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Old 09-26-2005, 08:05 AM   #1
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Default Licensing/qualifications for cruising

Has anyone been asked (or know of anyone else that has been asked) for any sort of license or qualification to sail into any country i.e. International Certificate of Competence?
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Old 09-26-2005, 08:55 AM   #2
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Although I understand that New Zealand and South Africa require a demonstration of competence for their own sailors to go offshore from their country, these countries do not request, nor require, any demonstration of competence from any foreign cruising yacht arriving in their country. To my knowledge there are no such requirements. Perhaps countries assume that the foreign sailor arriving in their country has demonstrated his/her competence by arriving safely. Most countries don't require demonstration of competence for its own citizens sailing in their own country's waters.
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Old 09-26-2005, 06:48 PM   #3
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Jen, in the European Union's open waters (eastern Atlantic, Med, North Sea and adjacent waters), skippers are required by the EU to carry an International Certificate of Competency (ICC) when outside their home waters. This ICC may have the world 'international' on it but it does not relate to any global syllabus nor does this exact requirement to my knowledge exist elsewhere...even tho' foreign (non-EU) skippers are still expected to carry and display an ICC on occasion when clearing into a given port. Consequently, some of us from outside the EU but in EU waters will carry another certificate of some kind that we 'claim' is our ICC (e.g. I carry some USCG Auxiliary course completion certificates) and of course a local official in Italy or Malta isn't going to know the difference, anyway. It just avoids hassles and allows the completion of paperwork...and of course it's the paperwork itself that is the driver here.

Some individual countries in Europe also require a somewhat unique certificate when using inland canals; France is big on this for all users of its canals while The Netherlands requires only the carrying of a rules book (Deel 1) and mandates compliance with its many rules (all of them in Dutch, BTW; a version in any other language doesn't exist!). As I recall, above a certain size boat, the Dutch require a certificate, as well.

In the USA a number of individual states have established a mandatory licensing or certificate program for citizens under the age of 18. I haven't been boating in the USA for some years now and have lost track of whether this has been extended by any of these states to include those of all ages. (A check at www.boatus.com would provide you with this info if you want it). In USA waters this means a resident of a given state may be required to hold such a certificate but be boating in the same waters as a visitor from another state who doesn't have this requirement, certainly an odd situation in the eyes of the resident.

New Zealand had previously administered a mandatory vessel compliance program for ALL boats about to leave New Zealand waters, the rationale for this being a careful inspection of the vessel might reduce the number of rescue operations the Kiwi govt. otherwise has to fund. This gave NZ a black eye in the sailing community and was later rescinded after govt. elections put a new party in power, but I now notice that it has recently been reinstalled and is again vigorously enforced.

These examples come to mind only because I happen to have experienced them personally (or in NZ's case, heard about it via the friendship grapevine). I'm sure there are many more examples around the world among First World countries who have the govt. resources and bureaucratic mindset to think this is a necessary govt. activity. E.g. I'll believe I have heard that Japan has such a requirement and it wouldn't surprise me if Australia operated some kind of minimum crew and vessel standards program these days. I don't think this kind of info has been centrally collected anywhere, however.

Jack
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Old 09-26-2005, 08:02 PM   #4
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In Australia each state has a marine operators licence that requires a skipper to have completed a course and this licience is recognised by other states in Australia but it seems that a yacht from overseas need not comply. It's hard to find out much about it as it was only legislated 15 months ago and I suspect not very well thought out for the yachting faternity. There is, of course, required equipment on board for open water cruising in the area of safety and comunications.

It seems that no authorities are really interested in checking yacht skippers unless there has been a mishap.

Regards to all

Peter bedouin@hotkey.net.au
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Old 09-28-2005, 04:36 PM   #5
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This issue of certification really riles me!

I have...no had....a Swedish masters foreign going certificate of competency. In other words I was authorised by the Swedish state to command any merchant vessel anywhere in the world. This I did for a while before going to work for the state itself. After working on non merchant vessels for five years I was informed that my certificate would not be renewed as service on such vessls as warships, customs craft, coats guard vessels and police boats etc. does not count towards qualifying sea time. Great! I contnue to work at sea on a government vessel but with no certificate of competency....nor is one required as such vessels are exempt from normal STCW rules.

What happens I wonder the day I sail into a foreign port on my yacht and I can't produce a valid certificate of competency? Of course I could take a yachtmaster exam but refuse on priciple. Having sailed boats for almost 40 years and having qualified as a ship master I see no reason to. (I can be a little obstinate at times)

The bottom line (and this is really bizarre) is that I could take my 7.6 metre yacht into a South African port (where certification of yachtmasters is compulsary)and possibly be fined for not having such a certificate but should I take a state ship of several thousand tons into the same port then this would be legal [?]

Note however that Sweden requires only a course certificate and not a certificate of competency for yacht skippers so I am still legal in Sweden (I think) but things change quickly.

If we are going to have certification of yachtsmen - and I think we should - then the entire system of certification needs to be reviewed.
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Old 09-28-2005, 05:27 PM   #6
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Hi Nausikaa

Re your reference to a South African port in your post above.

If you sail in on a "foreign" yacht (from a foreign port or have checked in to any SA port on your journey) you ARE allowed to leave port and continue to another SA port or another country. You would be considered "competent" to have arrived in SA.

However, "competency" needs to be proved by South Africans wishing to leave SA ports.

I just needed to clarify this as a large circumnavigating fleet is en-route to South Africa (already starting to arrive for this "season") so they don't need to start panicking about their documentation.

For those reading this thread, download the very informative FREE ebook "Welcome to Durban - a Sailor's Guide" by Tony Herrick from:

http://www.cruisingconnections.co.za

For the record, I am in favour of certification of competency, although there are HIGHLY competent sailors out there with no certification at all.
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Old 09-28-2005, 09:58 PM   #7
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Jen, if you or anyone else reading this thread would like to dig deeper into the skipper certification requirements of a given country, one possible resource is noonsite.com If they have so such info on file for the country of interest, you can seek info from other visitors to that site.

Jack
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Old 09-29-2005, 01:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by JenE

Has anyone been asked (or know of anyone else that has been asked) for any sort of license or qualification to sail into any country i.e. International Certificate of Competence?
You will be asked for an ICC if you wish to transit inland waters in France, but interestingly it is not a formal requirement for French coastal or offshore sailing.

No current formal requirement for an ICC in the UK, and I've never been asked to produce anything for Portugal, Spain, Greece or BVI's.

Hope this helps

JOHN
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Old 09-30-2005, 02:42 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reply.

I think the attitude adopted by SAMSA, i.e. that a yacht arriving from overseas has already shown its competence generally reflects a sound assumption. There are exceptions to this of course but there again there always are, certificated or not.

I too believe in certification of all users of watercraft but what I was objecting to was the high level of bureaucracy ands the low ledvel of common sense. I am not saying the regulations are not needed - they most cedrtainly are. What I am saying though is that they don't reflect the reality of many situations.

Regarding South Africa, the situation there is, I believe, very much the same as in Sewden. I have a good frien who lives in Hout Bay. He commanded a ton-class minesweeper in the S.A.Navy and yet he cannot take his sons small yacht to sea legally as he has no yachtmaster certificate.

My experience has shown that those most in need of some form of training and certification are not cruising yachtsmen as we, as a rule, take our boating seriously and are keen to know more about it but rather those who whizz around in ski boats and jet skis and, to a lesser extent, windsurfedrs. All of these groups may know how to handle theri own fast and highly manouverable craft but seldom understand the limitation of other water users, especially large commercial craft.

My message is definately yes to training and yes to certification implemented with a measure of good common sense

Cheers all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by admin

Hi Nausikaa

Re your reference to a South African port in your post above.

If you sail in on a "foreign" yacht (from a foreign port or have checked in to any SA port on your journey) you ARE allowed to leave port and continue to another SA port or another country. You would be considered "competent" to have arrived in SA.
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Old 10-03-2005, 03:10 PM   #10
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Just to add to what I wrote above, it may be of interest to note that in thirty years of sailing as a ship's officer and a little more as a yachtsman I have never been asked for to show a certificate of competency when commanding a yacht and only once as a ship's officer! That was in Rotterdam.

Sacry really - but I suppose to a certain extent maritime authorities trust the integrity of relaible shipping companies not flying flags of convenience. Also, I suspect, the flag state's maritime authority does run checks against the ship's articles when they come in ..... but by then the damage could already be done.

Cheers

Stephen // yacht Nausikaa
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Old 10-09-2005, 07:14 PM   #11
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Hi JenE,

I've just read in a UK magazine that the overall EU requirements on sailing qualifications are supposed to reflect the qualifications required in the ships home waters. In essence this means if you are required to hold certificates in the USA - you'll also need those in the EU.

But as I've posted before - no-one has ever asked me for certificates in my EU travels - but just maybe thats because the UK itself has no such requirement? Dunno.

Good luck

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Old 10-22-2005, 08:40 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the comments. The International Certificate of Competence seems to be an EU thing, although the Canadians are phasing one in by 2009 for foreign boats that stay for more than 45 days. Certainly it is being asked for in Croatia but a friends answer that he got from Australia to there OK seemed to suffice. Other countries that might ask are Germany, Greece, Italy, Denmark (required if over 20 tonnes), Portugal, Spain and Turkey. The few that have been asked are getting by with some sort of qualification from their country of registry.

As far as I can find out, one can only obtain an International Certificate of Competency in Europe - so Im not sure why anyone else is even expected to have one!

Australians generally require licences in all states except the NT (WA had just started phasing them in) - however, as licences are only required for boats that do 10 knots or more in NSW you'd need a fast one! In theory there are lengths of time an international boat can avoid the licence issue (3 months in NSW), but I suspect in practice a blind eye is turned to them.

Jenny
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Old 10-24-2005, 08:21 PM   #13
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Hi JenE,

We sailed out of WA for close to 20 years but relocated to the UK in 1997. When did they bring in local licensing regs - and what are they now?

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 10-25-2005, 08:35 PM   #14
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At the moment only 14 to 17 year olds in WA must have a Small Craft Proficiency Certificate. By 2008 everyone will need to be licensed to operate a boat with a motor (don't know what size boat or motor) and will need to do a one day BoatSafe course to qualify.

Jenny
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