What comes to mind when you hear the word "yachting"? The sea, sails, the sound of the waves, beautiful women, rugged men? Absolutely. But perhaps the most important word to describe yachting is freedom. The sea and sails provide a sense of freedom that you can't experience on the shore. That's why the sea attracts many of us like a magnet. The opportunity to independently traverse the open seas – isn't that a dream? And dreams are meant to be brought to life!
Set Sail for Your First Regatta
So, you've decided to become a yachtsman, but where do you start? We recommend embarking on a regatta under the guidance of an experienced skipper. There's a wide selection of regattas to choose from: several yacht competitions take place monthly during the season (from May to October) in different locations across Europe. Pick a country, assemble your crew, and head out to sea. You'll find out for sure whether you truly want to become a real yachtsman or if one regatta is enough for you.
Get Proper Training
So, you've already participated in dozens of regattas, become well-versed in various positions on a yacht. What's next? Most likely, you'll want to do more than just steer under a skipper's supervision; you'll want to become a real captain who leads their own crew. To achieve this, you'll need training and the proper qualifications for yacht management. Yes, such qualifications exist, and they provide various possibilities depending on your level of expertise.
Here are the licenses you can obtain:
- Competent Crew Practical
- Day Skipper Practical
- Coastal Skipper Practical
- Yachtmaster Offshore
- Yachtmaster Ocean
Having a Competent Crew certificate indicates that the holder is familiar with yacht life, safety measures, has initial experience sailing, and is trained in deck operations.
Captain qualifications like Day Skipper demonstrate readiness to manage a chartered yacht. With this license, you can sail a yacht no further than 20 miles from the coast in daylight and good weather conditions. The Coastal Skipper license allows you to sail up to 60 miles from the coast in good weather.
With a Yachtmaster Offshore license, you can sail up to 150 miles from the coast. The Yachtmaster Ocean license has no limitations.
Of course, becoming a Yachtmaster Ocean immediately is not possible. You need to go through the earlier stages. There are many courses available nowadays that can help you obtain an official skipper's license. Take a look and choose the one that suits you.
Take the Exam and Get the License
After completing the course, you'll need to take an exam to obtain your license. For example, to take the Day Skipper practical course, you need to have experience: 5 days at sea and a minimum of 100 nautical miles. To get the Day Skipper certificate, you don't need to pass a special exam. The instructor will assess your knowledge and skills and decide if you're eligible for the certificate. To earn the Coastal Skipper rights, you need to complete 500 nautical miles. The instructor also makes the decision on granting the certificate.
Having a Yacht Master (Coastal, Offshore, and Ocean) allows you to engage in professional and commercial yachting. To obtain such a certificate, you need to complete a minimum of 2,500 miles, spend 50 days on board, and complete 6 offshore passages of at least 60 miles in length. For this level of certification, the assessment is not solely made by the instructor. Your knowledge and skills will be evaluated by an unfamiliar examiner from England. When you start your courses, find out if the school has an agreement with a licensed examiner or if you need to arrange this yourself.
Well, you now have the qualifications and experience needed to charter a yacht on your own. Gather your crew and set sail on your first independent maritime adventure as a skipper! Fair winds and following seas on your yachting journey! If you have any more questions or need assistance along the way, feel free to ask. Safe travels!