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Old 07-12-2017, 12:42   #1
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Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Several threads recently have referred to the ICC being a requirement when sailing into Europe. Is this really so? Iím in the South Pacific and no country down here has ever asked to see my certification. If I were to sail to Europe would I be refused clearance because I have no certification?

Iíve watched a number of vlogs where couples with no sailing experience buy a boat in Europe and sail west. No mention of having to cram for a certificate. The Wynns worked on certification but that was for their insurance, IIRC.

Please tell me I can sail wherever I want without worrying about local certification regimes. Note, Iím not talking about visas or cruising permits - those are just the border control hoops we have to deal with.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:54   #2
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pirate Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Generally one is never asked for one.. Passport, ships papers and insurance are usually all you'll be asked for..
However.. be aware that all it takes is one harbourmaster who's having a bad day or dislikes your attitude, whatever, to seriously screw up your life and stop you leaving port.
It has happened.. and that's a fact.
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Old 07-12-2017, 19:29   #3
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

There are two situations, one you are sailing your own boat, other, chartering a boat.

On charter companies they will demand you a licence or a ICC. They will accept a RYA or ASA certificate but not one of the American state licences that can be taken by internet.

This has to do with insurance. If someone has an accident the Charter insurance company will not pay them if the boat was chartered to a skipper without a valid licence.

While entering a country, namely the ones that have a more formal approach like Croatia or Greece my licence was always asked (and photocopied) along with the boat papers.

In Italy it was always asked and photocopied with the boat papers, even on marinas. It seems they have to do that by law.

Skipper Licence Requirements for Chartering a Yacht
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Old 07-12-2017, 20:24   #4
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polux View Post
There are two situations, one you are sailing your own boat, other, chartering a boat.

On charter companies they will demand you a licence or a ICC. They will accept a RYA or ASA certificate but not one of the American state licences that can be taken by internet.

This has to do with insurance. If someone has an accident the Charter insurance company will not pay them if the boat was chartered to a skipper without a valid licence.

While entering a country, namely the ones that have a more formal approach like Croatia or Greece my licence was always asked (and photocopied) along with the boat papers.

In Italy it was always asked and photocopied with the boat papers, even on marinas. It seems they have to do that by law.

Skipper Licence Requirements for Chartering a Yacht

do you have proof that a license issues by a particular government would not be accepted by another for maritime situations?
( when sailing my own vessel)
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:59   #5
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

I have been ask for my certification in Montenegro and Croatia, no where else as far as I can remember.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:10   #6
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Croatia insists all skippers have "proof of competence" which normally means the ICC minimum. We have been asked for our paperwork 4 times in 7 years and the police/harbourmaster/kapitanjia do inspect everything thoroughly.

Both my wife and I hold RYA certificates (Coastal and Day Skipper) with an ICC from RYA for clarity. If you do not have something recognisable as a certificate of competence then get the ICC, the test isn't onerous and it saves a heap of hassles in the long run.

Remember just because your home flag does not require you to have any paperwork it does not mean you don't need it in another country. When you clear in and hoist the courtesy flag it means "I respect and obey" the laws of that country.

Ignorance of the law is no defence.

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Old 08-12-2017, 09:21   #7
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

I'll second the Montenegro and Croatia comment above. In addition, we had talked to several cruisers who were asked for their "Certificate" in Italy, although we were never personally asked. I've also heard that Spain had asked. And yes....if you do not have/can't produce it, you are not allowed to check into that country...officially! What you do after that is up to you. Also, be aware that some "officials" in various countries really play the 90 days in the EU (for a non-EU boat) VERY closely.....and others seemingly could care less! We cruised with another boat for a while, and after we split up they stayed for another 450 days-without incident. However, Italy would NOT let them check in when they were only 2 days over the 90-day limit! to hear them trell the stroy...they "hid" in plain sight-without incident! When we were ready to leave Italy (via freighter) and were over our 90-days....the "official" came up with a new one on us- his version---not to worry....it's only the no of days you actually spend on land, not in the country waters????? We left without incident. Every "official" is different, there is no consistency, .....how hard do you want to play the game???? On the other hand, Turkey, Greece, the entire Adriatic, and even parts of Italy are NOT to be missed!
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:25   #8
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Greece, Turkey, Montenegro, You will be asked for some form or another certificate of competency. In Croatia weíve been asked for VHF marine operator certificate. So be ready to show something credible and stay cool!
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:27   #9
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Officials like official-looking documents. Whilst cruising in inland waterways I have got past many officials by having a folder containing official-looking documents like washing machine guarantee, a school certificate, insurance/certificate of ownership, of course, radio certificate, in fact, anything which will fill the folder.
The ICC is for coastal waters in Europe. You need an additional 'CEVNI' endorsement for inland waters. ().CEVNI is the inland waterway regulations
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:36   #10
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

If we were sailing in Europe to the countries mentioned here, , we would have whatever certification that was required.

I hold ( 5th issue ) U.S.C.G. Captains License. Vessels up to 100 ton, added on this last issue, the Coasties boosted it up to 500 tons near coastal. NO request by me.


Just to sit for the first issue, I had to have 720 days at sea, documented time, and went to the U.S.C.G. Testing facilities in Long Beach for the exam. Had an accurate list of all vessels sailed, finger print card, referal letters, and thorough sailing and work back ground. The 100 ton test, took, day for the different written sections, and part of the next day for the Navigation section ( 90% to pass ), Many of first days sections also required 90 % to pass. I had to renew every 5 years.

What would be the requirements for the ICC Certification ? I have no idea, since with our bare skippering vessels, Australia, Tahiti, Tonga, deiiveries from Cabo , Mexico to L.A Harbor, much of the caribbean, and Ireland . My U.S.C.G. licenses seemed to be just fine. But, we were not visiting the many different countries mentioned here.

However, if we were planning to sail the countries mentioned here, i would have no problem preparing for and taking the tests for the ICC or whatever might be required, and I would learn about their local nav systems and rules of the road, and other procedures that would be different from U.S. Regs. I also studied the cruising guides and the nav systems of every place that we cruised. We were prepared and professional as possible. No problems.

So, for those out there that have the ICC or other required certifications, could you let us know what is involved in obtaining the ICC License. Just curious , and be able to pass that info on to friends who are dropping off and heading out.


For many years as a professional commercial pilot, and sailing for a living as well, I have found that following procedures works. And can be bennificial in several ways, including boat safety .

Do it right, relax, and have a rum.
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:52   #11
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

I would have thought that as long as you have a licence for the ship/yacht of which you are Captain, and that licence was issued in the country of which you are resident, then as you are arriving by sea there should be no issues.This applies to all ships on the high seas.
If you go to the inland waterways then the situation is different as the regulations require you to have specialist knowledge of the different signals, signs and practices which you will encounter.
The ICC (with or without CEVNI) is issued by Yacht clubs and training providers affiliated to the RYA UK. You can get inland waterways certificates in all countries with inland waterways but the test would be in the language of that country.
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Old 08-12-2017, 12:37   #12
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
do you have proof that a license issues by a particular government would not be accepted by another for maritime situations?
( when sailing my own vessel)
That is quite the opposite. Each government that demands a licence to pleasure yachts has on its own legislation what are the foreign licences that are accepted. All the others are not accepted.

Each country is sovereign in what regards the rules and licences needed to sail on their waters.

As others have said an ICC is the best solution even if it is not a licence and if legally it is not accepted in all countries, most authorities tend to close their eyes on that.

Of course it is advisable to play nice because on those countries where the ICC is not legal they normally don't raise problems but they have the legal right to do kick you out of their territorial waters or even fine and seize your boat till you find someone with the entitled to sail your boat away.
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Old 08-12-2017, 14:06   #13
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Sounds like you need your own certifications, and whatever else is required by the countries that you visit. Add in seamanship, well found vessel, and respect for everyone.

Thanks to you all for your inputs.
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Old 08-12-2017, 14:13   #14
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Reciprocation of nations licenses are generally given to members of the UNECE is for inland waters and the coastal waters of member nations iaw resolution 40. 16 of the 22 signers are EU nations .
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Old 08-12-2017, 14:43   #15
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Re: Do I really need a license that is valid for the countries I visit?

Sailed the Netherlands, Belgium, France, UK, Portugal and Spain.. I personally havenít been asked to produce any of my shiny licenses, not out on coastal waters, not on marinas, not on inland channels,marinas etc, etc. .. not even once. YMMV.

If I hadnít gone thru the trouble of obtaining them I am sure Murphyís law dictates I would have already gotten into trouble for not having them...
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