Training, licensing, and education might be thought of in three different areas:
(1) Minimum government
requirements to operate a recreational water
craft for pleasure.
(2) Voluntary optional training -- which might be useful in satisfying charter
company requirements or in showing that you meet (1) above.
licensure required for carrying passengers for hire or working in a maritime industry.
(1) In the USA, there is no "licensing" for pleasure boat operators, but almost all of the states (and Canada) do have minimum education requirements. These mostly apply to younger adult and youth operators, but in some states (e.g. Virginia), the requirements are being phased in to apply to all operators of motorboats (including auxiliary sailboats). Requirements can be met by various on-line or in-person classes
, often offered free or at modest cost. Information taught is basic and focuses upon legal
requirements and safe operation. Internationally, some countries don't give a raggedy rat's rump about who operates a boat, whereas others are picky. And, some don't care -- until someone gets in an accident
. Also included in this general category are specialized requirements such as for operating a boat upon the canals of France
(2), voluntary training, are most of the classes
taught by RYA, US Sailing, American Sailing Association, US & Canadian Power Squadrons, USCG Aux, community sailing centers, youth camps, commercial
sailing schools, and various other organizations. Many offer certifications that may be of value in chartering boats, and some of these certifications may meet the basic boating safety
education requirements mentioned above.
(3) is the whole complicated and involved world of commercial qualifications, medical
and drug tests, identification cards, logged experience, endorsements, crew and skipper
qualification requirements, and so on that go with commercial licensure for carrying passengers for hire or working a job in the marine
industry. Some sailors who are mostly recreational boaters get credentials because they do deliveries now and then or work occasionally at sailing schools, or just for bragging rights.
Some jobs may require a combination of different types of education, certification
, and licensure, i.e., working for a sailing school
in the USA, might require a combination of experience, professional licensure (OUPV/master's ticket), and instructor certification
from a group such as US Sailing, ASA
, or RYA.
And, various forms of education, certification, or licensure just might be pleasing to your insurance
company and result in a discount or in the ability to get coverage for ambitious or challenging activities. Or maybe, having something official looking might be reassuring to the occasional port or customs