Commercial Endorsment of your RYA Qualification

The RYA Yachtmaster qualification is recognised internationally as one of the premier sailing qualifications that you can achieve. With your Yachtmaster there are multiple pathways to using your Yachtmaster certificate on a commercial sailing vessel. The requirements do vary between countries and so we will add the requirements here as we find them, however they are subject to change so please check with the flag country of the vessel you wish to work on to be sure.

Approximately 50% of commercial superyachts around the world are considered as Red Flagged or Red Ensign vessels. That is they are registered in the UK or in UK Crown Dependencies or Overseas Territories. RYA qualifications can help you achieve professional placement aboard these. Over 20,000 professionals are currently working on commercial vessels using RYA certificates of competence. Holders of the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal, RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and RYA Yachtmaster Ocean qualifications can gain an endorsement allowing them to work commercially simply by completing the requirements for commercial endorsement for which we are happy to advise.

When you achieve yor RYA certificate, did you know that it comes with the MCA (UK Maritime and Coast Guard Agency Certificate). RYA and MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) certificates go hand in hand. RYA certificates can be used professionally in their own right, or as a stepping stone to other MCA qualifications including becoming officer of the watch.

Australian Flagged Vessels

Marine Orders 505 has been updated in 2022 to formally recognise the RYA qualifications as the offical pathway to obtain the Australian SailMaster Qualification, this is scheduled to become effective from the 1st of January 2023, and until that time holders of the RYA Certificate of Competence are allowed to operate commercially under Marine Exemption Orders 18.


AMSA are providing two Sail Master Qualifications:

Sailing Master Coastal (Inland and Inshore Waters)

Master/watchkeeper of a sailing vessel <24metres in length and engine power <100kw and the operation of a vessels tender. You will be permitted to operate only on Inland and Inshore Waters. You will need a minimum of the RYA Coastal Yachtmaser Certificate of Competence to seek this qualification

The defintion of inshore waters is determined by the National Standard for Commerical Vessels and is based on evaluations of water conditions.

Sailing Master Offshore (Inland, Inshore, and Outside Inshore)

Master/watchkeeper of a sailing vessel <24metres in length and engine power <100kw and the operation of a vessels tender. The vessel can carry no more than 12 passengers in addition to the crew, and you will be permiited to operate on Inland, Inshore and Open waters. You will need a minimum of the RYA Offshore Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence to seek this qualification

Both the qualifications require you to have the following
  • RYA Commercially Endorsed Certificate of Competency
  • Short Range Radio Operators Certificte of Proficiency issued by ACMA (or higher qualification)
  • And one of the following:
    •       Coxswains Grade 1 NC Certificate of Competency
    •       Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 Certificate of Competency
    •       Maritime Training Package MARC037
    •       RYA Diesel Engine course and the Australian Sailing Powerboat Handling course
    •       RYA Diesel Engine course and the RYA Level 2 Powerboat course
Marine Orders 505

Scheduled to come into force 1st of January 2023.

AMSA Exemption-18

This exemption is valid until the latest version of Marine Orders comes into force.

British Flagged Vessels

RYA supports commerical operation under RYA qualificaitons as part of its agreement with the UK MCA. The categories of commerical operation vary depending on the certificate held, but the base line requirements are:
  • RYA qualification commercially endorsed
  • Complete the PPR course.
  • Pass the Required Medical
  • Have a VHF Certificate of Proficiency

Day Skipper

This is the only comercial level that is obtained just from training courses alone. THis allows operation up to 20 Nautical Miles from Safe Harbour. A Day Skipper Commerically endorsed qulaification (only valid in UK coastal waters) requires the successful completion of the Day Skipper Practical, and an Invigiated RYA Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper Theory course.

Yachtmaster Certificates of Competence

The RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence is the more common RYA qualification to use commercially. An existing certificate can be upgraded by completing the additional training and submitting an applicaiton to the RYA. You may have to retake the shorebased theory course depending on the circumstances.

New Zealand Flagged Vessels

Maritime New Zealand recognise that an RYA Yachtmaster qualification is one of the requirements to achive a Master Yacht <24m certificate. We have tried to make the following information as accurate as possible, but please check for your self. As of 2020, these are the requirements for the Master Yacht <24m certificate;
  • Complete and pass the Royal Yacht Association (RYA) yachtmaster offshore or RYA Yachtmaster Ocean
  • Meet the minimum sea service requirements (which match the RYA Yachtmaster seatime requirements)
  • Pass approved training in commercial competencies by completing the required sections of a training record book
  • Have current certificates for the required ancillary proficiencies (First Aid, Radio, survivval craft, Fire Fighting)
  • Pass the final exam for Maritime New Zealand
  • Prove that you are a fit and proper person
  • Be medically fit and have good eyesight
  • Be at least 18 years old.