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Old 24-12-2014, 01:37   #16
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

i am a firm believer in courses but they must be backed up with practical experience on your own boat or charter. if you are honest with yourself while taking a course and with an open mind you will begin to understand what you don't know and that just may well not happen in an unstructured environment where you may ever realize a simple mistake was made and overcome because capt did not tell you or explain how he worked tides,wind currents to get the boat where he wanted it.

in dec 2000 we had never been on a saiboat and took asa 101. we followed that up with 2 more asa courses 103 and 104 and then 106 i think. we chartered a couple times and bought our boat in 2003. we got lucky as we lived in miami so we could sail almost every weekend. we set out almost 8 years ago and made many mistakes but the base knowledge our instuctor departed to us served us well.

Are we not great sailors - we are not even good sailors but we got a ton of miles under our keel and a 2 person atlantic crossing that would have never happened without the structured lessons.
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Old 24-12-2014, 01:42   #17
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Both give way and stand-on vessels have obligations. One source of loose terminology is racing; the racing rules (applicable only among racers) still have a right-of-way concept.
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Old 24-12-2014, 03:54   #18
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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Originally Posted by rgscpat View Post
Both give way and stand-on vessels have obligations. One source of loose terminology is racing; the racing rules (applicable only among racers) still have a right-of-way concept.
agreed, although we were not discussing racing - that is a whole different ballgame.
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Old 24-12-2014, 04:31   #19
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

I believe you're talking RYA certs and not ASA?
After having sailed for a few months with a Brit this summer
I don't think they are comparable. I know how to sail & navigate
But have no certs. To me getting ASA certs would be a wast of time and money
However getting at least Coastal Skipper from the RYA to me would be worth it
Because I consider it more of an achievement and to be a much more serious
Credential. As far as I know there is no formal requirements to go from there to
Yachtmaster except putting yourself up for the exam and passing.
I earned PADI basic in college thru the PE department
30 hours in the pool, 30 hours in the classroom
Way more than a 3 day course in the pool at a resort
Go ask one of those Graduates to explain Partial Pressure
And do a complex calculation of decompression for a
Multiple dive to different depths holiday.
My point being that certs are worth something
If the accrediting organization has credibility
IMHO RYA certs are worth more than ASA
It's a Way more serious organization
I'd be interested in what others think about RYA v ASA
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Old 24-12-2014, 04:34   #20
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Time2Go View Post
I believe you're talking RYA certs and not ASA?
After having sailed for a few months with a Brit this summer
I don't think they are comparable. I know how to sail & navigate
But have no certs. To me getting ASA certs would be a wast of time and money
However getting at least Coastal Skipper from the RYA to me would be worth it
Because I consider it more of an achievement and to be a much more serious
Credential. As far as I know there is no formal requirements to go from there to
Yachtmaster except putting yourself up for the exam and passing.
I earned PADI basic in college thru the PE department
30 hours in the pool, 30 hours in the classroom
Way more than a 3 day course in the pool at a resort
Go ask one of those Graduates to explain Partial Pressure
And do a complex calculation of decompression for a
Multiple dive to different depths holiday.
My point being that certs are worth something
If the accrediting organization has credibility
IMHO RYA certs are worth more than ASA
It's a Way more serious organization
I'd be interested in what others think about RYA v ASA
I know I'll probably get flamed for this. I don't really know the ins and outs of US certification, but it is my impression that the european certs are far more comprehensive and serious than the US certs.

Just an opinion - be glad to hear from someone who has done both.
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Old 24-12-2014, 07:53   #21
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
A big difference between Lake Ontario and BC - tides ( up to 18 feet) and currents (up 16 knots).
I understand that there is a difference between sailing on Lake Ontario and BC.
We have talked to boaters that have either started sailing in Victoria or moved to Victoria and they say that there is challenges in both waterways.

Like you said no tides on Lake Ontario but we have shorter fetches which can make for rougher rides. Micro bursts not uncommon , Just about every boater that I have talked to in this area has been knocked over when crossing to the US.

I personal have found that boaters here are more relaxed about boating. I am a power boater but I am interested in sailing ,I just love being on the water. When I talk to sail boaters around here about learning to sail they just say take a basic sailing course , buy a cheap sail boat and learn that way.

I don't want you to think that I take boating lightly , I have 2 personal friends who are Sar techs, One in Trenton Ontario and one in Gander NL.

I was just proposing a way to get more water experience in general.

I know for me if I could find a way to get coastal experience to learn tides and currents I would jump at the chance.

Rob
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Old 24-12-2014, 08:41   #22
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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Originally Posted by rgscpat View Post
Practice and rehearsal time are also valuable; one of the faults of "zero to hero" condensed courses is that they often don't give students enough time to strongly internalize and perfect what's being learned.
I think this is the heart of the issue. We sailed over 5 weeks last year and it "seemed" to be a better learning experience than the week-long liveaboard courses. Of course I realize that the 5 weeks would never have happened without the base knowledge imparted by the courses. At the end of the day sailing dollars are precious and I guess I'm trying to be miserly.

Thanks for all the great insight everyone. Maybe I won't give up quite yet, but I think I will be a lot more choosey about what curriculum I chase.
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Old 24-12-2014, 08:44   #23
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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If you really want to go around Vancouver Island, PM me. I will probably have something this year.

At the Vancouver Boat Show I am doing a seminar on Advantages of Instruction for Certification & Informal Learning. So I am doing some introspection.

Advantages of Instruction for Certification & Informal Learning * w/ Jack Dale | Official site of the Vancouver International Boat Show | Vancouver, British Columbia
Thanks Jack. I have been looking at a couple of options for around the island. Nanaimo Yacht Charters is going out in May and my old instructor Tim Melville is tagging along as well in his boat. I might drop you a note after the holidays to see what you plans are or even try and catch you in Vancouver as we are going to the show this year.
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Old 24-12-2014, 09:10   #24
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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I am starting to doubt the value of official certification. Apart from eventually getting an IYT Bareboat certificate (which as far as I can tell can be challenged) so I can sail in Croatia, I wonder if I really need to shell out the bucks to keep on.

At this point I have done Competent Crew and Day Skipper for both sail and power, obtained my VHF license and done a coastal navigation course. I realize that its not enough and the learning will never end, but it seems to me that getting a boat with an experienced skipper and sailing around Vancouver Island is as practical a way to learn and probably a bit less stressful than worrying about passing exams and obtaining "official" training.

But the more threads and websites I read, the more I see people talking about passing ASA twelve billion and one. At this point, I might still sign up for a "Passage Making" course, but it just seems a bit empty to worry about actually sweating the course work or gaining the certification. I mean, if I offered an old salt $1000 to let me work on his boat for a week during a passage, wouldn't that stretch my $2500 course fee a hell of lot longer?

Opinions?
All you actually need to sail in Croatia is a valid "certificate of competence" such as the ICC which if you have a Day Skipper ticket from RYA you can get free. Along with a VHF licence if you are bareboat chartering.

As for other certificates nothing beats hands on experience but nothing makes gaining that experience easier than knowledge beforehand. I certainly don't recommend the trial and error technique of learning with a £100K boat!

I agree with other posters that the most important knowledge is the Collision Regulations. It scares the willies out of me that in the UK there is no formal requirement to have any form of sailing certificate meaning you can buy a high power motorboat and take it out at 35kts on the sea without any knowledge of the rules of the sea. Imagine doing that in a Ferrari on the road?? We've seen and had a few instances where charter skippers don't know the rules or appear to have chosen to ignore the Coll Regs.

Keiron
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Old 24-12-2014, 12:02   #25
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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I know I'll probably get flamed for this. I don't really know the ins and outs of US certification, but it is my impression that the european certs are far more comprehensive and serious than the US certs.

Just an opinion - be glad to hear from someone who has done both.
I'm addressing licenses versus sailing certificates so may be misreading your statement. As to USCG versus Yachtmaster, I haven't done both but have selected courses from both and looked at the programs and differences. I wouldn't agree with European being more comprehensive and serious. Now we do have obvious prejudice as both my wife and I have 200 Ton Masters Near Coastal and continue working toward more. I find that they both cover things differently and one isn't better than the other. We've taken several courses that are part of the Yachtmaster program simply because we felt they covered things better. On the other hand we've seen areas of emphasis in the US program that are covered less on the Yachtmaster side. Also in looking at experience and hands on. The US side requires much more sea time while the Yachtmaster side requires the practical examination. Because of the practical exam, Yachtmaster courses tend to have more hands on as well. I think the two have moved closer as STCW has entered the fray but not as close as hoped.

I personally would not value one over the other or rate one higher. In fact, in some areas we've sought training required by neither. We've been through advanced medical officer and fire fighting training and have rescue in our sights.

We take more courses because we enjoy them and feel a benefit. Because we don't really have the need for the license we feel free to select courses at this point that interest us.

I would also say both paths are heavily directed to power and even for the sail endorsements the coverage is minimum.

Yachtmaster does tend to be a little more directed toward commercial from what I see as well.
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Old 24-12-2014, 15:35   #26
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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my old instructor Tim Melville


Tim and I go back about 30 years.
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Old 24-12-2014, 18:36   #27
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

As far as I can tell there are 3 reasons to get certifications.

- Regulatory - The government where you sail/plan to sail requires a certification for the type of boating you intend to do. e.g. Singapore requires a license to skipper any Singapore registered boat with an engine. Most countries require a license for commercial ops.

- Qualification - A charter company or 3rd party requires documentation of competency for personal, insurance or other reasons.

- Skill - One wants to learn in a structured way.

I have a Singapore license, competent crew but nothing else. This has satisfied all my sailing needs. I have chartered multiple times (in the US and Asia) and have always provided my sailing resume in advance. This includes boat ownership period, racing achievements (i.e. Regatta wins and places) and significant passage making (domestic and international) - I have never been refused a charter but have always had to do some sort of checkout which is always insurance related.

My sense is that things are tightening up compared to 20 years ago. Cynically I don't think it is much about boat safety and may be more about the AYA and RSA driving up business.
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Old 24-12-2014, 19:20   #28
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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As far as I can tell there are 3 reasons to get certifications.

- Regulatory - The government where you sail/plan to sail requires a certification for the type of boating you intend to do. e.g. Singapore requires a license to skipper any Singapore registered boat with an engine. Most countries require a license for commercial ops.

- Qualification - A charter company or 3rd party requires documentation of competency for personal, insurance or other reasons.

- Skill - One wants to learn in a structured way.
Skill would be our reason but I'd add to that with the pursuit of knowledge. We spend about 280 days a year on the water, cover an outrageous number of miles in a year and we just want to know as much as we can about what we're doing. It will be a lifetime pursuit of reading, taking more classes, and refining skills.

Perhaps we go to what many would feel is excess in our quest for knowledge but we enjoy it and feel challenged by some of it. We also have read the manuals of all our electronics and learned all their functions and practiced using them.

As to regulatory we will probably run across countries that require licensing along the way but that wasn't really our reason. Also, while insurance liked the fact we were licensed, I don't think it impacted our rate at all.

Your use of the word "structured" also is very true for us. We could have just randomly started taking courses but the structure provides a logical learning path.
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Old 24-12-2014, 19:34   #29
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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pushed me off telling me to work upwind first so it'll be easy to get back. Best lesson I ever got.... :

2 Hulls Dave
That plan still holds for me. Mine was a Super Porpoise. I still work upwind with guests on a day-sail.
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Old 24-12-2014, 20:00   #30
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

I did a number of the ASA courses. I documented my hours for the Captain's license, but didn't see much value in taking another course just to get a certificate.

I think experience, training and knowledge are incredibly valuable for anyone who sails or cruises. There are many ways to gain, these skills, certification programs being just one way. I think a certificate can be valuable depending on one's goals, but it's really just a piece of paper that has no inherent value in and of itself.

For me, having any certificate, even a basic power squadron boating course, gets me a small discount on insurance. Having a few instructor certifications helped me because I taught sailing. The Captain's license would obviously have a high value, if I wanted to take people out for hire, but I don't.
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