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Course FAQ's - International Certificate of Competence (ICC)

How much will the ICC exam cost including exam fees?

If you have an applicable RYA certification and are a member of the RYA this will cost you nothing. However if you do not have an RYA membership or certificate, and need to apply or renew the certification the exam fee alone will cost you £216 (approx. $325 or 280 Euros).

You should be up to a certain level of competence to pass the exam, so if you have no experience or previous knowledge you should do a course beforehand on a vessel appropriate to the level of competence you seek accreditation for.

What will you get out of passing this exam?

You will be able to sail or cruise most of Europe and South Africa, within the limits of the ICC you have.

If you have a coastal ICC then you will be allowed to sail within a certain distance of the coast, but not offshore or on inland waterways. Similarly, an inland waterways accreditation for the ICC will not permit you in coastal or offshore waters.

If you are a UK citizen have a look at this RYA page for specifics on this front. If you are of a different nationality (even if resident in the UK), have a look at our e-book, How to Learn to Sail – a Beginner’s Guide to Sailing Course Qualifications, Regulations and Licenses for how to get the ICC in your country of origin. 

What are your limits after passing the International Certificate of Competence Exam?

Being an EU administered certification this is possibly the most bureaucratic of all leisure vessel certifications!

What follows is not comprehensive but covers the basic rules. Look at this page for specifics if you are a UK citizen. Download our e-book to see what applies in other European countries or South Africa

If you have CEVNI accreditation (European Code for Navigation on Inland Waterways) then you will be able to sail on inland waterways around most (but NOT all) of Europe’s inland waterways.

If you have Powerboat certification then you will be able to sail a boat with a limited power output in sheltered waters in most but NOT all European waters – but must have CEVNI to sail on most inland waterways.

If you have Coastal certification then you will be allowed to use your vessel within a certain distance of the coast, but must have CEVNI accreditation to sail on inland waterways.

If you have an Offshore certification then you can sail offshore and inshore but not inland without CEVNI.

If you are certified for a motor cruiser only then you cannot sail a sailing vessel. The same applies to sailing – you won’t be certified to drive a motor vessel, though you can qualify for both.

Though a European certification, possession of a CEVNI does not apply to all European waterways, notably British waterways. Therefore even though you have sat a UK exam for CEVNI, CEVNI does not apply to UK inland waterways!

Is it theory, practical or both?

This is a theory only exam. You should have the practical knowledge to pass it however.

Where can you take the ICC exam?

Since most RYA courses can automatically entitle you to an ICC, you can do the course that is equivalent to the ICC certification you seek wherever in the world you happen to be. However the UK ICC is issued only to UK citizens – if you are from another country then you must jump through the appropriate hoops to get it in your country of nationality.

See our e-book to find out how to qualify in your home country.

Can I take it in another country?

You must do the ICC in your country of nationality. For example, if you are a Danish resident of the UK then you must get your ICC from Denmark. If you are British yet live in Germany you can only get a UK ICC from the UK.

What level of experience do you need before you take it?

You need enough experience and knowledge to sit the exam to the level of competence you seek.

This is NOT a beginner’s exam, and we recommend that you have at least a Day Skipper or equivalent so you don’t have to sit the exam each time you want to do a bigger passage or sail a different boat. 

How long does it take?

The exam itself is around two hours. Again, you need to have a certain level of competence and skill in order to pass it.

If you are competent at sailing and navigating a vessel up the coast or European continental inland waterways both during the day and night, know the International Collision Regulations and elements of tidal navigation, then consider sitting the exam. Alternatively get a copy of this RYA book to bone up before you sit the exam.

What does this certification involve?

This largely depends on what sort of cruising or sailing you want to do.

There are limits and certification for a range of disciplines in sailing and motor cruising, depending on what you seek. Inland waterways differ a lot to coastal cruising (and can be equally dangerous to the unaware), as limited powerboating differs to motor cruising and also sailing.

In short, the certification will reflect your own level of competence in the vessel and waterways you seek the certification for!

How do I progress after passing it?

You will be able to sail on certain European countries’ waterways with this certification.

Do not view this as a sailing or a motoring practical skills accreditation such as those offered by the ASA or RYA. View it as a necessary certificate to keep local officials off your back when they stop you to check you have the right paperwork for their fiefdom.

Is this an international accreditation?

Over 30 nations around the world have signed up to the ICC scheme. This is the best specifically international qualification you can get without a professional mariner’s certificate.

However there have been a lot of problems with ICC forgeries throughout the EU, so this is NOT a gold standard accreditation.

It is strongly advised you have a national sailing or cruising accreditation in addition to the ICC as the forgery problem is well known, and nosey officials won’t immediately leave you alone if you show them a copy of your ICC!

Where can I learn more about the qualification?

If you are a citizen of another country, have a look at our e-book to see how you can go about getting your ICC.

There's also a lot of useful information on this Wikipedia page.

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