Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New England USA
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The "Certifications" these associations offer are in reality little more than a piece of paper you can show a charter company that you have some of the knowledge needed to take their boat for a bareboat charter.
The only "Ticket" that matters is the one the Coast Guard gives you after you have passed a RIGOROUS test and have shown proven miles/days at sea in a vessel of a specific size. It starts at the "Six-Pack" level and goes up from there. Those are the only recognized certifications which allow you to take passengers "For Hire" as in a captained charter. As a matter of fact, before you set foot on a boat in any of the sailing schools, it is a good idea to check that your instructor has at least a "Six-Pack" in his papers.
USCG requires extensive documentation, regular recertification, and drug/alcohol testing.