How to become an Amateur Sailor? Blog > Discover > How to Become an Amateur Sailor?

How to Become an Amateur Sailor?

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Becoming a sailor requires a certain amount of training and experience. In order to use a yacht, you will be required to complete a specific training course, and these will generally vary according to the region. In order to captain a boat, you will be obligated to register with the Amateur Maritime Training System and complete the necessary courses, pass the written tests in order to qualify for an international certificate of competency. However, even without the Certificate of Competence for Operators of Pleasure Craft, you will still be able to use private boats with fewer than ten horsepower, non-motorized boats, canoes/skis and other sporting boats.

Amateur Maritime Training System

This is a free online course provided by the Turkish Republic Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications. You must complete this course in order to obtain an International Certificate of Competency (ICC). Following the training, you will be required to take an exam in order to qualify and obtain the certificate.

Certificate of Competence for Operators of Pleasure Craft

The International Certificate of Competency (ICC) is a license that gives you the right to use boats that are up to 24 meters long in national or international waters. In other words, it is a qualification document that must be possessed in order to use a boat for sport and travel purposes at sea. The International Certificate of Competency (ICC) cannot be used for commercial activities.

What are the Terms and Conditions of the International Certificate of Competency?

In order to receive the International Certificate of Competency (ICC);

  • You must be at least 14 years old.
  • You must register and complete the Amateur Maritime Training courses (
  • You must acquire an eligibility report and an ENT from an official or a private health institution for the International Certificate of Competency (ICC).
  • You must sign up and apply for the online exam through the Seafarer’s Electronic Application System (
  • After you complete the training and obtain all of the necessary health reports, you must pass the test with at least 60 points out of 100.

The Short Range Certificate of Competence (SRC)

The Short Range Certificate of Competence (SRC) is the legal license required to use the VHF sea radio on the boat. If there is a VHF marine radio on the boat, it is mandatory that at least one of the persons on the boat is licensed to operate the Short-Range Radio. The license does not necessarily have to belong to the captain and can be held by another member of the crew. Boats up to 24 meters long can be operated with solely the International Certificate of Competency (ICC) and without the SRC.

The Short Range Certificate of Competence is internationally valid and the exam can be applied for through the Seafarer’s Electronic Application System. Once you obtain the license, it is valid for 5 years and can be renewed without another exam by the Port Authority.

To be eligible for SRC, you must be at least 17 years old and pass the test with a score of at least 60 points out of 100.

How to Apply for ICC and SRC?

In addition to passing the required examinations for the ICC and SRC, you will need to collect the following documents:

  • Copy of an ID card,
  • 4 photographs,
  • An original health report scanned by the system (Signed by an Eye and ENT specialist, confirming no color and light blindness, and not older than 4 months),
  • A diploma copy,
  • Deed of Consent (If you are under 18 years old, you need this to be provided by your legal guardian),
  • Original receipt of the exam entrance,
  • If you pass the exam through the website, you will be required to provide a receipt from the Halk Bank showing the payment made for the documentation fees.

Once the necessary documents have been completed, they must be submitted to the port authority of the applicant.

It is also possible to practice at the sailing academies while undertaking the Amateur Sailing Training, or after you obtain your International Certificate of Competency.

Sailing Trainings

The 2 areas of sailing training consist of both theoretical and practical elements. According to the level of experience of the participants, sailing training is divided into 3 sections:

Basic Sailing Training

This is the first stage of training where participants first meet the sail. At this level, the goals are to gain the ability to sail without a trainer and to be able to perform with a spinnaker and learn the ability to intervene in emergency situations. After theoretical and practical training is completed, participants will have the knowledge and practical experience in order to sail the boat from one point to another.

Advanced Sailing Training

Advanced training is the second phase of the sailing course. At this stage, participants who have completed the basic training will have the opportunity to learn more advanced techniques in sailing and will learn how to perfectly master the boat. The aim of this level of the course is to provide further training and a deeper level of information and understanding.

Open Sea Sailing Training

Open sea sailing is the phase of training where participants gain the necessary skills, professionalism and mastery that will be essential when sailing out on the open sea. This training will provide participants with the theoretical and practical information that will be necessary when offshore such as cruising safely, nighttime sailing and marine survival on long-term journeys. During this training, participants will learn to adequately adjust to living conditions on a sailing boat and to become more prepared for all-natural circumstances that may occur.

Basic Yachting Training

Basic yacht training aims to develop usage in accordance with marine rules and sailing navigation. The goal is to increase the ability towards outfitting sailing yachts up to 40 ft. During training participants will learn the basic information necessary including maritime information, safety at sea, wind information, mastery of the engine, sail steering and geographical routes.

Advanced Yachting Training

Through the Advanced Yachting Training course, participants will become sufficient in the ability to acquire, use and equip the outfitting and trimming of sailing yachts up to 40 ft. In this level of training, participants will be given a more in-depth understanding of basic concepts such as advanced maritime and yachting knowledge, navigation, map usage, route drawing, anchoring and receiving, departure and docking. Following the competition of this training, participants will be qualified to captain their own boat.

How to Become a Yacht Captain?

In order to be able to work as a commercial or private yacht captain, it is necessary to obtain a Yacht Captain’s license. The Yacht Captain’s License is a certificate of competence that has international validity. With this license, all boats which are in the yacht class (with no limitation of voyage zone, length, carrying capacity) can be operated.

Who Can be a Yacht Captain?

  • You must be 21 years or older,
  • You must have graduated from primary school and have completed a Yacht Captain Training course of 350 hours (4 months) or more.
  • You must have acquired the necessary 5 documents for the Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW).
  • You must provide documentation in relation to radar observation-piloting and medical care.
  • You must provide proof that you have the Certificate for Receiver Operating Characteristics, plus The Short Range Certificate of Competence.
  • You must have completed an internship on yachts that are longer than 15 meters for a period of 6 months or longer.
  • You must have succeeded in the Yacht Captain Exam provided by the Undersecretariat of Maritime Affairs, as well as be eligible to get a Yacht Captain Licence.

Yacht Captain Exams

You will qualify for a Yacht Captain’s License if you are successful in the exam after completing training for around 4 months in the institutions approved by the Undersecretariat of Maritime Affairs.

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