The best places to do your RYA Sailing Courses
An important part of chartering a yacht for holiday with friends and family is to make sure you have the correct qualifications in place. We are there to help ensure you have all the right qualifications you need and that if you don't you have one of our fantastic skippers on hand. But we hear time and time again of cases where people book a yacht charter without the relevant qualifications and so here is the low down on exactly what you need and the best place to get them!
What qualifications do you need to charter a yacht in the Med?
The RYA Day Skipper and ICC (International Certificate of Competency) are the most recognized qualifications for chartering a boat in the Mediterranean. Croatia also requires someone on board to have a short range VHF certificate. Certain qualifications from the US Sailing Association, ASA (American Sailing Association) and other world wide sailing organisations are also valid in some cases but it is always best to check. We always check that whichever qualification you have is valid, with the local supplier, within plenty of time so that if you need any additional certificates you have time to get them.
Day Skipper Sailing Courses
In 2010 we elaborated this learning experience somewhat to offer fully fledged RYA qualifications. And we’re not sure about you but we have found that combining lessons with leisure really makes for a holiday with a difference. Our Day Skipper courses enable those who already have a little experience to become qualified in just a week - a brilliant way to build confidence and become a confident skipper.
What is a Day Skipper course?
This is an intermediate level course that aims to build on your core skills by developing your navigation, decision making and leadership ability. You will skipper a yacht on a number of short passages, under the guidance of your instructor, taking charge of everything from passage planning, to interpreting weather forecasts and mooring.
The RYA Day Skipper is a valuable qualification and recognised as evidence of competence by insurance and charter companies worldwide. Perfect if you are considering a bareboat holiday. Once you have achieved your RYA Day Skipper you can confidently charter a yacht from anywhere in the Mediterranean.
You can read more about our Day Skipper courses out in sunny Greece here. If you are a complete beginner and don't think you would reach the minimum requirements for a Day Skipper course a combined course could be for you. Read on to find out more.
Combined Courses - Get qualified quickly and easily!
This ‘fast-track’ package brings together the Competent Crew and Day Skipper (non-tidal) courses, into a convenient two week sailing course. Prior to arriving in Greece participants complete both of the online courses. Then you will spend the first six days on the school yacht in Greece completing the Competent Crew syllabus. After a two day break to relax and revise a little, you will spend another six days training for the Day Skipper element of the course. This is an excellent course for beginners looking to quickly get qualified to Day Skipper level.
ICC (International Certificate of Competency)
Once you have obtained your Day Skipper Practical Certificate you are eligible to apply for your ICC. This is an internationally recognised qualification which enables you to charter a yacht in a number of foreign countries who have signed up to accept it. You can read more about this here.
What is the sailing ICC?
The ICC (or to give it its full title International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft) is a certificate which provides evidence of competence in foreign countries. This certificate is accepted world wide and can come in very handy It is sometimes known as the International Certificate of Competence. You can check the list of where the ICC is valid here.
Who is the ICC good for?
As previously mentioned the ICC is a useful additional qualification if you have already obtained your Day Skipper. The ICC can also be useful for boat owners and experienced sailors who do not necessarily need to undertake a course but still want to obtain certification for chartering abroad. In this instance a short (4 hour) theory and practical examination is undertaken with an RYA cruising instructor to confirm that you meet certain knowledge and practical requirements.
VHF Radio Short Range Course
Sadly we do not offer the VHF courses, as our instructors prefer sunnier climes, to stuffy UK classrooms! Never-the-less this is a crucial qualification to sail in one of our favourite areas - Croatia! With this in mind we have a few recommendations of where is best to get your certificate quickly and easily.
One Day Course
If you are looking to obtain your VHF license as quickly and as easily as possible we highly recommend Duck2Water. With one day courses (including the exam) running most Wednesdays and weekends there will be availability to suit even the busiest of schedules. For real time online availability and easy online booking we highly recommend Duck2Waters shore-based VHF courses. Check pricing and availability here.
Our sailor Mark recently went down to give it a go..."Thanks to a great suggestion from Amy, I’m pleased to say I did my radio licence course today. Duck-2-water made it really easy and the course and test was finished by about 5pm or so. So it was worth going down to Southampton for, and funnily enough a lot of people on the course had trips to Croatia coming up..... I now need to wait for the for the license to arrive but it’ll be here comfortably in time in time for the holiday." Mark Sheihan - July 2016.
Take your time online
If you have a bit more time and prefer to do things at a more relaxed pace, our friend Duncan at Westview Sailing School, offers a fantastic online course that you can do easily in your own home. This is followed by a short practical exam on a day of your choosing! Alan and Amy both recently did their VHF courses with Duncan before their upcoming holidays to Croatia and it was brilliantly informative.
Extra courses & real life experience
We are not huge advocates of spending more time than necessary in a classroom but if you are looking to expand your knowledge even further a useful course to do is the Diesel Engine Course. This gives you a background to the basic working and maintenance of a diesel engine and is particularly great if you own your own boat. Engines are one of the most important safety features on board modern boats and so keeping them ship shape is super important.
Apart from this, we think the best possible 'course' of action to gain more confidence is to get out and go sailing, as much as possible. There is nothing better to back up knowledge than real life experience. Take part in a delivery or two or grab some family or some friends and take them on a sailing holiday! If you aren't quite ready to take the family without alone a flotilla holiday can be a brilliant option. Gain experience skippering your own yacht, with the unobtrusive back up and guidance of a friendly flotilla lead crew.
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