Training and certification
Well Austria is not exactly the place to start a search for what I need of certification to sail (no ocean here), but was surprised to find courses in Austria for “Boat Skipper Category B”.
Found a course in Graz that was based on self-study and supplied materials, and where they arranged everything within the actual exam in Croatia.
Laguna Nautika – Link
Paid for the course over the internet and received the material by email.
Also received all the information I needed about what, where and when. Very good!
After a week of self-study, it was time for a 1-day course day in Graz, and the following day a trip to Croatia – Sisak / Zagreb – to take an exam at the local public office for the MINISTRY OF MARITIME AFFAIRS, TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE of the REPUBLIC OF CROATIA.
The course day included a knowledgeable instructor who went through most things and where we could ask about anything (in German).
The following day we travelled by car to Sisak in Croatia where we were all met by a nice guide who arranged everything for us.
The exam itself was a relatively short affair, with 5-6 people sitting around a table asking me questions about the syllabus.
Then I went to an office where they issued boat licences on the spot and I could go home with the card in my pocket.
I must also say that I got an optional international licence and a VHF radio licence.
My perception of the course and certification is a bit mixed.
Firstly, there was no practical training, only theory.
And I think this “Boat Skipper Category B” really does not give you enough ground to handle a boat of this size safely on your own.
But it’s a good start.
“NB! 30 GT is a bit of a strange way to define a size, but it applies to the “internal volume of the boat”.
Gross Tonnage (GT) is a measure of the volume of a boat. Gross tonnage is a function of the moulded volume of all the enclosed spaces in the boat. “
It has now been explained to me that the length of the boat is more important than the GT.
For Class B, the maximum length is 15m.
Boat leader licence category B
On successful completion of the course, candidates will be competent to operate up to 12 Nm from the coast and islands:
Passenger vessels up to 3 nm from the coast and islands
Cargo and fishing boats
All types of pleasure craft
Pleasure yachts up to 30 GT
Charter yachts up to 30 GT without professional crew
Then I started working on my next step and spent several weeks surfing the internet.
There are MANY sailing schools in Croatia, and just using the internet it was not easy to find the right one (for me).
I ended up at Adriatic Sailing Academy after reading all the comments I could find on the internet, where I was received in a very friendly and professional manner by email and phone.
They have classes for “Boat Skipper Category C” as well as many classes based on the ASA “American Sailing Association” link.
The ASA has a good reputation throughout the world and its examinations are widely recognised.
NB! This school is one of the very few in Europe that is fully ASA “American Sailing Association” certified.
I have therefore ordered ASA 101, 103 and 104.
ASA 101: Basic Keelboat Sailing
ASA 103: Basic coastal cruising
ASA 104: Bareboat Cruising
NB! They also offer combination courses where you can do 2 or 3 courses at the same time – as I did.
Also note that Adriatic Sailing Academy also offers many other ASA based courses!
And here I was greeted by really attentive staff who also arranged accommodation and everything else I needed.
The instructor Fabio – is probably one of the best instructors I have ever had – incredibly knowledgeable – totally calm – and really good at building confidence – both during the practical and theoretical parts.
The practical part was done on a Bavaria 44, with all the necessary equipment – and included all the parts you are bound to come across when sailing.
Incredibly nice courses that I can only praise
After each course there was a practical and written exam – 100 questions with a minimum of 80% correct. Yes, there was a lot of reading to do to remember all the new words and phrases you were introduced to.
It was also a challenge for me that this course was entirely in English – and as English is not my main language, I was a bit panicky about remembering everything.
But it all went well and I passed all 3 courses and was awarded the public ASA logbook with the required signatures.
After these courses I feel that I am finally beginning to understand more about handling boats and sailboats – I have learnt many necessary words and expressions that you will come into contact with later.
Overall, I highly recommend these courses if you are serious about learning to be on the water in a safe way – for yourself, for others and for the environment.
Then I embarked on the journey towards my “Boat Skipper Category C”.
I did this course in the same place and with the same instructor.
Here was a practical exam done by the harbour master on the same Bavaria 44 I used during the course.
You should also be aware that for this “Category C” you also have to pass a medical examination, which is carried out by a special and recognised medical practice in Croatia. It took several hours, with many forms of tests, but everything was arranged for me by the Adriatic Sailing Academy.
I then had to return a few days later for the theoretical exam. Here I was greeted by Fabio and others from the company – all of whom did a good job of keeping me calm and relaxed.
The exam was conducted by examiners from the Harbour Master’s Office and consisted of various elements from the textbooks and syllabus and a bit of navigation. This exam was conducted in a wonderful and sensitive way and ended with a warm and friendly handshake – and congratulations on passing the exam.
Papers and plastic cards are being posted to me.
Now I really feel that things are starting to fall into place and I am beginning to understand what it is all about.
On successful completion of the course, students will be competent to handle and manage:
All types of boats (less than 15m)
All types of yachts up to 18 metres in international waters.
Basic knowledge of engine repair and maintenance
Maritime Law, Meteorology and First Aid
Boat manoeuvres Collision avoidance
Maritime radio communications
Safety at sea
My experience with my training at Adriatic Sailing Academy is that I would like to fully recommend this company/school for your training and courses – as I am not able to see how it could have been done better in any way, not to mention that Sanja and Fabio are totally dedicated in their work to give you the best opportunities to have a great time and achieve your goals.
“Yachtmaster B 500 GT – Now in my pocket”
Ok, now the date is set for 17′ October – B 500 GT in English
Really looking forward to this – Its a treasure trove of reading and also several days out having all the practice, and some days with radar simulators, and other tools for safety and navigation.
And I have done it – Yachtmaster B 500 GT : (unrestricted by the yacht purpose and navigation area)
Once again a million thanks to Adriatic Sailing Academy for making this possible, for arranging everything for me (thank you Sanja) and for the perfect training from Fabio.
The B-Class Commander (yachts up to 500 GT) will be able to command yachts up to 500 GT for all purposes and in all areas of navigation. Brevet validity: 5 (five) years
The certificate may be renewed after 5 years for the same period if the holder has sailed for at least 12 months as a yacht commander up to 500 GT and meets the prescribed health conditions, in particular vision and hearing.
Next step – for March :
I would like to have the Catamaran Endorsement ASA 114 – still not done .. waiting
And the Restricted Operator’s certificate for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System GMDSS (ROC) for the GMDSS – DONE – now in my pocket 🙂