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Old 22-12-2014, 13:03   #1
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Certification: Worth it?

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?

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Old 22-12-2014, 13:56   #2
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Well, I'm not familiar with the rules in Canada, but I've never had any formal classes or training whatsoever. My Dad rigged the Sailfish and pushed me off telling me to work upwind first so it'll be easy to get back. Best lesson I ever got.... That was some time ago, though...

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Old 22-12-2014, 14:29   #3
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

YMMV; I guess it all depends on your own circumstances and needs.
Someone new to boating who is about to spend a gazillion bucks on a brand spanking new 50 footer would probably save lots of money, depreciation, boat scars, and humiliation by taking all the classes they can get. Someone on a tight budget, with a different learning style, good opportunities to learn from others, a rich nautical background, or a lot of patience and risk tolerance, might do better by other methods.
What do you bring to the boat? What do you want to take from your sailing?
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Old 22-12-2014, 14:47   #4
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Either one can work well. It's all about the motivation of the student.

Go the route that sounds like the most fun to you. It's your money.
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Old 22-12-2014, 14:52   #5
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Sounds like a waste of time and money. Just get out on the water with experienced sailors as much as possible.

In my experience the only requirement to bareboat skipper a boat is that the check doesn't bounce.
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Old 22-12-2014, 15:21   #6
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

My bareboat instructor really turned me off as far as pursuing any more of these courses. She managed to "help" me "correct" two answers into wrong answers that I had correct on the written exam, yelled a lot, damaged the boat, sucked as an instructor, etc....
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Old 22-12-2014, 16:13   #7
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Snort, did the bad instructor's school/employer do anything about her?
Or do you want to "out" the school or help folks avoid a repeat experience?
I guess some careful "pre-dating" might help people cut down on bad experiences, but sometimes you just get unlucky.
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Old 22-12-2014, 16:38   #8
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
Well, I'm not familiar with the rules in Canada, but I've never had any formal classes or training whatsoever. My Dad rigged the Sailfish and pushed me off telling me to work upwind first so it'll be easy to get back. Best lesson I ever got.... That was some time ago, though...

2 Hulls Dave
That's how I "learned" to windsurf. But I didn't take the advice Let's just say is was a "drag" getting it back to the cabin.

All in all I've had good experiences, but at $200-300/day the instructors cost damn near as much as the boat. I suppose we could take those group lessons, but I am enough of an introvert that being stuck on a boat with strangers that I may or may not get along with frankly terrifies me
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Old 22-12-2014, 16:46   #9
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgscpat View Post
YMMV; I guess it all depends on your own circumstances and needs.
Someone new to boating who is about to spend a gazillion bucks on a brand spanking new 50 footer would probably save lots of money, depreciation, boat scars, and humiliation by taking all the classes they can get. Someone on a tight budget, with a different learning style, good opportunities to learn from others, a rich nautical background, or a lot of patience and risk tolerance, might do better by other methods.
What do you bring to the boat? What do you want to take from your sailing?
I like this answer!

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Old 23-12-2014, 17:40   #10
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Hi Bruce

After talking to you on other post ,I would say skip the courses and start sailing. You've done both power and sail courses . To me the money you save on chartering and courses you could get a pretty nice seaworthy boat to practice on.

One idea I would consider is purchasing a boat here on lake Ontario to get your experience. Sail boats are cheap in this area and dockage is reasonable. Lake Ontario will challenge you but there is always a safe harbour when things get nasty.

I know its a lot cheaper to go to Vancouver than come to Ontario but cost wise it might work out cheaper for you in the long run. Just an idea.

Have a great Christmas
Rob
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Old 23-12-2014, 22:36   #11
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post

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.


Opinions?
Caveat - I am an instructor.

You can learn from my experience/mistakes in a structured fashion. Having a standard curriculum means that most of the bases are covered. Knowing how to deal with contingencies is essential. I have never had a crew member go overboard, bit I have done thousands of drills.

An instructor evaluator I use model of competence and competence:

1) unconscious incompetence - you don't know what you don'y know

2) conscious incompetence - you know what you don't know

3) conscious competence - you know what you know

4) Unconscious competence - you don't know what you know

That works well for students but not instructors. They need to be reflectively competent. They have to be able to teach what they know. Many old salts are unconsciously competent; they are great sailors, but they cannot teach.

I have been around Vancouver Island a dozen times and learn something new every time.

Many of my students use the experience to determine if they really want to go offshore. Some realize it is not for them, others set out on long passages.

I have also done some passages with newbies. Same responses.

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
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Old 23-12-2014, 22:39   #12
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob67 View Post

I know its a lot cheaper to go to Vancouver than come to Ontario but cost wise it might work out cheaper for you in the long run. Just an idea.

Have a great Christmas
Rob
A big difference between Lake Ontario and BC - tides ( up to 18 feet) and currents (up 16 knots).
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Old 24-12-2014, 01:01   #13
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

I'm a strong believer in both. We are both 200 Ton Masters near coastal. We learned a tremendous amount in the classroom. Now having our boat to practice on sure helped. But we also had a captain to teach us.

Wifey B: As a teacher and writer or curriculum and programs, I learned about the various forms of learning so classes could be designed to consider all of them. The three traditional styles of learning are auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Here, see and touch. The best teachers and most effective programs combine all three to reach all students. Through classroom and on the water training we feel we got the best training we could.
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Old 24-12-2014, 01:13   #14
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

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.
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Old 24-12-2014, 01:29   #15
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Re: Certification: Worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
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?
Hi Mac

I'm a Yachtmaster Ocean and consider myself to a reasonably competent sailor. There are a number of areas you should learn if you want to become competent.

One area is the practical aspects of sailing the boat. As someone once said - "learning to sail is easy, it takes a weekend, learning to sail well takes a lifetime"

Boat handling and sailtrim etc requires practice and lot's of it. A good instructor can save you a lot of time. Taking a course puts some structure on the learning - for many this is welcome and necessary. Old salts know what they are doing - but don't know how to teach it.

The other area is "rules of the road" or the Colregs including lights, day and night signals, sound signals etc.

Very few people are capable of learning these by self-study (I know, I did learn them by self-study and took the exam and passed. The Danish naval officer who was giving the exam grilled me for an extra 1/2 hour to see if I really knew it because as he said "virtually everyone who tries to do this by self-study fails miserably. You are one of the very few self-studiers that I have ever passed"

The Colregs are theory and you need to know them. They need to be imprinted on your mind so you will react correctly without thinking.

Unfortunately few boaters take this seriously. And fewer know them. Try the search function here and find some threads with Colrreg discussions. You'll find that most do not know their Colregs. And in some discussions - even those that do know can end up disagreeing on which reg is applicable and what action should be taken.

The Colregs are not that difficult - but they do require study and lots of it.

If you find yourself in a crowded ship situation (especially at night), you cannot just say "oh - I'll just get out of their way" You might just sail into a collision.

Here is a link to a perfect example (watch the video that is linked to in the first post.) Befoe reading all the answers - try to see what (and who) is in the wrong here.

COLREGS - Sailing in an Anchorage or Mooring Field

Just a further note - many on this forum use the wording "right of way" ain't no such thing on the water. You may be the "Stand on Vessel" or you may be the "Give way vessel" but no one has the "right of way".

If you can't explain the difference in the above sentence - you need to learn the colregs.
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