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RYA: Alternative Pathway for MCA Officer of the Watch

Jan 5, 2017

Author: Fin

Fintan Hartnett is the Principal and Chief Instructor at Topmast Maritime Training and an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor as well as Sail Canada and ASA instructor.

The RYA has made a big effort to facilitate the numerous requests for an alternative pathway to the much coveted OOW. Officer of the Watch is a key stepping stone for those looking to eventually ply their trade as a Captain on a superyacht. The BIG problem is most crew don’t have the necessary sea time and/or command experience to be eligible for the Yachtmaster Offshore examination (which is a more conventional route to OOW/Master 200gt certificates of competence). In conjunction with the MCA, the RYA have worked out a pathway which takes into account the plight of many deck crew who are struggling to advance their careers. See below.

The major change in the process allows holders of the Coastal Skipper Practical course completion certificate to be eligible for the Yachtmaster Coastal exam with EITHER 400 nautical miles and 20 days on a vessel of 24m in length or less OR 30 days on board a yacht of ANY size PROVIDED at least 200 nautical miles are on a vessel of 24m in length or less. Almost all the new requirements can be met by attending the appropriate courses at an RYA training centre.

It may still sound a bit complicated but most training centres should be able to explain the finer details. Either way it’s going to put more of an emphasis on formal training to meet the appropriate standards (and yes – it means money as well).

While the new pathway is surely a welcome change for superyacht crew there are still a few details to be worked out before the MCA releases a formal notice later this year (2017). Regardless, the RYA’s effort emphasizes why the RYA training scheme is the preferred route for those seeking a career path in the yachting industry.

For more information go to the RYA website or give us a call at Topmast.

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