In the UK boat owners don’t need any qualifications to sail their yacht. In today’s age that might seem hard to believe, but it’s true. However, if you want to charter a yacht in the UK you will need a qualification, usually an RYA Day Skipper qualification.
In most of the rest of Europe you’ll need to hold an International Certificate of Competence (ICC). This certificate can be issued to UK residents by the RYA to holders of the RYA Day Skipper certificate. Alternatively, you may take the ICC test which is very much like a driving test and usually follows some training like our RYA ICC Flotilla course.
In addition to the above, if your vessel has a VHF short range radio you’ll need a license for the vessel’s VHF radio and a license to use it. Again, the RYA run a one-day VHF short range radio course.
If you plan to charter a larger yacht some companies will require a higher level qualification such as RYA coastal skipper. If you own your own boat, or simply want the confidence to bring your yacht alongside safely you could consider a close boat handling course.