International Certificate of Competence (ICC)

In 1979, the United Nations (UN) adopted a Resolution (No 14) intended to facilitate waterborne tourism and recommended a European International Certificate to provide reassurance that vessel operators were competent to ensure safety of navigation and protection of the environment as they moved from one country to another. In 1998, the UN updated and strengthened their proposals in Resolution 40 and adopted the International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft, more commonly referred to as the International Certificate of Competence or ICC. Resolution 40 not only included operators of pleasure craft on inland and coastal waters of foreign states but specifically included bareboat charter vessels. Significantly, it also set out the nautical, regulatory and technical competency requirements to be achieved and a minimum age (16 years) for the issue of an ICC irrespective of individual national schemes.  Although 16 EU Member States have adopted Resolution 40, Spain has not.   However, the relevant Ministry in Madrid confirms that Spain will accept an ICC issued by an EU Member State used for the purpose of confirming the qualifications of a Charterer or Skipper of a foreign flagged vessel.  The ICC issued by IYT can be issued to any Nationality subject to UN Resolution 40.


The ICC in Tenerife

The ICC is a document which certifies that the Skipper of a foreign vessel or a Charterer is duly qualified. So, for a British Registered vessel, the ICC would provide proof that the Skipper is competent to navigate the vessel safely.  However, the ICC is not intended as a qualification to Skipper a Spanish Registered vessel.  All National Authorities require that the Skipper of a locally registered vessel, hold a local boating qualification.  Spain is no  different and Spanish law requires that the Skipper of a Spanish registered vessel holds a Spanish boating qualification. Saying this, the local authorities (Capitania) may at their discretion issue a letter of authority to enable a foreign Skipper to run a Spanish registered boat for recreational purposes, based on an ICC.  In 2012 the Spanish Government implemented legislation permitting Foreign Nationals, including Residents, to register their boat under their own National Flag. Therefore there is no hindrance to say a British National de-registering from the Spanish List and putting their boat under the red ensign.  This not only ensures that your National qualifications and ICC are valid but negates the need to pay transmission taxes on a sale. This change in Spanish Law even permits Spaniards to operate foreign flagged vessels!

What is an International Certificate of Competency (ICC)?
The ICC is a certified level of competency required when operating a pleasure craft in most European Coastal or Inland waterways. 

How do I obtain an ICC?

Certificates are issued by IYT Worldwide on receipt of an application form. You are eligible to obtain an ICC if you hold an acceptable IYT Worldwide Certificate of Competency (listed below) from a school approved by IYT Worldwide to instruct the ICC course or if you are attending an  IYT Worldwide partner school approved to instruct this course. 

The following items are required when making an application to IYT Worldwide for an ICC: 

Completed ICC Application Form for Existing IYT Certifications Jpeg format headshot photograph
Scanned copy of passport or national identification
Scanned copy of highest level current IYT Worldwide certificate or qualification
ICC Examination Marks form completed by the IYT Worldwide partner school that conducted the examination.  This includes CEVNI test results if completed for inland waterways endorsement (such as French canals) Sound signals
Lights and symbols on vessels
Markings on vessel underway
Lights and markings for other situations and designated areas
Passing , crossing, overtaking and entering harbour
Buoys, berthing and reduced visibility
Channel markings
General rules and regulations

Is there a period of Validity for an ICC?
The ICC is valid for a period of 5 years. 

Cancellation or Withdrawal of an ICC

IYT Worldwide may suspend or withdraw an ICC where the holder has by some action demonstrated that he or she has not complied with the conduct demanded of a holder of an ICC. The matter will be presented before the IYT Worldwide Training Board for adjudication. o may obtain an ICC?

Any nationality may obtain an ICC. 

The school must be approved by IYT Worldwide to instruct the ICC course.

For the issue of an international certificate the applicant must:

be minimum age of 16.
be physically and mentally fit to operate a pleasure craft, and in particular, must have sufficient powers of vision and hearing.
have successfully passed an examination or prove the necessary competence for pleasure craft operation by holding an acceptable IYT Worldwide certificate.
What endorsements are required for different types of vessel?
ICC s are required for pleasure craft up to 24 meters.

The endorsement may be:

Power- for any power driven vessel
Sail - Sailboats with engines will need to have both power and sail endorsements
Coastal - for offshore passages
Inland - for use in the inland waterways of Europe, will need a CEVNI (Inland) endorsement, see below++

Personal Water Craft (PWC)


What Vessel Sizes are covered?
For those candidates taking a direct assessment in a power vessel, the length of the boat will determine the level of endorsement. This will be either: less than 10 meters, or: 10 to 24 meters.


CEVNI - is Code Europeen Des Voies De Navigation Interieure (Revision 2)

You will need to pass an exam to get an INLAND endorsement on the IYT International Certificate of Competence to operate a boat on European waterways. You SHOULD read up on the regulations contained in European Code for Inland Waterways yourself and take the CEVNI examination and/or attend a course. hat is tested in a CEVNI examination?

Cevni stands for the: Code Europeen des Voies de la Navigation Interieure 
The examination comprises 16 questions with pictures about signs and signals and questions about general rules, with multiple-choice answers. The pass mark is 12 correct.
The exam covers:


This list is a guide only, all persons planning to operate a vessel in Europe should make sure that the correct documents are carried). With regard to ICC requirements, generally, an ICC is required when navigating the inland waterways of Europe.

An ICC is usually required in the Mediterranean.

The following states do require ICCs:

Italy, Greece, Croatia, Portugal and Turkey. ICCs, in theory, are not required in Spain on British flagged vessels but the individual Spanish Port authorities have the right to determine who carries what certificates in their waters.

In Northern Europe and Scandinavia, the ICC is generally not required.



Holland requires an ICC for vessels that are either longer than 15 meters and/or capable of more than 11 knots.
Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia require ICCs.
It may also be useful to have one in Germany.



When Chartering In Spain, you will need an ICC.
When Chartering in France and Germany you may need a certificate of competence, the charter company will confirm what is needed. Usually an ICC or IYT Yachtmaster is accepted.
Almost all inland waterways require an ICC with CEVNI inland endorsement.


Who May Receive An IYT ICC Based On Resolution 40?

In accordance with UNECE Resolution 40 (Revision 4), citizens and residents of countries (listed below), that are signatories to Resolution 40, will be obliged to obtain an ICC from their own national issuing authority and not from IYT (with the exception of the United Kingdom and Latvia, see below). The only exception for IYT to issue ICCs to citizens of these countries, is if the applicant can provide proof of residency* in a country not on this list. For example: an Austrian National living in Spain or Greece that can provide “proof of residency” in Spain or Greece would be allowed to receive an ICC from IYT.

*Proof of residency (examples) Utility bill (electric or gas), Property tax bill, Telephone bill, Insurance bill, IYT can issue ICCs to any other country’s citizens that are not listed below.  As of May 2016 the following countries have adopted resolution 40.  Residents and Nationals of Countries listed below are not legible for an ICC:

·         Austria

·         Belarus

·         Belgium

·         Bulgaria

·         Croatia

·         Czech Republic

·         Finland

·         France

·         Germany

·         Hungary

·         Ireland

·         Italy

·         Latvia**

·         Lithuania

·         Luxembourg

·         Netherlands

·         Norway

·         Poland

·         Romania

·         Serbia

·         Slovakia

·         South Africa

·         Switzerland

·         Ukraine

·         United Kingdom***

**The government of Latvia has given written permission for IYT to issue ICCs to their own nationals and residents

*** IYT has been authorised to issue ICC’s to United Kingdom Nationals for the past 16 years which are issued on behalf of the British Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA). Reference: UNECE Resolution 40 document