ICC Certificate – The International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft

Introduction

The ICC certificate is a recognized boating qualification that is valid in many countries. It is issued by the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) and is designed to demonstrate that the holder has the required knowledge and skills to operate a boat safely. It is recognized in many countries and allows you to legally operate recreational vessels. The ICC demonstrates your knowledge of safety, navigation rules, and boat handling.

To obtain an ICC certificate, you can demonstrate your competence by presenting an eligible RYA certificate or by taking an assessment of your knowledge and skills. For example, if you hold an RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificate, you automatically qualify for the ICC in the Power category for vessels up to 10 metres. Similarly, if you have a Day Skipper (Sail) certificate, you automatically qualify for the ICC in the Sail category. The ICC is valid for five years.

The specific requirements for the assessment may vary depending on the category of the ICC certificate you are applying for. You can take the assessment for all the ICC categories (except PWC) with the Boat School Denia.

ICC Certificate – Categories

The International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft (ICC) has different categories to validate specific types of vessels and areas of operation. The categories for the ICC include:

Power:

This ICC certificate category validates the operation of power-driven pleasure craft. The Power category of the ICC is further divided into two subcategories based on the length overall (LOA) of the vessels. The subdivisions are as follows:

  • Power up to 10 metres:

This subcategory validates the operation of power-driven pleasure craft with a length overall of up to 10 metres.

  • Power up to 24 metres:

This subcategory validates the operation of power-driven pleasure craft with a length overall of up to 24 metres.

Sail (including auxiliary engine):

This category validates the operation of sailboats, including those with auxiliary engines.

Personal Watercraft:

This category specifically validates the operation of personal watercraft, such as jet skis.

Coastal Waters:

This category validates the operation of pleasure craft in coastal waters, typically covering navigation within a certain distance from the coastline.

Inland Waters:

This category validates the operation of pleasure craft on inland waters, such as rivers, lakes, and canals.

Eligibility for the ICC Certificate

The UK ICC certificate issued by the RYA is issued in conformity with Resolution No. 40 of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Working Party on Inland Water Transport. The RYA will issue the ICC to UK nationals and UK residents i.e. people who are settled in the UK and whose primary residence is in the UK. Applicants must be at least 16 years old.

The RYA will also issue the ICC to nationals of other countries that have not accepted Resolution No. 40 because they may otherwise be unable to obtain an ICC. However, if the relevant country later accepts Resolution No. 40, the certificate holder will no longer be eligible to have an ICC issued by the RYA and will not be able to amend or renew that certificate.

The UK ICC certificate issued by the RYA is not available to nationals of the following countries that have currently accepted Resolution No. 40: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Spain has not currently accepted Resolution No. 40 and, for this reason, the RYA will issue an ICC to Spanish nationals.

Nationals of countries that have accepted Resolution No. 40 can only be issued an ICC certificate by the RYA if they are resident in the UK. If you are a national of a country that has accepted Resolution No. 40 and were issued with an ICC by the RYA before that country accepted Resolution No. 40, you will not be able to amend or renew your ICC. You must return the certificate to the RYA and you will not be entitled to any refund.

If you are a national of a country that has accepted Resolution No. 40 and were issued with an ICC by the RYA because you were resident in the UK but you have ceased to be resident in the UK, you will not be able to amend or renew your ICC. If your details change, you must return the certificate to the RYA and you will not be entitled to any refund.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to check that they are eligible to be issued with the ICC certificate before undertaking any training courses, tests or assessments with a view to obtaining an ICC.

When processing an ICC application, the RYA will verify the applicant’s identity and nationality. All applicants must provide copies (do not send originals) of a document or a combination of documents with their ICC application, which together verify their identity (name, address, date of birth, photograph) and their nationality. If an applicant later asks to have the certificate amended, documentary evidence which verifies the updated information must be provided.

The following documents can be used to verify identity and nationality:

  • Passport
  • National identity card
  • Driving licence
  • UK or Channel Islands Council Tax statement
  • Local authority Council Tax bill
  • Mortgage statement
  • Statement from a recognised UK, Channel Islands or EEA Bank / Building society
  • Credit card statement

If you are renewing your ICC certificate, you can submit your expiring certificate as proof of your identity and nationality. If any of your details have changed since your expiring certificate was issued, you must provide copies (please do not send originals) of documentary evidence which verifies the updated information.
If you are unable to supply your expiring certificate, you will need to provide the evidence of your identity and nationality that is required for a new ICC application.

Evidence of Competence to obtain an ICC Certificate

To be issued with an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) by the RYA, you must provide evidence of your competence for each category you would like your ICC to be valid for.
You can do this by presenting an eligible RYA practical course completion certificate or certificate of competence. If you already have the required level of competence, but you don’t have an acceptable certificate, you do not need to complete a training course. You can take the ICC Assessment to demonstrate your competence.

To validate all the categories on an ICC, you will need to be assessed on or present an eligible RYA or MCA practical course completion certificate or certificate of competence to cover each category. It is perfectly acceptable to be assessed for one category and present a course completion certificate or Certificate of Competence for another category.
An ICC cannot be issued unless evidence for a category in list A (below) and a category in list B (below) is submitted with an ICC application form.

List A – Validating the type of vessel categories

Power
Depending on the certificate you present or the assessment you have passed the validity of this category may be restricted to vessels up to 10m length overall (LOA).

Sail (including auxiliary engine)
All ICCs issued with the sail category validated also have the power category validated for vessels up to 10m LOA to allow the holder to drive a tender with an outboard engine.

Personal Watercraft
If you wish to have the Personal Watercraft category validated on your ICC you must present an RYA Personal Watercraft Proficiency Course Completion Certificate. This is the only certificate that will validate the Personal Watercraft category on an ICC. The ICC certificate validaded for PWC is not recognised in Spain for driving Spanish-flagged vessels.

List B – Validating the coastal and /or inland category

Coastal Waters
As detailed in the table (see next page) many RYA practical course completion certificates and RYA/MCA certificates of competence will validate the coastal waters category. This is the case if the course syllabus includes COLREGS, IALA buoyage, navigation and pilotage. You can also take the ICC assessment for coastal waters knowledge.

Inland Waters
CEVNI is not covered in the UK’s practical courses, as these regulations are not in use in the UK. Every candidate wishing to have the inland category validated on their ICC must therefore first pass the ICC CEVNI test. This is required by Resolution No. 40 and is the case irrespective of whether the regulations are in force in the country or on the river, lake or canal where you intend to go boating.

Obtaining an ICC with a practical course completion certificate or certificate of competence

You can demonstrate your competence for an International Certificate of Competence ICC certificate by presenting an eligible RYA practical course completion certificate or certificate of competence. The following table summarizes which course certificates and certificates of competence (COCs) are eligible for which categories of ICC.

RYA CertificatePWC (jet ski)Power up to 10m LOAPower up to 24m LOASail up to 24m
RYA Personal Watercraft Proficiency Course Completion CertificateYesNoNoNo
RYA Powerboat Level 2NoYesNoNo
RYA Day Skipper Motor (Practical) Course Completion CertificateNoYesYesNo
RYA Coastal Skipper Motor (Practical) Course Completion CertificateNoYesYesNo
RYA Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore or Ocean (Power) COCNoYesYesNo
RYA Day Skipper Sail (Practical) Course Completion CertificateNoYesNoYes
RYA Coastal Skipper Sail (Practical) Course Completion CertificateNoYesNoYes
RYA Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore or Ocean (Sail) COCNoYesNoYes

You can take the following courses with the Boat School:

At this moment, if you are looking to obtain an ICC (Power), you can take the following course with us to for the ICC Assessment – Power Category

Obtaining an ICC with an ICC Assessment

If you have the required boating skills and knowledge, but not the necessary certificate, you can take an ICC Assessment to demonstrate your competence and obtain an ICC. The ICC Assessment is a practical and/or theory assessment, depending on your experience and the categories of the ICC you are applying for.

The ICC Certificate Assessment of Competence – Power Category

The ICC assessment of competence – power category is a test that can be taken to validate the power category on a UK ICC issued by the RYA. Depending on the assessment you take, the validity of this category may be restricted to vessels up to 10m length overall (LOA).

The test covers a range of skills and knowledge, including:

  1. Preparation: giving a safety briefing, obtaining and assessing an appropriate weather forecast, pre-start engine checks, using a kill cord (if fitted), starting the engine, checking cooling, and knowing the fuel range.
  2. Departing from a pontoon: understanding the use of springs, communicating effectively with crew, and positioning fenders correctly.
  3. Making a 360-degree turn in a confined space.
  4. Mooring to a buoy and anchoring: communicating effectively with crew, anchoring (deploying and setting the anchor, checking the holding, recovering and stowing the anchor), mooring to a buoy (preparing a warp, choosing the correct angle and controlling speed on approach, securing the boat effectively to the mooring buoy, and departing from the mooring safely).
  5. Man overboard: observing a man overboard or instructing crew to do so, demonstrating the correct direction and speed of approach, and making suitable contact with the man overboard.
  6. Planing speed manoeuvres (if appropriate): choosing a suitable area, showing awareness of other water users, warning crew before each manoeuvre, looking round before S and U turns, and controlling speed on U turns.
  7. Coming alongside windward pontoon: communicating effectively with crew, showing awareness of other water users, preparing warps / fenders, choosing the correct angle of approach, controlling speed of approach, stopping boat in place required and secure to pontoon, and stopping engine.
  8. Regulations: knowing the responsibility for keeping a proper lookout, determining a “safe speed”, recognising a potential collision situation, identifying the “give way” vessel in a collision situation, knowing the action to take as a “give way” and “stand on” vessel, knowing the responsibilities of a small vessel in a narrow channel, recognising manoeuvring signals (1, 2, 3 & 5 blasts), and making and recognising visual distress signals.
  9. Safety: being able to use and instruct crew on the use of lifejackets, distress alerting (e.g. DSC VHF, EPIRB, Flares, etc.), fire extinguishers, and a kill cord (if fitted).

The ICC assessment of competence – power category is a comprehensive test that covers a wide range of skills and knowledge. You can prepare for this test with either a group course or individual tuition.

The ICC Assessment of Competence – Sail Category

The ICC assessment of competence – sail (including auxiliary engine) category is a test that can be taken to validate the sail (with auxiliary engine) category on a UK ICC issued by the RYA. The test covers a range of skills and knowledge, including:

  1. Departing from a pontoon: understanding the use of springs, communicating effectively with crew, and positioning fenders correctly.
  2. Making a 360-degree turn in a confined space.
  3. Mooring to a buoy and anchoring: communicating effectively with crew, anchoring (deploying and setting the anchor, checking the holding, recovering and stowing the anchor), mooring to a buoy (preparing a warp, choosing the correct angle and controlling speed on approach, securing the boat effectively to the mooring buoy, and departing from the mooring safely).
  4. Dealing with a man overboard: observing a man overboard or instructing crew to do so, demonstrating the correct direction and speed of approach, and making suitable contact with the man overboard.
  5. Handling under sail: sailing a triangular course with one leg being to windward, choosing a suitable area for hoisting/lowering sails, using sails suitable for the prevailing conditions, showing awareness of wind direction, trimming sails correctly on each point of sailing, warning crew before manoeuvres, looking round before tacking and gybing, and controlling sails during tacking and gybing.
  6. Coming alongside a windward pontoon: communicating effectively with crew, showing awareness of other water users, preparing warps/fenders, choosing the correct angle of approach, controlling speed on approach, stopping the boat in the required place and securing it to the pontoon, and stopping the engine.
  7. Regulations: knowing the responsibility for keeping a proper lookout, determining a “safe speed”, recognising a potential collision situation, identifying the “give way” vessel in a collision situation, knowing the action to take as a “give way” and “stand on” vessel, knowing the responsibilities of a small vessel in a narrow channel, recognising manoeuvring signals (1, 2, 3 & 5 blasts), and making and recognising visual distress signals.
  8. Safety: being able to use and instruct crew on the use of lifejackets, distress alerting (e.g. DSC VHF, EPIRB, Flares, etc.), fire extinguishers, and a kill cord (if fitted).
  9. Preparing a boat for use and taking sensible precautions before setting out, including engine checks, checking fuel for range/duration of trip, obtaining a weather forecast, and avoiding overloading the boat.

Assessment of competence for coastal waters (theory test)

The ICC certificate assessment of competence – coastal waters category is a theory test that can be taken to validate the coastal waters category on a UK ICC issued by the RYA. The test covers a range of knowledge, including:

  1. Planning: sources of weather information, interpreting a forecast and its impact on a passage, and preparing a simple passage plan (tidal and non-tidal).
  2. Collision Regulations (IRPCS): rules relating to Traffic Separation Schemes, requirements for navigation lights and shapes to be displayed on a vessel, recognition of the following from the lights: power driven, sailing vessel, vessel at anchor, tug and tow, dredger, sound signals to be made by: power driven vessel, sailing vessel, vessel at anchor, tug and tow, dredger, and knowledge of all other rules (excluding annexes).
  3. Navigation (chart & plotting instruments required): interpretation of a navigational chart, understanding significance of charted depths and drying heights, identification of charted hazards, sources of information on: local regulations, port entry and departure signals, VTS and Port Operations Radio, planning a harbour entry / departure, taking account of possible presence of large vessels and avoiding navigational hazards, fixing a position and understanding the importance of verification of position from at least two sources, sourcing weather information, interpreting a forecast and its impact on a passage and the sea state, and understanding various methods of sending a distress signal with reference to annex IV of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCS).

Sources of information

The following sources were used to create this document. You can click on these links to check the original documents from the RYA.

Evidencing your identity and eligibility

Evidencing your boating competence

You can use the following link to apply to the RYA for an ICC.

ICC application form

Disclaimer

The information provided in this document is believed to be accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing. However, readers are advised to verify the information from original sources. Greenwich Learning accepts no liability for any errors or outdated details that may be present. It is the responsibility of the readers to ensure the accuracy and currency of the information obtained.

 

author avatar
Simon Mellor-Clark
Simon Mellor-Clark is the Director of Greenwich Nautica, a Spanish sea school operating in the Valencian Community, the Region of Murcia and Madrid. Simon is also the principle of The Boat School Denia, an RYA recognised training centre operating in the Valencian Community. Simon is a Capitán de Yate as well as a Patrón Profesional de Embarcaciones de Recreo as well as being a Powerboat Instructor and SRC (radio) examiner. Simon has lived in Spain for more than 25 years.