International Certificate of Competence (ICC)

Sailing Internationally?  The pinnacle of recreational sailing licenses is the ICC.  The ICC is the only sailing license accepted by European Countries, and it is quickly gaining global acceptance as the international standard for sailing and chartering abroad.


  • ICC Explained
  • Requirements
  • Preparation
  • The ICC Assessment
  • FAQ's
  • Prices & Registration

ICC Explained

International Certificate of Competence

The "ICC" is the International Certificate of Competence for the Recreational operation of boats. The ICC is issued under United Nations Resolution 40 to create an international standard of competence for skippers of recreational boats on Coastal and Inland European waters.   Since inception, the ICC has quickly gained global recognition as the International Standard for sailing certification.
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Because the ICC was created by the United Nations, a company or association can only grant a sailing certificate worthy of ICC award if they have been approved by a country's government. This creates a conundrum for North Americans because the USA and Canada did not sign Resolution 40. The Royal Yachting Association is approved by the UK to issue the ICC once the Day Skipper Course has been passed OR if a student demonstrates sufficient theory knowledge and practical skills to meet the standard required for the ICC.

The United States did not agree to UN Resolution 40, and therefore must rely on approved certification bodies to issue the ICC. For example, the American Sailing Association is a privately held company, it does not answer to any government and thus can NOT issue the ICC.

At Island Sailing, we stepped up to the ranks of global certifications by working with NauticEd, who is RYA approved for prerequisite RYA Day Skipper course online. For the ICC Assessment, we work with RYA approved facilities and instructors to offer Assessments throughout the year and in the Northwest.

KEEP IN MIND: in accordance with the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, when traveling across borders you can be required to comply the with the maritime requirements of that country in addition to that of your vessel's registered country.  While the ICC does not guarantee compliance across borders, it helps to overcome the difficulties caused by potential regulatory conflicts.

ICC International Certificate of Confidence Charter Countries

Sampling of where Charterers accept the ICC

To charter in many countries (like on the Mediterranean or Belize), the ICC is compulsive - whereas in others, it's accepted.  The specific requirements depend on the Country and often the Chartering Company, so it's best sailors always check the requirements beforehand.

Simply: if your goals include sailing internationally, get the ICC.  Required by many, accepted by most....

ICC Requirements

There are distinct differences between US and International training standards.  And whereas ICC is a legal standard many countries, charterers require experience and training well beyond ICC standards.  Confused? It's actually rather simple and US Sailors need only prepare with the following:  Learn More about requirements

1. NauticEd RYA Day Skipper Course: This 30-40 hour online class is the precursor to the ICC. If you are extremely experienced, then it should take you about 15-20 hours to jump through it. The course is fun, light and entertaining. It is NOT defensive driving adult time out; you’ll really have fun and learn some amazing “stuff”.  Note, again, this involves International standards, not just US certification - so, the knowledge training is different.  For details, [click here]

2. Experience & Training: We recommend that you train through Bareboat level courses (or possess equivalent experience) and have a 5+ days of recent big boat sailing skipper experience.  Sailing is sailing, right?  Yes, except the ICC is earned and not a sailor's 'mulligan' from a respectful RYA instructor.  Since the dawn of sailing, sailors have emphasized training + experience - there's no exception with ICC.  Better to be prepared.

3. ICC Assessment: The assessment is explained in detail below, but basically a 6hr examination by a RYA Instructor.

ICC Preparation

Most US sailing programs follow a progression from Bareboat class upwards to Bareboat and Navigation.  Unless you have a wealth of experience, we recommend either you train through NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master (if US Sailing or ASA, you'll need supplemental maneuvering and navigation - their Bareboat standards are lower than international standards) OR complete RYA Day Skipper online course.  Either should prepare you for an ICC Assessment by a RYA instructor.

With experience and the prerequisites, a sailor can take the ICC Assessment at any time it's offered.  Below we've outlined different training paths that incorporate the ICC....Read More about preparation

First, note that the ICC is a minimal International Standard, and so training and/or experience through Bareboat is recommended for chartering.

Alternatively, sailors can integrate the RYA Day Skipper knowledge into their overall training.  The key differences are (a) the RYA knowledge examination is graded by an RYA instructor, (b) International standards are incorporated, and (c) Coastal Navigation training is accelerated from Bareboat to a Skipper, or Cruising, level of training.  The initial investment is slightly more, but the training is more comprehensive and the long-term investment in courses is less than adding the ICC later.

ICC International Certificate of Competence training guide

The ICC Assessment

ICC Assessment Form

Click to view a topic sample

The ICC assessment is an on-the-water examination by a RYA Instructor.  It's a practical test of your sailing ability and knowledge.  There's no written test, however the instructor will verbally examine candidates on the spot and while underway.  The ICC is earned and the ICC Assessment is Pass or Fail.

Candidates need to be skilled with sailing and boat-handling - but also need to be fully versed in INTERNATIONAL standards.  For example: Candidates should be proficient with Navigation, including knowledge of tides and heading calculations based on current, leeway, magnetic variation, International Rules etc.... Candidates should easily and comfortably be able to make a passage plan as well as have knowledge of IALA-A and IALA-B, Cardinal marks, ATONs with respective night lights.

Meet your Assessor

Mark Thompson, ICC Training, RYA Instructor, Catamaran ExpertMark Thompson
RYA & NauticEd Instructor, ICC Assessor, Catamaran Expert

Mark Thompson with Yachting Education is the Assessor. He is an RYA Sailing Instructor with over 20 years of instruction experience. Mark's one of the best, is very patient and puts student at ease.  While the ICC Assessment is pass-fail, Mark creates a positive and low-stress environment for candidates.

As the Principal and Chief Instructor for Yachting Education, Mark Thompson has a significant sailing resume including multiple Atlantic Ocean crossings and experience in Caribbean, Mediterranean, Australian and US waters.Meet Mark

Mark's career has centered on charter catamarans including a 5 year captaincy aboard the luxury yacht S/Y Lone Star. At 85ft LOA she was at one point the largest charter catamaran in the Caribbean and after crossing the Atlantic, Mark and his crew hosted families on more than 100 weeks of charter. 

Mark is a Chief Instructor accredited under NauticEd & RYA programs and has taught hundreds of students in the art of sailing and the nuances of running catamarans. One critical issue he shares is the ability to smoothly and silently communicate and operate theses large powerful vessels.

Mark grew up in Melbourne Australia and joined the maritime industry after a career converting inner city office buildings into trendy apartments. During a year spent traveling the world he discovered a sailing career while driving through Viareggio Italy and thought "you mean I get paid to sail?"

His love of sailing is infectious and his calm, patient demeanor has empowered hundreds of students to consider a bareboat charter and many to purchase their own boat.  Whatever your level of expertise, the practical time spent with Mark will be enlightening and your certification will open up a world of sailing opportunities.


Below are some answers to frequently asked questions, and confusions over US systems (ASA, US Sailing), with ICC Certification....
Read the FAQ's

* I'm ASA Bareboat certified with the IPC [International Proficiency Certificate].  What's the difference?
#1 difference is that the IPC is not recognized by the United Nations.  The ICC is often compulsory whereas the IPC does not meet International Standards.

#2 as a training distinction, the IPC doesn't include navigation (ASA105), much less knowledge training to international standards.

Simply, the ICC requires higher training standards as well as incorporates International navigation and piloting rules.

* I'm Bareboat certified, can I get the ICC?
Absolutely!  You just need to complete NauticEd's RYA Day Skipper Course online to complete the knowledge requirements and then sign-up for an Assessment.

* Why do you need the ICC?
The ICC is the only sailing license accepted by European Countries. It was created by United Nations to be the World’s International Recreational License. The list of countries requiring the ICC is growing. For now it is most all of Europe including chartering on the Mediterranean and popular chartering countries such as Croatia, France, Belize and Greece et al.

On top of that, the ICC is the pinnacle of sailing recreation licenses. Wouldn’t you want the best and the one that is accepted everywhere; an International United Nations license that you are proud to show off?

* How good of a sailor must I be to pass the Assessment?
The assessment will be conducted on the water. It is a practical test of your sailing ability with on the spot verbal questions while underway. You must be fully versed in Navigation including knowledge of tides and heading calculations based on current, leeway, magnetic variation, International Rules etc. You should easily and comfortably be able to make a passage plan. You must have knowledge of IALA-A and IALA-B, Cardinal marks, ATONs with respective night lights.

The RYA Day Skipper Course fully covers all the international theory knowledge you must have regarding Navigation and International Rules. If you pass that course you should not have any problem with the above requirements. The remaining is your sailing ability. We recommend that you discuss this with your local sponsoring sailing school.

The remaining is your sailing ability. Again, we recommend that you discuss this with your local sponsoring sailing school above to determine your sailing skills and if you need a brush-up or a pre-assessment evaluation.


Contact us at or (503)285-7765 for upcoming dates.

ICC Assessment price:  $450 per candidate (This covers the cost of the assessor’s time and his flight expenses.)

NauticEd RYA Day Skipper online multimedia courseTo Register:

(1) Send an email to NauticEd at to secure a spot.

(2) Prior to the assessment you must have Bareboat Charter Master equivalent or passed the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper Course.

(3) Once registered with NauticEd, Island Sailing will process the ICC Assessment as well as work with candidates on details.  If you have questions, please email us at

Refund and Cancellation Policy

The ICC Assessment requires the travel and time of a RYA instructor, and as such it's a non-refundable commitment unless we can find another candidate to take your spot.  As a practical matter, and should the course be rescheduled or cancelled due to weather or circumstances beyond Island Sailing's control, we'll work directly with candidates on rescheduled dates or refunds. NauticEd's RYA Day Skipper online course is purchased directly from NauticEd, and as such NauticEd's refund policies apply to the RYA Day Skipper.