Spring is (mostly) here! In Vancouver, some of the famous cherry blossom streets are starting their floral run, and on the water things are starting to slowly warm up. Hooray- we made it (just about) through another wet winter!
With winter starting to fade away, we’re finalizing sailing programs for the spring and summer. Sea to Sky Sailing is a partner school with International Yacht Training (IYT), who have just announced some major revisions to their certificate programs for the 2016 season.
These changes at IYT affect the higher level certification programs we offer, while our entry level courses and our racing courses remain the same. Here’s the breakdown of how our upper level Learn to Sail programs are changing:
Transport Canada approval for ICC
IYT has secured approval from Transport Canada for the International Certificate of Competency (ICC) to be accepted in lieu of the mandatory Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card (PCOC). Also, the ICC is now issued automatically to all successful Day Skipper students.
This is fantastic news!! It greatly simplifies the process (and reduces the cost!) of getting certification that is recognized around the world. The PCOC is the legally required license in Canada for boaters operating any vessel with an engine in Canadian waters. But the PCOC is not recognized much outside of Canada. In order to charter a boat elsewhere, you need other licensing like the ICC. With Transport Canada’s approval of the IYT-issued ICC, you do not have to get both certifications. Now you can just get the ICC and be confident that you are meeting regulations across the board!
As a significant added bonus, ICC is now part and parcel of our Day Skipper course. Previously, the ICC had a separate exam and an additional fee from IYT to issue the certificate. Now Sea to Sky Sailing can issue the ICC to successful Day Skipper students with no extra steps or fees!
Streamlining IYT certification into 2 levels
The other big change is that IYT has eliminated Level 2 in their certification program. This means that Sea to Sky Sailing will no longer be offering the ‘Level 2: First Mate’ course in our Learn to Sail program. The new process goes as follows:
Students will take Competent Crew (Level 1), getting a great introduction to sailing and preparing them to be useful, confident crew on board. This is our entry level course with no pre-requisites. By the end of the course, students will have 5 days at sea and up to 100 nautical miles under their belts. But the prerequisites for the Day Skipper (Level 2) course include a minimum of 10 days at sea and 200 nautical miles.
So... students will need to get some mileage and experience outside of structured certification programs. This is a great opportunity to build some diverse experience and test out the skills and knowledge gained during the Competent Crew course.
How do you get this extra experience? If you have a friend with a boat, be really nice to them and get out on the water as much as you can!
Alternatively, Sea to Sky Sailing offers 3, 5, and 7 day cruising trips that students can use as 'mileage builders' to get more experience sailing in a really relaxed environment. We also have an entire racing program (including training or really fun racing events) that are a great way of getting out sailing and racking up the miles quickly! Remember, if you've already taken a course with us, you receive 5% off registration in any of our cruising or racing adventures!
Once you've accumulated a bit more time and distance on the water, you're ready for the Day Skipper course... and as you just read above, this now includes the ICC so by the end of the course you will be all set for sailing anywhere in the world!
Get in touch with us for help figuring out how to get your additional experience before entering the Day Skipper program.
New VHF license co-requisite for Day Skipper
IYT now requires Day Skipper students to have their license for the operation of the VHF marine radio. Previously it was strongly recommended, but not mandatory. To legally use a VHF radio (which you would absolutely need to do while in charge of any boat) you must hold a VHF Restricted Operator’s Certificate… without it, you can face serious fines from Transport Canada or any other governing body.
This is a practical and positive step for Day Skipper students. Making this a requirement for obtaining the Day Skipper certificate, ensures that IYT students are meeting all requirements to operate a vessel in any waters.
Students can enter and complete the Day Skipper course without this license, but will have to take the VHF course before we can issue their IYT certificate. In other words, the VHF license is now a co-requisite for Day Skipper certification rather than a pre-requisite for taking the course.
The Canadian Power & Sail Squadron offers a Maritime Radio course that meets this requirement. The course is roughly 8 hours, including an exam in order to receive the VHF Restricted Operator’s Certificate. Check their website for locations and dates year 'round, across Canada.
We hope our students will really benefit from the improvements made at IYT and see a lot of extra value added to their certification at Sea to Sky Sailing. If you have any questions about these changes, drop us a line!