NauticEd Sailing Blog

How to Gain a Boating and Sailing License in the USA

How can an american gain an international sailing and boating license.

NauticEd issues the internationally accepted sailing license, the SLC. Learn about the SLC here below.

At NauticEd, we help people reach their sailing goals and potential. Not surprisingly, most people would like to go bareboat charting on a sailing vacation. The perceived roadblock for Americans is presenting a recognized government boating license from their home country.  The United States is unique in the world because the federal government mandated that the States themselves regulate and issue recreational boating licenses.

So here is the official way that boating licensing is controlled in the USA:

“The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with individual states, U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia (DC) is recognized by the United States Coast Guard as THE OFFICIAL national entity to approve power and motorized sail boating courses resulting in the issuance of boating education cards or boat operator licenses of individual states, districts, and territories of the United States of America.”

The statement above is seen in the NASBLA International Proclamation here .

In other words, in order to legally go boating in the USA, you must adhere to your individual State’s law. Each state has authorized NASBLA as the SOLE organization to issue a boating license. Thus, if you hold a NASBLA state boating license then you, by default, hold a USA boating license.

Internationally, in general, if you hold a boating license in your home country then it is respected and recognized for short-term boating in another country. But a legal national boating license still does not relinquish the American sailor from establishing their competence to sail a boat. Yacht charter companies still require a legal boating license accompanying  an appropriate sailing resume. Since NauticEd is the master at creating and training bareboat sailing competence, we sought out a master partner who issues the NASBLA state boating license. Combining the legal USA boating license with proof of competence meets all the requirements for international bareboat chartering on a sailing vacation.

Ok, so the legal license aspect is taken care of with NASBLA. What about proof of competence?

NauticEd issues Certificates of Competence by following the American National Standard for on-water sailing assessment. This National Standard program was funded by the United States Coast Guard and approved by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) in May 2017. A student seeking international recognition for competence needs to hold a Certificate of Competence whereupon the American National Standards badge is embossed. This is achieved by having an approved American National Standards Instructor/Assessor assess and pass the student under the guidelines of the standard. The standard does not only require practical demonstration of competence but it also requires an understanding of the theory. So there can not be just practical training on the water. There must be an accompanying theory-based course that teaches the basics of the Standards conforming to practical standards.

This 2017 approach is vastly different from previous practices in the USA. Previously, sailing certificates were handed out by associations more like a “Certificate of Attendance” rather than a true Certificate of Competence. An instructor would run a student through a weekend of instruction and that was it. Now, an Instructor/Assessor is required to do an assessment of the student’s skills under the new American National Standard using a rubric method of assessment. The rubric method flushes out quickly where weakness in demonstrating the skill is exhibited. If weakness is demonstrated in a skill, then either more training is required or the student is assigned a crew level competence award instead of skipper competence.

NauticEd moved quickly to embrace the American National Standards as soon as they were publically released. Built into the NauticEd system now are approved American National Standards instructors and schools as well as seamless integration into the software and theory courses to match. As soon as a student is deemed practically competent under the American National Standard, the badge is embossed onto their real-time cloud-based PDF downloadable Certificate of Competence.

Summary of the Above

  • Legal License: NASBLA State Boating License.
  • Day Sailing Competence – Theory:  Online NauticEd Skipper and Skipper Small Keelboat Courses. The content of which conforms to the American National Standard.
  • Day Sailing Competence – Practical: American National Standards Training and Assessment by a NauticEd National Standards Approved Skipper Rank Instructor/Assessor
  • Bareboat Sailing Competence – Theory: Online Bareboat Charter Master Courses. The content of which conforms to the American National Standard and the requirements of yacht charter companies worldwide.
  • Bareboat Sailing Competence – Practical: American National Standards Training and Assessment PLUS Bareboat Competence Assessment by a NauticEd National Standards Approved Bareboat Charter Master Rank Instructor/Assessor

Who Issues the NASBLA License?

BoatUS is a free provider for the NASBLA boating license.

Here is how to gain a FREE NASBLA approved boating license that works in every State and Territory in the USA.

  • Go to
  • Select the State or territory
  • Complete the requirements to pass the course

You will then be issued a State Boater Licence which meets the USA federal and the individual State’s legal requirements for boating.

Once you have completed the NASBLA course, sign-in to NauticEd and under the International License macro button, upload your Boat US state boater license card to NauticEd

The license from one state or territory is valid in all states and territories, and thus internationally under the International Proclamation above.

Putting it all Together

NauticEd coined this the Sailing License and Credentials (SLC TM ). The SLC, as above, meets the legal and sailing resume requirements. The SLC is available worldwide to anyone who meets the following:

  • hold a valid national government boating endorsed license (NASBLA, for Americans)
  • sufficiently document on-the-water sailing experience, on a properly sized vessel logged in your NauticEd logbook
  • be assessed to the ICC/SLC standard (Bareboat Charter Master Standard) for on-the-water sailing competence by a NauticEd approved SLC Assessor*
  • complete and pass the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses (at least 40 hours of theory study including Coastal and Electronic Navigation)
  • complete a 100 question test on all aspects of skippering, sailing, bareboat chartering, and navigation (The NauticEd SLC Exam, available online)

*these Assessors have been vetted by NauticEd to conform to the American National Standards standards for sailing training and assessment.

Specific Instructions:

  • Signin to NauticEd
  • Go to the International Sailing License marco button
  • Upload your Boat US state boater license card to NauticEd
  • Gain the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Rank
  • Complete the NauticEd SLC exam
  • Pass the on-the-water assessment for bareboat charter by a NauticEd SLC qualified assessor

NauticEd will then issue you with a digital SLC card with a unique number.

The number is entered on this page  which shows to anyone inquiring about your Sailing License and Credentials.

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Do You Need a License to Drive a Yacht?

Owning a yacht embodies luxury, freedom, and adventure on the open waters. However, amid the allure of yacht ownership, there's a critical aspect often overlooked—the necessity of possessing a valid yacht license. This article delves into why having a license to drive a yacht is indispensable for aspiring owners. But do you need a license to drive a yacht? The team at Yacht Management , a leading provider of yacht maintenance services, provides all the information you need to know here.

What to Know About Yacht Ownership

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What to Know About Yacht Ownership As a leading yacht maintenance company, we understand that yacht ownership represents the epitome of luxury and an unparalleled sense of freedom in the realm of maritime indulgence. It embodies an aspirational lifestyle coveted by many, symbolizing not just a possession but being amid a world of opulence and unparalleled experiences.

The allure of owning a yacht extends beyond mere ownership. It encapsulates the spirit of adventure and the thrill of exploration on the open seas. Picture the sheer liberation of charting your course, unfettered by land-bound constraints, navigating through pristine waters to your chosen destinations. It's a lifestyle that harmonizes luxury with the freedom to explore remote coves, pristine islands, and exotic locales, all within the sanctum of your private vessel.

Yacht ownership is more than a status symbol; it's a gateway to a unique way of life where one can escape the ordinary and immerse oneself in the extraordinary. The sensation of being surrounded by boundless azure horizons, the sun painting the sky in hues of gold during sunset cruises, and the gentle rhythm of waves against the hull—all contribute to an unmatched sense of liberation and tranquility.

Owning a yacht brings unparalleled freedom, allowing one to embrace the spontaneity of travel and the luxury of seafaring without limitations. It's an embodiment of personal expression, where the yacht becomes an extension of one's identity, reflecting individual tastes and desires amidst the vast expanse of the ocean.

Being a yacht owner is not solely about possessing a magnificent vessel; it's an invitation to a lifestyle where luxury, adventure, and the boundless freedom of the seas converge, creating an experience that transcends the ordinary and defines the extraordinary. But do you need a license to drive a yacht and make the lifestyle your everyday experience?

Why Having a License for a Yacht Is So Important

There is more to know beyond answering the question, "Do you need a license to drive a yacht?" Knowing why you want one to be in your possession is important. Below are some of the main points our yacht service experts want you to remember. 

Legal Compliance and Regulations of a Florida Boating License

The operation of a yacht demands meticulous adherence to a myriad of legal frameworks and maritime regulations. These encompass licensing requirements, registration obligations, and adherence to safety standards stipulated by international and regional maritime bodies. Understanding and complying with these legal mandates is not merely a formality. It is the cornerstone of responsible yachting. Moreover, a profound comprehension of maritime laws ensures the safety of all onboard, mitigating risks and fostering a secure environment for crew and passengers alike.

Mastery of Navigation at Sea

Navigating a yacht presents unique challenges that demand a comprehensive grasp of navigation techniques. Unlike land-based travel, yachting requires proficiency in understanding nautical charts, interpreting weather patterns, and employing navigation tools specific to maritime environments. Mastering these skills is imperative for ensuring safe passage, efficient handling of the vessel, and the ability to navigate diverse and often unpredictable waterways.

Handling Emergencies at Sea The vastness of the seas brings with it the potential for unforeseen emergencies. From inclement weather conditions to mechanical failures, being equipped to address these difficulties is non-negotiable. A thorough understanding of emergency protocols, swift decision-making in crisis scenarios, and possessing the skill set to manage emergencies effectively are paramount. Whether it involves first aid proficiency, knowledge of distress signals, or executing evacuation procedures, preparedness is vital to ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone aboard. Do you need a license to drive a yacht and handle these emergencies? The experience comes with the practice that only a license will present to you.

Obtaining a license to drive a yacht extends far beyond a legal requirement. It embodies a commitment to safety, proficiency, and responsible seamanship. Mastery of maritime laws, navigation skills, and preparedness in handling emergencies form the bedrock of a conscientious and adept yacht operator, ensuring not just compliance but also the safety and security of all involved in the yachting experience.

The Process of Obtaining a Florida Yacht License  "Do you need a license to drive a yacht?" This question often marks the outset of one's journey toward navigating the world's waters aboard one's own vessel. Addressing this query initiates a multifaceted process involving stringent prerequisites and comprehensive training to ensure the mastery of essential skills integral to responsible yacht operation. Our yacht care professionals are masters in all things related to navigation. Here, they present things you must know when you are undergoing the process of obtaining your license.

Florida Boat License Requirement and Training Acquiring a yacht license requires fulfilling specific prerequisites that vary depending on the region and the license type sought. Typically, applicants must meet age requirements, undergo a thorough medical examination to ensure physical fitness and complete a specified number of logged sea hours. A fundamental understanding of maritime laws and navigation principles is also essential through formal education or training courses.

Training programs for yacht licensing encompass a comprehensive curriculum covering seamanship, navigation techniques, safety protocols, and emergency procedures. These programs, often conducted by certified maritime institutions or accredited training centers, offer theoretical instruction complemented by practical, hands-on experience aboard vessels. They equip aspiring yacht operators with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate, operate, and manage a yacht proficiently and safely.

Variations of the License for Boating in Florida  Yacht licenses vary in scope and designation, catering to different yacht sizes, navigational zones, and purposes. Common categories include licenses for recreational yachts, commercial vessels, and specific endorsements for operating in coastal or open waters. Licenses may also differ based on propulsion systems, accommodating both sail and motor yachts. The scope ranges from inland waterways to unrestricted navigation in international waters, reflecting varying degrees of competency and experience required for each category.

Beyond the fundamental yacht license, endorsements or supplementary certifications augment an operator's skill set. These endorsements often focus on specialized areas such as offshore sailing, handling specific types of vessels, or certifications in advanced navigation techniques. Additionally, safety and first aid, radio operation, or environmental stewardship certifications further enhance an operator's capabilities and preparedness, ensuring a comprehensive skill set for navigating diverse yachting scenarios.

Obtaining a yacht license involves meeting prerequisites, undergoing rigorous training, and selecting the appropriate license category tailored to one's yachting ambitions. Furthermore, pursuing endorsements and supplementary certifications enriches an operator's proficiency and preparedness, ensuring a well-rounded skill set for navigating the complexities of yachting.

Get in Touch With a Leader Among Yacht Maintenance Companies

Do you need a license to drive a yacht? Yes! It won't only prove essential in legal and regulatory matters. It will also provide the necessary experience and practice to captain a vessel confidently.

But if you're seeking a partner to care for your watercraft, don't settle for just any South Florida yacht maintenance company. Team up with the experts at Yacht Management for unmatched care. If you're interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to our team today or call our team directly to speak with a representative today.

Be sure to also take a look at our yachting blog for a deep dive into several topics our professionals regularly cover. Take your yachting experience to the next level with the help of seasoned experts who call the ocean home and their clients a commitment to excellence that will be met.

Related Readings:

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Boat Navigation
  • The Art of Luxury Yacht Provisioning
  • Reasons to Hire a Boat Captain

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  • Certificates of Competence
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exam

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Exam

Full details of the exam syllabus and requirements are shown in the RYA Yachtmaster Scheme Syllabus and Logbook (G158) available from the webshop (see right).

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore practical exams can be taken under sail or power and your certificate will be endorsed accordingly. The candidate or a training centre provides the boat and the RYA provides an examiner. Note: All qualifying sea time and passages must be gained on vessels appropriate to the type of exam i.e. gained in sailing vessels for a sail exam and power vessels for a power exam.

There is no formal training course leading up to the exam, but those who have not previously taken RYA courses often find it useful to book themselves in for some informal training at an RYA centre prior to their exam. This training can be tailor-made to your specific needs and helps to fill any gaps in your knowledge that may become apparent.

The exam will include an assessment of your skippering skills, boat handling, general seamanship, navigation, safety awareness and knowledge of the IRPCS, meteorology and signals.

Boats used for exams

You may use your own boat or a boat that you have chartered or borrowed. You will be responsible for ensuring the boat is seaworthy and suitable for the area in which the exam takes place and equipped as shown below.

The boat used must be between 7m and 18m (LOA) and be in sound, seaworthy condition, equipped to the standard set out in the RYA Boat Safety Handbook 2nd Edition (code G103). The boat must be equipped with a full up to date set of charts and navigational publications along with working instruments and either plotter or GPS. In addition to the candidate there should be two crew on board as the examiner will not take part in the management of the boat during the exam.

There may be vessels that will meet the guidelines outlined above but by virtue of their layout, construction, handling characteristics or other factors may be unsuitable for use for an RYA Yachtmaster Practical examination. The RYA reserves the right to refuse an exam on a vessel that, in the view of the RYA Chief Examiner, will not allow the examiner to conduct an examination to the standard required by the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Qualification Panel.

Before you book your exam please check that you:

  • can provide a boat
  • have completed the required mileage and experience as skipper
  • hold an SRC (Short Range Certificate) or higher level GMDSS radio operators qualification
  • hold a valid first aid certificate
  • have read the syllabus in RYA Logbook (G158)
  • have read and comply with the pre-requisites above.

Additionally if not on the boat, you will need to bring to the exam:

  • laminated or waterproof charts
  • GPS set (may be hand held)
  • tide tables
  • pilotage information for the local area, eg pilot books, port information etc
  • plotting instruments.
  • Photographic ID card or document, such as a passport or driving licence

If you need your Certificate of Competence in order to work on board a commercial craft subject the MCA's codes of practice, you will need to get it commercially endorsed .

Useful links

Arranging your exam, commercial endorsements, exam payments service, mca manning requirements, professional qualifications.

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We recommend that you get the best license you qualify for!


  • Why get a Captain's License?
  • What License Should I Get?
  • USCG Operator's License (6-PK)
  • USCG Master Inland / Mate Near Coastal License
  • USCG Master Near Coastal License
  • USCG Qualifications and Application Requirements
  • USCG Captain's License Classes

yachtsman license

To work as a paid captain or mate

To use your boat for charter

To learn or refresh your skills in navigation, chart plotting, rules of the road, safety & regulations, buoyage systems, basic weather, basic stability, and much more!

To earn a credential that shows your experience and may even reduce insurance costs

To improve your resume if you want to get a job on a bigger boat


We recommend that you get the best license you qualify for! There are a couple of options depending on your citizenship status and boating experience. The two main captain's licenses issued by the USCG are the Operator (6 pack) and the Master. There is no requirement to start with a 6 pack ® you can go straight to Master! There are several basic differences, the Operator (6 pack) license is for uninspected vessels up to 100 gross tons, up to 100 miles offshore, and the Master is for inspected (vessels carrying 7 or more passengers) or uninspected vessels up to 100 gross tons, up to 200 miles offshore or on inland waters. Your boating experience may limit the tonnage to 25, 50 or 100 gross tons. Inland licenses are also available if you are operating primarily on inland waters. If you do not have enough sea time to get your Master Near Coastal (offshore), you should consider the Master Inland, Mate Near Coastal, and Operator (6pk) Combo. Another option worth considering is the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Yachtmaster Program, which is valid on foreign flagged yachts up to 200gt.

Uninspected vessels

At least 360 days of boating experience including 90 days offshore. 90 within past 3 years. If you do not have coastwise experience, you can get an inland license. Non U.S. Citizens may be restricted to undocumented vessels with a 5 net ton limit.


Inspected or Uninspected vessels up to 100gt on Inland Waters:

At least 360 days of boating experience including 90 within the past 3 years. If you have 180 days of offshore experience, you can also get Mate Near Coastal (200 miles) license. If you only have 90 days of offshore time, you can also get OUPV near coastal. If you do not have any nearcoastal sea service, apply for a Master Inland. If all sea time is under 5gt you will get 25gt, If 90 days is over 5gt, you will get 50gt license, If 180 are over 34gt, you will get 100gt license.


Inspected or Uninspected vessels up to 100gt on up to 200 miles offshore:

At least 720 days of boating experience including 360 days offshore and 90 within past 3 years. If all sea time is under 5gt you will get 25gt license. If 180 days is over 5gt, you will get 50gt license. If 360 is over 34gt, you will get 100gt license.


In addition to completing your certified course, the Coast Guard requires the following items before they can issue your license. The application package does not need to be completed before taking your training program. You have up to 1 year after finishing the course to submit your paperwork to the USCG, but the sooner you submit it, the sooner your license will be processed. The USCG Application forms listed below can be sent to you upon request.

  • Application for license (with Oath done at MPT)
  • Documentation of sea time experience - letters or sea service forms signed by the vessel's owner or captain or sea service forms signed by you for your own boat(s) or DD2-14 and Transcript of Service for your military sea service (if applicable).
  • Proof of vessel ownership - if you are submitting forms for your own boat(s)
  • Physical Exam (within 1 year, on USCG Forms) There are certain medical conditions and/or prescription drugs that may disqualify you for a license or require a waiver. Ask for info if applicable.
  • Drug Screen (within 6 months, on USCG Forms or proof of random drug test program or consortium)
  • Proof of Permanent Residency for six-pack OUPV
  • T.W.I.C. Card; The USCG Conducts a criminal background check and National Driver's Registry Report on all applicants. Certain offenses within recent years can disqualify you for a license. Please ask if you need more information.
  • Course Certificate from MPT's Certified Course within the last year
  • First Aid & CPR Certificate from MPT or other USCG Approved course within the last year
  • Take Oath in person at MPT
  • License Processing Fees (evaluation/ issuance paid to USCG)


MPT's Captains License classes are USCG Approved, NO TEST AT THE USCG.

This course is available at two levels. The first level is 8 days in length for daytime students or 2 weeks of evenings and Saturdays for Night Students. This first level is USCG Approved for candidates applying for their Six-Pack - Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) License.

The second level affords the student three additional days of classes and is USCG Approved for Master and Mate Licenses. The USCG does not require you to get a Six-Pack License before you get your Masters, so if you qualify, you can take the full 11 days and get your Master or Mates license! Most students do qualify for a Master or Mate license. Please refer to the Qualifications section of this manual for more information or just ask one of the MPT student services representatives in the admissions office. The Masters level earns you the respect you have earned with years of boating experience as well as giving you the ability to serve on either inspected (7 or more passengers) or uninspected vessels as you choose. Another benefit is with the near coastal (offshore) route, with 6 pack you can go up to 100 miles offshore and with the Master you can go up to 200 miles offshore!

Subjects include : Navigation Tidal calculations International and inland rules of the road Coastal pilotage Meteorology Anchoring and mooring Marlinespike Docking and undocking Buoyage systems Safety Voyage and passage planning General ship knowledge regulations Stability and vessel construction Seamanship Written Exams:

This course is USCG Approved. No Tests at the Coast Guard. You will take written final exams administered at MPT at the end of the program. They include a selection of the topics covered in the course. We work with everyone until they pass! Do not worry. Class participation and study will get you through the exams. One of the bonuses of attending MPT's captains license classes is that we give every student the certification to operate a commercial assistance towing vessel - for free! The USCG authorizes Masters with this certification to operate assistance towing vessels of any size within their tonnage and Six-Packers to operate assistance towing vessels of up to 26 feet.

MPT has always been known for going the extra mile, and this course is no exception. MPT has incredible USCG Licensed instructors with a passion for teaching, a love for boating and a desire to see you succeed!

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Yacht Crew Licenses & Certifications: Q & A


Captain Mark Fry, of International Yacht Training , answers your questions.

Q : How does one substantiate the requirement of actual cruising time as a qualification for the "6 Pak" license? I have been boating for at least the last 15 years and have substantial hours, however I never maintained a log. I am afraid that this requirement has and will keep guys like me from going for their licenses. Thanks, Dick B.

A : To substantiate sea time for the US Coastguard "6 pack" license on your own vessel, you are required to complete the "small vessel service form" from the USCG. As the owner of the yacht you can sign off your own sea time and have it notorised from someone who can substantiate it such as a dock master, yacht club commodore or such like. If you are not the owner of the boat(s) where you have done your sea time, you must, unfortunately, have each individual boat owner sign each form; then each form must be notarized. Needless to say, this can be a very difficult and tedious task.


Q : I am interested in starting a crewed charter business either based in BVI or AVI 1) Is their any captain licence that covers both or do I need two Licences? I am currently located in Newark, DE. USA. 2) Do you have any sugestions for me as far as schools or study guide courses? 3) I have plenty of sea time but mostly on smaller yachets. How can I gain my tonnage ratings for large sailing vessels 100 - 200 Ton Master? David M.

A : It is very interesting that you have brought up this question at this time. The British Virgin Islands passed a law on Feb 1st 2005, that any vessel chartering in their waters must have a qualified Captain on board with a qualification recognised by the BVI. Here at IYT, we issue dual certification for American citizens. That is a 200 Ton Yachtmaster Offshore certificate and a USCG 200 Ton Masters license. This helps satisfy both administrations so you can work in both the BVI and the USVI. IYT holds the dual Yachtmaster course once a month in our Ft Lauderdale facility. Details of entry level requirements, course schedule and pricing can be found on our website.

Q : Is it true that boat insurance goes up dramatically when one obtains a Captains License? We have heard this, but would think that the opposite should be true - that a licensed captain should be a lower risk. Rebecca V.

A : You are absolutely correct, there are a number of companies that will give you a reduction in your boat insurance if you hold a Captain license or a recognized certificate of competency. But like car insurance, you should shop around for the best deal.

Q: How do I get an International Certificate of Competency (ICC) to charter in Spain? William C.

Here at IYT in Ft Lauderdale, we are licensed to issue ICC's on behalf of both the U.K. and the Irish Governments. Generally speaking however, you must be a resident of one of these countries in order to obtain an ICC. We are trying to find out how we can issue ICC's on behalf of the US Coastguards but so far have been unable to get a satisfactory reply. We have also requested permission from the Irish Government to issue ICC's to non-Irish residents and are currently awaiting a reply. If we get permission to issue ICC's in the US from the Irish Government, then as part of the EU this certificate will be good to charter anywhere in Europe. You will be able to obtain this certificate here is the USA. As soon as we get an answer we will update you.

Q : I'm a bit confused...."Yachtmaster" is a registered Trade Mark of the UK's Royal Yachting Association. Your website doesnt even mention the RYA and you seem to have no affiliation with it!! As a long term holder of RYA certification, I would not like to see my qualifications degraded or indeed the Yachtmaster Offshore or Ocean tickets confused with anything other than the "real thing"! Tony N-W

A - Hi Tony, International Yachtmaster Training ( IYT ) is a U.S. Corporation and has absolutely nothing to do with the British recreational yachting organisation called the Royal Yachting Association or RYA. This is why there is no mention of it on our website. The term "Yachtmaster" actually belongs to the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) who were the first to coin the phrase and issue yachtmaster certificates as the Board of Trade as far back as 1932. In 1973, RYA were given permission to issue "Yachtmaster " certificates by the MCA. In 1999, International Yachtmaster Training was also given permission by the MCA to issue "MCA Recognised Yachtmaster certificates. Yachtmaster certificates are also issued by the Australian Yachting Federation, the Irish Sailing Association, the Cruising Association of South Africa and the Canadian Yachting Association although their certificates are not recognised by the MCA. All of these organisations are recreational yachting associations run by recreational yachtsmen and they issue recreational yachtmaster certificates. Some of these organisations issue yachtmaster certificates with a "commercial endorsement", and certain administrations question the authority of recreational yachting organisations to issue "commercial" certificates.

International Yachtmaster Training on the other hand, is a professional yachting organisation, fully approved by Det Norske Veritas as a Maritime Training Center of Excellence. It is run by professional yachtsmen and we issue professional, commercial Yachtmaster certificates. Our standards are higher than the other organisations including the RYA, as they are fully compliant with the International Maritime Organisation rules for the Standards of Training and Certification of Watchkeepers, or STCW as it is commonly known. IYT does not allow "direct entry" into its examination system as the RYA do, one has to actually sit our courses to obtain our certification. All of our examiners worldwide are professional mariners, not so with the RYA.

The IYT Yachtmaster program is so successful, it is now recognized by 24 Governments worldwide including not only the MCA but also the U.S. Coastguard among others. The demand for our certification as a standard of excellence is such that we now have 33 licensed schools in 20 different countries and this is growing every week. With regard to the RYA registered trademark in the U.K., it is interesting to note that the MCA, who coined the phrase, refuse to recognise the RYA registration. The "International Yachtmaster Training" name and logo, is however a federally registered trademark in the United States.

In conclusion, the IYT Yachtmaster Certificates have become the certificates of choice throughout both the professional international yachting community and recreational yachtsmen. Their compliance with the STCW convention for Basic Safety Training and insistence on completion of all aspects of the training courses ensures a well qualified individual trained to professional international standards. So Tony, when you are ready for the "real thing", contact us, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Q - I keep my boat in Belize. We plan to cruise the Caribbean in a few years (live aboard). Is there any good reason to get my 6-pack license in this case? Mark P.

A - The U.S. is the only country in the world that issues a "license" to drive a boat. All other countries issue a "certificate of competency" which includes a practical examination to prove that you are competent to command a boat. There is no reason to get your six-pack license unless you intend to operate your boat as a commercial charter boat in the US Virgin Islands. The Coast Guard License is only a requirement is you wish to carry passengers for hire or reward in the U.S. or U.S. territories. It consists of a series of multiple choice questions. It is also largely unaccepted overseas as there is no practical component to the training and no "on the water" examination. The most internationally recognised qualification for yachting is the IYT Yachtmaster certificate which also carries a reduction in your insurance if you hold such a certificate.

Q - I intend to operate a charter boat on the USVI. I heard that the USVI have special regulations, different from the USA. What kind of license is needed in those islands? Does the boat have to be US flagged? Knowing that I will be based from the USVI, am I allowed to do charterers pick ups in the BVI? Thank you very much. Joe S.

A - If you are going to be chartering in the USVI, you need to be qualified to US Coastguard standards. This would mean a "Six-Pack" license or similar to take paying passengers aboard your vessel. It is always in the best interests of your qualifications to complete the 5 day Basic STCW training courses (not the 3-day version), which will be acceptable to the BVI. With regard to where you flag the vessel, the best people to talk to are the US Virgin Islands Charter League. You can contact Pamela Wilson at 1.800.524.2061. With regards to being able to pick up charterers in the British Virgin Islands, there have been some changes recently so I would suggest you contact the British Virgin Islands Maritime Authorities for their most recent update.

Q - As a professional skipper, I have been asked several times if I could perform a wedding on my boat, which is based in US waters. If I do, can I deliver a valid wedding license? What is the real validity of this whole thing and how does it REALLY work? Or is it just a gimmick? Please elaborate since it could be an interesting marketing tool for my business. Sincerely, Capt. Gene

A - It was once possible for a ship Captain to marry people at sea. However, this is no longer the case. There are extreme cases where a couple could be married in dire circumstances such as a sinking vessel or someone about to die. But this could only be done in International waters. It is however possible to marry someone on your boat inside territorial waters (3 miles ) provided the person giving the ceremony is duly qualified to do so by the State, such as a public notary. I was married aboard a yacht 7 years ago here in Ft Lauderdale. I would suggest contacting the State authorities to find out how this could be done, it is rather good fun to do so.

Q - I am starting a Skippered Yacht Charter business in St. Vincent & the Grenadines later this year and I see a lot of comments about the "6-pak" license requirements. I am qualified to RYA Yachtmaster Offshore. Do I need any further qualifications (over the YM) to operate the business in SVG ? Graham

A - The "six-pack" license that you refer to is a U.S. Coastguard license which is required for operating vessels that carry up to six people in U.S Territorial waters. This includes the United States mainland and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It can only be taken by U.S Citizens and will be of little or no value to you in St Vincent and Grenadines.

Q - What are the qualifications needed by the different Caribbean countries to run a crewed charter yacht?

A - This is a matter for the Flag State Authority or Maritime Authority on each Island. The problem is there are many different countries involved. There are U.S. British, Dutch, French, Bahamas and all the independent islands who make their own decisions on what qualifications are acceptable for which yachts.

The qualifications will depend on the status of the yacht, whether it is private or commercial (this means engaged in trade or accepting money for a charter), the Flag State or where the yacht is registered, the tonnage of the yacht, whether it complies with a classification society for safety and construction, the number of guests it will carry, whether it is power or sail, its compliance with the code of safe working practices and sometimes the nationality of the crew and / or the number of crew it will carry.

There is also the issue of work permits from the various islands. For instance, one might be suitably qualified to run a charter yacht out of the British Virgin Islands but without a Work Permit from the V.I. Government to do so, it could mean big trouble. The same applies from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A lot of people think that they can buy a yacht and suddenly start a charter business in the Caribbean. Having spent 6 years running commercial yachts throughout all the islands, I would strongly recommend conducting some research before embarking on such a venture.

Lastly, with regard to RYA Yachtmaster certificates, I would caution that a number of Flag States (including the French Islands) will not accept the RYA Yachtmaster certificates even with a commercial endorsement as they do not believe that a recreational sailing organisation with no quality management system and no auditing requirements in place should have the authority to issue commercial certificates. They also do not comply with the STCW convention as laid down by the International Maritime Organisation.

Before deciding to run a commercial yacht in the Caribbean, I would strongly suggest contacting the Government of the Island to find out as many rules and regulations as possible. The number of yachts doing so is strictly governed, otherwise there would be a "free for all" with no controls in place.

Q - I have limited (almost none) sailing experience. I would love to bareboat charter. How much experience is needed before a bareboat charter company will turn the boat over to you. Were do you get experience? I know a course would be in order but if I go to the expense of a course that leads to a bareboat certification is that enough?

Depending on where you live, approach a reputable sailing school (there is no other way to do this). I recommend Offshore Sailing School ( ). They have many outlets all around the country. Or any Certified ASA school.

Q - A quetion about lowering flag from a yacht club yard arm has arisen here in Marblehead, MA. Specifically, the Canadian flag was flown from the yardarm before and during the Marblehead-to-Halifax ocean race recently. Clearly, the U.S. ensign is the last to be lowered ceremoniously, as you say. But which of the other two that flew should be lowered first, the Canadian flag or the yacht club's burgee? Bud P.

A - The flags should be lowered as follows 1) Club burgee first 2) Canadian flag second 3) US Flag last

Q - I understand that with a US flagged vessel I could operate a charter vessel outside US territorial waters without the need of the "six-pack" license, am I correct? And in the event the charter is based in one of the "non US" Caribbean Islands, is it the authority of the starting island of the charter that gives permission to Charter or do I need a permit from every other "island country" on the way, if it is different than the one at the start of the charter??

A - To run a charter yacht, you are required to comply with Flag State regulations irrespective of where in the world you operate. To operate a US flagged yacht, you would need to be US Coastguard qualified such as a 50 ton or "6 pack". Other islands have the authority to confine a charter boat to harbor if the Captain is not properly licensed. I would also doubt very much if an insurance company would insure you to operate a charter yacht without the proper license as the insurance would probably be void if there was an accident.

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State Boating Laws, Rules, and Regulations


Knowing the rules where you boat is important to boating safety for everyone.

Pleasure boating

Whether you just bought a new boat or are boating in a new state, you need to know and follow your state boating laws, rules, and regulations. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about state boating laws.

Why is knowing my state boating laws important? Learning your state and local boating laws and rules is important for boating safety — for you and your passengers as well as those in other boats. Boating laws may be different depending on where you boat, so you don't want to accidentally run afoul of boating requirements such as taking a boating safety course, life jacket wearing, equipment requirements, boating under the influence, boating in environmentally sensitive areas, and more.

Where can I take a boating safety course? There are many public and private boating safety courses available that satisfy mandatory boating education requirements. One of the easiest is the free state specific boating safety courses offered by the BoatUS Foundation. The BoatUS Foundation offers the only free online boating safety course developed specifically for your state. The BoatUS Foundation Boating Safety Course is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and approved by NASBLA and your state boating license agency.

I took my state's boating safety course but I recently moved to a new state. Do I have to take the course again? Each state or territory sets its own requirements when it comes to boating safety education. Your boating education certification is not a license, which can be suspended or revoked. It allows you to operate certain watercraft in the waters of the state it was issued by. But many states practice "reciprocity," meaning a valid certification in one state is accepted in another state (typically with length of time restrictions). Learn more about boating education reciprocity here.

Who do I ask about specific boating issues in my state? Have a specific question about boating in your state? NASBLA offers a list of boating safety contacts by state . Visit the page, then click on the state to find the boating law administrator and others involved in boating safety education, law enforcement, numbering & titling, and other boating program areas.

What are the boating laws and rules for my state? BoatUS has put together a list of links to state boating laws. Click on your state in the list below to access the information. (Clicking the state boating law links will take you to external websites not affiliated with BoatUS.)

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Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina

North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

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Find out if your yacht license is valid in different parts of the world

Find out if your yacht license is valid in different parts of the world

The ability to travel the world in a yacht often equals the phrase "yacht license." That is, you cannot operate a yacht without a special document, which it is difficult and expensive to obtain. However, it is not everywhere and is not always true.

In this article we are going to find out what is a yacht license and what countries and parts of the world it is needed and valid for, answering the eight most frequently asked questions.

Do I need a yacht license for sailing?

The first thing a majority of those who are going to study to be a skipper wonder about is which rights are more legal. Let us start with the basics: yacht licenses are not required in many countries at all.

In Denmark , for example, a yacht up to 15 m long and weighing 20 tons has the status of bicycle, so you just hire it and ride it. You do not need to register it or obtain the rights.

In the UK you can also rent a boat the size of a passenger carriage and ride it along the Thames without any license. Moreover, a charter company would even persuade you to do it saying, “They are so easy to navigate, you don’t really need any previous experience” (link). And such countries abound.

Yet, there are countries where the laws for yachtsmen and yachtswomen are strict.

For instance, in Russia there is a serious system of captain rights in place. Same is relevant for Spain, Brazil and many other countries. Also, this system is broken down into various categories in terms of the vessel size, engine power, remoteness from the shore.

Moreover, you cannot use Russian rights to ride a Spanish boat near the Canary Islands, while the Spanish rights are not permitting to ride a Russian boat on the Volga River. And there is no shortage of such countries, to put it mildly.

Which yacht licenses are applicable for which country?

When visiting a certain country, the skipper has to search Google for the following: “<name of country> skipper license requirements.” As a rule, all of the requirements are divided into three types:

  • A yacht may be navigated by anyone without a license.
  • The country’s residents must obtain national rights, while foreigners may use their national licenses.
  • Both residents and foreigners must obtain the rights issued by this country or possess certificates recognizable by it (this is normally followed by a short or a long list).

A combination of those conditions is also possible depending on the vessel’s flag. For example, in Spain a foreign captain must have officially recognizable rights to sail a vessel under the national Spanish flag, yet if the vessel represents another state, the skipper may have national rights. This is officially stated here on page 20.

yachtsman license

What if the yacht is in neutral waters? It can’t get any simpler – no one country is interested in the skipper, his license or his insurance. Absolute freedom. Photo: Pexels

Aren’t there any international laws and captain rights?

All this prompts a legit question: how can one sale anywhere in the world given the confusion?

Generally speaking, one should be careful with using the word “international” as this term for many people means “all countries in the world”, while it should be interpreted just as “more than one”.

Certainly, international yacht rights exist, but they are not recognized by all states. A detailed analysis singles out two certificates which are most often mentioned on the officially recognized list – RYA and ICC. Read full text of the “ICC Resolution №40” here . Among all the skipper certificates it is these two that are normally set out in national laws – from Europe to Australia. But one should keep in mind that we are speaking not about the entire world but rather about few dozens of countries. This is not much but more than nothing.

In any case, it is useful to have one of those two licenses. Therefore, it makes sense for IYT owners to spend an extra 100 Euro on converting IYT into ICC, as the list of water areas will be expanded for them if there is a single license. Moreover, bareboat limitations about distance from shore, nighttime navigation and the category of motorboats of up to 10m will be automatically opened. For submission you should contact an IYT in your region.

I don’t have the right type of yacht certificate, what then?

Don’t lose heart if you have neither RYA nor ICC. This is easy to explain:

  • Many countries do not require rights to navigate a pleasure yacht.
  • If the skipper is a foreigner (especially, if the boat itself is foreign), most countries recognize the skipper’s right to sail using their national rights . For instance, if you stay in Canada for over 45 days, you formally have to have either Canadian rights or national ones. RYA, ICC and even the official Canadian IYT are not on the list ( official source ).
  • All mentioned above is only a formal side to the issue. In reality, a foreign skipper is perceived as a guest from a different planet and no one tries to find out whether their license is valid, if it was issued by the state or a private company, which category of vessel it allows to ride, etc. Hence, the countries where control is in place and the laws are strict apply all this most rigorously to their own residents. When the boat is a local one, while the captain is a foreigner, the control, as a rule, is milder and the law is more flexible.

yachtsman license

If not only the captain is foreign, but the boat has a foreign flag, too, the law goes something like, “Well, what shall we do with you, if your homeland permits it, then so shall we.” Photo: Andre Furtado / Pexels

You have the experience but not the yacht license. Where to obtain?

No worries! There are many options how to obtain a skipper license for 30-50 Euro just by passing an exam or completing an online test.

In Croatia, for example, if you want to charter a boat, but do not have a certificate, then you can go to the boat operator’s licensing body, say that you need a skipper license, pay a small state fee, answer several simple questions like “red is to the left, green is to the right” in English and obtain the Voditelj brodice kategorije B / Boat Skipper state license which is recognized not only by Croatia but other countries as well. Not all of them, though.

Another option that can be obtained in Canada for about the same money is the Pleasure Craft Operator Card. You don’t really have to go there in person – it is enough to take an online course and pass an online test ( link ). The license will be sent by mail. Even though it is not a state one, but is absolutely legal for Canada. Moreover, it is recognized in other countries. For instance, you can use it in Australia and even exchange for the Australian rights - Recreational Skipper's Ticket ( official source ).

Such options are aplenty, you just need to look for them. So, the official document titled “Skipper” can be obtained quite easily and this is totally legal. Incidentally, this is also not devoid of common sense in certain cases.

Will they let you charter a boat?

Sometimes a charter company would refuse to give you a boat if it does not like your skipper certificate, even if it is accepted in the desired country of sailing. One has to understand that it is not just about a license. A charter company may refuse you on any ground, be it age, nationality or inadequate behavior. It is fully entitled to do so, as it is a private company and may impose their own hiring rules.

Some of them require to have two skippers on board, while others demand that you have a 50 ft Yachtmaster certificate – every company has its own way of working with risks. From my humble charting experience, I can say that they are primarily interested not in the license itself, but rather in the captain's logbook – what kind of voyages he or she has had, when and where.

yachtsman license

The license is secondary. Its presence is desirable, but ideally should also be recognized by the country of charter. Photo: Terje Sollie / Pexels

What an insurance company will cover if I don’t have a license?

There is a well-known bugbear that if your license does not cover the condition of sailing, namely, is not recognized by a particular country or contains limitations which are not observed by the skipper (nighttime sailing, for example), then the insurance company will deny the insurance payment. This is mostly fantasies, as insurance companies do pay. The relations between them and the customer are regulated by the policy terms and not the license itself. And if the insurance policy does not say anything about licensing, they will simply have no reason for denial. Yet, if the license validity requirements are stipulated in the policy, then the license absence or its expired term may be the ground for a denial of payment. So you’d better read the papers carefully.

For instance, the full insurance search terms may say nothing about the skipper’s license. For instance, the hull insurance search terms may say nothing about the skipper’s license. The terms are here . On the contrary, in case of civil in liability it may be mentioned.

Moreover, in the case of arrival of the insurance case not only the relations between the insurance company and the client will come into force, but also those involving the third affected party and official sea authorities. In this case, the coast guard can really reveal an incongruous license, which may have consequences in the form of not only damage but also a fine.

Where to study saling?

This question was intentionally left for the end. If you don’t have experience yet, you’d better think first about the quality of training and not the colour of the official paper. Simple but true. It is not a problem to obtain a paper (see above), so this is secondary. Although it is simpler, of course, when this is done all together and at once. It is advisable to do the following: there are two international chains of training centres – IYT and RYA, as well as a variety of national yacht schools, especially in the countries where the rights are legislatively enshrined. I would leave out those schools that do not issue ICC automatically. So, three options remain:

  • European schools which train for obtaining a state license with a possibility to be converted into ICC.
  • IYT, which is also easily convertible into ICC.
  • RYA, which is recognized well all around, can be converted into ICC, if needed.

After such primary selection what you should choose is not the training system or school but rather a particular instructor. It is he who is responsible for the most part of knowledge and skills. Any of the licenses listed in the previous paragraph is more than sufficient in the majority of real life situations, whereas knowledge is rare.

yachtsman license

So, first and foremost, you should choose the trainer, since the paper is not as important. Yet, if you follow the advice above, then your paper will be abreast, too. Photo: Yaroslav Shuraev / Pexels

The bottom line

  • There are no licenses that are officially valid all across the world, it is just that some licenses are more universally recognizable, while the others are not so much. Many countries recognize licenses issued by the skipper’s country of residence. This is the most legally transparent option. RYA and ICC-issued documents are among the recognizable ones, too. The other ones are less so.
  • It is better to study at a school that provides a possibility to obtain RYA or ICC, but choosing the right instructor is more important than choosing the right paper.
  • If you already have some knowledge, but not the certificate, then you needn’t study again, as many schools suggest. In this case you have to approach the examiners right away rather than going back to school. There are many options out there.
  • Charter and insurance companies may place their demands on skippers and their licenses, including those having nothing to do with the official state requirements. This is their right.
  • Certain papers may or may not be valid in particular states, which is directly set out in their laws. Therefore, the only way to find out whether you may navigate a yacht in a given state with a certain license, under a certain flag and with a certain country of residence is to read the laws of the country.
  • Here are links to the official sources of information regarding laws of different countries (laws themselves or official information bulletins): Canada , Brazil , Norway , Australia , Spain , Denmark , The Netherlands , Croatia .

You can see the wind in real time on Live wind map .

This post was originally published on the blog on July 9, 2019.

Text: team

Cover photo: Unsplash

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International Boat Licenses - ICC, Radio License, CEVNI

ICC - Boat Licensing

Boat Licensing

It is common for hire companies all over the world to assess your competence and experience by looking at your boating resume , and conducting a practical examination when no official documentation is required or supplied.

However, in most European and Mediterranean countries for inland and coastal waters you will need an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) for bareboat charter.  

To charter a boat The International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft , or ICC  ( International Certificate of Competence) , is accepted as evidence of competence in most EU and Mediterranean waters. It proves that the holder has undergone formal training and has the necessary boating skills to manage a vessel in international waters. It serves as evidence of your ability to operate a pleasure craft, including yachts. The requirements to obtain an ICC can vary based on your home country and its affiliation with relevant international agreements.

ICC training includes first aid and VHF radio operator qualifications.

The ICC is formally accepted in the following UNECE countries that have adopted Resolution 14 & 40:

Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

The following UNECE member states have not accepted the Resolution 14 nor the Resolution 40:

Greece, Moldova, Portugal, Spain, Russian Federation, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine and United States .

Despite the fact that some countries do not formally accept the ICC, it is very often sufficient documentation to rent or charter a boat, as it meets EU standards and can be seen as an equivalent to national licenses. The ICC can be obtained from the Royal Yachting Association or International Yacht Training Worldwide who have schools all over the globe.  

VHF Radio License

You are required to have a VHF radio licence to operate the on-board radio. If you are chartering a boat and responsible for using the radio, this will have been covered in your competency training. This certificate demonstrates that you are trained to use VHF radios for maritime communication and are familiar with the protocols and procedures. For more informations about VHR Licenses or Permits check Federal Communications Commission Website  

Inland Waterways

To navigate European inland waterways it may be necessary complete the The International Certificate of Competence test CEVNI to prove your knowledge of inland rules and regulations.  

Outside the EU

The USA When sailing in certain areas of the USA, it may be obligatory to hire a Captain who has a Captains License issued by the United States Coast Guard.

The Caribbean Charter companies in the Caribbean normally require an ICC or a qualification from the IYT Worldwide for the bareboat chartering of a yacht.

The Seychelles Charter companies in the Seychelles normally require an ICC or a qualification from the IYT Worldwide for the bareboat chartering of a yacht.

South East Asia Charter companies in South East Asia normally require an ICC or a qualification from the IYT Worldwide for the bareboat chartering of a yacht. Depending on the charter agency you may need to translate these documents.

Which license is required when chartering a boat in Germany?

In general, a boating license of some kind is usually required for boats with an engine capacity of more than 5 hp.  Here are some more information about  boating license in Germany .

In some european countries for houseboat rental  , you do not need any licences. Hier you can find some more information about houseboat-licenses .

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Do You Need a Yacht License? (A Look at What You Need to Know)

yachtsman license

Do you love sailing on the open waters? Have you ever thought about owning a yacht and exploring the ocean? If so, you may have wondered if you need a yacht license.

Well, wonder no more! In this article, we will discuss the definition of a yacht, the requirements for obtaining a yacht license in the United States and abroad, age requirements, and the benefits of having a license.

Get ready to explore the seas like never before and learn what it takes to sail the world in your own yacht!.

Table of Contents

Short Answer

In general, a yacht license is not required to operate a yacht.

However, certain countries may have specific laws requiring a yacht license or equivalent certification to operate a yacht.

Additionally, certain bodies of water may have specific regulations that require a yacht license or certification to operate a yacht in those areas.

It is best to check with the local authorities to see what requirements may apply.

Definition of a Yacht

When it comes to yachts, there is no universal definition.

Generally speaking, a yacht is a large and luxurious recreational vessel used for recreational sailing and/or cruising.

Yachts are typically powered by sails and/or an engine and are often equipped with a variety of amenities, such as air conditioning , a kitchen, and a galley.

Yachts come in many shapes and sizes; from small, open-decked vessels to large, luxurious vessels with several decks.

Yachts can be used for a variety of recreational activities, such as fishing, diving, sailing, sightseeing, and more.

In addition, many yachts are also used for business or charter purposes.

Do You Need a Yacht License?

yachtsman license

When it comes to operating a yacht, many people wonder if they need a license to do so.

The answer is that it depends on the size and type of vessel, as well as the country or area in which you are sailing.

Generally, if you are operating a vessel that is 26 feet or longer, then you will need to obtain a license or certificate in order to legally operate it.

In the United States, the U.

Coast Guard requires that anyone wishing to operate a vessel of this size must obtain a license.

This license can be obtained through a Coast Guard-approved training program.

Additionally, many countries require that those operating yachts must be at least 16 years of age or older.

It’s important to note that the regulations and requirements for obtaining a yacht license can vary from country to country.

Therefore, in order to determine whether or not you need a yacht license, you should check the laws and regulations in your area.

It’s also a good idea to consult with a local maritime lawyer to make sure you are in compliance with all local laws and regulations before you set sail.

In addition to obtaining the proper license or certificate, you should also make sure that you have the necessary equipment and safety gear onboard your vessel.

This includes life jackets, flares, a fire extinguisher, and a signaling device.

By having all the necessary safety gear, you can ensure that your voyage is as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Finally, it’s important to remember that having a yacht license is only one part of being a responsible boat owner.

You should also practice safe boating and follow all applicable laws and regulations when operating your vessel.

Overall, obtaining a yacht license is an important step for responsible boat owners.

By taking the time to learn the laws and regulations in your local area, and obtaining the necessary license or certificate, you can ensure that your sailing experience is safe and enjoyable.

U.S. Coast Guard Requirements

Coast Guard is the governing body that regulates the operation of vessels and requires anyone wishing to operate a yacht 26 feet or longer to obtain a license.

This license is usually obtained through a Coast Guard-approved training program.

Depending on the type of vessel and waters you are sailing in, you may need additional qualifications.

For example, if you are sailing in open ocean waters, you may need a license for a motor vessel of at least 50 gross tons.

The Coast Guard also requires that anyone operating a yacht be age 16 or older and have a valid drivers license.

Additionally, they require that you have a valid certificate of safety inspection and a valid certificate of inspection for the vessel.

The Coast Guard also requires that you carry appropriate safety equipment on board, such as life jackets, fire extinguishers, signaling devices, and emergency flares.

The Coast Guard also maintains a list of approved courses and certifications that you may need to obtain in order to legally operate a yacht.

These courses will vary depending on the type of vessel you are operating and the waters you are sailing in.

It is important to check with your local Coast Guard office for a list of approved courses and certifications.

Finally, the Coast Guard also requires that all vessels have a valid registration and that the owner have proof of insurance.

Additionally, the Coast Guard requires that all vessels display their registration number and name clearly on their hull.

This information must be clearly visible from any angle, and must be placed on the starboard side of the vessel.

By familiarizing yourself with the U.

Coast Guard’s requirements for operating a yacht, you can ensure that you are legally operating your vessel in a safe manner.

Additionally, it is important to check with your local Coast Guard office to determine if there are any additional requirements that you must meet in order to legally operate a yacht.

Other Countries’ Requirements

yachtsman license

When it comes to yacht licenses, the requirements may vary depending on the country in which you are sailing.

For instance, in many parts of Europe, a yacht license is required for anyone wishing to operate a yacht over a certain size.

This can range from 8 to 15 meters, depending on the country.

In the United Kingdom, anyone wishing to operate a motorboat or sailboat over 7 meters in length must obtain a license.

Additionally, in some countries, such as France, the license requirements may vary depending on the waters you are sailing in.

For instance, if you are sailing in coastal waters, you must obtain a Coast Guard Certificate of Competence, while if you are sailing in inland waters, you must obtain an Inland Waterways Certificate.

In Asia, the requirements for a yacht license may also vary depending on the country.

For instance, in Thailand, anyone wishing to operate a yacht must obtain a license from the Thai Royal Navy.

Additionally, in Malaysia, a license is required for anyone wishing to operate a boat over 10 meters in length.

In Singapore, a license is required for anyone wishing to operate a boat over 4 meters in length.

Ultimately, to determine if you need a yacht license in any country, you should check the laws and regulations in the area.

In addition to individual country requirements, there are also international regulations that may apply to yacht licenses.

For instance, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires that all vessels over 24 meters in length must have a Ship Security Officer (SSO) on board at all times.

This SSO must be certified in accordance with the IMO’s International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) regulations.

Additionally, certain countries may also require that those operating yachts be at least 16 years of age or older.

Ultimately, when it comes to determining if you need a yacht license, you should check the laws and regulations in your area.

Different countries and even different regions may have different requirements, so it is important to do your research before heading out on the water.

Additionally, if you are planning to sail internationally, you should also check the international regulations that may apply to you and your vessel.

Age Requirements

When it comes to determining whether or not you need a yacht license, it is important to consider the age requirements in your area.

Depending on the country, the requirements may vary.

For instance, in the United States, the U.

Coast Guard requires that anyone wishing to operate a vessel 26 feet or longer obtain a license.

Additionally, many countries require that those operating yachts be at least 16 years of age or older.

In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, the age requirement for operating a yacht is higher.

For example, to legally operate a yacht, you must be at least 17 years of age or older.

It should be noted that children under the age of 16 may still be able to operate a vessel, but only with the permission and supervision of a person who is at least 16 years of age.

In addition to the age requirements, it is also important to consider the type of vessel you will be operating, as this can affect the licensing requirements.

For instance, in some countries, such as the United Kingdom, you are required to have a licence if you are operating a motor vessel over 6 metres in length.

Furthermore, if you are operating a vessel that is over 10 metres in length, you may be required to obtain a more specialised licence, such as a Boatmasters Certificate of Competence.

Ultimately, when it comes to determining if you need a yacht license, it is important to consider the age requirements, the type of vessel you will be operating, and the laws and regulations in your area.

By taking the time to research the licensing requirements, you can ensure that you are legally operating your vessel.

How to Obtain a Yacht License

yachtsman license

Obtaining a yacht license is not always a difficult process, but it does involve a certain amount of training and preparation.

Depending on the country and the size of the boat, the process can vary.

Coast Guard requires that anyone wishing to operate a vessel 26 feet or longer obtain a license, which is usually obtained through a Coast Guard-approved training program.

Generally speaking, this program includes a number of steps, such as completing a written exam, taking a practical test, and completing a physical fitness test.

It is also important to note that many countries require that those operating yachts be at least 16 years of age or older.

In addition to the training and physical requirements, it is important to note that in order to obtain a yacht license, you will also need to pay a fee.

The exact amount of the fee can vary depending on the country and the size of the yacht.

, for instance, the fees range from $30 to $250 depending on the size of the vessel and the type of license.

Additionally, some countries may require additional fees for the practical and written tests.

Finally, it is important to note that in order to maintain a valid yacht license, you will need to take refresher courses on a regular basis.

This is generally done through a Coast Guard-approved training program and is typically required every five years.

The exact requirements of the refresher course can vary from country to country, but it typically includes a written exam and a practical test.

Benefits of Having a Yacht License

Having a yacht license can be a great benefit for anyone who wishes to operate a yacht.

Not only will it ensure that you are legally allowed to operate the vessel, but it can also provide many other benefits.

For instance, having a license will give you the knowledge and experience needed to safely and confidently navigate the waters, as well as the ability to make informed decisions in challenging situations.

Additionally, having a license can give you access to more exclusive activities and locations, such as races and private ports.

Finally, you may be able to obtain insurance or discounts on marina fees if you have a license.

Ultimately, having a yacht license can provide important knowledge and advantages for anyone who wishes to operate a boat.

Final Thoughts

In the end, whether or not you need a yacht license depends on the size and type of vessel you are operating, and the laws of the country in which you are sailing.

, the Coast Guard requires a license for vessels 26 feet or longer, and many countries have age requirements for operating yachts.

To ensure that you are following the law, you should always check with the local authorities before setting sail.

With a yacht license, you can enjoy a safe and hassle-free journey, so if you’re considering taking up yachting, make sure you have the right credentials.

James Frami

At the age of 15, he and four other friends from his neighborhood constructed their first boat. He has been sailing for almost 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge that he wants to share with others.

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