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How to Get a Sailing Licence

Are you dreaming of feeling the wind in your hair and the sun on your face as you glide around the open waters on a yacht charter? This is your sign to learn how to get your sailing licence and book your first yacht charter.

Whether you’re imagining yourself cruising down the rugged coastline of Dubrovnik in Croatia, or island hopping in the Caribbean, you might be wondering how to get your Skipper licence ahead of your holiday.

How to get a sailing licence will differ depending on which country you want to apply to and where you want to sail. However, some universal steps will apply to anyone wondering how to get a sailing licence.

You can go from sailing zero to sailing hero in five steps:

  1. Find out which qualifications you need
  2. Choose how to get your sailing licence
  3. Complete your sailing theory
  4. Complete your sailing practical
  5. Put your skills to the test

In this blog, we’ll discuss how to get your sailing licence by following each of these five steps and what’s involved at each stage.

How to get your Skipper licence in five simple steps

Whether you want to set sail around the BVI, Greece, Thailand or anywhere else in the world, you first need to understand how to get your Skipper licence. 

There are several routes to gain your licence, but whichever you decide, it should only take a maximum of a week before you’re ready to take the helm on a bareboat charter

Find out more about how long it takes to learn to sail and how easy it is to gain your sailing licence.

So, what are the five steps you need to take to get a sailing licence?

Step 1: Find out which qualifications you need

The first step to getting your sailing licence is to understand what type of licence or qualification you need. 

The type of sailing licence you need depends on several factors, such as:

It’s important to consider each of these elements when planning how to get your sailing licence as you won’t be permitted to set sail if you don’t have the correct certifications. If you have any questions about the type of sailing licence you need for your yacht charter, please contact us today.

Step 2: Choose how to get your sailing licence

The next stage is deciding how to get your sailing licence. There are several ways to get your sailing certification, depending on which country you’re in.

Sailing Schools

Alternatively, you can get your sailing licence at one of our sailing schools in the UK, Croatia or Greece. We offer a range of courses that will support you with gaining the qualifications you need to Skipper your own yacht, including:

Why is this one of the best ways to get your sailing licence? The RYA Day Skipper and ICC are accepted as valid certifications in many countries, not just the UK. 

Once you’ve passed the course and gained your licence, you can book a relaxing yacht charter at any of our sailing destinations (unless they require additional certifications, as we mentioned in step 1).

Step 3: Complete your sailing theory

No matter which way you choose to get your sailing licence, there will be theoretical and practical elements that you will need to pass first. This is compulsory to complete before doing any practical skippers course.

While learning to sail is considered to be easy, there is a lot of theory behind it that you need to understand to ensure your charter is smooth sailing, including:

Our top tip: Before you even decide how to get your sailing licence, complete as much independent theoretical study as possible so that you go into your chosen course with as much knowledge as you can. This will make understanding the theory and getting to grips with the practical side easier. Find out more about the basics of sailing.

Step 4: Complete your sailing practical

Once you have a deeper understanding of sailing theory, it’s time to climb aboard a yacht and develop your practical skills. This is perfect for people who learn from hands-on experience.

What is involved in the practical element of a sailing course? 

If you’re completing one of our sailing courses, such as the ICC or RYA Day Skipper, you’ll cover some of the following topics:

After successfully showcasing that you can safely and confidently complete the practical components of sailing, you will be awarded your sailing licence.

Step 5: Put your skills to the test

Congratulations, you now have your sailing licence and can sail into the sunset on an idyllic bareboat charter.

However, the fun doesn’t stop there. Now you’ve gained your Skipper licence, it’s time to put everything you’ve learned into practice at one of our beginner’s sailing destinations

With line-of-sight navigation, sheltered waters, beautiful temperatures and fantastic sailing conditions, these destinations are the perfect place to hone your skills as a Skipper before heading to more challenging sailing grounds in the future.

Some of our favourite beginner destinations include:

Want to start planning your first yacht charter straight away? Find out the best time to sail in the Caribbean and when to visit the Mediterranean.

Get your sailing licence with Sunsail

Now you know how to get your sailing licence, it’s time to start following the steps. We’re here to support you every step of the way with learning to sail, from helping you understand the qualifications needed to sail a yacht, to gaining your licence at one of our sailing schools

Whether you choose our Lefkas, Agana or Portsmouth sailing school, you’ll learn the fundamental skills needed to confidently set sail around your dream sailing destination. 

Can’t wait to get started? Take a look at our A-Z of sailing terminology to begin learning some of the basics of sailing.

Not ready to learn how to get a Skipper licence yet? That doesn’t mean you need to miss out on experiencing the magic of a sailing charter. You can still explore uninhabited islands, relax on golden beaches and immerse yourself in local cultures by hiring a Skipper who will navigate your yacht around the open waters while you sit back, relax and admire the sensational views.
If you have any questions about how to get your sailing licence, or about learning to sail more generally, please get in touch with us today.



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