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Old 10-11-2014, 14:22   #1
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Sailing qualifications

What do US sailors do when they arrive in Europe or the Azores from America on their own boats without any certificates of competence? I'm an old man, been sailing all my life and the only certificate I have is a NJ safe boating course required by the state. I did once have a VHF call sign and permit but that was back in the eighties, very unlikely to find it now, but still required in Europe.
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Old 10-11-2014, 14:45   #2
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Re: sailing qualifications

Friends cruised europe for seven years. Were never asked for any competency certificates.
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Old 10-11-2014, 15:44   #3
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Re: sailing qualifications

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
Friends cruised europe for seven years. Were never asked for any competency certificates.
We've cruised all over the Med and the only country we've ever been asked for proof of competency is Montenegro, where without some form of certification they won't even let you in.

In other countries it's only charterers that need it; they assume if you've made it under your own sailpower then you know what you're about.

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Old 10-11-2014, 18:08   #4
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Re: sailing qualifications

Dont worry about it Nial. We have been all over the med in the past 3 seasons as an Australian flag and skipper and were only asked for qualifications twice -

Once in croatia and once next door in montenegro.

In one case a VHF operators card sufficed and in the other a PADI dive card

ie they are just bureaucrats looking to sight a piece of paper and tick a box in most cases and are often just impressed you have come from so far away (though maybe less so for a US flag since many local boats fly the US flag for tax reasons so they are more used to it)

Technically you are only required to comply with you home flags qualifications so if like Australia that means no formal qualification then you are fine. At the end of the day the fact you have crossed the atlantic will be proof enough for most you come across though you may have to explain that to the next higher up officer... no stress
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Old 10-11-2014, 18:15   #5
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Re: sailing qualifications

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(though maybe less so for a US flag since many local boats fly the US flag for tax reasons so they are more used to it)
Just curious. Whats that all about?
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Old 10-11-2014, 18:20   #6
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Re: sailing qualifications

In quite a few countries we have visited there are more US flags than just about any other but oddly they dont speak english!

I dont know the details but some countries seem to be pretty lax in letting owners register their boats in places like Delaware and thus avoid local taxes as foreign flagged boats (probably corporation owned)
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:16   #7
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Re: sailing qualifications

USA documented boat with 2 Americans aboard.

Turkey requires captains license or proof of competency. Yes; they required it from us the last time we renewed Transit Log. And denied entry to another American sailor at the same time who had no license or proof of competency. This was August 2013.

Greece requested copies of our captains licenses both times we cleared in; in Samos in May 2011 and in Kos in late April 2014.

Montenegro required captains licenses June 2014.

Croatia required captains licenses July 2014.

Italy required copies of captains licenses when cleared in at Manfredonia in September 2014.

And every one of those countries also required copy of our radio station license.

Others might report different experiences, but those were our personal experience in recent years. What happened with someone years ago is irrelevant. Things change. Another change is the amount of third-party insurance required in order to clear into several countries. Check each country carefully just prior to planning to go there so that you have time to buy the required insurance first. This insurance is closely inspected when clearing into all the countries I mentioned except for Turkey (when we were last there).

FWIW, our licenses will expire late 2015. We will be leaving Canaries in early January 2016. Both my husband and I plan not to renew our captains licenses as none of the Caribbean countries require licensing. It cost us almost $400 each to renew our licenses that last time in late 2010. Once we leave the Med we should not need these again so we see no point in spending that much money just to have a license which is not required anywhere we plan to ever sail again.

Judy
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:24   #8
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Re: sailing qualifications

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Turkey requires captains license or proof of competency. Yes; they required it from us the last time we renewed Transit Log. And denied entry to another sailor at the same time who had no license or proof of competency. This was August 2013.

Greece requested copies of our captains licenses both times we cleared in; in Samos in May 2011 and in Kos in late April 2014.

Montenegro required captains licenses June 2014.

Croatia required captains licenses July 2014.

Italy required copies of captains licenses when cleared in at Manfredonia in September 2014.

And every one of those countries also required copy of our radio station license.

Others might report different experiences, but those were our personal experience in recent years. What happened with someone years ago is irrelevant. Things change.

Judy
Just to add to the confusion then Judy -

Greece (kos July 2014) no requirement for any proof of competency on entry
Turkey (Datcha June 2014) no requirement for any proof of competency on entry (maybe using a good agent helps here)

You must be smashing into the quay in front of customs or something!!!

Just kidding.

But same water same countries about the same time and 2 very different experiences but thats Europe eh!
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:24   #9
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Re: sailing qualifications

Italy does not require legally any proof of competency as long as the registered flag country doesn't require it , Portugal is the same, however I have heard that officials ask for it , I've never seen any infraction if you haven't it

Croatia , Greece , turkey I know off require competency certs even if your flag country doesn't. Croatia is the only one that has specific documented requirements. The others have quite lenient views on what constitutes such a cert.

Why anyone these days doesn't have " something " is a bit beyond me.

Almost all countries require the operator of a VHF radio to be certified to use the radio in national waters ( only right and proper ) most countries do not check it however

( you ate also required technical to have a ships station license )

Dave
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:36   #10
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Re: sailing qualifications

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Originally Posted by Barra View Post
Just to add to the confusion then Judy -

Greece (kos July 2014) no requirement for any proof of competency on entry
Turkey (Datcha June 2014) no requirement for any proof of competency on entry (maybe using a good agent helps here)

You must be smashing into the quay in front of customs or something!!!

Just kidding.

But same water same countries about the same time and 2 very different experiences but thats Europe eh!
We used agents in Turkey, including Datca when cleared out. The requirement were different each time we cleared into Turkey at different ports at different times using different agents. The requirement for the captains license was when renewed Transit Log at Fethiye in August 2013. They had not required it up until that time. That same day another American sailor who had cruised Turkey and wintered there annually for 15 years was denied entry because he had no form of licensing or certification of competency. Somehow, after visiting our boat and viewing ours, he was able to *locate* a license in his name on his boat -- with which he was able to gain clearance. But they were not clearing him in without some form of proof of competency.

We did not use an agent at Kos in May 2014. And they did require copies of our captains licenses there. As well as copies of the insurance. In fact, all we had was the original insurance policy and we had to walk all the way back to the marina to get a copy of the current renewal declaration before they would clear us in. They were strict on both the licensing and the insurance.

You are right. Different experience every darn time. Rules are not rules over here, merely suggestions that each official interprets in his/her own way.

Judy
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:45   #11
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Re: sailing qualifications

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You are right. Different experience every darn time. Rules are not rules over here, merely suggestions that each official interprets in his/her own way.
Isn't that great, last thing you want is to remove wriggle room by having all encompassing and enforced rules. I like it.
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Old 11-11-2014, 04:11   #12
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Re: sailing qualifications

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Isn't that great, last thing you want is to remove wriggle room by having all encompassing and enforced rules. I like it.
NO! It is not great! It means one never has any idea what to expect. Better to have actual rules and follow those rules, IMO. Then one can prepare and plan and be ready for what is known. Leave the unexpected things to happen out on the water.

Judy
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Old 11-11-2014, 16:11   #13
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Re: sailing qualifications

Poor old Nial! you will be as confused as ever no doubt about requirements now!

We were when we started too but after 3 years Im not worried that we will find enough "wriggle room" as Dave puts it in most destinations to find a way. Thats just part of cruising in europe-

Clearing in and out is time consuming and often a hassel with multiple offices often at different ends of town that must be visited, harbours that often have no available quay for clearing in and a marina thats full forcing you to anchor off in less than ideal conditions, offices that are often closed for siesta that dont bother to open again in the afternoon, unexpected local holidays etc etc

There are some particular ports that are very officious (Rhodes in Greece comes to mind) but you will learn about them as you travel and just avoid them.
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Old 11-11-2014, 17:57   #14
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Re: sailing qualifications

If you take ASA 102 and 103 your can then take an additional course 104 to get a certificate of competency. I did before heading to the med as it was common for Croatia to ask for it. They never did nor has anyone, even Turkey this year. But I don't like worrying about stuff like this so I have it and if asked can provide. For a grand and 8 days of my time it's worth it.
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:53   #15
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Re: sailing qualifications

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What do US sailors do when they arrive in Europe or the Azores from America on their own boats without any certificates of competence? I'm an old man, been sailing all my life and the only certificate I have is a NJ safe boating course required by the state. I did once have a VHF call sign and permit but that was back in the eighties, very unlikely to find it now, but still required in Europe.
To put it simply for you;

You with all your years of experienc should just go and sit the following SIMPLE exams.
1. Radio operaters licence for VHF
2. Basic skippers licence.

Then you will have no worries, will you
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