In this comprehensive course, we help you rapidly upskill your sailing and navigation so you can explore farther and escape to sea for longer. The Yachtmaster Coastal course is our third level of cruising instruction, following the International Yacht Training standard of training and resulting in globally recognized certification.
The goal of the Yachtmaster Coastal course is to develop your skills as a skipper beyond the basics learned at the Day Skipper level. At the end of the course you will be fully trained to act as the skipper for sailing trips by day and night in moderate conditions, and prepared to venture up to 60 miles from shore.
Yachtmaster Coastal is taught over 6 days in a live aboard format. The course includes five full days of training with the sixth day reserved for an extensive practical exam by a third party IYT certified examiner. See the full curriculum below for details on the topics covered.
Please note that the IYT Yachtmaster Coastal is a recreational training program. While it does provide a high level of instruction, considerable mileage, and a valuable stepping stone to higher levels of certification, it does not provide commercial qualifications directly. Contact us to ask about how to progress to professional certification under the IYT.
You need substantial sailing experience before taking the Yachtmaster Coastal course. This must include:
1. Minimum 30 days at sea covering 800 nautical miles.
2. At least 2 full days in command of the sailing yacht as skipper or watch captain.
3. At least 12 hours of experience on watch at night while underway.
4. Knowledge of all sailing theory, seamanship and navigation to the Day Skipper level.
5. VHF radio operator's certificate.
6. Canada's Pleasure Craft Operator's Card OR the International Certificate of Competency.
Your sailing experience will need to be demonstrated by an accurate logbook. Sign up for our mileage builders to get the extra experience! Contact us if you're unsure about your readiness for the Yachtmaster Coastal level and we will help you gain the necessary experience.
Included in Registration
You will receive 5 full days of hands-on training from our talented instructors plus a full day examination to ensure you are prepared for some serious sailing! The Yachtmaster Coastal program is not just an exceptional training course, it is also an adventure. You get to live on a boat for a whole week! You can expect a lot of fun and new experiences with a rustic level of comfort. Please check the required and recommended items listed for live aboard sailing, as well as reviewing the section on what to expect life to be like on board. Find both on our FAQ page here.
Registration includes all food and beverages for the duration of the course, from lunch the first day to lunch the final day, with the exception of one dinner. We enjoy one dinner on shore during the course, students are responsible for their own costs on shore. Check this section of our FAQs for what else is included and not included.
Yachtmaster Coastal Course Curriculum
The Yachtmaster Coastal course provides a mix of theory and practical training outlined in the following sections. The course is designed to increase your depth of knowledge of all topics introduced at the Day Skipper level and further hone your skills as a skipper so you are prepared and confident in embarking on longer passages, farther from familiar waters. The course covers:
Students will be responsible for performing daily safety checks of all equipment and systems on board, and describing what additional checks should be performed on a less frequent basis. This includes hull and rig checks, instrument checks, gas and propane system checks, basic engine checks, safety equipment checks, and ensuring suitable tools and spares are on board.
Effective communication with crew, duty of care, delegation of tasks, good leadership, and essential steps such as filing a trip plan on shore will all be reviewed and put into practice. Students will also become familiar with ship to ship and ship to shore communication, including use of the phonetic alphabet and VHF radio protocol.
Menu planning, planning for re-provisioning in remote areas, understanding fuel and water capacity and range, and other aspects of preparing for longer cruises are covered.
Students are expected to already have a full working knowledge of international collision regulations, lights, sound signals, day shapes and both IALA A and B buoyage. These will be reviewed and knowledge assessed throughout the course.
We will introduce and practice a variety of crew overboard recovery maneuvers under power and sail. Procedures for first aid emergencies, fire, flood, grounding, abandoning ship, storm survival and other emergencies will all be covered in depth.
Students are expected to be familiar with true, apparent and boat wind, the combined forces of CE and CLR, and how to fine tune sail and rig trim to adjust lee and weather helm; we will put this knowledge into practice daily during sailing drills to enhance each student's sail trim skills. Time and conditions permitting, we will introduce use of the spinnaker for optimal downwind cruising.
Power handling in close quarters, helming under sail in waves and in strong currents will all be practiced in order to ensure students can conduct rapid risk assessment and mitigation while underway.
Docking, Mooring & Anchoring
Students will have the opportunity to practice docking under a variety of conditions and dock configurations, including springing off and entering/exiting berths in reverse. Anchoring drills will include a discussion of heavy weather anchoring, the use of dual anchors, trip lines, how to stern tie and how to clear a fouled anchor.
Major emphasis will be placed on the importance of correctly calculating tidal heights in primary and secondary ports, understanding the causes of spring and neap tides, using tide tables and current atlases, and applying all this knowledge to passage planning and chart work.
Obtaining and analyzing marine forecasts, surface pressure charts and other weather information is a key component of the course. Students will be expected to understand cloud formations and what they indicate, weather patterns associated with frontal systems, the cause and characteristics of sea and land breezes as well as different types of fog. Students will use this theory to determine where and when to sail.
We build on the charting skills introduced at the Day Skipper level, helping students to improve their navigation techniques so they are prepared to navigate accurately both by day and at night (yes, night sailing is involved in this course!). Taking a running fix, plotting a course to steer with tidal vectors and leeway, and navigating with the use of depth contours, plotting DR and EP, and use of the various instruments on board will all be covered. Students will practice keeping a precise ship's log throughout the course, use some electronic navigation tools, and understand the limits of accuracy and margins of safety inherent in marine navigation.
Students will prepare passage plans each day and plan for a multi-day coastal cruise. This will include calculating trip timing for safe passage through tidal passages, harbour pilotage plans for entry by day and at night, understanding harbour regulations, assessing hazards along the route, safe harbour contingency planning, and various strategies for skippers to develop strong passage plans efficiently.
Yachtmaster Coastal is taught over 6 days, from 9am on Day 1 to 4pm on Day 6. We start and finish the course at our home port in West Vancouver at 5750 Eagle Harbour Road.
By Public Transit
Bus #250 between downtown Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay offers access with a stop at Eagle Harbour Road. 5 minute walk from the bus stop to the club.
Free parking on the street around the corner from the club lot. Please do not park in the club parking lot as it is reserved for members and you will be towed.
Marine Drive is a popular cycle route although does not have much of a shoulder on many parts of the road. There are plenty of secure locations to lock your bicycle while sailing.
More questions? Contact us!