What Charter Qualifications Do I Need?

Knowing What Qualifications You Need To Charter A Yacht - An Essential Part of Planning a Bareboat Yacht Charter

What Qualifications Do I need to Charter a Yacht?

When we preparing charters, for certain, our most frequently asked questions is What qualifications do I need to charter a yacht?

In many of the 48 countries we arrange charter in, you do not need any kind of formal qualification to charter a yacht. You will however still need to provide some evidence that you can sail and formal certification will help.

In essence, you will need to persuade the operator (and your crew!) that you can handle the boat safely. Generally, this can be interpreted as satisfying the owner’s insurers. As a result, the burden does vary from operator to operator. We do find that common sense prevails most of the time.

Experience and Qualifications

So, if you have some experience and a qualification, then it’s likely you are going to be able to charter a yacht. The best option if you are looking for a yacht charter or flotilla, is to just ask. This is because, at the end of all the analysis, the answer to what qualifications do I need to charter a yacht, actually lies with each individual operator – they always have the final decision.

Our Promise

We have never had a client refused at check-in, we can ensure it does not happen to you. So, whether you are just curious, planning for the future, or looking to charter soon, it is really important to avoid any disappointment. We have created this simple article to help you understand what you are likely to need.

Check to See If You have the Experience or Qualification to Charter a Yacht

As we have pointed out, policies vary across countries and even operators in the same reason, so it makes sense to check. Whether you are a SailChecker customer or not, we will happily review your qualifications and experience.

Let us know your experience

This article is given as a guide and we hope to improve on the information using your comments and suggestions. In case you’re not sure or thinking about a new charter destination, our aim is to give you a positive idea to answer the question, what qualifications do I need to charter a yacht?

What Qualifications Do I need to Charter a Yacht?

Recognised Qualifications

National Governing Bodies. The RYA is still the most globally recognised qualifications franchise. Other national frameworks such as the American Sailing Association (ASA) are all generally accepted worldwide.

International Certificate of Competency (ICC). In certain European Countries, it is, in theory at least, mandatory to hold an International Certificate of Competency (ICC) if you want to bareboat charter a yacht. We discuss the relevance of that qualification here.

Exceptions to ICC. There are notable exceptions, in Northern Europe and Scandinavia the ICC is generally not required; that said it is still best to check with the individual charter company before you book. For any SailChecker reliant on a resume of sailing, we will always check this out for you and advise you accordingly.

The ICC is Resolution 40 passed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). In essence, the ICC is designed to provide the documentary assurance, from one country to another, that the holder meets the levels of competence laid down in the Resolution.

The following countries have adopted Resolution 40 and officially accept the ICC as proof of boating competence within their territory:
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
Additional Proof Required:

The following have again not officially adopted Resolution 40 but usually require some other proof of boating competence before allowing a bareboat charter:

Not Adopted but Accepted:

The following have not officially adopted Resolution 40 but do accept ICC’s for use in their territorial waters:

  • Greece
  • Moldova
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Russian Federation
  • Serbia
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine
  • United States
  • France
  • Italy
  • Poland
Learning to sail in the Caribbean
Need a Certificate of Competence?Ask Us About Obtaining Your ICC

What Qualifications Do I Need to Charter a Yacht – Inland Waterways

Inland waterways generally require an ICC with CEVNI (Code Europeen Des Voies De Navigation Interieure (Revision 2)) inland endorsement. You will normally need to pass an examination to get an INLAND endorsement on a IYT International Certificate of Competence to operate a boat on European waterways. We always recommend researching the regulations contained in European Code for Inland Waterways yourself and take the CEVNI examination and/or attend a suitable course.

What qualifications do I need to charter a yacht in Croatia

One of the most tricky places to charter is Croatia. You can download an exhaustive list of all accepted qualifications in Croatia below.

Check it out click here to download the authorised list of qualifications require in Croatia.


Ask us About Qualificationss

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Showing 9 comments
  • Sailvation

    Hello there, thanks for the informative article…missing Turkey on the list though as this is a huge cruising ground for charter skipper too

  • Joanne Lait

    Thanks for pointing out the ommission, we'll be sure to fix!

  • Scott Marsolek

    I attended Colgate sailing school's weeklong "fast track to sailing" course for catamarans and that qualifed me to charter from The Moorings anywhere in the world. Just got back from chartering a 50' Beneteau in St Maarteen to Anguilla and St Barths with no problems whatsoever.

    • Christopher Lait

      Hi Scott, Thank you very much for your comment.

      My understanding is that the Caribbean and North America, including the Moorings and Sunsail, work on a qualification or “resume” basis satisfying insurers rather than the governments or the EU. On that basis, there are a number of fast track courses, some in-house, some 3rd party, that have filled the space to endorse those without the required resumes, or a further stamp of approval to those with.

      It looks like your are a good example of how this works well and the passage from St Matin to Anguilla is not in any way to be sniffed at!

      Well done, and we hope that we can help you out with you out with any future plans.

  • SailChecker

    Thanks guys.

  • Samuel Peeters

    Generally qualifications are only necessary when using territorail waters. Even then in Belgium it is not required for boats with overall length less then 15meters or slower then 20km per hour. Additional qualifications are necessary when exploiting the activitiy for business use (charter owner).

    • Christopher Lait

      Hi Samuel, We are grateful for your contribution. Our understanding is that in the countries listed, including Belgium, you would need qualifications to charter a yacht, even for leisure activities. The ICC was created for that purpose and Belgium signed up implementation of Resolution 40.

      To charter in Belgium, you will either need a national certificate or the ICC, or other qualifications accepted by the General Directorate for Maritime Transport of the Public Federal Service on Mobility and Transport).

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  • […] not just experience. You can find the qualifications needed to charter a bareboat on our website, here. Or combine your sailing in Croatia with learning and gain your ICC diploma. Find out how it works […]

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