Skipper a Yacht

Here's how you can be your own skipper on your next Charter holiday

The steps involved in training for an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) for sailing are not as difficult or time-consuming as most imagine and can be broken down into three easy steps.

We can prepare you to safely and competently skipper a yacht, even if you have limited, or no previous experience and get you ready for the perfect holiday with family or friends.

We’ve designed two options which will enable you to obtain an ICC (International Certificate of Competency). The ICC is an European wide certificate and is the qualification that most yacht charter companies in the Mediterranean and further afield will look for. Our programmes will not only teach you the necessary skills, it’ll be great fun too!

Get an Introduction to Sailing

We’ve two weekend-long courses that are ideal for getting a taste of what sailing involves.

How to become a skipper?

Here’s the two options available

If you’ve not got any previous yachting experience, or very little then this route is for you;

These courses are outlined in more detail below

For those with some previous yachting experience and can satisfy the Day Skipper Practical Course Pre-Requisites we would recommend the following:

Day Skipper Practical Course Pre-Requisites

To qualify for this course, you will have taken the Competent Crew Course with us or have spent at least 5 days on a yacht acting as an effective crew member. We’re happy to answer questions about previous experience, please get in touch.

In addition to sea time and boating experience, students on the Day Skipper Practical Course must have a navigation and theory knowledge equivalent to what you would learn on the Day Skipper Theory Course.

More information on each course

Competent Crew Course

This 5-day course familiarises you with a yacht while learning to effectively and safely carry out crewing tasks. Competent Crew students are also training in helming and all physical tasks of making the boat go. The course runs over five days, either Monday to Friday or across two weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday followed by the subsequent Saturday and Sunday). Course fees are €785. The courses always berth on an East Coast marina, with access to mainline train services. You’re more than welcome to stay onboard, but you can head off each evening and re-join the boat in the morning. Meals are also provided on board for late finishes.

Day Skipper Theory

Get to grips with the basics of coastal and inshore navigation and pilotage. There are two options for this course:

  • The first is an online course you can complete in your own time. Instructor support is available in real-time so you study worldwide and at times convenient for you. This option costs €400.
  • Secondly, the classroom-based courses, which allows you work in a more structured and immersive environment. These courses are run across roughly 1 month (Saturdays 9.30 am-5 pm, Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6-9.30 pm) and feature a remote video link and recorded session in case you can’t make it in person each session. This option costs €525.

Full details… 

Day Skipper Practical Course

You’ll be back on board for another 5-days, either spread over a Friday and two weekends or a Monday to Friday block. This time you’ll be applying all the skills from the theory course to on water navigation, as well as developing crew management skills and taking on the full skippering responsibilities.

Courses are available from March onwards each year and cost €785.

Applying for the ICC

Irish Sailing is responsible for the issuing of ICCs in Ireland. Upon completion of the Day Skipper course, you will receive the practical course completion certificate. This demonstrates your competency requirements for applying for the ICC and the next steps are outlined on Irish Sailing’s website.

Would I need anything else to charter abroad?

Each charter company will insist on a slight variation of requirements, but most make it very easy to see what qualifications are needed. The ICC is widely recognised, however, we always recommend checking specifically what would be needed in each destination.

Want some advice?

We would be delighted to chat to you about this programme and can offer advice about what is right for each individual’s circumstances. Contact us on or 01 2844195.

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