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Qualifying Sea time

Qualifying Sea Time for Career Sailors

If you have any sort of dream or plan to turn an interest in sailing into a career you will need proof of your sailing experience. The sooner you start recording the voyages and mileage you do in something like a RYA logbook, seamans discharge book or MCA record book, the easier it is convince a possible employer that you are serious about sailing as a profession.

You can buy a RYA cruising Logbook from Classic Sailing for £5.50 plus postage

You can download a MCA record book for free but it is heaps of pages (think NVQ evidence)

To aquire a UK seamans discharge book from the MCA you technically need an employer to say you work for them.

Recording Seatime for RYA Qualifications with Classic Sailing

Before you take a RYA Yachtmaster Coastal (formerly Coastal Skipper) practical sailing exam you will need a minimum of:

30 days seatime

2 days as skipper

800 miles

12 night hours

VHF licence and First aid certificate

Before you take a RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exam you will need a minimum of:

50 days seatime

5 days as skipper

2500 miles

5 passages over 60 nautical miles between ports includin 2 overnight and 2 as skipper.

VHF licence and First aid certificate


RYA Professional Practices and Responsibilities 

A compulsory online course for new and revalidating RYA Commercial Endorsement holders. 

This course is designed to give you a better understanding of your obligations and the rules and regulations under which you operate in the commercial maritime world. More importantly, it will teach you where to find the information you need to ensure that you are operating within the law. 

You can complete the course and assessment at your own pace and in the comfort of your home or office.

See more details and sign up here RYA Professional Practice and Respnsibilities Course


Best Voyages to gain navigation and watchkeeping experience

If you have'nt done a day skipper sailing course, then this is the best intensive training where you have to plan the pilotage and do the navigation for lots of short passages (see Eve of St Mawes and Golden Vanity RYA courses).

Any passage making voyage on our smaller boats would give you a chance to be involved in the navigation and have a go as a potential watch leader. Eve, Annabel J and Lizzie May only have a skipper on board as professional crew so they welcome guest crew who want more responsibilty 'in charge of the deck'. We have mates training courses and voluntary mate berths that can be pre booked if we have recommended you. If you are new to us and book a suitable voyage to give you valuable experience, then we can brief the skipper that you want to gain specific experience and he or she will do their best to broaden your skills.

Perfect voyages for 60 mile plus passages

Isles of Scilly from Falmouth on Eve, Leader  or Annabel J, Voyages up and down the Irish Sea on Bessie Ellen, Cross Channel hops from Brixham on Leader and Provident or round Ushant on Eve or Bessie Ellen all offer passages over 60 miles and night hours.  If you want winter sun then Bessie Ellen in the Canaries has island hops over 60 miles.

Best Classic Sailing voyages to gain lots of miles

If you are in a hurry then a tall ship like Europa on Ocean passages can notch upto 200 miles a day and 4-8 night hours every 24 hours. Classic Sailing probably has the biggest choice of long distance ocean passages on sailing vessels on one website so just put  ocean passages into our search facility and chose between Atlantic, Pacific or Indian Ocean, Mediterranean or Caribbean. We have Southern Ocean, Round the World, Cape Horn and other great rites of passage for your logbook and cv. 

See our top ten mile building voyages

Recording Qualifying Seatime towards Yacht rating or Deck Officer with Classic Sailing:

The sooner you start recording sea time on vessels over 15m the better. Even refit work in port has value.

If you sail on our larger vessels you can usually count it as qualifying seatime if you talk to the mate or Captain and explain what you are trying to achieve. It helps to obtain a Seamans Discharge book or similar seatime record book for your country of origin to be taken seriously, but an RYA logbook is usually ok on British ships.

If all you do is just get proof of time on board, night hours and miles and a skippers signature logged - that is a good start.

If you are British you will need an upto date MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency) Training Record Book which you can download from the MCA website. Its a bit like a nautical NVQ where you have to gather evidence of your practical experience at sea. Tasks vary from washing decks to understanding the limitations of trial manourvres using Automated Radar Plotting Aids. You will need to ask very nicely to get officers or skippers to sign off any tasks completed if you are only there as guest crew.

TIP: The MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency) Training Record Book has over 100 pages as it is a complete on board training programme which used to take cadets on Merchant Ships over 3 years to complete. As an experienced yachtmaster with a lot of past seatime Debbie managed enough box ticking at sea to get to OOW standard in about 6 months, but that was pushing it to do whilst only volunteer crew. To get you started the most useful pages are the seatime record sheets and the pro forma Testimonial letters you can hand to a Captain after a voyage or period of work and he signs it with a few comments on your competency. You now have a job reference as evidence and don't have to chase skippers 3 years later.

Classic Sailing Vessels over 15m loadline length (sea time requirement)

Annabel J, Provident, Leader

slushing the t gallant mastClassic Sailing Vessels over 24m loadline length

In size order

Bessie Ellen - gaff ketch

Oosterschelde  - three mast topsail schooner

Lord Nelson - barque

Barque Europa - barque

Stavros S Niarchos - brig

Tenacious - barque

Useful Contacts:

MGN Notice for tall ship qualifications & the amount of seatime required at each stage
Marine Coastguard Agency

photo: Barque Europa with 30 sails up

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