Practical Competency vs ICC Assessment

Here is a question from one of our students and our answer:


I am trying to find a school that will administer your verified competency test or checkout.  I thought I read that it could be done in one day by one of your affiliated schools.  I am making a trip to Annapolis, MD in July and have added an extra day to get this done.  However the local school that I contacted is also telling me about a four day course.  I don’t know if I am asking them for the correct thing.  The school that I contacted is Yachting Education.  He mentioned the RYA Day Skipper Course which I have signed up for on your site and am slowly working through the modules.  However I am just looking for the Verified Proficiency Certificate at this point and my time in Annapolis is limited.


Here is our Answer



Good question – Let me elaborate and explain the differences.

(1) There is verified competency –  this is a verification to yacht charter companies that you have been out with an instructor and they verify that you can sail competently. It however has nothing to do with gaining the ICC license as required by European Countries. This takes as long as it takes. i.e. if you demonstrate to the instructor immediately over a 3-4 hour period that you are totally competent then that is what it takes and virtually any affiliated  instructor will sign off. If you’re a bit light on a few things then the instructor may see the need for some instruction to get you to the point of being competent and proficient. That may take several days or just a few hours depending on your existing experience and competence. Basically, the instructor will not sign it until you are Competent and Proficient. And again basically it is an indication to charter companies that you are verified by an independent professional party. Yacht charter companies accept this. There is a caveat regarding European Countries however – the country not necessarily the charter company will require the ICC license. If you have an accident and there is an investigation and you don’t hold the correct license you could be in a lot of trouble in a foreign country and court.

(2) And there is the ICC Practical Competence Assessment. To gain the ICC license required by European countries you must do a Practical Competence Assessment in addition to doing the RYA Day Skipper Theory course. The Practical Competence Assessment must be administered by an Instructor that has been authorized by a national sailing body appointed by their government. The government has to be a country that signed United Nations Resolution 40. The USA and Canada did not sign this resolution. Thus no USA national sailing body can issue an ICC. United Kingdom did sign the resolution and they appointed the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) as their national sailing body. Thus for the ICC for North Americans, the license can be issued through the UK National Sailing body – the RYA. Once you pass the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course from NauticEd you need to go to an approved RYA practical school to be practically accessed. Yachting Education in Annapolis is one of the only few schools in North America that is an approved RYA school and the only RYA North American school focused on recreational sailing ICC license.

Strange as it may seem – but since the ICC requirement has gained its strength in Europe mostly in 2014, North Americans are now struggling to figure out the ICC requirement. It’s why NauticEd flew to the UK last year to make our alliance and provide this service for North Americans and also for any other country citizens not a signatory to United Nations res. 40 ICC creation.

The ICC practical portion sign off then can be gained in 2 ways. (1) a one day assessment. You must demonstrate total competence in sailing and navigation (thus the RYA Day skipper theory requirement because of the extensive navigation knowledge required). or (2) a 5 day on the water training to gain the RYA Day Skipper Practical Certificate.

Yachting Education in Annapolis administers both the one day ICC assessment and the 5 day practical training. If you do the 5 day training, your are virtually guaranteed to gain the ICC because of the extensive training that Mark will give you. If you do the 1 day assessment and you are up to speed on sailing and navigation tides etc then you should have no problem.

Yacht Charter companies world wide accept the ICC license easily because they understand the extensive test out you have been through. ICC is not a one day weekend warrior bucket list sailing course provided by most North American Sailing Associations. It is a true international sailing license. Charter companies however also require a sailing resume listing practical experience. This is why we provide a free online logbook to our students and a free resume building tool.

I hope that answers your question. Since you are already an RYA Day Skipper Student, you should be looking for Yachting Education to do either the ICC one day assessment or the 5 day RYA Day Skipper Practical Training.

If you were based in any other country in the world who has not signed resolution 40, then you can go to an RYA school in that country to do your practical accessment or training (after you have taken the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course from NauticEd).

Last month our team went to the Bahamas to train with Mark @ Yachting Education for the 5 day  training. Whilst we are all very competent, we figured what the heck we might learn something. Wow heck yes we learned a lot of tips and tricks from Mark and the experience was well worth it. Now that it is summer he has moved his operation back to Annapolis. So even if you are competent, don’t discount the value of a 5 days training. And who can complain about the opportunity to sail around the Chesapeake bay for 5 days stopping at historic ports and villages?

Please also watch the video on the RYA Day Skipper Page it explains a lot more.


Grant Headifen

Director of Education NauticEd


  • Grant Headifen

    My vision for NauticEd is to provide the highest quality sailing and boating education available - and deliver competence wherever sailors live and go.

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Last updated on July 8th, 2022