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Old 26-08-2016, 01:49   #1
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Sailing License. To have or not to have?

Some countries do not require a license to sail. I'm a Swiss citizen and my country requires a license to navigate. Switzerland has produced some pretty good sailors as well as being Amercia's cup winners.

Switzerland being a landlocked country, it is home some of Europe biggest lakes. It's somewhat ironic that a license is required to sail the open seas if you own a boat registered under a Swiss flag. To obtain the license one must complete a 14 week theory class, a full day exam, eye and ear tests, first aid certificate and 1000 nautical miles of ocean sailing with a licensed skipper. For me it was an 8 months endeavor. I know France does not require a sailing license and I believe it's also the case in the US. Should it be required to be licensed? Would it impede on the idea of freedom? How do people feel about this?

I have been documenting the entire experience on video. For anyone interested, here is a link to a trailer of the 1000M journey around the Med we travelled:
https://youtu.be/IxRcZWybQAw
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Old 26-08-2016, 02:27   #2
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

What a bureaucratic nightmare. I know the Swiss love rules, but that is too much. I have nothing on paper (UK) and it is enough for me. I spend so much of my life working for bureaucrats, I love it when I get free of them. It does make me happy.
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Old 26-08-2016, 02:40   #3
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

The irony of it all was that I wanted to be a live aboard, sail and be freed of bureaucracy. Leave Switzerland and all their rules. Then I had to deal with the licensing bureaucracy. That being said, I finally have the license and what I hope is a cruising bonus. A Swiss passport and flag symbolizing neutrality. Although I'm afraid some people might confuse the white cross on red as the Red Cross
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Old 26-08-2016, 03:13   #4
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

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Originally Posted by swisssailoralex View Post
The irony of it all was that I wanted to be a live aboard, sail and be freed of bureaucracy. Leave Switzerland and all their rules. Then I had to deal with the licensing bureaucracy. That being said, I finally have the license and what I hope is a cruising bonus. A Swiss passport and flag symbolizing neutrality. Although I'm afraid some people might confuse the white cross on red as the Red Cross
In Norway where I live, If the sailboat/vessel is less than 15 meter, you can use the boat without any license if you are born before 1980. If born after 1980, you will have to take a "båtførerprøve" witch means a weekend crash course in boat handling, navigation etc. If more than 15 meter, you will have to take a "pleasure vessel" skipper certificate that is pretty heavy stuff. Most important regardless of certificate is that you have the skills and knowledge to safely navigate and handle the boat - theoretical training will always be just that so the requirement for 1000 NM practice doesn't seem to be an "overkill" requirement, but if you has long practice up front, that should be sufficient.
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Old 26-08-2016, 08:37   #5
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

license to navigate??? no worries, always lost anyway.
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Old 26-08-2016, 09:37   #6
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

Maybe not a license, but most states in the U.S. now require mandatory boater safety training. And you must carry a card/certificate with you. Older folks are grandfathered in, but I took the course in both PA and MD and found the training covered a lot of ground, including rules of the road, basic seamanship and first aid. I picked up a lot of good pointers and found the courses to be a great refresher after being away from sailing for a while.
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Old 26-08-2016, 09:49   #7
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

Different mentality - Swiss freedoms, whether firearms or sailing, come with great responsibility (unless you're in the banking industry)
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Old 26-08-2016, 10:05   #8
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

In the USA, you need no qualifications to operate a recreational boat. Some states require (finally) a boating safety course for younger operators and a few require it from all operators.

This is only boating safety and rules, not a test of your ability to operate, dock or navigate a boat.

Any fool is allowed to operate a boat and most of them manage to do it on holiday weekends.
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Old 26-08-2016, 10:13   #9
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

Although I was pretty much grandfathered into a USCG 100 ton Masters license, I am strongly in favor of having a basic seamanship course that includes navigation as a requirement before purchasing a vessel of any kind in the US.
Having worked commercially here in the US and in Canada for over 60 years, the level of ignorance and stupidity I have witnessed on the water would have to be experienced to be believed!
We would all be safer if there was a basic understanding of vessel operation everywhere.
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Old 26-08-2016, 10:58   #10
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

What a nightmare! In the UK you can just pick up a 1 million pound yacht and go. Not advisable, but at least but at least you have freedom instead of bureacracy, responsibility instead of dictatorship. And after all most people go to sea to get away from all of this. Long may it continue!

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Old 26-08-2016, 11:11   #11
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

The Swiss requirements seem very onerous and EXPENSIVE. Imagine what it costs to hire a professional to go with you for the ocean experience requirement.

Can see a basic knowledge course including safety, basic boat handling and navigation that may take a weekend. Hawaii now requires a boating safety certificate that you can take online in a few hours. Looks like the course was not Hawaii specific but a general test that is required by a number of States. Course wasn't worthless but not a great value for someone that has spent any time as an owner/skipper. They purposely slow down the answer process on the test which more than doubles it would have taken to pass it.
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Old 26-08-2016, 11:19   #12
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

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Originally Posted by swisssailoralex View Post
Some countries do not require a license to sail. I'm a Swiss citizen and my country requires a license to navigate. Switzerland has produced some pretty good sailors as well as being Amercia's cup winners.

Switzerland being a landlocked country, it is home some of Europe biggest lakes. It's somewhat ironic that a license is required to sail the open seas if you own a boat registered under a Swiss flag. To obtain the license one must complete a 14 week theory class, a full day exam, eye and ear tests, first aid certificate and 1000 nautical miles of ocean sailing with a licensed skipper. For me it was an 8 months endeavor. I know France does not require a sailing license and I believe it's also the case in the US. Should it be required to be licensed? Would it impede on the idea of freedom? How do people feel about this?

I have been documenting the entire experience on video. For anyone interested, here is a link to a trailer of the 1000M journey around the Med we travelled:
https://youtu.be/IxRcZWybQAw

Wow that's alot! in Canada you pass a 40 question quiz that basically proves you know the difference between red and green bouys. Pass that and you're licensed for life for recreational boating! (a bit scary actually)
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Old 26-08-2016, 11:25   #13
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

In Canada one can get a CYA certification which is recognised in the US and other countries. But up to 30 tons for pleasure only one only needs to pass a safety course which take one afternoon , your write the safety test and you're tested to see if you can manage a small dinghy with a motor. This allows you to operate a pleasure craft in the Toronto harbour.

The lake one only needs to pass the safety course , just a few hrs.
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Old 26-08-2016, 11:33   #14
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

In italy is the same of Switzerland about it, four categories of licenses, power or sailing, until 12 miles from the coast or blue waters, the licence consist in three, seven month course of theory and practice (depend of the type of license) with at the end a practical exam that must be sustained in front to the port authorities with your instructor and a navy officer.

A lot of signals, cartography, routes calculation, problems of navigation, rules for preventing collisions, marine weather, etc.....etc..... Naturally from my point of view nothing can substitute the real practice on sea but can help to learn the first rudiments and take the preliminary confidence with the "liquid" element.

For your safety and specially for the others safety is absolutely useful, because always your freedom ending where that of the other begins!
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Old 26-08-2016, 11:55   #15
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Re: Sailing License. To have or not to have?

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Originally Posted by togve View Post
In Canada one can get a CYA certification which is recognised in the US and other countries. But up to 30 tons for pleasure only one only needs to pass a safety course which take one afternoon , your write the safety test and you're tested to see if you can manage a small dinghy with a motor. This allows you to operate a pleasure craft in the Toronto harbour.

The lake one only needs to pass the safety course , just a few hrs.
CYA certification is however NOT required by law. the PCOC is and the Toronto harbor license is not applicable outside of the harbour of Toronto.
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