International Certificate Of Competency (ICC Certificate)

What is it? What does it do? How do I get one? And is it the same as an RYA Day Skipper certificate?

What Is an ICC and What Does It Do?

The International Certificate of Competency (usually referred to as “ICC”) is a certificate designed to prove an individual’s capabilities when cruising in foreign waters. Essentially, it is an international boating licence.

It was originally designed for use in Europe and is issued under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), however, not every European has to accept the ICC, and its validity is not restricted to Europe alone.

In this blog we will cover:

Who Needs an ICC?

You should know the licence requirements in your own country, but when you sail abroad you may be required to comply with the maritime legislation of the country you are visiting as well as that of your vessel’s country of registration.

Obviously, licencing regulations vary massively as you transit from one country to the next and the ICC helps reduce these variations and make sailing abroad easier.#

Where Is an ICC Valid

For the latest up to date information about where an ICC is officially valid and who the authorising organisation are you should check out the UNECE website:

Note, however, that some countries have not adobted resolution 40 and still choose to accept the ICC in the territorial waters.

CountryApproved body(ies) for issuing of ICC’s
AustriaCoastal International Certificate:
Austrian Motorboating Federation
(Motorbootsport u. Seefahrts Verband Österreich
(until 31.12.2011);
Austrian Sailing Federation (Österreichischer
Segel-Verband (OESV)) (until 31.12.2011);
via donau (as of 01.01.2012).
BelarusState Inspectorate for Small Craft
BelgiumGeneral Directorate for Maritime Transport of
the Public Federal Service on Mobility and
BulgariaBulgarian Maritime Administration
CroatiaCroatian Harbour Master’s Offices (Sisak,
Slavonski Brod, Osijek and Vukovar)
Czech RepublicState Navigation Administration
FinlandFinnish Transport Safety Agency
GermanyGerman Yachting Association (Deutscher
Motoryachtverband e.V.);
German Sailing Association (Deutscher SeglerVerband e.V.).
HungaryNational Transport Authority
IrelandThe Irish Sailing Association (ISA);
International Yacht Training (formerly known as
International Yachtmaster Training);
Irish Waterski and Wakeboard Federation
LatviaRoad Traffic Safety Directorate
LithuaniaMaritime Safety Administration of Lithuania
LuxemburgCommissariat aux Affaires Maritimes
NetherlandsStichting VAMEX
NorwayNorwegian Maritime Authority
RomaniaRomanian Naval Authority
SlovakiaState Navigation Administration
South AfricaSouth African Maritime Safety Authority
South African Sailing.
SwitzerlandFederal Transport Office (OFT), Berne;
Regional (canton) offices of road traffic and
United KingdomThe Royal Yachting Association (RYA);
British Water Ski and Wakeboard;
International Yachtmaster Training;
British Sub Aqua Club.

How to Apply for an ICC

An ICC has to be issued by an authorised organisation in the country that you are a national of or resident in, and can only be obtained in countries which have signed up to Resolution 40 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Working Party on Inland Water Transport.

If you are a UK resident that means you need to apply for your ICC through the RYA.

If you are not a resident in the UK, you will have to find your authorising body via the UNECE website.

Exceptions to this rule include nationals of United States, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand who can all also apply through the RYA.

Applying for Your ICC Certificate With the RYA

RYA Training Centre logo for use by RYA centres offering RYA Day Skipper Theory and other RYA courses.
RYA Training Centre tick logo


There are two ways to get an ICC with the RYA:

  • Present an equivalent or higher RYA certificate alongside an ICC application form.
  • Undertake a one day ICC examination at an ICC test centre

You must be at least 16 years old and be both physically and mentally fit enough to operate a yacht (vision and hearing may be assessed).

Equivalent or Higher RYA Certification (e.g. Day Skipper) and Application Form

You can be issued an ICC directly if you already hold one of the following RYA certificates;

  • Powerboat level 2
  • RYA Day Skipper
  • RYA Coastal Skipper
  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal
  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore
  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean

Send a completed ICC application form (available online or in paper form) with a copy of your certificate, a passport-sized photograph, and £45 (free if you are an RYA member) to the RYA. You’ll get your ICC back within a couple of weeks. If you are in a hurry, a Fastrack service is available priced at £75 for non-members but cheaper if you are a member of the RYA.

ICC Assessment

If you do not already hold any of the qualifications listed above, and do not intend to, then you will need to undertake an ICC assessment at an ICC test centre.

The assessment takes one day and cost approx. £300.

You will be assessed on your navigation skills, boat-handling skills, seamanship, and safety. When booking an ICC, it is best to find a test centre which will be willing to run a quick preassessment and provide any coaching where necessary before the ICC assessment begins.

ICC-4a Power assessment syllabus and certificate

ICC-4b Sail assessment syllabus and certificate

ICC-4c Coastal waters assessment syllabus and certificate

To find an ICC test centre, use the ‘Where’s my Nearest’ tool on the RYA website.


An ICC is obtained after completing an assessment aboard a yacht to prove your capabilities. This can then be used when visiting other countries as evidence of your abilities.

The RYA Day Skipper certificate is part of a training programme which teaches you everything you need to know about deckwork, sail handling (if applicable), seamanship, rope and knots, anchoring and mooring, safety, navigation, collision regulations, and meteorology. The certificate is obtained at the end of a training programme and can be used privately or commercially, can can also be used to apply for an ICC without the need to undertake any further assessment.

The ICC assessment is a one day exam on the water and you are expected to know what you are doing before you arrive. It usually cost in the region of £300.

The RYA Day Skipper course is a training programme and comes in two parts, theory and practical. The theory part cost starts at around £250-£300 for an online course which can be taken from home. The practical part cost from £500, and takes 5 days living aboard a yacht.

This depends on where you intend to sail.

You will usually only need one or the other at a time, and in some cases you won’t need either. However, If you complete the RYA Day Skipper course and are a member of the RYA, the ICC is free of charge and having both gives you the most peace of mind and flexibility.

The ICC is valid for 5 years and you may renew your certificate up to 3 months prior to it expiring. The new certificate will be valid for a further 5 year period after the original expiry date. 

To renew your certificate you must either complete and submit the online application form or download, print and complete an ICC application form. It is not possible to renew your certificate by telephone or by emailing the RYA. 

If your details change you need to submit an ICC application form to have your ICC updated. You will need to provide evidence to verify the details that have changed. Information on what is required can be found in ICC-2 Notes: Evidencing identity and eligibility.

You must complete an ICC application form to request a replacement certificate. You do not need to resubmit evidence of your competence, but you will need to provide documentary evidence to allow the RYA to verify your identity and nationality.  Information on what is required can be found in ICC-2 Notes: Evidencing identity and eligibility.

The size of vessel covered by the ICC varies from country to country so you will need to check before arrival.

RYA Day Skipper

If you wish to obtain your RYA Day Skipper (which can subsequently be used to obtain an ICC) then get started on your theory course with Ardent Training.

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