Candidates for the OOW (Yachts <3000gt) CoC are required to hold an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore CoC (or IYT Master of Yachts <200gt).
To obtain a YM Offshore CoC, candidates must have undertaken half of their qualifying mileage (1250 miles) on vessels <24 metres. The RYA have identified that this is difficult for some crew, stating:
"Over recent years there has been a growing trend for crew to start their working lives at sea on 60 to 70 metre vessels (or even larger). As a result we have seen more and more crew presenting themselves for the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore exam without sufficient meaningful command experience or mileage to ensure they are ready to pass it. Often this results in an exam fail, not only costing the candidate time and money, but also causing a great deal of angst.
To cater for the changing entry point to the superyacht industry we have worked with the MCA and the Yacht Qualification Panel to create an alternative pathway for crew wishing to progress to MCA Deck Officer qualifications.
Candidates will be able to take an RYA Yachtmaster/Coastal Skipper shorebased course, an RYA Coastal Skipper practical course and a Yachtmaster prep week. Those, combined with their superyacht and tender operations experience will provide the necessary pre-requisite experience to sit the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal exam.
The MCA will then accept this towards non-command OOW qualifications.
The existing pathway to the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore exam will remain for those holding the pre-requisite sea time and experience on appropriate vessels, and is indeed still seen as the preferred route. However, this alternative pathway will allow progression for those who do not have adequate command experience in smaller vessels."
More information on the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal CoC is available on this page of the RYA website.
This is good news for those candidates who find themselves struggling to find the mileage for YM Offshore, and now makes the OOW <3000gt an achievable goal. However, for those candidates wishing to move forwards to achieve the Master (Code Vessels <200gt) CoC, they must obtain the YM Offshore, not the YM Coastal.
Candidates moving from OOW to the Chief Mate (Yachts <3000) CoC are required to hold the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean CoC (or IYT Master of Yachts). This is only achievable if you hold the YM Offshore CoC. However, the RYA have designed a 'Certificate of Completion' for those candidates who undertake the YM Coastal, and wish to move on to Chief Mate. Candidates would complete the usual YM Ocean shore based course, qualifying passage and oral exam, but would not be issued the full Ocean CoC if they did not hold YM Offshore. IYT have also designed a similar solution.