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  #1  
Old 08-03-2011
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Australian Sailing Qualifications

Whilst I know there are many & varied definitions for what people deem a "captain", ranging from the guy wearing the right cap on the boat right through to having obtained a Master Class 3 &/or Skipper Class 1 certificate from the Maritime Authority. I also know that certificates don't match, or in any way substitute for, experience on the water.

With that said, the fact that insurance companies take into account these qualifications, as must (I assume) the regulatory bodies of other countries to some extent - there must be some level of "this certification means this amount of assumed skill & competency". And while I know this must logically be the case, the sheer amount of conflicting information when looking at the sailing schools around Australia is giving me a head-ache!

Is there a knowledgable soul in the forums that could help me out with what qualifications are recognised by the government (or internationally) and what those qualifications mean? At the very least, it'll help me sort out which sailing schools are legit and which ones are yanking my chain.
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Old 08-03-2011
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Ben,
Australia is relatively lax when it comes to this kind of thing. AYF Competent crew or Inshore Skipper will get you a charter boat without too many questions being asked. I'm Offshore Skipper but no insurance company has ever asked me about qualifications though maybe if I invoked the Offshore clause questions might be raised. I still need to sit my final Yachtmaster exam which I may or may not do. Of course in Australia MROVCP or MROCP is essentially mandatory. AYF approved school is probably a good idea.

Evans Starzinger (husband of Beth Evans .. see bethandevans.com) chimed in on a discussion this topic on another forum and Evans suggested that doing Radio, Navigation and Weather courses was more important than Yachtmaster. He may be right.
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Old 08-03-2011
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While sailing in the Whtisundays a few years back I took a TAFE course that covered radio, first Aid and survival equipment. I thought it was a good course, covered the basics. We inflated a life raft, took turns righting it, lit off all kinds of flares etc. It was a classroom type course, instructors were good. I got a "Certificatre II" in Maritme studies, and an Australian Radio Operators permit. This may be a good start for you. Time on the water will be the best training of all...
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Old 08-03-2011
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Bent,

Adding to what Fuzzy said, it all depends what you want to do. AFAIK, the ONLY time qualifications are required by law is if you plan to skipper (or crew) something that has paying passengers on board - and then said vessel must in "in survey" also.

Qualifications are many and varied and are recognised internationally. The traditional ones start with Deckhand (someone who can tie a throw a mooring line without hitting someone too often) through Coxwain all the way up to the various Master/Skipper grades(all referred to as "captain"). All of these are about obtaining Certificates of Competency to reach the next level and some are restricted to particular areas (eg. Sydney Harbour, Pittwater, etc.) and not valid anywhere else - but it sounds like the regulations are soon to change. Have a look here for more info. These are all in-classroom in-Tasmania full-time courses.

Sailing qualifications get a bit more fuzzy, but generally, if you want to skipper a chartered yacht, for profit, across the pacific you'll need an RYA Yachtmaster (Offshore) certificate.

In a nutshell, if they aren't offering RYA-approved courses - don't expect it to mean a thing outside Australia.
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Last edited by Classic30; 08-03-2011 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 08-03-2011
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Thanks guys. So the take-away seems to be that, whilst some insurance companies ask for your certification, not all of them do and that if I am going to get my certification, it's probably best to get the RYA Yachtmaster Certificates of Competency (Coastal, Offshore, then Ocean).

Much appreciated. There are a few schools I saw offering courses on these qualifications (and high cost, but that's a separate discussion/rant ), so my wife & I will start looking into these.

One last thing that perhaps you almighty god's of yachting knowledge might be able to assist me with (was that enough sucking up? I can do more if required ). Yachting Australia claims there is an International Certificate of Competency (ICC) that is generally required in Europe. Whilst I know we have some of the best cruising grounds in the world, it is our intention to one day sail ourselves up that way (yes, we're crazy enough to even consider sailing Britannia one day ).
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Old 08-03-2011
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Ben,
There is also a mob called the International Sailing Schools Association which while not as well known as the RYA are internationally accredited. So as an adjunct to what Cameron said you would find both RYA and ISS would suffice.

The ICC is, if I am not mistaken an amalgam of Competent Crew and Coastal Skipper but I'm not sure. Its really all you would ever need to charter a boat overseas or in Australia and I'd reckon all you would need to get clearance from an oversea port. Most countries are more concerned with their own citizens than they are with some crazy foreigner.
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Old 08-04-2011
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Guys,

I just chartered a yacht for a week in the Whitsunday's and the charter company did not ask for, or was interested, in any qualifications. Specifically, no mention was made of Yachtmaster (which I do not have). I had to demonstrate my competency via a practical sail, which basically consisted of hoisting the sails and carrying out a controlled gybe.

I've also never been asked by any insurance company what qualifications I have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
Evans Starzinger (husband of Beth Evans .. see bethandevans.com) chimed in on a discussion this topic on another forum and Evans suggested that doing Radio, Navigation and Weather courses was more important than Yachtmaster. He may be right.
I would agree with this.

Ilenart
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Old 08-04-2011
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I would think it is in the process of change here in Oz. I think one needs to keep a log of passages as it may be needed to 'prove' experience in lieu of formal classroom edumacation.
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Old 08-04-2011
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You are probably right StAnna. I'm one who has been pretty slack in keeping a log over the years, made worse by one book being swamped beyond recovery. So despite having easily completed enough sea miles to qualify for Yachtmaster I find myself short of the required 'logged' miles. No big deal, at some stage we'll do a run over to Lord Howe and back but yes, do keep a log and even better keep a copy of your log.

btw ... its probably worthwhile to log everything. I confess to not logging day sails but if you are trying to collect the mileage then its amazing how quickly they can add up if you include those flits around the harbour.

ps - ref insurance - I'm with Ilenart. I've never had any insurance company ask for experience details and as for chartering my experience is the same. They ask for experience, you tell 'em you own or have owned your own boat and they hand you the keys for a stinker or do the basic test sail if not.

A final aside ... it would be interesting to see who we are all insured with. My old boat was with Club Marine, Raven with Nautilus and the new girl with Anchorage. From my experience Club have gotten too big for their boots, Nautilus for mine have a question mark over their re insurance arrangements and Anchorage, though small give great personalised service and are competively priced. That said I have never put in a single claim.
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Old 08-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by St Anna View Post
I would think it is in the process of change here in Oz. I think one needs to keep a log of passages as it may be needed to 'prove' experience in lieu of formal classroom edumacation.
'tis indeed in the process of change - but I'd be extremely surprised if any of that affected stuff you charter for your own enjoyment. ..and having acquired (and let lapse) a Helmsman's ticket in the past, I doubt a personal passage log that's not signed off by someone else would be worth the paper you wrote it on. Having a boat license and MROCP to show them would be far more valuable, IMO

It's true that anyone demonstrating a basic knowledge of sailing can charter a yacht anywhere in Australia and indeed most places overseas - if you don't mind being restricted to what you can and cannot do and where you can and cannot go.

My reference to the Yachtmaster cert was if you wanted to do this for sport or living ie. run yacht deliveries across the pacific with a paid crew, or paid skipper a tourist yacht in the Whitsundays, or skipper someone else's yacht in the Sydney-Hobart.

Where and what you and your family do on your own is not (currently) in anyone's sights... but if it involves anyone else and their money, it's a different story.


EDIT: Insurance: Club Marine won't insure a wooden boat - full stop. I'm with Nautilus, but will try Anchorage next time it's due.. thanks for the tip, TD.
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Last edited by Classic30; 08-04-2011 at 08:05 PM.
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