We’ve all heard the stories of Credit Card Captains in the Caribbean. There is even a pretty good YouTube video here that amply demonstrates the issue. Essentially the problem is that some companies will charter/rent their boats to anyone that shows up with a credit card, and don’t concern themselves with the capability/competence of the aspiring crew.
In this part of the world they require proof of competency before you can have access to a boat. Some of the charter/rental companies will accept a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Day Skipper qualification as proof of your competency, but they all are universal in requiring/accepting an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) for the same.
To avoid limiting ourselves to only the companies that will take an RYA certificate we applied for the ICC and they just arrived. We didn’t know at the time, but when we joined the RYA, the ability to apply for the ICC and the associated cost is included in our RYA membership.
Our RYA Coastal Skipper qualification gives us the ICC sail and power boats up to 10m (approx 33 feet) which is interesting. I’m sure there is an upper limit to the length of the sailboat, but we can’t find it anywhere. It covers coastal waters but not inland waters which requires the Code Européen des Voies de la Navigation Intérieure (CEVNI) certificate. This test is available through the RYA as well, but we’ll likely not bother to get it as we don’t plan to do any inland waterway cruising on our own.