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  #1  
Old 03-14-2008
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Certifications: Cdn Vs US Vs ???

Hi All,

After reading the thread on the RYA Dayskipper certification, there are clearly different (and significant) differences in standards and levels of education from country to country, so I seek the wisdom of the board.

Obviously the rigors of the RYA program are much more intense (and likely in a very good way) than those on this side of the pond, but what about the difference between Canada (where I live) and the USA? When looking at the curriculums of the CYA compared to ISPA or ASA they all seem to be fairly comparable in content and testing criteria...at least to a newbie.

I realize that ANY course will only be as good as the instructor and what I put into it, but with all things being equal...
  • Is there a great advantage to one program over another? I'd certainly consider travelling to the US for the American courses if there good reason.
  • Are there other programs I should consider?
  • When it comes to (eventually) getting insurance for my (future) boat in Canada would Canadian certifications go further in the eyes of the insurance companies?

My goal in the long term is coastal cruising focused, and I'm currently starting out...green green green...by working through the off-season (read as: didactic-only) offerings of my local Canadian Power and Sail Squadron. Since fall 2007, I've completed their Basic Boating and Safe Navigation, VHF/DSC, and Piloting courses...and fortunately for me, all were with heavily 'sail-oriented' instructors. This summer I would like to get one or two of the 'basic (on the water) certifications' under my belt and then spend as much time on the water as possible...and then...decide on the next course(s) of education and action to take.

Note: Based on the fact that I live in the near-bone-dry foothills of the Cdn Rockies with pretty limited sailing, I already plan to travel to wherever I need to take my courses...but the closer and the warmer the better.

I hope some of your experience can point me in the right direction.

Thanks kindly in advance!!
C.J.
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Old 03-14-2008
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Hi Newf.

If you are interested in Cruise n' Learn in Canada then look at this school Island Cruising Yacht Charters & Sailing School - Competent Crew / Day Skipper Certification Course they are excelent. I did advanced and an Instructor course with them once upon a time.

As for Coastal navigation there is a book written by an Abertan (20 yr ago) called Shoreline and Sextant and I think the authors name was Budlong. You can probably only get this book second hand but it is excelent.

Thomas

PS I am not affiliacted with Island Cruising in any way, just recommending them.

Last edited by TThomsen; 03-14-2008 at 02:12 PM. Reason: add text
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Old 03-14-2008
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Thanks TThomsen...I appreciate the info and the reference!!

Although I didn't specify it earlier, you were correct in assuming my interest is primarily a liveaboard / cruise-and-learn type of program (5 - 7 days seems most common).

I've looked at several schools on the Wet Coast (Coopers, OakBay, Lands End and others), but admittedly I hadn't come across Island Cruising...that being said, based on their website they DO have appeal!! I'll look at Island Cruising more closely!! BTW...Which base did you sail out of? Instructor?

I've seen several of these programs referenced in various threads on Sailnet (such as BWSS), and have casually been checking them out.

I suppose the bottom line I am trying to raise in this thread is:
Is there a good reason I should pursue my on-the-water training outside of Canada?
Are there good reasons I shouldn't?

Thanks again!!
C.J.
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Old 03-15-2008
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Just as a point of information, I believe only U.S. citizens can get the Coast Guard certifications like the "six pack" and 20 and 100-tonner qualifications. I have dual Canada/U.K. citizenship and will likely try to take a RYA Yachtmaster course someplace close to my relatives. Not only are they great for one's seamanship, but they earn insurance breaks as well, being tangible markers of competence.
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Old 03-15-2008
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Thanks for the info Valiente.

My current focus is 'pleasure' oriented, so I'm not necessarily requiring a 'professional/commercial' certification. In the future...who knows...might be a good way to help support the cruising kitty.
But, as I am just starting out I'm looking primarily towards the CYA / ISPA / ASA type of qualifications.
Are there still insurance breaks available based on pleasure-level competancies like ISPA Coastal Skipper or ASA 103 (104?) or are they only available with higher level training or commercial designated endorsements?

Thanks again!!
C.J.
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Old 03-16-2008
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One course you can take online is the Coastal Navigation Course out of the Ottawa Sailing School. coastalnavigation.com - start

I just completed it, excellent course material, work at your own speed and do the exam when you are ready.

Dave
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Old 03-16-2008
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Maybe you would get the answer to the merits of Cdn vs US quals if you asked a European charter company. They probably have a preference. I am CYA qualified and it seemed fine to me. I actually have a Naval ticket but needed the CYA qual to race and charter.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Thanks for the responses!!

BreakingWind2 - I checked out the course you refered and I definitely would have considered it last fall, but since then I believe I've covered all of the same info their course outline describes during my two CPSS courses. Therefore I suspect it would be redundant. Not that a certain amount of redundancy is a bad thing...but...Apparently I can use my CPSS education to challenge the CYA exams, which I'll probably do within the next couple of months...but I DO appreciate your input!!

Plumper - Very good idea...I hadn't thought of that...in fact, I wonder if someone like Giu might know the answer off the top of his head...let's see if he'll care to weigh in...if not I'll have to call Europe.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Most of the countries in Europe would prefer you to have their national certificiation. The German certification is a tough one, even more demanding than the RYA ones; fortunately only Germans skippering a German flagged boat are required to have all the necessary licenses.

I'm fairly certain that the licensing minimums for chartering in the EU are must stricter for EU citizens than for visiting foreigners; when I called up a charter company in Greece to inquire about prices I was told that I needed no licenses as an American (I didn't dissuade them from their mistaken assumption) but know that friends from Germany had to produce both their radio-telephony and coastal licenses to charter in Greece.

I think that the various RYA tickets are not only excellent indicators of learning levels but are also by far the most "international" -- both because of reputation and because they are in English.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Thanks Zanshin!!
I've come to appreciate the level of respect that the RYA certification caries, but I've also come to realize that it probably isn't in my own near future.

I also don't anticipate cruising in Europe for many years (if ever), and as a result it's looking likely that a North American certification and water time are where I'm headed. The eventual goal at this point is focused on cruising in Canada, the US, Mexico and possibly the Caribbean...but the longer stuff is still a fair ways down the road.
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