International Certificate of Competence
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What is the ICC?
Wanting 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 … ?
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.
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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Director of Education