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Old 03-09-2007, 04:43 PM   #1
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Which certificates or licenses must I earn, to operate a personal sailing yacht (50 foot / 16.7 M and under) any where in the world?

Where and how do I obtain those?

Any recommendations?

Anything to avoid?

Cost verses Value?

Some months ago I discovered the American Sailing Association - ASA. Are their schools good? Are they the only show around? Are there others?

Comparing seasons and regions around and near the US, Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Sea of Cortez, and Pacific, are there good and bad sailing seasons?

Dead in the water? ->> Gail Force Blow Season - TOO MUCH WIND!

Dead in the water? ->> Sitting still - Smooth as glass water!

I contacted one ASA school by e-mail. The next day the owner called me. My first impression was good. In time he got really pushy. My wise consumer instinct over came my eagerness to learn.

Originally in October 2006, we were quoted a price for 10 days; live aboard, ASA course 101-104, some text books provided, and PADI dive certification. We wanted a booking date in August 2007 and that was available, but were urged to hurry as the calendar fills up fast. After that we were urged to hurry and pre-pay before a new sales tax went into effect. Later we were offered "The Christmas Special" at a substantial discount. That was followed by the "Half Price - New Years Special", if we pre-paid by credit card.

Now this is starting to smell like rotten fish; to good to be true. I am going to provide my credit card number authorizing a several thousand dollar purchase, to somebody I never met and don't know anything about, off the Southern US Coast, that lives and works from a mobile floating home and office? (Earlier he stated he and his wife are from differant European countries). How in the world do I know he will be there when we arrive? He would process the credit card in January and we would arrive 8 months later to find a vacant slip?

I don't think so....

~ ~ ~

A side note about the PADI Dive Certification. I re-considered what we were asking for, how we were going to obtain it, and what it cost. We can obtain the PADI certification in our community, or in many places in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, within an easy days drive, even in the winter. Chop a hole in the ice and go diving Mid-Winter? Brrrr! No need for that. Hot Springs!

I came to a new conclusion; earn the PADI Certification here, before the sailing schools. Than at the sailing school we can fully focus on sailing. If the opportunity arises we are ready to practice and enjoy our diving skills.

The Sailing Instruction Company I was in contact with is not providing the PADI Certification as he is not a certified dive instructor. He provides that through a third party, a sub-contractor. He is just a go between. Likely he gets compensate for booking people like us.

~ ~ ~

I choose not to revel the business name, exact island location, or vessel, because he may be a legitimate business man, as at this point he has done nothing wrong. He could be amongst the best, fair, honest, excellant sailor and instructor.
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Old 03-11-2007, 03:54 PM   #2
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Unless you are operating comercially you are not legally required to have a license or certificate to operate you boat. It should be noted however that your insurance company may require a licensed captain to operate your 50 foot boat offshore.

ASA is generally a good sailing instruction program and is offered by ASA affiliated schools all over the world. That being said each school is privately owned and the quality of instruction and the policies and prices for instruction may vary significantly from one school to another. Check out the particular school before signing up. Generally speaking, however you will receive good instruction by certified instructors and receive a certificate that is recognized by other schools and charter companies.

Capt. Mike

100 T master and ASA instructor
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Old 03-11-2007, 11:46 PM   #3
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CaptMike is correct for the US, and many countries, and the key issue is what country your vessel is registered in. Some countries do require operators to have some sort of license or specific training. Please don't ask me which: I do not recall, but I have met people in cruising that are amazed that nothing is required of US operators and tell me their country is diferent.
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellow Traveler View Post
CaptMike is correct for the US, and many countries, and the key issue is what country your vessel is registered in. Some countries do require operators to have some sort of license or specific training. Please don't ask me which: I do not recall, but I have met people in cruising that are amazed that nothing is required of US operators and tell me their country is diferent.
If the key issue is the country of registration, for example the U.S., and it does not require the skipper to have a license to operate a 50 foot personal sailing vessel, that would exempt the skipper in U.S. Territoral and International waters. Does that exemption extend into other countries territoral waters because the vessel is flying a US Flag, and operating under US law? OR, could the rules change upon entering some other countries Territoral Waters?

My concern is sailing into big trouble unknowingly. For example entering the jurisdiction of a country, and having the authorities tell me I broke a law as I do not meet their requirements, and possibly getting a large fine, and / or prison time, deportation, and not being able to sail the boat out of there until I prove that I meet their sailing requirements.

With the vast experiance on this board, somebody has perhaps as a combined group, been to nearly every country with an ocean coast.
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:10 AM   #5
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South Africa.

An SA yacht cannot leave (or go offshore) without a certified skipper. International cruising yachts - if you have arrived as you are, you can leave (provided the vessel is basically seaworthy).

I would be interested to know the current New Zealand and Australian stance.
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:54 AM   #6
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If you sail the vessel only for pleasure then internationally you'll only need certification / licensing if your home country equally requires such.

EG in the UK no certification / license is mandatory - so you can sail anywhere without a need - including for instance coastal hopping around France.

But if you were a French registered boat coming to the UK, the UK authorities could ask the skipper to present the French certification that is required over there of French sailors.......

Cheers

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Old 03-12-2007, 06:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for the good answers.

It seems simpler and easier than I thought it would be.

Perhaps that is why there is discussion about and reports of near misses, incidents, accidents, collisions, vessels and / or people lost at sea, right of way issues, run-a-ground, and run-a-muck, caused by uneducated and inexperienced skippers. There was no requirement for the skipper to meet and prove minimum sailing knowledge and expertise. All one needs to sail is the ability to acquire a boat and meet the requirements of registration, sea-worthiness, taxes and so on.

I think it would be plain stupidity to do that. It is suicidal. At the very least, it is ill-mannered and inconsiderate of other vessels, skippers, countries, and people. That is not a good plan. That is a lack of planning, and failing to prepare.

Perhaps there are other countries which not have not been mentioned, that do have stricter requirements.

LIGHTHOUSE: What is the South African procedure or criteria to become a certified skipper?
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:38 PM   #8
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All the recognised international tickets can be obtained from the schools here. As you say, the better the qualification the better for all concerned including the air/sea rescue institutions.

As a matter of interest, the sailing schools/academies over here are packed with international students - it appears that it is cheaper to fly here, live aboard or in the sailing schools' own hostels, and obtain these international certificates in SA.

Search for 'sailing schools south africa' for details.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lighthouse View Post
As a matter of interest, the sailing schools/academies over here are packed with international students - it appears that it is cheaper to fly here, live aboard or in the sailing schools' own hostels, and obtain these international certificates in SA.
Little wonder!

SA is a great place with much better weather than much of Europe. It is cheap (compared to Europe), the people are very friendly, the wine is GREAT and the country astonishing.

Give me half a chance and I would go back to SA today - permanently this time!!

Aye,

Stephen

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Old 03-12-2007, 11:13 PM   #10
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I had a South African girlfriend once......But that is a different story
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:50 AM   #11
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I had a South African girlfriend once......But that is a different story
Auzzee,

You are WAY "Off Topic", but such a hoot!

I hope you are not finished sailing before I get started, as I would enjoy your company. Further OZ "Down Under" is at the "Top" of of my mates' world destinations.

Cheers!
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Old 03-13-2007, 01:51 PM   #12
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About ten years ago New Zealand decided to impose its offshore requirements on visiting foreign yachts, denying a yacht clearance from NZ if it did not meet NZ standards for going offshore. NZ did not deny a yacht entry, but once in NZ the yacht was "stuck". Some yachts who didn't care to spend the several thousands of dollars for gear that they did not feel they wanted, nor could afford, left NZ without formal clearance. There was a huge outcry, a one-year attempt to boycott NZ, and even a legal challenge to the law. It all got sorted out, though with quite a bit of complaining and harsh words on both sides. NZ no longer tries to impose its requirements on boats from other nations. It's a matter of sovereignty and international law, though one has to keep abreast of what is going on so you don't get caught in one of these little tempests.

Because the US does not require that an offshore yacht carry an EPIRB, or a life raft, or a host of other safety gear, many US yachts don't have such gear on board. The US doesn't require any proof of competency before a yacht can go offshore. For that matter, when you decide to leave the US and sail to another country, you do not need to go through any checkout formalities at all.

Maybe licensing is a good idea, but I wouldn't say that it will prevent some, or even many, of the accidents that befall boats when they go to sea. I look at licensing other boats as a way to keep us a bit safer, though you shouldn't count on that guy over there knowing enough to keep himself (and you) out of trouble, no matter what his licenses and experience are.
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Old 03-13-2007, 06:16 PM   #13
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To me it seems obvious that the best way to go would be to have an internationally accepted standard. But that seems unlikely. We have that in principal regarding the certification of aircraft pilots and ships officers but in practise many certificates are not recognised on ships or planes if the nationality of the craft is different to that of the issuer of the certificate.

Regarding yachts in particular, if your yacht has US flag then US requirements have to be met. If your yacht has South African flag then SA requirements have to be met. My yacht flies a Swedish flag and guess what - Swedish requirements have to be met. Another state has no legal right to impose its standards of certification upon foreign vessels unless they operate within the waters of that state. This means that a yacht registered in the U.K. can visit a South African port and R.S.A. has no right whatsoever to demeand S.A. certification levels upon that yacht. Unless it concerns an comercial venture solely within the waters of a that foreign state it has no right whatsoever to impose its national legislation upon a foreign vessel (regarding certification that is).

This subject is a pet hate of mine. I have pointed out in prvious discussions that I have a good friend who commanded South African warships in the past. He does not have a yactmaster certificate or a commercial license and so, according to the present legislation, is not entitled to command a SA yacht. He, I believe quite rightly, refuses to submit to an examination by a SAMSA inspector who knows far less about seamanship than my friend does. (I once met a SAMSA inspector who had never heard of a gunter rig!)

For my own part, I have held a Masters F.G. certificate which equates to the present class 1 certificate. That certificate became invalid because I had not sailed in commercial vessels for a period of more than 5 years, although I had commanded Coast Guard vessels during that time and sailed on the Swedish Navy's topsail schooner H.M.S. Falken. The irony of the situation is that I am still legally entitled to sail in any capacity on ships not covered by the ICTCW convention (i.e. warships, coast guard vessels, fleet auxilliaries etc.) but could be stopped from commanding my own boat. I absolutely refuse to submit to any form of examination as a yachtmaster as, in Sweden, these are usually carried out by well intentioned (and relatively knowledgable) people who however are not professional seamen. That may be an arrogant attitude but I will rather give up sailing than change.

I am the first to endorse efforts to attain a globaly recognised level of certification for pleasure boaters and commercial opperators (including naval officers) but the system has to be fair and just and based upon real knowledge and experience. Until then, we are going to have the present "mixtue" of rules and interpretions of these rules which have little to dowith real knowledge and experience.

Aye

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Old 03-16-2007, 10:49 AM   #14
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Is it possible to sail to different countries without a Country registration for the boat?
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