International Certificate of Competence (ICC)

YPI Crew  |  20th May 2015

Yacht crew recruitment agency YPI Crew takes a closer look as to why an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) is useful if you work in the yachting industry.

An ICC is an official document that provides proof of competence for pleasure craft operations. In fact, it is the only international certificate recognized throughout most of the Mediterranean coast and inland waters of Europe that proves that one is competent to operate pleasure crafts.

Since its establishment, the ICC has evolved into a document that allows yacht crew to verify their competence in handling power and sailing vessels. In fact, crew members often incorrectly believe that they only need to abide to flag state rules and not to those of the port. In reality, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) demonstrates that this assumption is wrong. While crew are not used to requests asking them to provide appropriate proof of competence by ports, this can nonetheless occur and without an ICC, they may end up being in violation of regulations of certain ports. As a result, the port may issue a citation and a fine.

Although the ICC is not the equivalent to an EU driving licence for road vehicles, it is recognised by many European countries that have adopted the relevant UN Resolution, so it is suggested to get it to keep your career on course.

To apply for an ICC, simply get in contact with the RYA (The Royal Yachting Association). The RYA is a national body for all forms of boating and are entitled to issue ICCs. To be eligible for an ICC, you must at least 16 years old, physically and mentally capable to manage a pleasure craft and have a certificate or another form of evidence proving that you have the necessary competencies to operate a pleasure craft. Any person who is not in possession of a certificate can obtain an ICC following an examination from an RYA-approved training centre.

The ICC is formally recognised in the following UNECE countries at the ‘Resolutions 14 and/or 40’ level: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

The following UNECE countries are yet to accept ‘Resolutions 14 or 40’: Greece, Moldova, Portugal, Russian Federation, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and United States.

It is still recommended to be in possession of a valid ICC no matter which country you visit because it is the only widely used proof of pleasure crafting competence. In fact, some countries may accept the ICC as an equivalent to their national qualification, although be sure to check this in advance.

Therefore, to abide by the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) and port state regulations, apply for your ICC now and be sure to always carry it with you.