Learn Safe and Skillful Use of a Pleasure Craft

Canadian Recreational Yachting Association Training Syllabus


The Canadian Recreational Yachting Association syllabus includes certificates for the beginner up to including certificates for recreational boaters who wish to obtain knowledge and skills to cross the oceans. The syllabus offers a program for both sail and power boat operators.

Canadian Recreational Yachting Association Schools, Instructor Evaluators and Instructors guarantee the delivery of the syllabus and will certify candidates only when the required prerequisites and standards established by the Association are achieved. Maintaining the theoretical and practical skill levels for each course completed is the sole responsibility of the candidate.

The syllabus is based on a matrix of standards, endorsements and certificates that collectively form the Canadian Recreational Yachting Association’s Program. Specified standards when understood and/ or demonstrated by a student are an “endorsement” of a student’s competency in a category of standards. The standards for each endorsement are listed in the Association logbooks.

The Association logbooks are a personal record of International Sail and Power Association shore/ home study and practical courses completed and registered with the Association. In addition sail and/or power boating experience can also be recorded in the logbooks. Each completed course must be registered with the Canadian Recreational Yachting Association in order to be certified. When needed (i.e. lost logbook, confirmation of training, etc.) the Association can provide the respective details of registered courses.

A student achieves their endorsements through a combination of shore/home study and practical course work. A specific group of endorsements when completed, together with prerequisites, mandatory course sea time and registration is a “certification” of a students competency at a specified level of sail or power boat operation and/or navigation. The requisite endorsements for each certification are identified on the respective certificate in the logbook. As an alternative, if a student believes they already have the necessary prerequisites, knowledge and proficiency for anyone certificate they can choose to challenge a certification.

There are no prerequisites for the entry-level certificates, but all other certificates have a combination of sail and/or power and navigation certification prerequisites. Each certification must also be registered with the Canadian Recreational Yachting Association. Certificates for Sail and/ or Power must be completed in the following sequence:

1. Competent Crew
2. Day Skipper / Flotilla
3. Coastal Skipper
4. Yachtmaster Offshore
5. Yachtmaster Ocean (Sail Certification only)

Challenge Procedures

If a student believes they already have the prerequisite certification, knowledge, sea-time and competencies for any one certification as Competent Crew, Day Skipper/ Flotilla, Coastal Navigation or Coastal Skipper they can challenge the certification. Advanced Navigation, Celestial Navigation, Yachtmaster Offshore and Yachtmaster Ocean cannot be challenged. Procedures to challenge a certification are as follows:

  • Present certificates indicating the challenger has the prerequisite certifications;
  • Present documents indicating the challenger has sea-time experience equivalent to or exceeding the prerequisites listed below;
  • Complete the respective Canadian Recreational Yachting Association shore/ home study assessments and exercises;
  • Complete the challenge exam for the respective certification;
  • On a sail or power boat, demonstrate to an Canadian Recreational Yachting Association Instructor, competency in the practical course standards prescribed in the Association logbook for the respective certification. Note: for a certification challenge, challengers must demonstrate their competency and will not be instructed by the Instructor in the respective standards.
  • On successful completion of the above mentioned procedures, register the course challenge by following course registration procedures.

Certification Challenge: Pre-requisites

Competent Crew or Day Skipper/ Flotilla
  •  Sea-time of 10 days and distance • of 200 nautical miles, living aboard as crew of a boat.
Inland Waters or Coastal Navigation
  •  Sea-time of 10 days as navigator of a boat
Coastal Skipper
  • Sea-time of 15 days and distance of 300 nautical miles in tidal waters; a Canadian Restricted Operators’ Certificate (Marine) for VHF radio, and from a recognized course provider a valid first aid certificate that includes certification in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.


Additionally there are prerequisite navigation certificates as follows:

1. Inland Waters Navigation and/ or Coastal Navigation must be completed prior to Coastal Skipper;

2. Advanced Navigation must be completed prior to Yachtmaster Offshore; and,

3. Celestial Navigation must be completed prior to Yachtmaster Ocean.