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Old 06-04-2017, 02:07   #1
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Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

My apologies since I'm sure this is covered somewhere but I haven't been able to find it.

For Americans sailing their own boats in Europe, what licenses are required? What else may be applicable to an American? I know something about the available time without paying VAT but wouldn't mind rehearing that. I gather that every six months I have to leave the EU (or is it Schengen area?). Where do people usually go?

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Old 06-04-2017, 02:18   #2
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

I think, having come along way on one's own boat, we should not let some bureaucrat sailing his desk tell us what license we should or shouldn't have! Make a nice one up yourself with photoshop & there u go!
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:33   #3
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

Trouble is that bureaucrat like all bureaucrats the world over can really ruin your day if you don't have the paperwork sorted. You are talking about fairly lowly paid civil servants like police, port staff, customs etc. They see you tip up in a big shiny yacht and know full well they will never be able to afford such luxury. You just hope that he got out of bed on the right side, the state paid him last month and his wife made him his favourite packed lunch.

Remember he is on home turf, you are the away team.


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Old 06-04-2017, 03:09   #4
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

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Originally Posted by double u View Post
I think, having come along way on one's own boat, we should not let some bureaucrat sailing his desk tell us what license we should or shouldn't have! Make a nice one up yourself with photoshop & there u go!
This is a good way to lose your boat Europeans aren't completely stupid and they do know what sailing licenses look like -

here's the short version

https://www.yachtico.com/international-boat-licenses

It is rare to be checked, although you can never be sure - don't forget you'll also need a VHF license
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:16   #5
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

don't forget: your boat is extraterritorial (=it is "territory" of the country it is registered in) & the laws of the country of registry apply. They can only insist on a particular licence if boat is registered in their country. & it's highly doubtful if they know what the certificate of competence of the "daydreamer's bay offshore sailinf academy" looks like. but everybody as they like.
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:21   #6
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

For quite a few EU countries you need, at minimum your ICC. The US equivalent is Asa 104 bareboat cruising.

In all EU countries you'll need proof of ownership, some kind of official document describing length, width, displacement and boat insurance.

Regarding the VAT rules your boat can stay 18 months in the EU. However you can get an extension if you park your boat on the hard and do not live on it.
In the med it's easy to sail to a non-EU country and stay there a bit to reset the clock.

People get a 90 day visa.

See this article on Noonsite

Or this site for the official EU info
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:25   #7
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

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don't forget: your boat is extraterritorial (=it is "territory" of the country it is registered in) & the laws of the country of registry apply. They can only insist on a particular licence if boat is registered in their country. & it's highly doubtful if they know what the certificate of competence of the "daydreamer's bay offshore sailinf academy" looks like. but everybody as they like.
Wow! It's a good thing you stay in the US. What ever happened to respecting the countries and people you are visiting?
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:41   #8
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

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Wow! It's a good thing you stay in the US. What ever happened to respecting the countries and people you are visiting?
after 3 rtw I don't respect the highhanded "right" of some bureaucrat to tell me what licence I have to have & what equipment I should have aboard. in this aspect the visited country has no right whatsoever & no jurisdiction about foreign-flagged boats. any number of countries do not demand a licence for skippering sailboats below a certain length, & if some official in a visiting country takes it upon him to make it hard for visiting yachties (who after all bring money too!) it is not only my right but my duty to circumvent his illegal "rules" (as long as I get away with it)
btw: I'm not in America (actually "USofA") & never was with our boat
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:51   #9
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

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Originally Posted by double u View Post
don't forget: your boat is extraterritorial (=it is "territory" of the country it is registered in) & the laws of the country of registry apply. They can only insist on a particular licence if boat is registered in their country. & it's highly doubtful if they know what the certificate of competence of the "daydreamer's bay offshore sailinf academy" looks like. but everybody as they like.
It's a common myth, that the laws of the coastal state do not apply on board a boat flagged in a different state. This is simply not true, and is not even true on the territory of an embassy (where the laws of the state in which the embassy is located are limited only by diplomatic immunity). It's a matter of comity, that certain states recognize certain of each other's rules on board each other's vessels, but by no means does this apply to everything. For example, if you are carrying guns on board your vessel, and this is perfectly legal in your flag state, that is not going to help you if you get caught with them on board in the waters of another state where it is forbidden. You can just keep repeating to yourself "My boat is extraterritorial! My boat is extraterritorial!" while you rot in one of their jails afterwards.

That said, most states do not require different qualifications of the master, than what is required by the flag state, but this is comity, not extraterritoriality, and is not universal. You must, for example, have a full CEVNI license plus special radio license, to navigate most inland waterways in Europe, and most Mediterranean countries require some kind of qualification, preferably the ICC, no matter what your flag state requires. Some of these, like Italy, will recognize the lack of such a requirement, but only if you have a certified letter from the flag state's maritime authority, that you are not required to have any qualification.

As the RYA put it:

"The law of the sea is frequently misunderstood, with many boaters believing that they can go wherever they wish abiding only by the rules of their Flag State (country of registration).

When you visit another country, in most circumstances (as detailed in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) you can be required to comply with the maritime legislation of the visited country (the Coastal State) in addition to that of your vessel’s Flag State."


Evidence of Competence Abroad | The ICC and Evidence of Competence Abroad | Boating Abroad | Knowledge & Advice | Knowledge & Advice | RYA



Net-net --

Get the ICC. It's simple and inexpensive, and prevents any possible hassle over certificates of competence.

And as to the idea of showing fake documents -- good luck with that. Foreign officials are not always idiots, and they never like to be treated as such. This can only turn out badly for the one of you, without the badge and gun. How hard is it to get the ICC?
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:08   #10
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

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Originally Posted by double u View Post
after 3 rtw I don't respect the highhanded "right" of some bureaucrat to tell me what licence I have to have & what equipment I should have aboard. in this aspect the visited country has no right whatsoever & no jurisdiction about foreign-flagged boats. any number of countries do not demand a licence for skippering sailboats below a certain length, & if some official in a visiting country takes it upon him to make it hard for visiting yachties (who after all bring money too!) it is not only my right but my duty to circumvent his illegal "rules" (as long as I get away with it)
btw: I'm not in America (actually "USofA") & never was with our boat
So by your logic; let's say I live in a county where you don't need a drivers license and insurance to drive and own a car. I then drive my car to a country where you must have a driving license and insurance, I'm in my right to refuse to cooperate with the police if I get pulled over and I can just say "my car is foreign so I don't have to follow your laws"?

Oh btw international law only gives you the right to navigate unhindered through territorial waters.
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:09   #11
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

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Originally Posted by De.windhoos View Post
. . .

Oh btw international law only gives you the right to navigate unhindered through territorial waters.
Even on innocent passage, you are subject to many laws of the coastal state.
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:25   #12
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

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How hard is it to get the ICC?
Actually not so easy in the Netherlands. You either need to get competency 1 which is rivers, etc. totally different rules and I haven't been on a river for the last 35 yrs
And competency 2 (lakes/larger bodies of water)

Or theoretical costal navigation. Not difficult for a sailor, but they only do the exam twice a year.

And because NL is a signatory to the relevant rule you're not allowed to get it in another country. Except for U.K. RYA
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:28   #13
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

a car is hardly "extraterritorial".
against usurped "rights" there is of course no easy recourse. Austrian flagged vessels are considered Austrian territory by austrian law.

(but latter month's news from the USofA shows a certain "way with the laws" even at the highest station...)
& btw: "respecting the countries and people you are visiting" - presuming you a US citizen: like those 485.000 US citizens visiting Vietnam in 1967, right?
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:30   #14
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

Having sailed many many miles and visited very many countries I have never ever been asked for my license!

I hope the same applies to US sailors in Europe.

The papers I was asked to show:

- passports (always),
- boat registration (always),
- 3rd party insurance (at times).

Cheers,
b.
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:51   #15
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Re: Licenses for Americans sailing in Europe

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Having sailed many many miles and visited very many countries I have never ever been asked for my license!

I hope the same applies to US sailors in Europe.

The papers I was asked to show:

- passports (always),
- boat registration (always),
- 3rd party insurance (at times).

Cheers,
b.
The very first thing you'll be asked when you check into Montengro "can I please see your ICC boating license?" Then you'll be asked for your boat documents including insurance. If you don't have these, your boat won't be going anywhere soon.
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