Irish National Sailing School

Yachtmaster Preparation and Exam 1

Start Date: March 15, 2024


Duration :
5 Days + 2 Exam Days
Cost :
€875 + (RYA set Examiners Fee, £200 for Coastal, £231 for Offshore) + Examiners Expenses (roughly €30)

There are two levels of Yachtmaster qualification that you can be assessed for. Our preparatory week is designed to assist you to prepare for each assessment.

  • RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competency
  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competency, which is one of the most prestigious sailing achievements to gain.

Our preparation course is designed to ensure that those who choose to go forward and take the examination have the best possible chance of passing first time.  The intensive week is used to practise all manoeuvres both power and sail and also to hone all navigational skills by day and night.  There is a residential option if required.

To pass the practical exam, a skipper must display the capability to handle a yacht in all conditions and effectively skipper the boat avoiding all dangers and taking many variables into account.

Programme Dates 2024

  • Prep Week 1: Monday 15th to Friday 19th January, Exam Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st January – Fully Booked
  • Prep Week 2: Monday 1st to Friday 5th April, Exam Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th April – Fully Booked
  • Prep Week 3: Friday 2nd to Tuesday 6th August, Exam Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th August – Fully Booked
  • Prep Week 4: Tuesday 29th October to Saturday 2nd November, Exam Sunday 3rd and Monday 4th November

Bookings can only be made over the phone on 01 2844195 as we prefer to chat with each candidate prior to undertaking the programme.

Please note the preparatory week is designed to fine tune skills, not to teach new ones.

  • Intricate Passage Planning
  • Preparation for Offshore Passages
  • Pilotage plans for entering into harbours and coves by day and night
  • In depth skippering including all responsibilities
  • Advanced Yacht Handling under power
  • Heavy weather sailing and preparation
  • Understanding how to abandon a vessel.

Our cancellation policy for this course can be viewed here.

Candidate Preparation

This programme culminates in a high-level examination of practical boat handling skills, theoretical knowledge and the ability to apply this knowledge to the circumstances you are in. The first things that we advise candidates to consider is whether their theoretical knowledge and skills are to the standard of the RYA Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Offshore Theory course (syllabus outlined below). The Yachtmaster Examinations do not require a course completion certificate as proof of competency on this, instead you’ll be expected to demonstrate it.

Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Offshore Theory Course Content

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.


Candidates need to have with them during the examination:

  • A GMDSS compliant Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate such as the RYA Short Range Certificate or higher.
  • An RYA First Aid Certificate or another valid first aid certificate, as detailed on the RYA website.
  • Photographic ID card or document, such as passport or driving license

Application Form…

You’ll need to complete the following application form before the examination, ideally before commencing the preparatory week. This requires a passport size photo:

  • RYA Yachtmaster Examination Application Form

Please print and bring this completed form with you on the first day of the course.

  • star ratingAdvanced Power Boat Course - I would recommend anyone looking to improve their skills to attend this course. Excellent facilities, boats and really good instruction. Good craic with the group too. Will definitely do this again even though I got the cert.

    avatar thumb kierann
  • star ratingRockpooling & kayaking - We did once off rock pooling and kayaking and it was great fun. The kids had great fun and they allowed me to go ith them too. In the end the kids jumped off the pontoon and it was just pure giggles and laughs

    avatar thumb Shyamis
  • star ratingCompetent Crew Course - Excellent Instructor - Having done a few courses with the INSS over the summer of 2023, and some sailing on the Mediterranean, doing the Competent Crew course with others who were doing the Day Skipper course at the same time was the highlight of my time learning how to sail. The reason it was the highlight was largely due to the course instructor Shona O'Dowd (I made certain to get her full name before leaving to give her the credit she deserved). Huge knowledge and experience mixed with a great attitude, with friendliness, patience and approachability making Shona stand out and make each day of the course something to look forward to regardless of weather or experience level. Shona guided practical use of all facets of sailing knowledge excellently and never micromanaged or tried to exert too much control, thereby never limiting the learning that can take place for students.

    This teaching style is difficult to find, having seen a variety of instructors and their styles, in different countries and even within the INSS, and so you will be very lucky if you get Shona on your boat when it comes your turn to learn the ropes (literally). All in all, the Competent Crew course was very enjoyable, and I just wanted to give credit where it was due.

    avatar thumb Maps57686967283
  • star ratingAmazing! Well worth it and I enjoyed every bit of it! - Firstly, Jess (our instructor) was amazing! I was a bit nervous starting this course as I didn't know what to expect but Jess made it so easy to understand everything and I absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it! As a result, I'll be booking more courses with them soon.

    I think the school is excellent, the structure of the courses are excellent and the instructors are very very good at what they do and I just want to thank Jess and everyone else involved for not only making it an excellent weekend but also giving me an interest in something that I want to stick with for the rest of my life!

    If there were 100 stars to choose from instead of just 5, I'd choose 110 ;)

    avatar thumb 1V426
  • star ratingReally lovely staff, super friendly. Would highly recommend the kayak and paddle board rentals! Great with a small group or big group.

    avatar thumb megancV1820DD
  • star ratingHooked! - My 12 year old goes to Saturday sailing club after doing summer camp. He’s hooked and absolutely loves it! The instructors are great and very good with the kids - if you live locally with kids, it’s a no brainier!

    avatar thumb Gary C
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