01243 432485
07702 842190

RYA Approved Training CentreMCA-training-approved
RYA Yachtmaster Ocean hero

RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Course

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  • Course

    The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Course covers long range navigation including the art of using sun, stars, planets and the moon to fix your position, an essential skill when things go wrong at sea such as battery or electronics failure. It is is an advanced course designed for those who wish to do blue water cruising and requires knowledge equivalent to the RYA Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Theory Course.

    The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Course covers all aspects of ocean navigation including:

    • Astro navigation including the use of the sextant,
    • Satellite navigation systems
    • Worldwide meteorology
    • Passage planning including the use of routeing charts etc
    • Passage Making
    • Communications at sea

    The standard course is run over 5 consecutive days from 9.00am to 5.30pm. Towards the end of the course you will be given an assessment papers to complete. On succesful completion you will be awarded the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory certificate.

    All equipment to complete the course will be provided. You just need to bring a notepad. Tea and coffee is included and you can get lunch from the village which is a short walk away.

    To book on a course please click the book now button on the right of the page or to discuss your requirements you can contact us seven days a week from 8.00a.m to 7.30pm on 01243 432485 or 07702 842190

  • Syllabus

    The earth and the celestial sphere

    Definition of observer’s zenith and position of a heavenly body in terms of latitude, longitude, GHA and declination
    Right angle relationships, latitude and co-lat, declination and polar distance
    Relationship between GHA, longitude and LHA
    Tabulation of declination in nautical almanac
    Rate of increase of hour angle with time

    The PZX triangle

    The tabulated components of the triangle, LHA, co-lat and polar distance
    The calculable components, zenith distance and azimuth
    Relationship between zenith distance and altitude
    Introduction to the tabular method of solution in the Air Navigation Tables and the basic sight form
    The use of calculators for the solution of the PZX triangle

    The sextant

    Practical guide to the use and care of a sextant at sea
    Conversion of sextant altitude to true altitude
    Application of dip, index error and refraction
    Correction of side error, perpendicularity, index error and collimation error

    Measurement of time

    Definition of, and relationship between, UT, LMT, standard time and zone time
    Rating of chronometers and watches

    Meridian altitudes

    Forecasting time of meridian altitude
    Reduction of meridian altitude sights

    Sun, star and other sights

    Reduction and plotting of sun sights using Air Navigation Tables
    Awareness of use of calculator for sight reduction
    The plotting of sun-run-sun meridian altitude
    Awareness of the reduction and plotting of sights obtained from stars, moon and planets

    Compass checking

    Use of amplitude and azimuth tables systems and/or calculator

    Satellite Navigation Systems

    Principles and limitations of use of all systems

    Great circle sailing

    Comparison of rhumb lines and great circles
    Vertices and composite tracks
    The computation of a series of rhumb lines approximating to a great circle by use of gnomonic and Mercator projections


    General pressure distribution and prevailing winds over the oceans of the world
    Tropical revolving storms, seasonal occurrence and forecasting by observation

    11. Passage planning

    Publications available to assist with planning of long passages (routeing charts, ocean passages of the world and other publications)
    Preparation for ocean passage including survival equipment, victualling, water and fuel management, chafe protection, spares and maintenance

    12. Passage making

    Navigational routine
    Crew management

    13. Communications

    Satellite and terrestrial systems
    Weather information

  • FAQ's

    RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory - FAQ’s

    These are a few of the questions we get asked by people booking on the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Course. If you have any further queries or are unsure whether this is the course for you please call us on 01243 432485 and we will be only too happy to chat to you.

    What time does the course start and finish?

    Typically we start at 9.00am and finish at about 5.30pm each day with an hour break for lunch.

    What is included in the course fee?

    The price includes all course materials to be able to complete the course including a copy of RYA Celestial Navigation Handbook and exam fees. Plotters and dividers are provided for the duration of the course .

    What do I need to bring?

    You just need to bring a notepad with you (ideally A4 size).

    Where is the course held?

    It will be held at one of our classroom in Emsworth Yacht Harbour, Thorney Road, Emsworth, Hants PO10 8BP

    What qualifications or experience do I need to complete the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Course?

    You need to have the knowledge equivalent to the RYA Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Theory Course to be able to attend this course.

    Are there any exams?

    There is one 2 hour theory paper to be completed at the end of the course:

    What qualification will I get once I have completed the course?

    On successful completion of the course you will be issued with the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased Certificate.

    How many people will there be on the course?

    We have a maximum of 8 people on a course, though usually the numbers are smaller than this.

    Do I need to do the RYA Coastal skipper / Yachtmaster Shorebased Course?

    If you need to obtain the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence then it is a requirement that you have the shorebased course certificate.

    Do I need to bring my own sextant?

    If you have your own sextant it may be useful for you to bring it along, if not then we have some which you can practice on.

    How do I book?

    Just click on the book now button

  • Testimonials

    Just wanted to drop you a quick email to advise that I completed my YM Ocean exam today and passed. You'll recall I did the ARC last year, where I did my qualifying passage and managed to completed numerous sun sights and compass checks. I presented these last week to Bob Begg, my RYA examiner, and today I completed my viva with my portfolio I had put together with a North Atlantic chart showing GPS, EP and astro fixes. I also included photographic evidence, 9 pages of voyage notes and grib files for the passage.

    I have used my notes from my Ocean theory course I did with Ian last year which has been very useful, I am pleased to say, based upon Ian's teaching that my notes are very comprehensive and Bob was pleased with my level of knowledge.

    Many thanks to both of you for your support and experience.

    Terry Standing

    Jules was excellent.  Everything was clear and well explained.  A very enjoyable week.

    Leo Hammett

    Julian was an excellent instructor, teaching a very tricky and complex subject.  He put the information over highly effectively, kept us all motivated despite the complex and challenging course content.  He kept the course fun with exercises using the sextants and made the theoretical topics applicable and usable in the "real world" i.e., on board the yacht.  My overall impression of the school is that it is very professional, in a wonderful waterfront marina environment, great facilities on site, excellent teaching rooms and training aids, friendly staff and very professional and effective instructors.  Thank you very much.

    Karl Fisher
  • All Dates

    5 Day Courses

    Monday, 14 March until Friday, 18 March 2022

or to discuss your requirements you can contact us seven days a week from 8.00a.m to 7.30pm on 01243 432485 or 07702 842190

Cost: £ 475

Group Discounts Apply

Next Course Dates

5 Day Courses

Monday, 14 March until Friday, 18 March 2022

Emsworth School of Navigation

Emsworth Yacht Harbour, Thorney Road, Emsworth
Hampshire, PO10 8BP

01243 432485, 07702 842190

Emsworth School of Navigation LLP t/as Emsworth School of Navigation is a Limited Liability Partnership Registered in England and Wales—No: OC413937