Yachtmaster Theory – Online

Key Course Details

Duration: At your pace

Time: N/A

Group Size: N/A

Min Age: Usually 16

Price: £299 (course pack included)


RYA Yachtmaster Theory - Classroom based

The RYA Yachtmaster Theory course (also referred to as the RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory Course) is an in-depth course for experienced skippers.The course looks in detail at all aspects of coastal navigation and ensures that you have the necessary navigation skills to be able to undertake complex passages and entries into more challenging ports and harbours.

Course Duration

This is an online course which you can complete in your own time. You will have access for 8 months to complete the course, extensions are available for those who wish to extend beyond the initial 8 months access period – there is a £30 charge for this.

Prior experience

To take the Yachtmaster Theory course you must be at or above the level of the RYA Dayskipper Theory course. If you do not hold the RYA Dayskipper Theory course completion certificate we ask that you contact us before booking as we are generally unlikely to be able to accept the booking.

Instructor – student ratio

Of course it is just you with an online course (unless you can persuade the rest of the family or your friends/colleagues!) but an instructor is always available to chat through any aspect of the course that you are finding more challenging. Equally if you are local and want to pop in and discuss things over a tea/coffee then we’re always happy to do so.

Course cost

The course costs £299 inc VAT.

You get a full RYA Yachtmaster Theory Course pack which includes course notes and RYA Training Charts. The workbooks that you complete as the course proceeds are also yours allowing you to practice again after the course if you wish. You also get a plotter/dividers pack and a RYA Training Almanac and assuming that you successfully complete the course a course completion certificate. All of this you can keep in the handy navigation bag that we provide.

Minimum Age

Whilst there is no minimum age for this course realistically we’d suggest 16 is probably the youngest for an individual to attend this course.

Can I change my mind and transfer to a classroom course later?

Yes at any time you can contact us and transfer onto the next available classroom based course. You will need to pay a fee of £140 for this.

How do I access the course?

We set up your login and get the login details are emailed to you so that you can get going online. The course pack is sent next business day with 24 hour signed for delivery. The dashboard gives you access to all aspects of the course including the additional videos to help you get to grips with the subjects.


Is there an end of course assessment?

Yes there is. When you have completed the online course you will sit three papers – one focuses on the collision regulations, another on the navigation aspects of the course and one on planning a passage.

The course though addresses everything that comes up in the papers and you will have worked through many examples of similar questions leading up to the final assessments.

You can either sit the examinations on your own on your computer or if you prefer then you can do so at no charge at our offices in Poole or Lymington. If you would want to use the qualification commercially then the end of course assessments will need to be invigilated – please contact us to discuss this option.

What’s best – doing the course online or in the classroom?

In all honesty if you can afford the time to come to us and do the course in the classroom in our opinion this is by far the best way. Whilst the online course is excellent what you really miss out on is the real hands on experience of our instructors who have many years of experience afloat and add to the syllabus to maximise the benefit of the course and your investment in it.

However if you want to do the course away from the classroom, or of course, simply cannot afford the time to be in the classroom for that length of time then the online course is great.

I’m a sailor – is this course valid for me too?

Absolutely. The RYA Yachtmaster Theory course has been written to be completely relevant to both powerboats and those boating under sail. Our instructors use both powerboats and sail (they just love the water!) so are equally at home at both speeds of travel and are totally at ease with the issues specific to sailing boats.

The Course

Over the 6 days (or equivalent) that this course lasts you will develop your existing understanding of navigation and chartwork onto a higher level giving you the skills to plan more complex coastal passages and enter ports and harbours wherever in the world you find yourself boating.

The course is aimed at those who already have the RYA Dayskipper Theory course (or a comparable level of knowledge) and whilst covering a syllabus very similar to the Dayskipper Theory syllabus does so in far more detail and to a far greater depth.

The syllabus covers:

  • Position
  • The magnetic compass
  • Tides
  • Tidal Streams
  • Buoyage
  • Lights
  • Pilotage
  • GPS and chart plotters

  • Echo sounders
  • Deck Log
  • Meteorology
  • Rules of the road
  • Safety at Sea
  • Navigation in restricted visibility
  • Passage planning
  • Marine Equipment

At the end of the course there are exams which cover all of the above areas. Success in the exams leads to the award of your course certificate

You must already have RYA Dayskipper Theory or a comparable level of knowledge to attend this course. Those possessing the Dayskipper Theory course already are advised to spend a few hours ‘brushing up’ ahead of attending in order they can make the most of the course. Those not possessing the qualification are asked to chat through their existing experience with us ahead of booking.

This course is aimed at

The RYA Yachtmaster Theory course is an essential course for those working commercially and keen to move up the qualification ladder but also for those seeking to enter the commercial world. Leisure users also find that the course is a perfect way to ensure they have the skills to make extended coastal passages and channel crossings.


Some examples of the sorts of people that have attended this course include:

  • Individuals keen to take the RYA Advanced Powerboat Certificate of Competence Exam (‘the Advanced Exam’)and the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore exmas – whether sail or power
  • Leisure users intending undertaking coastal passages and channel crossings or simply to benefit from the huge amount of knowledge imparted through attending this course.
  • Those in the Superyacht sector keen to progress to the Master 200 (or above) qualification find that the course is an essential stepping stone and for some yachts a mandatory requirement even for deck crew.
  • Those seeking Boatmaster qualifications likewise find that that Yachtmaster Theory course is an essential way of ensuring that their theory knowledge is at the right level for the career they are progressing.

If you have a large group to train….

For yacht clubs and other organisations requiring group training we are happy to train in large groups and are happy to travel throughout the UK. We have run in-house courses for various government, military and Fire & Rescue services during the last 12 months.

Please contact us to discuss this option and the associated costs – which may be far less per head than our standard rates depending on the numbers being trained.


This is an advanced course in navigation and meteorology for candidates for the Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate and the Advanced Powerboat examination. The syllabus makes some provision for the revision of subjects in the Day Skipper course but those who have not acquired the knowledge set out in the Day Skipper course are unlikely to be able to assimilate all the subjects covered in this advanced course in the time available.


Dead reckoning and estimated position; Satellite-derived position; Use of waypoints to fix position; Radar fixes; Techniques of visual fixing; Fixes using a mixture of position lines; Relative accuracy of different methods of position fixing; Areas of uncertainty

The magnetic compass:

Allowance for variation; Change of variation with time and position; Causes of deviation; Swing for deviation (but not corrected); Allowance for deviation; Different types of compass


Causes of tides – springs and neaps; Tide tables – sources; Tidal levels and datum; Standard and secondary ports; Tidal anomalies (Solent, etc.)

Tidal Streams:

Sources of tidal information; Tidal stream information in sailing directions and yachtsmen’s almanacs; Allowance for tidal streams in computing a course to steer; Tide rips, overfalls and races; Tidal observation buoys, beacons etc.


IALA system buoyage in Region A; Limitations of buoys as navigational aids


Characteristics; Ranges – visual, luminous and nominal; Rising and dipping distances; Light lists


Harbour regulations and control signals; Methods of pre – planning; Clearing lines; Use of soundings; Transits and leading lines

GPS and chart plotters:

Principals of operation and limitations of use; Raster and vector charts; Datum; Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source and keeping a separate record of position; Importance of paper charts

Echo sounders:

Principles of operation and limitations of use; Logs (speed and distance measuring); Principals of operation and limitations of use

Deck Log:

Importance of the log as yacht’s official document; Layout of log, hourly and occasional entries


Basic terms, the Beaufort scale; Air masses; Cloud types; Weather patterns associated with pressure and frontal systems; Sources of weather information; Ability to interpret a shipping forecast, weatherfax and weather satellite information; Land and sea breezes; Sea fog; Use of a barometer as a forecasting aid

Rule of the road:

A sound knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, except annexes 1 and 3

Safety at Sea:

Personal safety, use of lifejackets, safety harnesses and lifelines; Fire prevention and fire fighting; Distress signals; Coastguard and Boat Safety Scheme; Preparation for heavy weather; Liferafts and helicopter rescue; Understanding of capabilities of vessel and boat knowledge of stability

Navigation in restricted visibility:

Precautions to be taken in fog; Limitations to safe navigation imposed by fog; Navigation strategy in poor visibility

Passage planning:

Preparation of charts and notebook for route planning and making, and use at sea; Customs regulations as they apply to yachts; Routine for navigation in coastal waters; Strategy for course laying; Use of waypoints and routes; Use of weather forecast information for passage planning strategy; Sources of local and national regulations

Marine environment:

Responsibility to minimise pollution and protect the marine environment

Yachtmaster Theory – Online - Book Now

This is an online course so all you need to do is to choose the courses that you want to do, pay and we will send your login details and instructions for taking the course and of course send you out your course pack. The logins will arrive the next business day as we need to manually set you up on the interactive website for this course.

We’re always really keen to chat to you when you’re booking a course as whilst we are happy to take bookings through this system for your convenience – nothing beats chatting about boats and courses!

If you would prefer to discuss or book this course by phone please do contact us, alternatively feel free to use the form below and we will respond promptly to your enquiry.

To book places please select the number of places you want and ‘Add to Marina Trolley’