Are My RYA Qualifications Still Recognised in Europe?

Since the UK ceased to be a member of the European Union on 31st December 2020, some changes have taken place that affect our sailing rights in Europe. Some of these changes may affect how UK-earned qualifications are recognised in the EU. As an official RYA training centre, we are here to provide more information about how Brexit might affect your professional and non-professional use of RYA certificates.

International Certificate of Competence (ICC)

Contrary to popular opinion, the ICC is not the boating equivalent of an internationally accepted driving licence, and not all EU member states are obliged to accept its validity. The qualification’s authority has always been determined by the visited country, even before the Brexit transition. Despite this misunderstanding, the ICC is still a valuable document to have as evidence of your competence when boating abroad, and is the only certificate of its kind that exists for pleasure boaters in Europe.

Subsequently, the UK leaving the EU has not affected the validity of your ICC in Europe. As always, some EU member states may accept the ICC as an alternative to their national qualification on nationally flagged craft, but one should always check with your destination country beforehand to avoid fines. The ICC is not commercially endorsed and should never be used to prove competence for commercial activities.

Professional Use of RYA Certificates in Europe

RYA and MCA accredited training is recognised globally as the gold standard, and we are confident that these qualifications will continue to be recognised by the EU. However, although these qualifications are accepted for use on UK-flagged commercial yachts, these commercially endorsed certificates of competence have never been STCW-compliant. RYA qualifications are accepted by several non-UK EU member states for use on vessels flying their national flag, but these states have no obligation to accept these certificates.

The Brexit transition and the UK leaving the EU has not changed these circumstances, and if you are working on a UK-flagged vessel and hold an RYA certificate of competency, you will not need to take any action. For non-British flagged vessels, we believe that your RYA training certificates are likely to be recognised, but you will still need to comply with the rules of the flag state. To do so, contact the relevant maritime authority for details of their requirements.

About Ocean Sports Tuition

Ocean Sports Tuition is a Southampton-based company offering RYA-recognised practical and theory courses and boat charters. We have successfully delivered training on the South Coast and the Solent since 2004, and pride ourselves on providing excellent tuition and service to beginner, intermediate, and advanced sailors alike. Book your next training course here!