What Qualifications Do I need to Charter a Yacht?

Mast climbing

Before you start planning your sailing holiday, it is best to double-check the experience level and qualifications needed to charter a yacht in your chosen destination. Sunsail has put a list of destinations into each level of experience needed depending on the conditions with level 1 being the easiest and level 3 the most challenging. Although these sailing levels are for guidance only, they will provide you will an idea of the conditions, qualifications needed, and key information before you charter a yacht.

Level 1 Sailing Destinations

Sailing Conditions

Level 1 sailing destinations are ideal for beginners. The waters are calm with line-of-sight sailing with the wind at around 5-20 knots. You can island-hop your way around and relax knowing that the mooring options are easier too. In the Mediterranean, the moorings are generally stern-to-mooring whilst in the Caribbean, there are buoys.

Sailing Destinations

  • Lefkas, Greece
  • Corfu, Greece
  • Agana, Croatia
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • The British Virgin Islands
  • Australia, Whitsundays

Qualifications

  • Five days or 100 miles as skipper on an equivalent size yacht.
  • International Certificate of Competence (ICC) or RYA Day Skipper is compulsory for Croatia and Greece.
  • Sailors must have basic knowledge of charts and be able to plot their position.

Med Mooring 

Level 2 Sailing Destinations

Sailing Conditions

Level 2 sailing destinations are intermediate level with a mix of blue water stretches and line-of-sight sailing with the wind at around 10-20 knots. The mooring is mostly anchoring, with protected anchorages, Mediterranean-style anchoring, and/or marina slips.

Sailing Destinations

Qualifications 

  • 10 days or 200 miles as skipper on an equivalent size yacht.
  • RYA Day Skipper.
  • ICC or Day Skipper is compulsory for Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Spain.
  • Sailors will need to understand the tidal flow and be able to navigate in open water.

Belize

 

Level 3 Sailing Destinations

Sailing Conditions 

In level 3 sailing destinations, you can expect consistent, stronger trade winds at around 10-25 knots with plenty of blue water sailing to enjoy. The mooring is largely anchoring and there are some more exposed anchorages with poor anchor holding ground. 

Sailing Destinations 

  • Portsmouth, UK
  • Vancouver Island, North America
  • Belize
  • Exumas, Bahamas
  • St Lucia
  • Grenada
  • Mahé, Seychelles 

Qualifications

  • 20 days or 400 miles as skipper on an equivalent size yacht
  • RYA Day Skipper with experience to a higher level
  • RYA Coastal Skipper
  • ICC with experience to a higher level
  • A Temporary certificate of competence is compulsory in Belize
  • Understand large tidal variations, deal with strong currents, and be able to make a passage plan.

 

Additional rules you will need to take into account:
  • In Croatia, Greece, Italy, Spain and Seychelles, there must be at least one skipper who is over 18 years old.
  • In Greece, there must also be one experienced crewmember at ‘Competent Crew’ level or a similar/equivalent certificate from any recognized sailing association. This crewmember must also be over 18 years old.
  • In Croatia and Seychelles, skippers are required to have a VHF Radio Operators License.
  • The skipper must be able to handle a yacht in close quarters, anchor and moor in all conditions, as well as have navigation and pilotage skills to plan a days sailing.
  • Skippers must take their original skippers license or certificate in case the Port Authorities ask to see it.
  • There are some destinations that don’t require a sailing qualification or license such as BVI or Grenada, however you would be required to fill in a sailing CV to show that you are competent in chartering a yacht.

 Qualifications

No experience or qualifications? 

If you are eager to charter a yacht, however, don’t have any experience, don’t worry, there are plenty of options and opportunities to learn:

 

Our holiday planners are always available to help if you need more information on qualifications.

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