Coastal / Yachtmaster Offshore


This course will take your theory knowledge to the standard required for the Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore practical exams, concentrating on advanced navigation and meteorology skills. It will equip you to navigate safely on coastal and offshore passages.

Our instructors are here to help you, if you are not sure about something, or get stuck. We will assisst all the way, to make sure you get the maximum knowledge and value out of our course. We will assign a dedicated instructor to you, for marking your assessment and the final examination papers.

The course material is ‘online’ (after the initial pack we send you), so you can study efficiently, for as long as you like, at a time that suits you. The minimum amount of study required to successfully complete the course is 40 hours. There are a number of assessments along the way, followed by a final examination paper. But don’t worry, you will be well prepared and, of course, we will provide you with all the exercises, examples and knowledge that you will need.

Our course covers all the essential areas, including:

  • Position fixing
  • Course shaping and plotting
  • Tidal knowledge
  • Use of almanacs and admiralty publications
  • Electronic position finding equipment
  • Taking and interpreting forecasts
  • Plotting weather systems
  • Weather predictions using a barometer and by observation
  • Collision regulations
  • Customs and excise regulations for cruising abroad

Our course pack contains the following:

  • Online access to our fantastic and specially developed course materials
  • Access to a dedicated instructor to help you along the way
  • RYA Training Almanac
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Book
  • RYA Practice Charts
  • RYA Electronic Chart Plotter and electronic practice charts
  • Online/email/paper submission for your assessments
  • Staedtler 2B Pencil
  • Faber-Castell Eraser
  • Pencil sharpener

It’s all quite simple!

Once you have enrolled, we will send you your Student Pack through the post. Delivery to most countries is within 2 weeks, and if you are in UK, you should generally get it next day. The pack contains everything you will need for the course.

One of our instructors will get in touch with you, via email, to introduce him or herself, so that you will know where to come for help and questions. All our instructors are of the highest RYA standard – RYA Yachtmaster Instructor, with additional Shorebased Instructor qualifications. The instructor will mark your papers, answer any questions you might have and mark your final assessment. You will also be able to reach your instructor via Skype or telephone.

The course is split into modules, you download a module, study it, do exercises and assessments at the end and submit them to your instructor.

You submit all of your answers via email, we find it’s the easiest way. You can also fax them to us, or even send them via ‘snail mail’, although it will be much quicker via email, of course.

We will send your marked papers back to you within 1 day, normally within a few hours.

Once you have completed all the modules, we will send you a link, where you can download ‘Final assessment’ papers. You will have to scan your answers and send them to us. If you are successful, you will be issued with a certificate, via normal mail. If you have not passed, we will train you on the problem sections and offer you a resit for free, of course, but with the quality of our instructors, we are sure you will be fine the first time round!

Good luck!


  • 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 correction)
  • 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
  • Allowance for tidal streams in 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

  • Principles of operation and limitations of use
  • Raster and vector charts
  • Datum
  • Importance of confirmation of position
  • Keeping a separate record of position
  • Importance of paper charts

Echo sounders

  • Principles of operation and limitations of use

Logs (speed and distance measuring)

  • Principles 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 systems
  • Sources of weather information
  • Ability to interpret a shipping forecast
  • 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 Equipment

  • Responsibility to minimise pollution and protect the marine environment

Navigational Instruments Package:

  • Pair of dividers
  • BH Navigation RYA Plotter

Navigation books package

  • RYA Navigational Exercises

You don’t need much, it’s all online!

And what that means is, that if you are viewing this page, you already have most of what you need. But to be more specific, you will need:

  • A PC or Mac
  • Web browser (IE 5 onwards or Firefox 4 onwards. Safari will also work great!)
  • Internet connection (Does not have to be particularly fast, but you will need it to get to the course notes)
  • Scanner. If you don’t have a scanner, and there is no way you can get access to it, you can use normal mail to send us your chart work. The rest of the answers you can submit via email.
  • Fax. If you wish to send us answers via fax, you will need access to a fax machine.

We want you to be sure that you are making the right choice!

So here are some sample subjects and general feel of what the course looks like, enjoy!