International Certificate of Competence – ICC

The International Certificate of Competence (ICC), or to give it it’s proper name, The International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft, arose from a UN European Committee. Not all European nations have signed up to issue it though often yacht suppliers in places that haven’t, like Greece, will happily recognise it! The UK Government has signed up and uses the RYA as its issuing authority.

The ICC is recognised by virtually all charter companies as a minimum requirement for chartering. However, they will also accept the RYA Certificates (Day Skipper practical upwards) so if you have one of these, there’s generally little point getting an ICC.

All the countries signed up to the scheme have appointed their own issuing authority. So if you are a national of one of these countries you can only get an ICC from your country’s issuing authority. You can see a list of signatories here.

All the ICC courses I offer are with RYA accredited sailing schools who can only issue ICC’s to British nationals or residents, and many other nationalities, but not to anyone on the above list.

If you already have an RYA Day Skipper or higher practical qualification, you can obtain an ICC certificate without taking the exam. The application procedure is on the RYA website here.

For those that don’t already have a qualifying certificate, the ICC exam is offered by many RYA schools, especially those abroad.  Some will do the exam in a day if you already have the appropriate experience, others insist on a minimum of two or three days to allow time for you to get used to the boat.  Many also offer it as a 6 day course with the exam at the end, though the RYA Day Skipper takes the same time and is a higher qualification. Also, an ICC lasts for 5 years only, the RYA Day Skipper is time unlimited.

Once you’ve successfully completed your CC assessment you will have to obtain your certificate from the RYA. There is free for RYA members, otherwise £43 (price in 2015). Alternatively, you can join the RYA for the same amount then get the certificate for free!

Some companies may offer to put you through an ICC exam at the start of your holiday if you want to charter and lack a certificate.  The drawback is obvious – if you fail, you will need to employ a skipper to complete your holiday, which may be an issue in high season when skippers can be thin on the ground. The skipper will also need his ow cabin. And of course, it adds extra cost to your holiday.

Because of the risk of failures, companies offering ICC’s on arrival will usually want a resume of your previous experience before accepting your booking. As a result, failures are rare, but not unknown.

If you’re thinking of cruising the European inland waterways, you may also with to take the short CEVNI test at the same time as your ICC.  This is a short (around half hour) written exam for which a small fee is charged.