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What's the deal with yachting certificates, anyway?

Many new (and old) sailors have questions about yachting certificates. It does seem to be a confusing issue! The IYT Bareboat Skipper is for up to 25 miles offshore during daylight hours. It is possible to order upgraded certificates at the conclusion of the 10 day IYT Crew/Skipper course.  The IYT Yacht Master Coastal is up to 60 miles offshore and day/night approved. The ICC Coastal/Inland certificate is similar. You can get any of those for sail, power or both and up to 24 meter vessels. Add in the IYT VHF Radio Operator certificate and you will be qualified to charter a yacht, pretty much anywhere in the world. And you will have certificates that will get you better insurance rates if you are planning to insure a yacht of your own.

Unless you are looking for a career in yachting and pursuing commercial grade, professional qualifications, there is usually no need for more advanced recreational yachting certificates since most charter operators do not allow night sailing and rarely have cruising areas where charterers will be required to sail more than 20-25 miles offshore.

In addition, many countries will require you to have some type of license or certificate to operate a locally registered yacht in that countries waters. Every country is different and you have to check each countries requirements individually. You have to keep your yacht “legal” for the country where the boat is registered. For example, if you have a Thai registered yacht, the law says the captain must have a Thai Captains license, and it is no problem to get one. Some other countries have similar policies. Some countries recognize both IYT & ICC certificates for recreational yachting, some do not. The ICC is required to sail and charter in all EU countries.

As far as world cruising on your own yacht is concerned, there is NO international yachting license required, and none will be asked for as you travel from country to country (except in the EU where the ICC is required). You only need valid yacht registration documents, passports, and port clearance documents from your last port and any other documentation as requested at your port of entry.

SailQuest students learn all about certificates and many other aspects of world cruising, yacht ownership, international travel, and much more. I am positive the SailQuest program will really move you forward as a sailor. We cover a huge amount of info, about sailing, yes, but also a lot more.