Some Members have expressed an interest in obtaining an ICC with a view to chartering a yacht abroad. The RIYC is offering a concise shorebased course, held over 3 evenings, 3rd, 4th & 5th April 7 to 10 pm, and presented by David Jerrard of Seacraft, to prepare candidates for the written Coastal endorsement and the practical on-the-water assessment.


Neither Ireland nor the UK require certificates of competency or licences for the majority of operators of leisure craft less than 24 metres or 80 tonnes sailing in their territorial waters.

Most other European countries, however, may require credible evidence of a skipper’s competence. Unless you are passing directly through a country’s territorial waters without stopping you must comply with that country’s legal requirements in addition to the requirements of your own yacht’s flag state.

Most countries have their own organisations awarding certificates or licenses for leisure craft operators, such as the Yachtmaster certificates of competence for example.
Many experienced and competent leisure sailors do not want a Yachtmaster certificate but intend to cruise or charter a yacht overseas. In most instances some form of certification could be required; the ICC may serve this purpose.

The ICC was originally created by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to enable leisure craft operators navigating the length of the Danube and the Rhine to provide a single evidence of competency acceptable to the various countries through which these rivers pass.

Regulated by UNECE Resolution No. 40 the ICC, now called the International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft (ICOPC), has evolved into an official government document which aims to assure the competence of operators of leisure craft less than 24 metres or 80 tonnes for the inland and coastal waters of Europe.

In Ireland the ICC is administered by Irish Sailing (née ISA) on behalf of the Irish Government and can be issued without a test to someone who holds a valid IS/ISA certificate from a practical course or exam such as an IS/ISA Powerboat, Day Skipper or Yachtmaster certificate; the ICC will then be valid for power or for sail or both as appropriate. 

An ICC cannot be issued on the basis of a shorebased course completion certificate or to the holder of a practical certificate from another jurisdiction, such as an Royal Yachting Association (RYA) certificate for example.

Anyone who does not hold a pre-qualifying certificate must pass a written test for the essential Coastal endorsement and must complete an on-the-water direct assessment of boat handling skills; details are available on the IS website (

It is assumed that anyone undertaking the assessment of boat handling skills will be sufficiently experienced to complete the practical tasks afloat without prior training but experience has shown that most candidates will benefit from a review of the COLREGS steering and sailing rules, lights and sound signals as well as the chartwork required to successfully complete the written Coastal endorsement paper.

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