time out? Join a Yachtmaster Fast Track course in Sydney

A Flying Fish Yachtmaster Fast Track programme is an immersive and exhilarating training adventure in a superb location and an efficient pathway to certification.

Prefer to take things at your own pace?

Choose from our Yachtmaster Short Courses menu and build your own pathway to Yachtmaster. Or contact us and ask us to help you customise a personal training plan to suit your needs.

Yachtmaster Ocean, the Gold Standard

If you aspire to the gold standard of professional yacht captains, explore the options for Yachtmaster Ocean certification and take your yachting career to new horizons.

Superyacht Crew Training

Our Superyacht Crew Training courses are a springboard to work as a deck or interior crew in the burgeoning superyacht sector. 

Unlock exciting opportunities in one of the most prestigious fields of yachting.

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Australia's best Yachtmaster training


Flying Fish has trained RYA/MCA Yachtmasters and Superyacht crew in the UK and Australia since 1996.

As Australia’s longest-established RYA-approved training centre, we boast over one million sea miles of experience under our keels.

Every year, we welcome around one hundred new Yachtmaster students from various countries and backgrounds to our training centre in Sydney.

Some are gap year students, some are aspiring yachting professionals, and others are taking a career break or starting an active and fulfilling retirement.

Our past graduates include Clipper RTW Race Skippers, Charter Yacht Captains, Superyacht Deck Officers and crew, and Flying Fish, RYA Yachtmaster Instructors training the next generation.

Whatever your aspirations, goals, or previous experience, Flying Fish can help you obtain this prestigious qualification.

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Yachtmaster Training

Yachtmaster Fast Track - a Sea Change


Break free from the rat race, join a Flying Fish Yachtmaster Fast Track programme, and start an action-packed career on the water!

Leaving your comfort zone to recharge and learn new skills in a challenging and exhilarating environment can be a soul-nourishing experience.

You will discover your potential, gain a wealth of knowledge and skills, and leave the course as a confident skipper with a package of valuable qualifications and a network of sailing buddies.

Whether you start a career in sailing after the course, go back to your old job, or buy a boat and sail around the world, you will have rebooted your operating system and had the adventure of a lifetime, which will set you on course for a lifetime of adventure!

If you are considering a professional career in the yachting industry check out our Work on Yachts page for more information.

Obtaining an RYA Yachtmaster certification can offer numerous advantages and open exciting opportunities in the sailing world. Below are ten reasons why getting an RYA Yachtmaster certification might be worth considering:

  1. Professional Recognition: The RYA Yachtmaster certificate is recognised worldwide as a benchmark for professional competence in the yachting industry. It demonstrates your ability to handle yachts safely and effectively, and subject to commercial endorsement, it allows you to work as a professional skipper.
  2. Employment Opportunities: Having an RYA Yachtmaster certification significantly enhances your chances of securing employment in the yachting industry in any capacity. Many yacht charter companies, sailing schools, and yacht delivery services throughout Europe and Australasia will only hire individuals with this qualification.
  3. A career on Superyachts: If you are ambitious and you plan a rewarding and lucrative career as a deck officer or captain of a Superyacht, then your starting point is to get the RYA/ MCA Yachtmaster Offshore or Ocean certification. Many past graduates of Flying Fish Yachtmaster Fast Track courses are now working as captains, deck officers, and crew in the Superyacht industry.
  4. Worldwide Sailing: With an RYA Yachtmaster certification, you gain the skills necessary to navigate and handle a yacht in various conditions and locations worldwide. You will feel confident exploring new sailing destinations and embarking on more adventurous passages.
  5. Safety and Confidence: The comprehensive training in the Yachtmaster program equips you with the knowledge and skills to safely operate a yacht. This certification builds your confidence and ensures you can handle potential challenges at sea.
  6. Leadership Skills: Yachtmaster training heavily emphasises leadership, communication and decision-making skills, preparing you to take command of a vessel and manage a crew effectively. These skills are very transferrable and invaluable in the broader career context.
  7. Knowledge and Skills: Yachtmaster training will develop your boat handling and seamanship skills and provide you with invaluable knowledge in a wide range of topics, including chartwork, navigation (first principles and electronic), meteorology, passage planning, marine radio operation, first aid, safety and distress, tides and introductory oceanography.
  8. Networking Opportunities: Pursuing an RYA Yachtmaster certification puts you in contact with fellow sailors, instructors, and industry professionals. This provides a valuable networking opportunity to exchange knowledge, gain insights, and connect with like-minded individuals. And as a bonus, you can finish up with a worldwide network of sailing buddies!
  9. Personal Achievement: Attaining an RYA Yachtmaster certification is a significant personal achievement. It demonstrates your dedication, passion, and commitment to sailing. It can be a great source of pride and satisfaction and always looks good on a CV, regardless of your profession.
  10. Future Progression: The RYA Yachtmaster certification is a stepping stone for further advancement in the yachting industry. It opens avenues to pursue higher-level certifications, such as the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean, potentially leading to more advanced career opportunities. It is also a springboard into the Superyacht industry and the MCA deck officer qualifications.

Examinations for RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Certificates of Competence are conducted on board by RYA appointed Yachtmaster Examiners.

On passing your RYA Yachmaster examination, you have been found competent to act as Master of a vessel up to 24 metres in length for operations limited by your level of certification, as shown below.

  • Yachtmaster Coastal is restricted to operations within 20 miles of port.
  • Yachtmaster Offshore is valid for use up to 150 miles from a safe haven.
  • Yachtmaster Ocean is unrestricted by distance.

All of the above can be endorsed for commercial use within the limitations shown above. See Yachtmaster commercial use below. 

Yachtmaster Offshore and Coastal candidates require the following prior to submitting for examination.

  • Radio operator’s certificate (restricted VHF or higher grade of certificate)
  • First aid certificate (on the RYA approved list)
  • Theory knowledge to RYA Yachtmaster Shorebased Theory standard
  • Boat handling and navigation ability to Yachtmaster Practical Skills standard.
Yachtmaster Ocean candidates MUST complete ALL of the following prior to submitting for the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean oral examination. 
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence
  • RYA Yachtmaster Ocean shorebased theory course
  • Yachtmaster Ocean Qualifying passage (minimum distance 600 nm by the shortest navigable route. 
  • A narrative of your qualifying passage including details of your celestial sights for submission to the examiner. 

Required sea time and qualifying passages must be logged in the 10 years prior to examination

Yachtmaster Coastal

  • Seatime (30 days on board, two days as skipper, 800 miles, 12 night hours)
  • For holders of the RYA Coastal Skipper certificate the seatime requirement is reduced to 20 days on board, two days as skipper, 400 miles, 12 night hours

Yachtmaster Offshore 

  • Seatime (50 days on board, five days as skipper, 2500 miles)
  • Qualifying passages (five passages over 60 miles, including two overnight and two as skipper)

If you plan to use your Yachtmaster certificate for commercial purposes anywhere in the world, you need to obtain a commercial endorsement from the UK’s Maritime Coastguard Authority (MCA) through the RYA. To get your RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence commercially endorsed, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Obtain a World Sailing/ ISAF-approved Offshore Safety and Survival qualification. 
  2. Complete the RYA online Professional Practices and Responsibilities course (PPR).
  3. Obtain a certificate of medical fitness: The MCA recognises two types of UK-issued medical certificates for commercial endorsement: ML5 (for operations within 60 nm), valid for 5 years, and ENG1 (for unlimited range operations), valid for 2 years. Click here for details of the ENG1 and ML5. The MCA also accepts the Australia-issued AMSA 303 medical certificate for unlimited-range operations. If you only plan to work in Australian waters, you can apply to the RYA for an Australia-only commercial endorsement. In this case, you can get an AMSA 1850 medical, which covers nearshore operations in Australia and is cheaper and more widely available than the AMSA 303. 

Once you have completed the above, you can apply to the RYA for your commercial endorsement here.

NB for commercial operations in Australia, you will need to obtain the AMSA Sailing Master certification. See the section below for details. 

If you intend to use your Yachtmaster certificate commercially in Australia, you must apply for the AMSA Sailing Master Certification. 

To get your AMSA Sailing Master certification, you will need. 

  1. A commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence. Note: If you only seek to work in Australian waters, you can apply to the RYA for an Australia-only commercial endorsement – see above 
  2. An RYA Diesel Engine certificate
  3. RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificate 
  4. A certificate of medical fitness. Either the AMSA 1850  or an AMSA 303. 

Once you have ALL of the above, you can apply to AMSA for the Sailing Master certification here. 

Find out more about the various job opportunities and career pathways for qualified Yachtmasters here