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Sailing Far - Blog

What Certification is Required to Charter a Boat Outside of the US?

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Chartering a boat can be an exciting and fulfilling adventure, allowing you to explore beautiful destinations and enjoy the freedom of the open seas. While many individuals dream of chartering a boat, it's essential to understand the certification requirements, particularly when venturing outside of the United States. Each country has its own set of regulations and certifications needed to operate a boat, ensuring safety and compliance with local laws. In this article, we will explore the certifications required to charter a boat outside of the US and provide an overview of the international standards that govern recreational boating. When planning to charter a boat abroad, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the international standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Recreational Craft Directive (RCD). These organizations establish guidelines and regulations that countries often adopt to ensure safety and consistency in recreational boating.

The most common certification required for chartering a boat outside of the US is the International Certificate of Competence (ICC). The ICC is an internationally recognized document that verifies an individual's competence in operating a recreational vessel. It serves as proof that the holder has acquired the necessary skills and knowledge to handle a boat safely and responsibly.

To qualify for an ICC, it is generally required to have a certain level of boating experience and knowledge. This typically includes demonstrating proficiency in navigation, boat handling, safety procedures, and understanding of international boating regulations. Please note that ICC is primarily intended for recreational use and is not suitable for commercial or professional maritime activities. In addition to the ICC, some countries may have specific certification requirements based on their own regulations. For example, the British Royal Yachting Association (RYA) offers a range of qualifications that are widely recognized and accepted worldwide. These qualifications, such as the RYA Day Skipper or RYA Coastal Skipper, provide a comprehensive training program that covers various aspects of boating, including navigation, seamanship, and meteorology. It is crucial to research and understand the specific certification requirements of the country you intend to charter a boat in. Some countries may accept alternative certifications or have additional local requirements. For instance, some regions in the Mediterranean may require a VHF radio operator's

license or proof of medical fitness. In the United States, for example, the American Sailing Association (ASA) offers an International Proficiency Certificate (IPC) to individuals who already possess the ASA 104 (Bareboat Cruising) certification. While this certificate may be accepted in some charter companies, it is not officially recognized by governments as an equivalent certification to ICC.

NauticEd, a leading sailing instruction program, is offering the International Sailing License and Credentials - SLC. The International Sailing License and Credentials (SLC) is a recreational sailing license valid for all yacht charter companies worldwide including Europe and the Seychelles. To gain an SLC, the candidate must take online theory knowledge self-paced classes, log previous sufficient sailing experience on boats of reasonably similar size, and demonstrate practical sailing skills according to internationally established sailing standards. To learn more about NauticEd SLC - read our article: NauticEd SLC: A Pathway to International Sailing Certification.

To ensure a smooth chartering experience, Neptune's Daughter will assist in finding what certificates and criteria are required by the charter company or a local maritime authority in the destination country. They can provide detailed information about the necessary certifications and any additional requirements you need to fulfill. It's always better to be well-prepared and compliant with the local regulations to avoid any potential complications during your trip. In conclusion, chartering a boat outside of the US requires a thorough understanding of the certification requirements in the destination country. The International Certificate of Competence (ICC) is widely recognized and serves as proof of an individual's competence in operating a recreational vessel. However, each country may have additional regulations or alternative certifications that need to be considered. Researching and contacting local authorities or charter companies in the destination country is crucial to ensure compliance and a safe and enjoyable chartering experience. Remember, proper certification not only ensures your safety but also demonstrates your respect for local laws and regulations.

Want to find out what certification is required in your destination?

Contact us at or call: 201.212.5352

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