CD - Though it may shock you, I plan on going through the various ASA certifications this spring and summer in preparation for cruising the gulf in the very near future. I know I don't have to (I mean PB didn't for crying out loud) - and I think I would probably get a more thorough education if I crewed with many of the sailors here for a while, but I don't have that kind of time yet. And no one here would let me on their boat. So there's that.
So, personally I'm all about the licensing idea because it will teach me a lot in a shorter period of time. Then maybe I'll crew prior to my big jaunt when I actually know how/when to deploy a drogue and not just use it as a big clothes hamper.
But believe me, those instructors will be praying to get me off their boat by the end of these courses cause I'll continually heckle the hell out of them about sailing with stones. Now that will be fun!