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Old 10-08-2017, 17:33   #1
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certification I can work with

hello everybody.
I have recently decided that I want to get a sailing certification that I can use to get a job in the chartering/touring industry.
the specific company I would like to work for is Yacht Week.
I see via their website that they accept RYA Yachtmaster Coastal, ASA106 Advanced Coastal, and IYT certifications.
I've grown up dingy sailing and have done a good amount of keelboat sailing for both pleasure and work [as crew] on 32'-60' boats on the East Coast of the USA, Hawaii, and Australia.
however because I have always been a lacky and not a skipper, I have never learned engine/navigation/course plotting.
so those are definite holes in my sailing game and something I really do need to learn.

right now I live in Seattle, WA and am trying to figure out the best way I can get certified.
the USCG Oceanmaster is way beyond my documentation and completely out of the question right now.
the ASA certs seem very pricey and from what I hear, not very desirable outside the U.S., which I do plan to mostly work internationally.
the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal seems like one that is recognized internationally and also gives you solid skills...
but without any navigation experience I have no clue where I should jump in.
would I have to start at the bottom with competent crew and work my way up? or is it possible to get a sailing book that covers navigation thoroughly and learn myself then do the Day Skipper?
there are no RYA training centers anywhere even remotely close to me and the travel fees to transit back and forth to take these courses would add a huge amount to the cost of getting certified.
am I over-estimating the difficulty of the Day Skipper course?
any RYA certified skippers able to comment or point me in the right direction?

sorry for this post being a bit lengthy.
I just wanted to get the facts out.
THANK YOU for any information and perspective!
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Old 10-08-2017, 17:47   #2
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Re: certification I can work with

The RYA yachtmaster will be the most useful if Yacht Week falls through and you need a plan B. A USCG ticket will be necessary if you want to do captain work in the US.
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Old 10-08-2017, 17:55   #3
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Re: certification I can work with

that's what I was thinking Benz.
I may also want to find work outside of Yacht Week even if it does go smoothly.
would hate to invest time & money in a certification just to have to do it all over again.
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Old 10-08-2017, 18:36   #4
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Re: certification I can work with

I'm ASA certified through bareboat instructor. I accumulated my Captain's license time but never took the test. In my opinion a huge bias with the captain's license, but a bias you can exploit is that it doesn't differentiate in how sea time is accumulated. You can crew on other people's boats being little more than rail meat and it counts just the same as captaining a boat solo on a difficult cruise. (At least this was the case a few years ago. Check current regs) The test from what I've seen requires some basic theoretical knowledge of engines, but no proven hands on experience. You can buy a captain's license prep book and CD and take a prep course for less than a single ACA instructor's course typically costs. Sadly, those who study what the captain's license is likely to ask about engines may do better than those who have actually maintained their own inboard engines for years.

I focused on instructor courses even though they were more expensive because my goal was always to teach professionally and personally, not charter.

Some things to consider: Do you want to charter, teach or both? If you want to teach will you be doing so in waters and in boats requiring a captain's license? Cruising boats on Puget Sound a most probable yes, teaching dingy sailing on an inland lake, perhaps not. This is by the way one if the most misrepresented issues I see here: people saying you need a Captain's license to teach sailing on any U.S. waters in any boat. This is absolutely false. There are thousands of sailing instructors teaching sailing on small boats on inland lakes who don't have their captain's license and legally don't need one. Also to consider: how easily can you you document your lackey time as need be for the Captain's license?
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Old 10-08-2017, 19:51   #5
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Re: certification I can work with

To work commercially as a skipper you need a USCG 6 pack which requires 360 days on a boat or a YachtMaster which requires 2,500 sea miles.

After that you need experience...there are no shortcuts and lesser qualifications are a waste of time and money.

It appers that Yacht Week will hire skippers with the minimalistic Yachtmaster Coastal qualification which is only 800 sea miles and 30 days at sea but you competition will be full Yachtmasters.
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Old 11-08-2017, 02:00   #6
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Re: certification I can work with

I agree on all fronts.
but I have to do the best with what I have.
without 360 for the USCG-OUPV or 720 for the Oceanmaster nor 2500 miles for Yachtmaster Offshore...
I am left with the options I have.
do you consider the Yachtmaster Coastal a waste of time?
it would get me into the job I want, gaining additional miles and experience skippering until I can qualify for one of the above.

if after acquiring the certification that I need, I felt that I wasn't ready to skipper for this company then I would do the right thing and hold off applying.
both for my safety and the passengers.

as for what you said nautical62...
yeah, it does seem like you can just rack up days yawning onboard a boat as crew.
but 720 is still a ton.
just doing some quick math I have around 140 days that I can prove.
and I have contacted all the skippers I have worked and cruised with and they are all able to provide details on my time spent with them.
so, luckily for me, this is no problem.
teaching might be a focus for me later down the road but it isn't something I am thinking about now.
I have given some very basic introductory lessons to people before whom it's their first or second time in a dingy and just want to feel comfortable maneuvering around the marina.
when I was in Croatia I got to experience the Adriatic Sea and I fell in love with it.
so my goal is to meet the requirements [both the employers and my own] and start spending my time introducing people to that amazing body of water.

if I do go for the RYA, I will probably need to familiarize myself with the British terminology.
I feel like navigation is navigation anywhere.
I could probably go through a book like Annapolis Book of Seamanship to learn that aspect and it would carry over into the RYA curriculum?
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:38   #7
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Re: certification I can work with

In my opinion RYA is the best. I looked into starting an RYA school but, apparently, that is not allowed in the US. Have ASA cert & USCG Masters. Both helpful even outside US especially in Caribbean. Read Chapmans & Annapolis. Get lots of sea time and document it with signatures. I found "Get Your Captains License" helpful, especially the CD. Look into US Sailing. I would like to see their program grow.
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:05   #8
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Re: certification I can work with

Quote:
Originally Posted by magellanyachts View Post
In my opinion RYA is the best. I looked into starting an RYA school but, apparently, that is not allowed in the US.
not allowed?
when I use the RYA school finder it shows a couple in the US.
Blue Water Training in Florida
Yachting Education in Maryland
Confident Captain Ocean Pro's in Rhode Island
how long ago did you look into it? maybe laws have changed since then?
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:11   #9
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Re: certification I can work with

Sorry, but let me shoot a few holes through what has been stated.

Yacht Week does have some poorly "qualified" folks running some of their boats.

Lots of instructors in the US don't have USCG licenses of whatever level.

Neither is, in fact, necessarily legal. Assuming that, in both cases, paying passengers are involved, a professional license of some sort is required. ASA instructor in the US, and don't believe me? Ask the USCG and they will tell you the same, as long as the passengers are paying. Yacht Week captain, and don't believe me? Ask whoever is the authority in whatever company you are working in that week, and see what their answer is.

Not worried because of sketchy enforcement? Well, the ultimate enforcer is actually the insurance industry. At the bottom of every policy is a clause that says the vessel is being operated legally. Folks tend to believe this means you aren't smuggling drugs or somesuch, but the insurance companies will tell you that doing charters without legally licensed captains voids the insurance at the inception. That means they don't pay. And, you get busted.

I am not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but there is a reason for all of this, and that is that when people are paying for a ride (and yes, instruction is a paid ride, if the students are paying), there is an expectation of a level of expertise that is generally defined by a license. The insurance companies share that expectation.

For what it is worth, I am a USCG licensed Master who has worked as a captain and ASA instructor in the BVI for many years. In addition to the ASA instructor certifications for many levels, I need a BVI (Caribbean) Boat Master's license to legally work here. It can be studied and tested for, or it can be and is granted to those with the requisite COMMERCIAL Yachtmaster's ticket, or an appropriate USCG license. The USCG requires several internationally required extra certifications for international work, which this is. This includes STCW and a Leadership Course. In most countries, including the BVI, one also is required to have some other documentation, such as a work permit. You can't just drop in and take paying passengers for payment!

I have personally seen some pretty poor seamanship in Sail Week flotillas and I have raised my eyebrows when former students of mine have said they are using only the ASA certification to work for Sail Week. In the BVI, at least, unless these folks have at least a Temporary Work Permit, which would require appropriate licenses, it's just a matter of time till they get busted. Badly.

With regard to the "quality" of USCG vs RYA licenses, it's a constant discussion in the international small charter boat community.

Basically, the USCG requires much more "time", which serves as an apprenticeship. Yes, there are those who fudge their way around this, but the idea is that, if you have had 720 days at sea (required for the Master's license which is the only one that's valid internationally), you are probably pretty decent at reacting to situations and emergencies and difficulties that may arise. And, I can tell you that the tests are no joke, even if you go to one of the "mills" that just tried to get you through. You will still learn a lot.

The RYA takes a different approach which is more formal and which requires a practical exam. That's a good thing, particularly since many of those taking the tests are much less experienced. It's not hard to run into a 21 year old captain who has passed all the required practical and theoretical exams, but who never even sailed seriously until he or she was maybe 19 and whose troubleshooting knowledge is mostly theoreticl.

Take your choice between experience or a practical exam. Each has its merits and I honestly think that both licenses should require both the time and the practical exam, but that will probably never happen.

Let me reiterate that the USCG test is not a joke. Neither is taking the five day STCW course nor the Leadership one. A good school will give you way more than your money's worth in these. I have no RYA experience, but I am sure those courses are also excellent.

Note that the USCG has some specific certifications like for Yacht Club water taxi drivers who are teens and some such. Giving instruction to non-paying folks obviously needs no license. But, if you plan on working as a professional, you need professional credentials to be legal, not to mentioned qualified.

Best of luck. It's not that high a mountain to climb, but climb you must.
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:56   #10
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Re: certification I can work with

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinosaur View Post
not allowed?
when I use the RYA school finder it shows a couple in the US.
Blue Water Training in Florida
Yachting Education in Maryland
Confident Captain Ocean Pro's in Rhode Island
how long ago did you look into it? maybe laws have changed since then?
Surprising. Looked into it last year. Check the RYA website. Will check again. Thanks. Might be that these schools offer courses outside US.
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:00   #11
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Re: certification I can work with

Quote:
Originally Posted by contrail View Post
Sorry, but let me shoot a few holes through what has been stated.

Yacht Week does have some poorly "qualified" folks running some of their boats.

Lots of instructors in the US don't have USCG licenses of whatever level.

Neither is, in fact, necessarily legal. Assuming that, in both cases, paying passengers are involved, a professional license of some sort is required. ASA instructor in the US, and don't believe me? Ask the USCG and they will tell you the same, as long as the passengers are paying. Yacht Week captain, and don't believe me? Ask whoever is the authority in whatever company you are working in that week, and see what their answer is.

Not worried because of sketchy enforcement? Well, the ultimate enforcer is actually the insurance industry. At the bottom of every policy is a clause that says the vessel is being operated legally. Folks tend to believe this means you aren't smuggling drugs or somesuch, but the insurance companies will tell you that doing charters without legally licensed captains voids the insurance at the inception. That means they don't pay. And, you get busted.

I am not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but there is a reason for all of this, and that is that when people are paying for a ride (and yes, instruction is a paid ride, if the students are paying), there is an expectation of a level of expertise that is generally defined by a license. The insurance companies share that expectation.

For what it is worth, I am a USCG licensed Master who has worked as a captain and ASA instructor in the BVI for many years. In addition to the ASA instructor certifications for many levels, I need a BVI (Caribbean) Boat Master's license to legally work here. It can be studied and tested for, or it can be and is granted to those with the requisite COMMERCIAL Yachtmaster's ticket, or an appropriate USCG license. The USCG requires several internationally required extra certifications for international work, which this is. This includes STCW and a Leadership Course. In most countries, including the BVI, one also is required to have some other documentation, such as a work permit. You can't just drop in and take paying passengers for payment!

I have personally seen some pretty poor seamanship in Sail Week flotillas and I have raised my eyebrows when former students of mine have said they are using only the ASA certification to work for Sail Week. In the BVI, at least, unless these folks have at least a Temporary Work Permit, which would require appropriate licenses, it's just a matter of time till they get busted. Badly.

With regard to the "quality" of USCG vs RYA licenses, it's a constant discussion in the international small charter boat community.

Basically, the USCG requires much more "time", which serves as an apprenticeship. Yes, there are those who fudge their way around this, but the idea is that, if you have had 720 days at sea (required for the Master's license which is the only one that's valid internationally), you are probably pretty decent at reacting to situations and emergencies and difficulties that may arise. And, I can tell you that the tests are no joke, even if you go to one of the "mills" that just tried to get you through. You will still learn a lot.

The RYA takes a different approach which is more formal and which requires a practical exam. That's a good thing, particularly since many of those taking the tests are much less experienced. It's not hard to run into a 21 year old captain who has passed all the required practical and theoretical exams, but who never even sailed seriously until he or she was maybe 19 and whose troubleshooting knowledge is mostly theoreticl.

Take your choice between experience or a practical exam. Each has its merits and I honestly think that both licenses should require both the time and the practical exam, but that will probably never happen.

Let me reiterate that the USCG test is not a joke. Neither is taking the five day STCW course nor the Leadership one. A good school will give you way more than your money's worth in these. I have no RYA experience, but I am sure those courses are also excellent.

Note that the USCG has some specific certifications like for Yacht Club water taxi drivers who are teens and some such. Giving instruction to non-paying folks obviously needs no license. But, if you plan on working as a professional, you need professional credentials to be legal, not to mentioned qualified.

Best of luck. It's not that high a mountain to climb, but climb you must.
Good info but must add "Demise Charter" is a way around USCG license if boat is chartered by student and instructor is hired as crew or instructor but not in charge of running the boat.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:11   #12
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Re: certification I can work with

AS you have lots of sea time already but, as you say, not done the nav stuff your start point could be to do they RYA shore based courses. This cover all the nave theory, rules of the road etc, is cheap and can be done as an online course. there is a 'day skipper' and 'coastal skipper' level. Once you have done that you can jump straight into the Yacht master program. Depending on experience it may be worth looking at the coastal skipper course which focuses on skippering skills like close quarters boat handling MOB etc. The yacht master is more about crew handling and running the boat and assumes your are an experienced skipper. Look through the syllabus or email one of the training schools who will be happy to advise you.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:14   #13
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Re: certification I can work with

Good information. Another loophole in the USCG license is operating on "Non-Navigable" waters. But that is really besides the point because that isn't what the OP is talking about anyway.

I'm not sure how The Yacht Week is getting around having a professional license and allowing their captains to work in the Med using the ASA 106 certification. That is interesting - I don't know enough about the regulations in the Med to comment. But I will tell you that getting your ASA 106 certification is going to be the easiest way to meet their requirements. I would also tell you that getting your RYA yachtmaster is going to be the most marketable certification you could get.

From what I have seen, The Yacht Week doesn't pay much. Looks like a lot of fun though - as long as you don't mind cleaning up a bit of puke here and there.

If you are serious - go for the Yachtmaster. If you just want to go be skipper on Yacht Week go for the ASA 106. If you are looking for a place to do your 106, come down to Grenada.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:54   #14
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Re: certification I can work with

“contrail” has set the record straight. Great advice, heed it.
If you have done all the sailing and voyaging you mentioned and if can get your previous skippers or boat owners to sign the Sea Service form (USCG-719S) under penalty of perjury, of course, you should go for the six-pack, or higher if you can document the tonnage. Ever sea day back to the age of fourteen will count.
Most USCG approved training programs are identical for six-pack (OUPV) through 200-ton Master. It’s all class room anyway (no practical like ASA and the others). Your ticket, when the USCG issues it, will be based on your sea time and in what tonnage. Any US documented vessel measuring at least 5 gross tons (GRT) or higher will get you at least a 25-ton Master with 720 sea days (there are provisions for credit on foreign vessels). Also a six-pack has an automatic exemption on tonnage up to 100 GRT, meaning you can operate a 100-ton vessel (domestic, inshore, 6 passengers max, no cargo) with your six-pack license.
The navigation module was longest, six days in the class room. All chart plotting and pilotage, no electronic, radar or celestial, those are extra classes. And, there is no instruction on engines and other vessel systems because they are all different. You can download most manuals for free or a small charge for every piece of equipment in the world. Do that and study it before you even get on a new boat.
I don’t know what a six-pack license looks like but the new USCG MMC (Merchant Mariner Credential) is an impressive looking document. I wish the FAA would issue something impressive looking instead of the cheapo paper, and now plastic, ones they’ve handed us for decades. Over 15,000 hrs. flying time in mostly multi-engine turbine aircraft ought to count for something.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:04   #15
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Re: certification I can work with

Quote:
Originally Posted by magellanyachts View Post
Good info but must add "Demise Charter" is a way around USCG license if boat is chartered by student and instructor is hired as crew or instructor but not in charge of running the boat.
Not really. It gets the charter company off the hook. Not understood by many is that a demise charter, which has its roots in WWII, when the US "chartered" lots of private yachts for things such as submarine patrols, transfers all rights and obligations of ownership to the charterer. Including the right to hire and fire the skipper (even if he or she is the owner) and everything else. Most guests don't have any idea that's what's entailed.

It's been a long time since I did demise charters in the US, and my memory may or may not be correct, but I think that if the passengers are paying, a license is still required. Not sure, but it's an easy question for the CG. Actually, if memory serves, the demise charter may have been used to get around six pac limitations (uninspected vessel) and maybe Jones Act requirements regarding boats built outside of the US. But I think that if people are paying you have to have a license. You would have to check. All this stuff is often ignored and violated, but if something goes amiss.....
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