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Old 25-07-2014, 10:31   #16
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

[QUOTE=hesmysnowman;1591773..............., but would like coastal navigation and maybe passage making training. ............ I am looking for everyone's thoughts on the relevance of these certifications towards live aboard cruising. [/QUOTE]

Just get/take a home course in navigation and go sailing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't start thinking everyone on the water is better trained or knows more than you, because they probably aren't/don't!
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Old 25-07-2014, 11:07   #17
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

On the flip side, sometimes it's helpful having someone critique what you are doing.


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Old 25-07-2014, 11:25   #18
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

I generally agree that practical experience is better when it comes to sailing than book learning. That said, some book/classroom learning on subjects such as navigation and engine repair are valuable in so far as they give you a quick context. Yes your Universal is different than a Yanmar, but not that much different and having a hands-on understanding of how diesel engines function and are assembled can expedite the learning curve on your own engine and prove valuable in some troubleshooting situations.

I agree that the USCG licenses are largely worthless, or rather, it's the wrong training for sailing seamanship. They will drill the rules of the road, lights, signals, and other useful info into your head which is great, but pretty much ever sailor I know who has pursued a license has in retrospect said it was not a great value unless they actually needed it for a job, such as charter captain.

When it comes to seamanship, there is no substitute for experience, for the simple fact that all the courses and books in the world cannot prepare you psychologically and even emotionally for the experience of being offshore when things go pear-shaped. Prior experience leads directly to a greater ability to think clearly and make good decisions. I've said this before and I'll probably get jumped on by the "Just get out there!" crowd, but I've been around too many green sailors and seen the correlation between lack of experience and poor decision making to think that's a prudent path. Yeah people do it all the time and are fine, but I'm somewhat sure if you look at the profile of Coast Guard offshore rescues you'll find a higher percentage of less experienced captains than are representative in the general ocean-going population of sailors.

It's a great experience to volunteer to crew on someone else's boat, either coastal or blue water. It's inexpensive, it's social, and you'll learn a tremendous amount in a short concentrated time, particularly if you're on a boat with a very experienced captain.

So, take all the courses you want. Can't hurt. But don't think that's going to adequately prepare you for everything you might encounter.
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Old 25-07-2014, 11:27   #19
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

Most of the ASA keelboat training I've seen has been real basic stuff. I was not really impressed. I'm thinking finding a experienced sailor to show you the ropes for $100 or just beer in many cases, would be money better spent. Around here you could find guys on craigslist for $25 an hour. Perhaps look at verious crew lists too in your area. I think you will learn faster crewing on another boat then Plunking $300 each for ASA 101.

It's not rocket science, but then you never stop learning it either.

I went the self taught route and have even rebuilt my diesel. Like walking a thousand miles, its just one step after another.
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Old 25-07-2014, 11:40   #20
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

Getting my captain's license used to be a big goal of mine, but oddly, it stopped being a goal at about the same time I completed the necessary days.

Not wanting to take people out for hire, I simply didn't see the benefit in spending more money and effort for a piece of paper.

In terms of insurance, a basic power squadron course means just as much as a captain's license, so the real reason to get more training is because the knowledge will help you, or allow you to do something you legally can't.

That said, most of the instructor's teaching a bareboat course know what they are doing and sometimes it's best to learn from someone other than a spouse.
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Old 25-07-2014, 11:55   #21
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

not relevant. Take a nav course.
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Old 25-07-2014, 12:04   #22
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
Most of the ASA keelboat training I've seen has been real basic stuff. I was not really impressed. I'm thinking finding a experienced sailor to show you the ropes for $100 or just beer in many cases, would be money better spent. Around here you could find guys on craigslist for $25 an hour. Perhaps look at verious crew lists too in your area. I think you will learn faster crewing on another boat then Plunking $300 each for ASA 101.

It's not rocket science, but then you never stop learning it either.

I went the self taught route and have even rebuilt my diesel. Like walking a thousand miles, its just one step after another.
Don't you need a USCG Captain's license to accept compensation or was that implicit in your recommendation?
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Old 25-07-2014, 12:11   #23
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

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Don't you need a USCG Captain's license to accept compensation or was that implicit in your recommendation?
Yes, but I'm not the person doing training/chartering. I believe the folks on craigslist here have 6 pak licenses. Crewing anyone can do for free.

If you're paying someone to teach you sailing on your boat that your in legal command of then they probably don't need a CG license. The thing about CG licenses, 6 pak anyway is that it requires zero sailing experience to get. Or docking experience for that matter. Though I think most folks that get the 6 pak are experienced.
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Old 25-07-2014, 12:11   #24
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

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Don't you need a USCG Captain's license to accept compensation or was that implicit in your recommendation?
It is very tricky, and complicated. So the following should not be relied upon as legal advice. Rules are subject to change, and small changes in facts can change the USCG interpretation of the situation dramatically.

That being said, if you are paying someone to come out on your boat and give you classes. Then they probably don't need a license.

If they are teaching regular classes, or providing the boat, then they absolutely do. But be aware there is a much easier to get OUPV available for instructors at sailing schools, yacht clubs, and the like.
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Old 25-07-2014, 12:56   #25
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

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Whether tis nobler... ah screw it!
Wife and I are avid lake sailers/cruisers with a short time before early retirement and full time live aboard cruising. I have sailed all of my life but all has been lakes and bays. She is fairly new to it. We have no plans to charter, but would like coastal navigation and maybe passage making training. Just not sure if I really care about certification for bareboat that must be completed prior to getting to what I see as more relevant needs.
That being said, she sees this as good prep for our future. I am looking for everyone's thoughts on the relevance of these certifications towards live aboard cruising. Are there alternatives like captains licensing through USCG that would be a better fit?


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Yes, unless you want to be "saved" by the USCG because the boat won't stop moving and your wife is tired of puking. See the 10,124 other related threads on the topic.

Here's what we have done: Courses in the winter, deliveries in the summer and COB drills, heaving to, anchor practice, "no engine" practice, nav practice, etc. as part of summer leisure time practice. Take the boat out in ALL weather, not just 12 knots and sunny. Make yourself available for deliveries offshore, short/long, whatever. Just make sure it's out of sight of land or properly offshore. Problems will occur. You will observe the solutions, or will devise them yourself. Get used to a tether. Get used to four-hour naps. It's all part of the process, as is staying strong in back, arms and legs to actually be of use.

That said, a USCG or RYA certification will consolidate your knowledge and will make you more aware of where you have weak spots. It's an objective tally that, once achieved, can lower your insurance.

So I would say, why would you not certify yourself if you plan to even coastal hop? In many situations, inshore fog, a lee shore, a squall near shallows, coastal sailing is more fraught than the open ocean, which is still largely empty save for the odd whale or awash container. So "coastal" doesn't in my mind lessen the need for solid, up-to-date and objectively applicable education.

You'd study for a test. The sea is a test.
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Old 25-07-2014, 12:58   #26
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

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Yes, but I'm not the person doing training/chartering. I believe the folks on craigslist here have 6 pak licenses. Crewing anyone can do for free.

If you're paying someone to teach you sailing on your boat that your in legal command of then they probably don't need a CG license. The thing about CG licenses, 6 pak anyway is that it requires zero sailing experience to get. Or docking experience for that matter. Though I think most folks that get the 6 pak are experienced.
I might be wrong but I think the 6 pak requires a log with witnesses confirming 360, four hour days on the water.
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Old 25-07-2014, 13:02   #27
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

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I sailed a lot as a kid but didn't restart until a few years ago - I have "competent crew," a Singapore boating license, and an 8 year sailing resume that includes boat ownership, racing experience including a couple of significant regatta wins and international passage making.

I send this ahead to Charterers as my sailing resume. Never had any issues chartering. Always had to do a check out regardless of certificates - it's an insurance thing.

I am conflicted because a lot of what Jim says is 100% true - for Jim. Someone else may do better in a formal training environment.

My resume was built as circumstances presented. I have had no "cert plan" really.

Focus on what you need to "know how to do both theoretically and practically." and how to best get those skills. It will naturally come together.

- Weather - A1 most important damn thing in sailing. Complete mystery to most people. #1 cause of wrecks and losses. Argue about sextants all you want but if you don't understand weather and you cruise long term it will eventually kill you.
- Seamanship - Boat handling. Learn how to sail the boat - really this is the easy part - sailing well is harder
- Navigation - An important skill but less difficult in the electronic age
- Passage planning and management - provisioning and managing a boat for extended times away from port - only learned by experience with increasingly long journeys. The dumb and lucky can make a pacific crossing 1 time out of 10. It's really freakin' hard and never underestimate it.
- Maintenance - If you are going to be 100+ miles away from port. You need to know how to get your boat underway again.
This is very good stuff right here. Doesn't lessen my emphasis on education, but I can't know your entire history. I started sailing at 38, my son at 7. He's on year six of mucking about in dinghies, I can tell you if that trawler coming up behind has an unlit tow. I would look stupid in an Opti, and so I take courses and muck about in a bigger boat. Had I done so as a child, much of my seamanship would seem "instinctual" and I wouldn't be aware of what deficits I still possess.
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Old 25-07-2014, 14:56   #28
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

If you are both comfortable cruising locally, going to coastal isn't drastically different, other than figuring out the tides.

A bigger boat is mostly about intimidation (I'm assuming you aren't going from a 22' cuddy cabin power boat to a 50' sailboat). Take you time and start out only going out on nice days and increase as you get more comfortable with handling.

Get a year or two of coastal cruising under your belt and then consider if you need training to do offshore or even if you want to do off shore.

If you were totally new to boating or switching from power to sail, a course would probably make a lot more sense but even then on the water experieince counts the most.
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Old 25-07-2014, 15:54   #29
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

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I might be wrong but I think the 6 pak requires a log with witnesses confirming 360, four hour days on the water.
Yes it does, it requires a log at least, but that does not mean your in command for a year or that you've docked at all or even sailed a minute. I can think of a few folks who have a 6 pak that had less then a years real experience also.

Though most do have the time and experience, the log only indicates you might be an able body and requires no actual sailing experience what so ever.
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Old 25-07-2014, 16:47   #30
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Re: To Cert or not to Cert, that is the Question

Maybe hesmysnowman does not need any certification, but perhaps his wife needs the RYA course mentioned by SnowPetrel, who is quite an experienced professional sailor. Here's why:

1) It will qualify her to charter anywhere in the world,

2) learning separately from the husband is usually good for women,

3) the husband will feel more comfortable (able to use his off watch for sleep more effectively when he is sure she knows and understands sailing), and

4) it just might be respected by the sorts of people who assume the wife is the one "puking over the side" and complaining--Jeez! Not saying it might not happen, just saying it is demeaning to each and every sailing woman to have that attitude expressed over and over again here on CF. What's the deal here? None of you guys throw up and get on with it? Never saw a woman do that? Or is it just knee-jerk male chauvinism?

Gosh!
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