Note reading through this thread there is some confusion
The Yachtmaster ocean is only awarded as a “ top up “ certificate to holders of the Yachtmaster offshore
Arguably the YM offshore is the pinnacle of leisure qualifications and can be commercially endorsed ( medical
needed ) good for non STW95 vessels up to 200 tons , ie non merchant marine
These are not shore-based certificates. Nor is there any requirement to do theory courses.
The YM is a demonstration of your ability to skipper a vessel , day or night , and into ports
and sea areas you are not familiar with.
It is essentially a test of practical skippering ability. It was designed that skippers who had built up sea miles and relevant hands on practical experience could apply and be awarded a formal qualification. It’s only available as an on boat
exam typically over a day and a night . You must Have the requisite number of sea miles and you need to have access to a boat and crew for your exam. The Exam isn’t easy but doable.
Unfortunately a plethora of land based theory courses sprung up around the YM cert, not to mention the “ zero to hero “ YM extended training
schemes. These are largely the creation of RYA schools as they provide income
over the winter. A huge proportion of those doing the theory courses never go near the actual practical certificate exam. ( but claim that they“ passed the YM exam “). As a former Rya cruising instructor , I blame the RYA for colluding with the schools to market a “ YM shore based exam “ it has confused the scheme IMO
If you want to enter the super yacht arena or do deliveries then YM Offshore is the entry ticket.
Outside of that the RYA day skipper practical ticket is an excellent “ middle ground “ ticket. The course is instructor examined ( unlike YM coastal , or YM offshore ) and comprises a combination of theory and on boat tuition and exams.
Note the ocean has been modified in recent years to focus on the management of long away from land voyages. In the past it was simply a celestial navigation
. competency exam. But that was abused by people doing it on ships.
The ocean tends to far less popular these days.