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RYA Guidance for non European nationals on CEVNI

Contact the RYA Cruising Department for further information

A boat must comply with the regulations of its flag state (country of registration) wherever in the world it is. The Coastal State (the country in which the boat is being used) can also impose its own regulations on visiting craft. Therefore where evidence of competence is required by the Flag State, pleasure boaters must comply with those regulations and they must also comply with any requirements for evidence of competence imposed by the Coastal State.

Many European countries require the skipper of a pleasure craft to be able to provide evidence of his or her competence but there is no international requirement for one country to accept another country’s qualification in place of their own - except for under certain conditions full STCW qualifications (for working aboard large commercial vessels); for pleasure craft vessels there are in general no reciprocity arrangements. 

For UK flagged pleasure vessels of less than 24m there is no flag state requirement for evidence of competence, therefore the ICC is, for many, the preferred evidence of competence as it is more readily recognised in many countries than the various UK course completion certificates and certificates of competence. It is also the only document available to UK boaters which records knowledge of the CEVNI regulations, as is sometimes required for the European Inland Waterways.

The RYA do not have details of the evidence of competence required for a US flagged boat visiting Europe. You may well find that your flag state (US) qualifications are acceptable, but we have no knowledge or experience upon which to base such advice. In order to establish what evidence of competence is required for your voyage you will need to check the requirements with the authorities of any countries you intend to visit during the trip.

The ICC is the only international evidence of competence that exists for pleasure boaters in Europe.  However, whilst this certificate will be accepted in many European countries this is not guaranteed as explained in greater detail in the attached leaflet and on the RYA website at

The RYA is permitted to issue the ICC to a US or Canadian Citizen, but only if the applicant presents a UK national certificate or demonstrates their competence by passing an ICC assessment. In order to be issued with an ICC valid for inland waterways the CEVNI test would have to be passed


posted 13th December 2013  © Keith Bater