Sailing Qualifications

I love learning new things, especially about sailing and boating. Whilst there is no legal requirement in New Zealand for sailors to have a licence or official qualification, the rest of the world does. So I figure that while I am shore based I should learn as much as I can and get as many qualifications as possible to prepare for the upcoming trip!

So far over many years I have obtained the following certificates:

  • Coastguard Boatmaster
  • Coastguard Coastal Skipper
  • Coastguard Ocean Yachtmaster – have got the course – need to study!
  • Marine Medic – Coastal and Offshore
  • Advanced Sea Survival Course
  • GPS Operator Course – currently studying
  • Diesel Engine Maintenance – currently studying
  • RYA International Certificate of Competence
  • CEVNI – Inland waterways certificate
  • RYA Professional Practices & Responsibilities (PPR) – intending to study this year
  • VHF Radio – Restricted radiotelephone operators certificate
  • Yachting New Zealand – Yacht Seamanship Instructors certificate
  • SSI Open Water Diver

New Zealand Coastguard Boating Education provide excellent courses which you can either study at home in your own time, or you can go along to evening classes. I really enjoyed Boatmaster and Coastal Skipper which teach you things like the rules of the road at sea, weather, charts, safety, navigation, passage planning, lights, boat handling and much more.

I bought the Yachtmaster course a couple of years ago, but have found the sextant work quite complicated, so I am going to wait for Andrew to catch up to me with his qualifications so we can do that one together!

The Marine Medic Courses are practical advanced first aid certificates. Your basic first aid assumes that you are within reach of assistance within a few hours at most, whereas the Marine Medic course teaches you how to look after a patient for extended periods of time. How to report their condition over the radio to a medical professional, and other fun things like how to administer injections and do stitches. I would highly recommend doing this course to anyone who needs to update their first aid.

The Advanced Sea Survival Course is quite hands on and we set off flares, used fire extinguishers on real fires, did a liferaft drill in the pool and thought about all sorts of emergency situations such as being helicoptered off a yacht, and what to do if you were dismasted etc. Fantastic practical stuff.

The VHF operators certificate is an important one, as many countries require you to be licensed to use a VHF radio in anything other than an emergency situation. Coastguard Boating Education provide this too – make sure you get a MROC qualification which is the higher level.

GPS Operator Course is one I am currently studying along with Diesel Engine Maintenance. I am sure both will be very interesting and will come in handy having that extra knowledge.

RYA International Certificate of Competence. I have just sent off all my certificates above to the RYA to see if that will enable me to be qualified to obtain the ICC. This certificate is now required in many European countries when entering, so I thought it would be a very handy one to get! If you don’t have the qualifications, you can pay to go along and prove your skills at an approved RYA training facility. Check out their website for more details.

CEVNI is a qualification which covers off people sailing through the inland waterways of Europe. You can do the course online – check out I believe you get a sticker on your International Certificate of Competence to say that you are also qualified to sail on the Inland Waterways. I have just done this one and would recommend you purchase the RYA CEVNI handbook which explains all the rules, buoyage and signs which are quite different to those at sea.

Once I get my International Certificate of Competence back, I intend to do the RYA Professional Practices and Responsibilities (PPR) course. This is also an online course which enables you to get a commercial endorsement should I decide to work on a yacht or boat at any stage. Could also be another handy thing to have.

Yachting NZ Seamanship Instructor certificate. I did the course a few years ago with the plan to possibly do some training of people on my yacht. Whilst I enjoyed the course, I decided I didn’t really like teaching people how to sail and would rather just go sailing with my crew instead! Still its another handy thing to have.

Open Water Diver – not quite sailing related, but diving is something I intend to do when I am sailing around the world, and best to get qualified and experienced before I set off. I have been diving now for 14 years and it is fantastic fun.


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