Bareboat Charter Rank Requires Experience

Posted by Director of Education on November 11, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Here is a great question from one of our students to one of our Vancouver based instructors at Vancouver Sailing School regarding experience and Rank advancement

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How Can I Rise In Rank To Charter With Out Master of the Boat Experience?


I had assumed that with the courses for Bareboat Charter Master Rank completed and the days authenticated I would see the certificate. I was wrong. It turns out that some of the experience must be as Master of the Vessel. I had put all my experience with you on our cruise and learn outings as crew, not master.

Would it be reasonable to claim that on those days that you assign a student as skipper, that student is for all intents and purposes the master of the vessel for the day? If not I will never get certified until I buy my own boat or do many charters on my own, not as a student. That may be impossible because I may not be able to charter without the BBMC designation.

What do you think? Can I legitimately edit some of my days to reflect Master for the day rather than crew?


And here is our answer to the student and the instructor

GS, Carl,

Great Question.

When we set  out the certification it was based on what the Charter Companies were wanting with some safety logic thrown in as well.

In this case they would not want to charter a boat to someone who has not been master of a vessel.

Akin to giving the keys of a car to a teen ager who has been passenger plenty of times.

Yet we see your dilemma. But charterers want skipper experienced people. If any resume submitted showed no master of the vessel time the client would not be allowed to take the vessel out. We guarantee this, if you show up with a NauticEd BBCM Rank Resume you will be authorized to charter a boat. There are many certifications issued by associations who hand out Bareboat Certificates that are not worth anything. Proof? You can get one with no Master of the vessel experience in 2 weekends. Thus giving a student a massive disappointment with wrong expectations but also giving the student a false sense of security for venturing out to sea. This is irresponsible.

Our Skipper Rank designation exempts Master time to level 1 by having 4 days of instruction. This is fair under your chicken/egg request. However for chartering in unfamiliar waters and big crushing boats and with navigation and tidal issues, and being far from base and shore, there simply and logically MUST be skipper experience.

Under the strict rules then of logic in your scenario – the Instructor would have to say to a student – You are Master of the vessel today and that student would have to for all intents and purposes be Master. The instructor would be there on an advisory basis. Other ways to gain Master experience is to go on friends boats but ask to be Master for that day.

I hope this clears this up.

Be also advised that a charter company may (I believe wrongly) take a student on with out the full certification. They will look for some skipper experience. It is up to them. Our advice however from what we have seen is that we provide a good guide to safety by requesting at least 25 days as the designated master – things happen. Almost every charter trip we take – something happens where by I know a rookie would never figure it out properly. There are too many what if scenarios.

Thanks again for a great question. It is relevant and right on topic. I’ve included our Resume vs a Sailing Certification video here to help understand the logic also.

Very sincerely,

Grant Headifen
Director of Education


RYA Day Skipper with NauticEd

Posted by Director of Education on November 1, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

This article helps you figure out the difference between the courses and which one you should invest in.

The Difference between RYA Day Skipper and the NauticEd Skipper Course

The RYA Day Skipper Course is the prerequisite course to attaining your International Certificate of Competence – the ICC. The ICC is the World’s only Sailing License created under Resolution 40 of the United Nations and is accepted and REQUIRED to sail in European waters.

The RYA Day Skipper Course on NauticEd is very similar in content to the combination NauticEd Skipper Course and the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course. Thus, if you have purchased the NauticEd Skipper and NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course in the past then you will receive $95 credit towards the Full RYA Day Skipper Course making the RYA Day Skipper Course $255 ($350 – $95).

Why the difference in cost? We must ship to you the RYA charts, Almanacs, Books, Electronic Navigation CD, and a reference book PLUS we must pay a professionally authorized RYA Instructor/Evaluator to physically grade the written (online) exam as most of the exam is not allowed under the United Nations Standard to be multiple choice.

Getting Started Pack

So keeping economy of education in mind, we also designed a getting started package of $155 for those who have not yet begun their education. This package gives access to the RYA Day Skipper Course content BUT with this package, the student can not submit the final exam for grading to the Instructor/Evaluator. The student will need to eventually upgrade to the Full package whereby the “Submit Final Exam” button is activated. The upgrade cost is just the difference of $195. Included, however in the $155 getting started pack is a set of self evaluation test blocks to help the student assess themselves as to how they are progressing and understanding the material. PLUS also included is the RYA charts, Almanacs, Books, Electronic Navigation CD, and a reference book.

Full Pack

The Full package is $350 (or $255 for those who already bought the NauticEd Skipper and Coastal Navigation Courses) – here the Submit Final Exam button is activated and the Instructor/Evaluator fee is prepaid.

To incent the student to go for the full package outright, we offer a free Portland plotter and set of dividers included with the full package.

NauticEd Students who have already purchased the NauticEd Skipper and Coastal Navigation Courses

You receive $95 credit towards the Full Pack

AND for complete autonomy and fairness, you automatically receive free access to the RYA Day Skipper Course – just that you do not have the charts et al to work with. They are provided for free plus the Portland Plotter and dividers when you upgrade to the Full pack $255.

How to purchase the RYA Day Skipper Course

How to purchase the RYA Day Skipper Course



We hope that this helps you realize that we went to a lot of trouble (and software code) to give you credit where credit is due. We very much value our students and want them to feel as though you always get more value than you expect. Not many companies would have gone to this trouble.

We are also very serious about giving you the proper education to help you gain the ICC AND be safe on the water. The United Nations Standards for the ICC are high and rightly so. You will be interacting with tankers and other dangerous traffic in foreign waters, you’ll be on the high seas (and beautiful anchorages), you’ll be in unfamiliar navigable waters with not-your-every-day navigation markers.

The United Nations, RYA and NauticEd want you to be properly schooled AND with that be proud of your accomplishment. The ICC is the ONLY Global Sailing License and you should be excited to hang it on your wall.

Practical and the ICC

You gain the RYA Day Skipper Certificate and  gain automatic ICC eligibility once you pass the RYA Day Skipper Online Course and do practical training at an RYA Practical Training Center. There are 500 such schools worldwide including Yachting Education School in Annapolis. If you are completely competent, you may do a one day practical evaluation to pass your practical. If you feel as though you need practical schooling, you do a 5 day training program at the RYA Practical Training Center. Caution, completely competent means “Completely Competent”. You will be tested on navigation, course planning, tides, navigation markers, lights etc.

A Few More Details

At NauticEd we believe heavily in the skill of Maneuvering and Docking. Thus, here is something cool we have done in our software. When you pass the RYA Day Skipper Course and the Maneuvering Under Power Course we award you the NauticEd Skipper Rank (with the caveat of having to achieve the required logged experience in your free logbook). We also automatically award you with passed grades for the NauticEd Skipper Course and the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course. i.e. everything is autonomous considering that the NauticEd Skipper and Coastal Navigation courses are equivalent to the RYA Day Skipper Course. Same for the Bareboat Charter Master Rank – After RYA Day Skipper, just pass the Anchoring, Electronic Navigation, Bareboat Charter and Maneuvering Courses and you are awarded the Bareboat Charter Rank (with required logged experience). These Ranks give you an indication of how you are progressing with your Sailing Resume. Charter companies will often accept the ICC BUT our beleif is that you want to be properly educated to be safe on the water.

To learn more watch this video



PRESS RELEASE: NauticEd Solves European Sailing License Problem

Posted by Director of Education on October 30, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

If you like this Press Release please LIKE it on facebook and g+1 it. And send it onto your local sailing rag or magazine editor. Thanks – it really helps us grow.

Ohh ohh hey and please post it on your yacht club notice board. Awesome – thx.

Going Sailing In the Mediterranean? You Might Have a Problem!

The International Certificate of Competence (ICC) is the recreational boating license created under Resolution 40 by the United Nations. Many European countries are now requiring that sailors in their waters have the ICC. This has recently left most North Americans aground when wanting to charter in the Mediterranean.

To gain an ICC, sailors must demonstrate competence by passing a qualifying practical and theory test. The test must be administered through a country who is a signatory to United Nations Resolution 40. And since the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand did not sign the resolution, none of these countries have been able to authorize any companies to issue the ICC. A distant solution has been available through one such government authorized company in the UK, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). However, until now RYA has limited options in the USA and Canada.

This week at the Annapolis Boat Show, NauticEd a USA based sailing education company, unveiled its solution by announcing it has recently become an approved RYA Training Center. NauticEd can now deliver the RYA Day Skipper theory course online through high tech eLearning platform. Students then attend anyone of 500 RYA Practical Training Centers world wide including one such practical center in Annapolis Maryland – Yachting Education. Once the student attains the RYA Day Skipper Certificate, the ICC is automatic.

“The process is now extremely simple and accessible” says Grant Headifen, Global Director of Education for NauticEd. “Our Students take the multimedia interactive theory courses online in their own home under their own schedule. Once completed, they visit our affiliated practical center in Annapolis – or any other RYA school worldwide. They have the option of testing out of the practical part in one day if they demonstrate competence or doing a 5 day training spin around the Chesapeake bay”.

NauticEd is in its seventh year of providing online interactive and international multimedia sailing courses to sailors now from over 90 countries. It has gained international respect and recognition from all the top charter companies and top yacht manufacturers such as Beneteau and Lagoon. Its expertise is in helping sailors grow their sailing education and sailing resume so that they are charter qualified. “Yacht charter companies require a sailing resume” Headifen says. “They’re not so interested in a certification because most certifications don’t document actual on-the-water practical experience. When a potential client shows up without a resume loaded with practical experience and completed theory sailing courses, the charter company will decline the client. You need a sailing resume and our cloud based resume fills the ticket. Everything is documented there. Additionally, once the student attains the ICC, they are automatically legally approved for the Med”.

Sailing in Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Spain and France has long been a favorite trip for North Americans once the BVI has been explored. Headifen said he saw this issue of the Med slowly  closing off for Americans over the past few years. Now he is excited about providing an easy solution

To learn more about NauticEd go to To learn more about the ICC, search for International Certificate of Competence on Wikipedia or visit Wikipedia page at

To start your RYA Day Skipper Course, navigate here.

Get your European Sailing License

If you’re looking for the ICC license, visit NauticEd and take the RYA Day Skipper Course.

How to get the International Certificate of Competence

Posted by Director of Education on October 24, 2014 under About NauticEd, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

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The International Certificate of Competence

aka the ICC – How to get one

To gain the ICC is now a simple process. You gain the RYA Day Skipper Certificate which automatically qualifies you for the ICC. Note that you can not do this process with the ASA because the USA has not signed Resolution 40 and thus ASA is NOT authorized in anyway to issue any government Sailing or Boating License.

Watch this video which discusses the RYA Day Skipper Course – a pre-requisite to gaining the ICC

Gaining the ICC

First pass the online RYA Day Skipper course at NauticEd. The course is quite extensive and covers everything required by the United Nations Resolution 40 which authorizes the ICC. See below for the UN knowledge requirements. No mater your experience, we also guarantee that you will gain some great sailing knowledge.

Once you pass the Online theory Day Skipper Course you attend one of 500 RYA sailing Schools in the world. North Americans should attend the RYA Training Center in Annapolis Maryland – Yachting Education RYA Training Center


Complete the theory requirements for the RYA Day Skipper Course and ICC online at home

Complete the theory requirements for the RYA Day Skipper Course and ICC online at home

The NauticEd RYA Day Skipper course requires a real person to take the time grade your exam and that you do the exam with RYA Charts and an Almanac which we include in the cost of the course. Thus, the cost is a bit more than our regular other eLearning courses.

Essentially, the course is a combination of the NauticEd Skipper Course and the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course ($95 combined cost). Thus, if you have already purchased these courses, you will gain an approximate equivalent credit for these courses when purchasing the RYA Day Skipper Course.

If the NauticEd courses are not in your curriculum we have  provided an easy start method whereby you can gain access to the RYA Day Skipper course for less. For just $155 you gain access to the course and we send to you the RYA charts and materials. Note that you will not yet be able to submit your exam to our RYA instructor if you select this option.  - Eventually, you will need to upgrade to the full pack ($195 upgrade) to submit the exam but at least this is a way to get started with a budget in mind.

The full RYA Day Skipper course if you want to start out properly is $350 (with appropriate credit automatically calculated for Skipper and Coastal Navigation Courses purchased prior). When you pass this course – you are issued with the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course and Exam complete certificate. Your practical time on the water after that is a breeze, you’ll be doing no exams on the water.


When completing your practical exam on the water you have 2 choices. If you believe you are competent with international sailing standards below* then you can test out in a one day assessment. If you believe that you could gain knowledge with some professional training take the 5 day vacation/learn spin around the Chesapeake Bay with Yachting Education School or the local area with any of our other 500 RYA affiliated schools worldwide. By the end of the one day or 5 day training, as long as you demonstrate competence to the standard then you will be issued the RYA Day Skipper Certificate. This automatically qualifies you for the ICC and NauticEd will arrange this for you upon passing the theory and Practical.

*Note:  there is heavy emphasis on navigation and passage planning in the practical exam thus you should learn and get comfortable with this in the theory training online. Most sailors can not “wing” this one with out some study.

In Summary

  • Purchase and complete the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper course
  • Starter pack for $155 Includes Charts and Almanac – exam not graded
  • Full Pack for $350 Includes Charts and Almanac plus a Portland chart plotter and Dividers
  • Get credit towards the full pack if you have already purchased the NauticEd Skipper and Coastal Navigation Course.
  • Reserve a one day assessment or 5 day training outing with an RYA Instructor at and RYA Training Center (500 located worldwide see link above)
International Certificate of Competence

Once you complete the RYA Day Skipper Course you are automatically qualified for the ICC

United Nations Resolution 40 ICC Standards for Knowledge

II. Requirements
1. For the issue of an international certificate the applicant must:
(a) have reached the age of 16;
(b) be physically and mentally fit to operate a pleasure craft, and in particular, must have sufficient powers of vision and hearing;
(c) have successfully passed an examination to prove the necessary competence
for pleasure craft operation.
2. The applicant has to prove in an examination :
(a) sufficient knowledge of the regulations concerning pleasure craft operation and nautical and technical knowledge required for safe navigation on inland waters and/or coastal waters; and
(b) the ability to apply this knowledge in practice.
3. This examination shall be held with regard to the zones of navigation (i.e. inland waters and/or coastal waters) and must include at least the following specific subjects:
3.1 Sufficient knowledge of the relevant regulations and nautical publications:
Traffic regulations applicable on inland waters, in particular CEVNI (European Code for Inland Waterways), and/or in coastal waters, in particular the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, including aids to navigation (marking and buoyage of waterways).
3.2 Ability to apply the nautical and technical knowledge in practice:
(a) general knowledge of craft, use and carriage of safety equipment and serviceability of the engine/sails;
(b) operating the craft and understanding the influence of wind, current, interaction and limited keel clearance;
(c) conduct during meeting and overtaking other vessels;
(d) anchoring and mooring under all conditions;
(e) maneuvering in locks and ports;
(f) general knowledge of weather conditions;
(g) general knowledge of navigation, in particular establishing a position and deciding a safe course.
3.3 Conduct under special circumstances:
(a) principles of accident prevention (e.g. man over board manoeuvre);
(b) action in case of collisions, engine failure and running aground, including the sealing of a leak, assistance in cases of emergency;
(c) use of lifesaving devices and equipment;
(d) fire prevention and fire fighting;
(e) avoiding water pollution


Why a sailing resume trumps a sailing certification

Posted by Director of Education on October 23, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

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A Sailing Resume beats a Sailing Certification

rockpaperscissorsIt’s obvious when you think about it. It’s like Rock Paper Scissors.

Show up to a charter company with a sailing certification and it’s like showing up to a job interview with a degree. You’re going to get an entry level job which is akin to being authorized to charter a dinghy.

Every Charter company asks you every time for a resume. Show up to a job interview with a fully documented resume showing all the experience you have and you’re going to get an upper level management job – akin to getting a 40 foot charter boat ready for you to skipper yourself.

This is why many people are disappointed when they go get a BareBoat Sailing Certification from a random sailing association only to find out that it’s not worth what they thought it was – sure it contributes but it’s about time the sailing associations stopped lying to their own customers. A Bareboat Sailing Certification on its own WILL NOT NOT NOT allow you to charter a boat. Here is proof – the number for Sunsail USA is 877-651-9651. Call them and ask them if they will charter you a boat whereby you will not give them a resume but just a certificate. They will politely request a resume.

You must have a resume in order to charter a boat. You can fill one out on paper – or you can use NauticEd’s free cloud based resume builder. Either way is fine.


Another Variable is the International Certificate of Competence – the ICC. Most countries in Europe require you to have an ICC. And some even specify that it is a jailable offense. The ICC is not hard to get – the easiest way is to pass the RYA Day Skipper Course online at NauticEd and then visit an RYA Practical Training Center for practical training/sign off.  In the USA, visit Yachting Education in Annapolis elsewhere find an RYA local training Center here.

You can also do the book work and exam at the Practical training center whilst you’re there – it’s your option – personally we believe getting it done prior to the practical training makes for a better practical training experience. Note: for North Americans,  you can not get an ICC from an American based company who uses American training systems. It must come through a country who is a signatory to the United Nations Resolution 40. THe USA and Canada did not sign the resolution and thus the best way for North Americans to get the ICC is to go through the English RYA system. Fortunately, NauticEd has stepped up to provide this course and pathway to gain the ICC.

International Certificate of CompetenceSo if you’re going to Europe, all Charter companies will require an adequate resume AND an ICC. If not Europe then all Charter Companies will require an adequate resume.

So what is an Adequate resume? It’s one where you have believable documented experience as Master of a sailboat within close approximate length to the one you are chartering. When we interviewed charter companies world wide to see what they would accept and what they thought would be average safe experience, their answers were the precursor to our ranking system.

For Bareboat Charter you should document at least 50 days of sailing. 25 at least as master of the vessel and 25 at least on a sailboat larger than 28 ft (8.4 m).

Additionally, you should document theory knowledge. What they wanted to see was knowledge around anchoring, navigation, docking and maneuvering, general sailing and knowledge of bareboating and what to expect.  These represent the courses we also require for our Bareboat Charter Master Rank.

Charter companies take notice of documented instructor time but they don’t require it. Certainly it makes them feel more comfortable and this is where a sailing association bareboat “certificate” comes in – it adds to the confidence.

Something else that we did to help charter companies increase their confidence about chartering to a NauticEd student was to implement an Authenticated entry ability into our logbook system. When you go sailing with someone, you click in your logbook that you went out with them. They are sent an email that asks if this was real. If they say yes then it authenticates your entry AND authenticates their entry if they are a student. The NauticEd Resume then shows the amount of time on the water with the % of Authentication.

When you add up the above conversation, you’ll now understand why we built this Resume system as we did. We set out in 2007 with tools such as the internet with burgeoning eLearning technology and the ability for students to login to the cloud and permanently store real life experience data. It’s what a modern education system should look like.

So how do you gain the experience then – read this blog

Start a NauticEd FREE cloud based sailing resume now. Just set up a free account and start loading up your experience into your resume. Then go to your profile tab and create a logbook code. Give this logbook code to your yacht charter company when you want them to view your sailing resume. They simply visit – you can go there now and view yours or view the example student we have set up there.

Whilst you are entering your experience make sure you add CrewMates to Authenticate your time. If you ever get instructor training, make sure you give to your instructor your logbook code. They will login and verify your practical competence which shows in your resume.

We hope you “get it”, like a job resume – your sailing resume is a living breathing document that should be kept up to date. But it also tells a story about you and your competence. If you were a charter company, who would you charter a boat to - A certificate holder who gained that certificate from a sailing association with low standards on quality enforcement, or a student with a fully documented sailing resume?

On top of all that – our team has  a lot of experience in Yacht Charter and we can organise a yacht charter for you – chances are we’ve sailed in every location you want to go. We can fill you in on the best places and charter companies. We don’t charge a fee for this service.

Sign in or sign up now and fill out your sailing logbook.

Go to

Tides and the Rule of Twelves

Posted by Director of Education on September 27, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper, weather | Comments are off for this article

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 Understanding Tides

Tides are often intimidating to sailors and so, many sailors tend to try not to sail in tidal areas or just ignore them hoping that if they stay deep enough there is little to worry about.

The point of this article is to de-intimidate you about tides by explaining the predictive nature and how to access information easily about the local conditions.

But first let’s start with an intimidating situation to set the worst case then we’ll take it up from there.

On a recent trip to the UK we visited Ilfracombe in the south west coast of England. This whole area and further up the coast towards Wales exhibits one of the highest tidal areas on the planet. Ilfracombe has a 9 meter tide – that’s 30 feet for imperial speakers. The point of the visit was to experience this, get the photo and write about it. What we didn’t plan on was a real life threatening situation – not really but sort of – close(ish) – kinda -could have gotten bad – well, at least wet. Read on.

Here is a pic with the tide mostly in in Ilfracombe.


The tide is in

The tide is in – boats happily floating

Here is the same place a few hours later.


The tide is out

The tide is out – boats sitting on the bottom high and dry

9 meters – 30 ft is huge. Ilfracombe as a normal diurnal tide meaning there are two high tides and two low tides every day. From high tide to low tide is around 6 hours and 20 minutes. The rate of water movement for all that to take place over 6.3 hours is hard to conceptualize. As we walked along a flat beach – it seemed like every lap of the waves caused the water to progress up the beach about 6 inches. To experience it is an awesome wonderment.

Throughout the day as we watched, rocks covered and uncovered and some turned into rather large islands from nothing.

Not only is the vertical movement of the tide a concern, but the currents produced from the moving water is of a potential greater concern. We went out fishing on a kayak and were constantly weary of our position moving relative to the land and of the swirling directions of the current flow. 300 meters out we were being pushed in one direction quite fast, 2-3 knots, but closer in we were drifting in the opposite direction at 1-2 knots. And most of the time it was hard to even get the line on the bottom due to the current. According to the extremely hospitable local we stayed with and took us fishing, every year many people have to be rescued from the current. Mostly just due to the under estimation of the conditions. I’m a pretty good and fast swimmer, it takes me about 20 minutes to knock out 1 km in the pool with no waves. That’s swimming at about 1.5 knots. Thus even I would be swept out faster than I could swim.

So what actually happened was that one of our party climbed down onto some rocks to get a better place to fish. An hour later he turned around and was completely cut off from the land by the rising tide. Since it was about half tide the water level was rising quite quick and was pouring over a weir about 6 inches of flow height into a basin created by a walk way that was completely covered and thus stopping his escape. We saved his sole by dropping me off the two person kayak onto land and Martyn returning to go get him. Actually pretty funny and I was grateful it happened to create the story here but… this is the stuff that you hear about. My friend was simply not used to and did not expect such conditions from any experience he has had in the past. Night time and a few waves and cold water and it could have been lights out.

The Rule of Twelves

Slack water occurs at or close to high and low tide. At this time the water is hardly moving and so fishing and swimming can be safe (ish). The highest current times occur at or close to ½ tide. However there is not a linear scale. It’s on a sinusoidal scale and is approximated by the following rule of twelves.First, the rule of twelves is not entirely accurate but it’s not a bad way to think about a rising or falling tide.

The tide rise and fall approximates a sinusoidal curve i.e it starts out slow then increases the fastest at about half tide then slows down to a very slow finish.

See the following animation (best viewed with Chrome or Safari). This is a tide rising over a 6 hour period using the rule of twelves as a basis for tidal rise.


When you push the play button the rising tide goes slow and not much has happened in the first hour, But by 3 the tide is rising fast. In the last hour the tides is rising to it’s final completion slowly.

Thinking linearly you would say that the tide has to rise 30 feet over approx. 6 hours that means 5 feet per hour. But the animation shows 2.5 feet in the first hour. Between 3 and 4 it averages 7.5 feet per hour and the last hour is 2.5 feet. This then is how the rule of twelves helps you approximate a tide in your head.

With the Rule of Twelves you start out with 1/12th rise in the first hour. Then 2/12ths rise in the second hour then 3/12ths rise in the 4rd and 4th hour. Then back down to 2 /12ths in the 5th hour and 1/12th in the 6th hour.

This is an ok approximation to the sine curve. In addition, tides are only approximated by a sine curve. So realize when applying this rule, that it’s an approximation. But not too too bad actually.

In our Ilfracombe 30ft (9m) example here is what the rule of twelves looks like and assuming a 6 hour tide (which it is not there it is 6:20 between high and low tide)

End of hour

12ths incr total 12ths inc

tide height ft


1 1 2.5


2 3



3 6 15


3 9 22.5
5 2 11


6 1 12


Now in reality take a look at this below. This is a screen shot from the World Tides App for Ilfracombe on Sept 27 2014. It shows an 8.1 meter (26.6 ft) tide rise on that day. Low tide is at 2:20pm and high tide is at 8:40 pm. The low tide is 1 meter above the printed chart reported datum. Thus the rise in height that day will be 8.1 meters. (Chart Datum in the UK and most of the world is set at lowest attainable tide levels (LAT) in the USA it is set at Mean Low Low Tide (MLLW)).


Tide at Ilfracombe on Sep 27th 2014

Tide at Ilfracombe on Sep 27th 2014

I then plotted the rule of twelves prediction on top of this tide shape. You’ll notice a fairly decent difference.

Tide with rule of twelves plotted

Tide with rule of twelves plotted

Now in addition – note that the blue area rise and fall of the tide is as predicted and not actual. However, since tide data is so well known, you are well served by assuming the predicted tide will be very close to actual. More on that in a minute.

So really what does this all mean. It means carry with you your iPhone or Android and have it loaded with a tidal App.
Tidal App
Here’s the link for the iOS version:
World Tides 2014
And here is the Google play store search results for tides:
Android – Tides search


De-Intimidating Tides

With a tidal App you have accurate access to the tide heights at any time of the day in virtually any port in the world. You can see if the tide is coming in (flooding) or going out (ebbing). If you know your eta at a port then you can simply pull out your Tide App and see what height the tide will be.

In addition – most tide Apps DO NOT need a connection to the internet after it is initially downloaded. The data is stored on your device. How is this so? Tides are wonderfully predcitable and we have got them so figured out that the accuracy is usualy with in a few inches at any time. This is because for hundreds of years now we (humankind) have been measuring the height of the tide at points all over the world and comparing those measurements to the positions of the Sun and the Moon. Since the Sun and Moon exactly repeat their combined cycle every 19 years, the tides repeat themselves to the exact heights and cycles every 19 years. It took a lot of work from a lot of people BUT now we have it. Tide prediction is accurate and the data is at your finger tips 24/7.

Don’t be afraid of tides.

In our Coastal Navigation course we have a very detailed discussion of tides going through the theory of prediction, how to predict at subordinate stations and lots of discussion about how to handle current flow due to tides. It is the best Coastal Navigation course available.

Take our Coastal Navigation Course

Coastal Navigation Course
Coastal Navigation Course




Posted by Director of Education on September 18, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

The Mystery of Determining Longitude

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Have you ever been to Greenwich? If you haven’t, make sure it is on your bucket list. Not only is it a delightful place with a spectacular view of London and the Thames River, but it is the real birth place of “Longitude” and home to some of the most amazing master mathematicians of the burgeoning modern times of the 17 and 18oo’s.


The zero degree line of longitude was selected and placed in Greenwich in 1751 and then later in 1851 it was moved a few feet to align with a new telescope placed at the now zero deg.  zero minute, zero second longitude position. This designated line placed on earth is a humankind determined and positioned line. It stretches from the true north pole to the true south pole.

Meridian Marker

The zero mark could have been placed anywhere on earth. It was placed in Greenwich because of the incredible work being done by the Royal Observatory mathematicians and astronomers. They needed to set a zero point and what better than exactly underneath their telescope  The axis of spin of the earth also passes through the north and south poles. This is unlike the zero degree latitude line of the equator. This line is a universally given line and can not by randomly placed by humankind.

George Airy

In the 1700′s in bars and cafe’s all over the topic of the times was that determining Longitude on the ocean was akin to perpetual motion – it was seemingly impossible. Yet the challenge was there and £20,000 had been put up as cash incentives to inventors to help solve the issue. £10,000 of which was ordered by the King as prize money to the person who could solve it. Longitude was that illusive!

The Longitude Act

If you understand that in those days because of ships not knowing exactly where they were, there were many shipwrecks costing lives but also huge amounts of money. Thus global positioning was imperative. Latitude had been pretty easily solved much earlier. If you do a noon shot of the sun to determine its angle above the horizon then compare this with tables of the suns angle on a specific day of the year you get your Latitude. But longitude had no such luxury of determination.

I had the luxury of recently visiting Greenwich and was delighted to see and learn about one of my favorite topics. Longitude. Here I am with one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one in the western hemisphere.

The zero degree Meridian Line in Greenwich

The zero degree Meridian Line in Greenwich

What was particularly awesome about my trip was that the Maritime Museum in Greenwich was displaying a whole history tour of “Longitude” and I was actually able to see the time pieces that John Harrison invented to allow ships to keep time at sea and thus solve the Longitude problem and collect the Kings prize.

I highly recommend this short read of the book Longitude.

Variation aka Declination

We discuss Variation/Declination heavily in our NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course. This is the difference between the charted true north and what will read on your compass due to the earths magnetic poles not aligning with the axis poles. Interesting enough, one means used to determining rough longitude int he old days was to take a measurement of the variation. True North can easily be measured by the north star in the Northern hemisphere and magnetic north by a compass. This difference combined with a variation map of the world allowed approximate longitude determination. The method was rudimentary at best and provided no accuracy.

On that same topic and quite interesting also is that a very accurate global map of variation exists today and is programmed into every magnetic field chip used to determine compass directions. Your smart phone can tell you magnetic North and this is measured by the electronics measuring the earth’s magnetic field. To go from magnetic north to true north, the phone needs to know where on the planet it is. Once this is known (usually via GPS measurement) it applies the known table of variations and can then show also true north.

Here is also a great website resource to see your position on earth but also find your variation.

It’s astounding to know that these guys back in the 1700′s knew all this and were the discoverers of this knowledge. Another part of this whole story is bought to life by Cook’s first voyage in 1769 to Tahiti. He was sent there by the Royal Astronomical society to measure the times that Venus was to transit the sun. This was predicted by Haley more than 40 years earlier. By comparing the measurement of times of the transit from many different locations on the planet, the mathematicians of that time were able to calculate the distance to the sun. AND the nailed it within hundredths of a percent.

Here is the picture I took of Cook’s Monument in Tahiti at the place where he measured the transit of Venus across the sun in 1769.

Cooks Monument in Tahiti

Cook himself used John Harrisons Chronometer (Watch) on his second voyage around the world. Cook’s logbook notes about 6 months into the trip, said that he believed more and more that Harrisons time piece was to be the way of the future.

Harrisons H5 Longitude

I really hoped you enjoyed this little trip through the discovery of knowledge that we all use today virtually in our everyday lives. Whether we are aware of it or not, Latitude and Longitude is touching us manytimes every day in our every way.

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Grant Headifen
Global Director of Education


P.S – If you are interested in Navigation, take our Coastal Navigation Course

Coastal Navigation Course

Coastal Navigation Course

How to steer a sailboat

Posted by Director of Education on August 28, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

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Sailing the helm should be natural – like riding a bike


Riding and sailing

What do these have in common?

This past summer I invested some serious time into having my daughter learn to ride a bike and it paid off on the last day of summer break.

It’s very sailing related so read on – no really!

Here’s what I did. I took the pedals and training wheels off and lowered the seat so that both tippy toes could touch the ground. Then on a hard surface, with a very slight incline I had her sit on the seat and push the bike along with her toes. At first when the bike tipped to one side she would put her full foot down to catch balance. After about 10 different sessions I noticed that as the bike was tipping she would automatically compensate and steer the bike to account for the tipping. I did not teach her this – it was just automatic and becoming natural. She was keeping her feet up and the bike was gliding. At about session 15 she was doing this to the point where I thought she was ready. I took her to a grassy area with a slightly bigger incline – just to account for the friction of the grass. I put on the pedals and pushed her off and AWAY SHE WENT.

The key ingredient here is automatic compensation. She did not even know she was doing it. She would automatically turn the wheel to follow the direction of her imbalance.

Helming a sailboat is exactly the same. At first you are all over the place trying to keep a straight line but as with my daughter, the more time you spend at the helm the more automatic it is going to become. This of course means more helm time more helm time and more helm time.

If you need more helm time but don’t own a boat read this post about gaining experience on a sailboat.

I was speaking to my friend Robert Barlow at Texas Sailing Academy in Austin Texas yesterday. Robert is an excellent sailing instructor.  He described a similar thing when he teaches. We were both talking about how students get distracted by the wind meter and the wind vane and the sails and waves and boats and… which keeps getting them off course. All we want the student to learn at first is to feel the boat and react accordingly to keep the boat sailing in a  straight line – towards a distance house or tree on land as a reference. What Robert does is to blind fold the student so that they have to rely on their senses.

Some of the senses are:

  • Boat heeling more or less
  • Hearing the wind direction over your ears
  • Hearing the flapping of sails
  • Feeling pressure on the helm

All of these give an indication that something is happening requiring an adjustment.

BUT the big trick is to get to a point where the information by passes your brain and goes directly to your hand. Not really – your brain still does the processing, but assigns less and less processing power to the required action – like the riding the bike scenario. How much processing power does your brain assign to needing to turn the wheel to stay balanced. If it required any of the main Ram to stop and think – “Oh I am falling – now which way should I turn the wheel to make me stay up – um let me see if I turn to the right the bike will do ummm that or left it will do this – ok left it is”. No that doesn’t happen.

Back to sailing. We need to get to a point where if the boat say heels due to a wind gust then the HAND automatically adjusts the helm to compensate the boat wanting to turn upwind. You hand just goes into automatic mode and prevents that by turning the boat down wind WITH OUT THINKING. Your senses hear the sail flapping – your HAND turns the boat down wind. Your ears sense more wind in your upwind ear, your HAND turns the boat upwind.

It is like your hand is doing the processing not your brain. This point is well proven possible by the bike scenario.

A few months back I was out riding my mountain bike. I was angling towards a tiny rock ledge no more than 3 inches high. If the front wheel takes on that ledge, the ledge will win. It’s simple physics a force to the left at the bottom of the bike near the ground opposing my momentum centered 4 feet off the ground will create a tipping moment. One that quickly ends in the middle of a cactus in Texas. None of these thoughts went consciously through my brain as my eyes delivered the information. My right leg mashed the pedal down, both arms pulled and my back muscles tensed to shift my weight back – all automatically and in the correct timing to lift the tire up over the ledge. Having completed that maneuver the arms swung to miss a rock and so on. At the next water break I stopped and thought about that and said WOW – that brain process is cool. Any neuroscientist sailors care to pop me an email to explain this? – I’ll post it as a comment here. How does the brain assign the processing power initially at a conscious level then pass it down to the subconscious. Even years later, the subconscious remains – ridden a bike lately? It’s still easy.

Back to sailing. And this is a note to instructors and to captains teaching crew members to helm. Be conscious of the subconscious.Try to help your student move that reactionary process to the subconscious so that the “hand” is doing the processing not the brain. If you are thinking about it – you just need more helm time.

I always say:



Grant Headifen
Director of Education

Congrats Alexandra on your first ride without the training wheels.

Take the NauticEd Skipper Course now. A beginner to intermediate sailing course. Log time in our free online sailors logbook and begin to earn your sailing certification accepted by yacht charter companies worldwide. Signin/signup for free now.

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International Certificate of Competence

Posted by Director of Education on August 26, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

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What is the ICC?

International Certificate of CompetenceWanting to go sailing in Europe? You’re going to need the International Certificate of Competence (The ICC).

The ICC is defined by United Nations Resolution 40 of which 22 member states in Europe have adopted the resolution. It is the only sailing certificate fully recognized by these countries. Additionally, many countries who are not signatories to the resolution still require the ICC via local marine laws. There is no other sailing certificate that is government issued and United Nations accepted.

Why do you need an ICC?

By it’s very nature, sailing is an international recreation. When sailing you will invariably interact with shipping lanes and internationally bound ships operating under international laws of the ocean as well as light houses, lights, buoys etc. One such set of laws is the International Rules of Preventing Collision at Sea. Another is the international agreements on lights and buoys known as IALA-A and IALA-B. As a recreational sailor YOU MUST adhere to these laws whether educated about them or not. In considering this and remarkably so, enough countries got together and developed a minimum standard of education a sailor must meet to be able to sail in their waters. This standard was then adopted by United Nations so that the standard would extend internationally. Wow what a great idea and huge kudos to the founding diplomats and promoters of this standard.

What is the requirement for the International Certificate of Competence?

The requirement is a demonstration of competence in all areas of sailing from the rules of preventing collision, navigation techniques, safety of lives at sea, understanding lights and buoys, meteorology, tides and currents, good seamanship etc. You must be able to demonstrate theory knowledge and practical competence.

How do I get an International Certificate of Competence?

This can best be achieved in one of two ways but only through an approved ICC issuing training center:
(1) A one day assessment. This is an intensive one day on the water test out. There is no instruction. The assessor will merely ask theory questions and require practical demonstration in all the areas of requirements above. If you can’t quickly and effortlessly demonstrate how to calculate, plot and follow a series of courses, determine tidal heights and current flows, answer questions about day markers, cardinal buoys, lights etc etc - then more than likely you will fail the assessment.

You must know all the theory. Therefore, you should complete the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper course.

(2) Complete the RYA Day Skipper Certification. This is a five day on the water training combined with extensive theory training. To do the theory training, complete the  NauticEd RYA Day Skipper course online prior to your practical training. At the end of the 5 days and given that you have demonstrated growing competence, you will more than likely be awarded the RYA Day Skipper Certificate which automatically qualifies you for the International Certificate of Competence (ICC).

If you don’t do the Day Skipper Course theory onshore prior to the practical, you will not be able to demonstrate the competence required. For example, during the 5 days on the boat you will be expected to already understand the theory of navigation. On board you will learn how to apply the theory already known to the practical situation. Simply stated, if the theory takes 40 hours to go through at home, how could you go through this on board while also trying to learn the practical?

Watch this video to understand about the RYA Day Skipper Course and the ICC


Who are approved ICC issuing training centers and where are they?

Signatory countries to Resolution 40 appoint their sailing governing bodies to issue the ICC to their citizens.

But what about non-signatory countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand?

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) through the government of England is the largest governing body appointed to issue the United Nations ICC. Approved training centers of the RYA worldwide are assessing and training centers able to issue the ICC to English and non-English citizens.  Americans, Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis then are able to gain the ICC through an approved RYA training center. For Americans and Canadians the best place to go is the approved RYA training and assessment center Yachting Education in Annapolis, Maryland. Yachting Education’s chief instructor is Mark Thompson who  uniquely holds a United States Coast Guard Masters Licence as well as an RYA Chief Instructor Licence. Mark also has over 20 years of sailing instruction under his belt. Strange as it may sound to you but no American sailing association of any type or name or school can issue the ICC.

Why is this? Well simply stated, the United States and Canada did not sign Resolution 40 and thus are not able to appoint any governing body to issue the ICC. This means that there is no certifying body resident  in the USA or Canada who can issue the ICC. Other certifying private companies have tried to fake it by making up an international certificate. These are not recognized by the United Nations and are not government approved or issued and the level of tested competence is not to the standard of the ICC in any case. If there was an accident on your boat and you did not have the right Government Approved Sailing License you can be held personally responsible as the captain of the vessel regardless of the Charter Company who leased it to you.

So how does NauticEd fit into the ICC equation?

NauticEd through its approved RYA Day Skipper course provides the proper level of theory instruction as required by the standard to pass the theory knowledge portion of the ICC. NauticEd directs its North American students seeking the ICC to Yachting Education in Annapolis who is an affiliated practical sailing training school of NauticEd and an RYA approved training center. For other countries, after taking and passing the NauticEd theory, NauticEd directs its students to visit an RYA training school in their area to do the practical. As above, you have the choice of 1 day assessment or 5 day training.

Are you considering Europe for Chartering? Contact Yachting Education in Annapolis or visit your local RYA training Center.

So what about the Caribbean and Pacific etc?

As of now there is no government approved certificate required by any country in the Caribbean and equatorial Pacific Islands. While NauticEd still recommends the ICC under any circumstance, our Bareboat Charter Master Certificate without the ICC stamp is sufficient proof to Charter Companies of competence. The Bareboat Charter Master Certificate is not the easiest to obtain. It requires at least 50 hours of home based theory study with extensive exams plus it requires 50 days of logged sailing experience on the water – 25 at least of which must be as master of the vessel and 25 at least of which must be on a vessel 28 ft or greater. Other companies will issue a Bareboat Certificate after a weekend on a boat training – but we just say “come on everyone – really? One weekend? With the potential of all the what-if scenario’s at sea one weekend or even two is asking for trouble and is irresponsible”. Fortunately, Yacht Charter Companies require a practical resume even if a student shows up with one of these weekend or two certificates. If the experience is weak then the yacht charter company will not accept the charter reservation despite the “certificate” and will require a captain on board for the duration. This is exactly why NauticEd provides it’s cloud based sailing resume built automatically from experience logbook entires and eLearning courses passed in addition to  practical instructor electronic signoff and NOW the latest – CrewMate Authentication whereby your sailing logbook can be fully authenticated and digitally signed.

Practical instructor sign off can be achieved through a NauticEd affiliated sailing school where instructors have been socially rated by pier students. And if 5 days on the Chesapeake Bay is out of the question for you, then get instruction at your local NauticEd Sailing school then do the one day assessment option in Annapolis.

Some students have asked us the obvious – if I can get a bareboat charter certificate easier through another company why would I not do that. Our answer is two fold (1) Yacht charter companies go off a resume not the certificate. It maybe so that they approve you anyway based on the NauticEd certificate we digitally produce for you based on your courses and own logbook entries (2) our personal belief is that if you have not yet achieved at least our standard of education and experience then we think you should prior to risking lives of friends and family at sea. What if … ?

See our post and video on a Sailing Rsume vs. a Sailing Certification

Additionally, NauticEd is the only company in the world that produces a cloud based authenticated logbook. This gives charter companies the confidence that your stated time is more than just made up. It is living proof of your experience. Learn more about the authenicated sailor’s logbook.

In Conclusion

Given all the time constraints and directional pulls in our lives, there are few things left for us to be able to achieve on a personal basis. What about achieving for yourself an International Certificate of Competence. It means that you will be approved by the United Nations to sail anywhere in the world. Let’s hang that on the wall in your office. Maybe even your boss might recognize it. But it’s going to take some work and sweat investment.

Start the process through NauticEd now – start by investing in the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper course.

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Grant Headifen
Director of Education

Maneuvering a Catamaran

Posted by Director of Education on August 6, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

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How to dock a Catamaran

Here is an email we received from a student asking about how to dock a Catamaran.


Good day Grant and team,

Your Catamaran Sailing Confidence course is great thank you and achieved for me the confidence you designed it to do. I am bare boat chartering a catamaran in the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia in a few weeks and, while I have reasonable keel boat experience, your course gave me the complete picture of catamaran sailing. Thank you.

I have one question which I would appreciate you answering: How do you dock a catamaran side on to a dock, for example, at the very end of a marina arm or alongside a long jetty?

Section 2.1 of your course explains manoeuvring under power (spin; slow forwards turn; vector) and sections 2.5.1 and 2.5.2 discuss getting out and coming back to the dock. However, other than the repetition of the vectoring animation, I don’t see an explicit description of how to dock the catamaran side-on to a dock.

Would you recommend vectoring and if so, where would you position the boat relative to the jetty (i.e. how far away and where relative to the two yachts you could be docking between)?

Alternatively, would you recommend approaching the dock forwards at a shallow angle, turn the wheel hard away from the berth when the bow nearest the dock is within (half?) a boat length of the dock and then, and when the bow nearly touches the dock vector the boat to the dock (or spin the stern of the hull closest to the dock towards the dock)?

I would value hearing your views which I will be putting into practice in the Hamilton Island Marina at the end of August. Thanks very much.

Kind regards,



Kevin here is our answer. Dock the Catamaran exactly as you would a monohull. We’ve included an animation below of how we do it on a tight space. The advantage to docking a catamaran is the extreme awesome ability to maneuver. You don’t have to worry about propwalk either. Just steer the boat in at an angle.  As the bow gets close, round the boat out to glide parallel with the dock and engage reverse to stop the boat. As below you can use springing with a dock line forward to drive the aft in. But you don’t need to lend on the spring as much because with the bow held by the spring the aft will naturally spin in with engines engaged opposite.

As with all our recommendations on maneuvering, try this out in deep water next to a floating buoy.

Thanks so much for the compliment on the catamaran sailing course – we get a lot and it is one of our most popular courses. :)