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Who can get an ICC from the RYA?

Find out if you are eligible to apply and how to demonstrate your competence.

The RYA is authorised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to issue the ICC, on behalf of the UK Government, to qualifying individuals. Applicants for the UK ICC issued by the RYA must be eligible to be issued the certificate and must demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills. 


The certificate is available to a person who fulfils the following eligibility criteria:

  • has reached the age of 16;
  • is physically and mentally fit to operate a pleasure craft, and in particular, has sufficient powers of vision and hearing;
  • presents one of the specified UK certificates or has successfully passed an examination to prove the necessary competence for pleasure craft operation; and
  • who demonstrates their nationality or residency to show that their nationality does not preclude them from being issued with an ICC by the RYA.

Evidence of nationality or residency

The RYA is authorised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to issue a UK ICC to the nationals of any country EXCEPT individuals who are a national of another UNECE member state which has accepted Resolution 40 and who are also resident in another UNECE member state which has accepted Resolution 40, unless the RYA has been given written permission to do so by the Government of the relevant country. 

However, at the request of the Dutch Government, the situation is different for Dutch citizens. RYA can only issue an ICC to a Dutch citizen or renew a Dutch citizen's ICC if they are resident in the UK. Further information on this can be found at

The list of UNECE member states that have accepted Resolution 40 is subject to change without notice (i.e. whenever the government of a country adopts Resolution 40). The current list is available on the RYA web-site at

A person’s eligibility can therefore change during the period the ICC is valid for. Should this be the case, the certificate holder must notify the RYA and surrender the certificate; no refunds of any nature will be given. If the certificate holder cannot satisfactorily demonstrate his or her continued eligibility when the certificate expires it will not be renewed by the RYA.

Applicants are required to provide evidence of their eligibility when they first apply for an ICC and must provide evidence that they remain eligible to be issued with the ICC on renewal. You must demonstrate that you are not a national of and resident in a country on this list:

Option 1:  If you are an existing RYA member, British resident (at the address you provide on the application form) and paying your membership subscription by Direct Debit from your British bank account, you do not need to send any additional evidence of your nationality or address; OR
Option 2:         

If you are a national of a country which is not on the list you can send a copy of the photo page of your passport or a recognised national identity card showing your nationality; OR 

Option 3:  If your address (on the application form) is in a country which is not on the list you can send proof that you are resident at this address. Send a copy of a recent utility bill or bank statement, a driving licence, a recognised national identity card or other official document, showing your name and address. Further authenticated evidence may be requested. 

An individual who is not eligible to be issued with a UK ICC by the RYA (by virtue of their nationality and place of residence) should be able to obtain an ICC from their own Government.   They must however note that possession of an RYA certificate does not entitle them to a certificate issued by any other organisation or on behalf of any other national Government.

Individuals with dual nationality may apply for the UK ICC issued by the RYA if either nationality makes them eligible to do so. It should however be noted that only the nationality which made the individual eligible for the certificate to be issued will be recorded on the ICC.

Demonstrating the necessary knowledge and skills

Resolution 40 requires that applicants for the ICC prove that they have sufficient knowledge and ability to safely operate a pleasure craft.  This can be done by presenting a recognised national certificate issued by the country which is issuing the ICC. Alternatively the Resolution makes provision for boater to pass an examination - the ICC Assessment.

The UK ICC issued by the RYA has five categories. When an ICC is issued, only the categories for which competence has been demonstrated will be validated. The categories are split into two lists:

List 1:         

Coastal waters

Inland waters

List 2: 


Sail (including auxiliary engine)

Personal watercraft

At least one category in each list must be validated. 

Validating the coastal and /or inland category

The ICC does not distinguish between tidal and non-tidal coastal waters and Resolution 40 does not set out a comprehensive definition of what is meant by “coastal” and “inland” but the intention is that they are mutually exclusive – i.e. “coastal” is anything that is not “inland”.

Resolution 40 does however require that candidates for coastal waters have knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) and candidates for inland waters have knowledge of the traffic regulations applicable on inland waters, in particular the European inland waterways regulations - the Code Européen des Voies de Navigation Intérieure (CEVNI).

Presenting an eligible RYA or MCA certificate

Coastal Waters

Many RYA practical course completion certificates and RYA/MCA certificates of competence will validate the coastal waters category. The various certificates are detailed in the table later in this section.

Inland Waters

CEVNI is not covered in the UK’s practical courses, as these regulations are not in use in the UK. Every candidate wishing to have the inland category validated on their ICC must therefore first pass the ICC CEVNI test.

There is no separate CEVNI certificate or CEVNI endorsement. Passing the ICC CEVNI test simply allows the inland category on an ICC to be validated, thereby indicating that the holder has demonstrated knowledge of the CEVNI regulations as required by the Resolution.   

All candidates requiring the inland category validated must pass the ICC CEVNI test irrespective of whether the regulations are in force in the country or on the river, lake or canal where they intend to go boating.  

Applicants who only have an eligible RYA or MCA certificate which does not validate the coastal waters category or who take an inland ICC assessment, must pass the ICC CEVNI test to receive an ICC as the certificate would otherwise be invalid.

Validating the type of vessel categories

To validate all the categories on an ICC, you will need to be assessed on or present an eligible RYA or MCA practical course completion certificate or certificate of competence to cover each category. It is perfectly acceptable to be assessed for one category and present a certificate for another category. 

N.B. The ICC assessment is not applicable to Personal Watercraft. If you wish to have the Personal Watercraft category validated on your ICC you must present a copy of one of the certificates listed in the table below.

The table indicates the eligible courses and the categories they will validate on the ICC.  As detailed above, every candidate wishing to have the inland category validated on their ICC must pass the ICC CEVNI test.   

Evidence of Competence

(Please send photocopies, not original certificates) 

 ICC Categories Validated
Power PWC Sail Coastal waters 
RYA Level 2 Powerboat Certificate or higher  Restricted  Yes    Yes**
Advanced Powerboat  RYA/MCA Certificate of Competence     Yes  Yes    Yes
RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate   Yes      
RYA Helmsman’s Course Completion Certificate   Yes      
RYA Day Skipper / Coastal Skipper Practical Course Completion Certificate (Power)   Yes      Yes
RYA Day Skipper / Coastal Skipper Practical Course Completion Certificate (Sail)   Restricted    Yes  Yes
Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster® Coastal or higher RYA/MCA Certificate of Competence (Power)    Yes      Yes
Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster® Coastal or higher RYA/MCA Certificate of Competence (Sail)    Restricted    Yes  Yes
MCA Deck Officer Certificate of Competence [Any Grade]   Yes      Yes
RN, Army or RAF Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate   Yes      Yes
MCA or Local Authority Boatman’s Licence   Yes      Yes
MCA Boatmaster Certificate   Yes      
RYA Personal Watercraft Proficiency Certificate     Yes    Yes

Explanatory notes to the table (above)

Restricted = The ICC's validity for power will be restricted to vessels "up to 10m LOA".

** Powerboat Level 2 certificates issued before 15 April 2019 and endorsed as 'inland' cannot be used to validate the coastal waters category on an ICC. Additional acceptable evidence of coastal knowledge must be provided. This may include:

  • A theory course completion certificate of Essential Navigation and Seamanship Skills or higher; or
  • Evidence that you have passed the coastal waters oral / written elements part of an ICC  assessment (as detailed on the ICC application form).

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