San Juan Islands Update: Do you have a cruising resume?

In order to make it easier for cruising sailors from the U.S. to charter sailboats in the European Union, US SAILING has announced that it has created a simple certification program for cruising sailors seeking to charter sailboats in European Union waters. The newly created International Proficiency Certificate, an extension of US SAILING’s current Keelboat Certification System, allows sailors who have completed a US SAILING Bareboat Cruising course to charter sailboats without a captain in EU waters. Looking very similar to a passport, the International Proficiency Certificate works much like a driver’s license for a car. The certificate must be presented to a charter company to obtain a boat, and then carried aboard at all times while sailing in EU waters.

You may have heard that J World Annapolis is headed to Washington State’s San Juan Islands for a summer flotilla.  We are escaping the Chesapeake heat and sailing two well appointed cruisers around the “paradise of the Pacific Northwest” and the process of planning and preparing for this excursion is in full swing.  You can download the San Juan Islands to learn more about this amazing summer cruise.

In order to charter boats in the states and abroad it is standard practice to submit an application and a cruising resume, and I am refreshing mine.  While a credit card that clears may get you off the dock at some charter companies, many companies are now scrutinizing resumes and even requiring certifications such as the US Sailing Bareboat Cruising Certification (BBC) or an International Proficiency Certificate (IPC.)

Whether you are chartering or not, having an up to date cruising resume is a good thing.  First, it forces you to make some record of your sailing accomplishments and the miles under your keel.  Second, it makes filling out the inevitable charter resume a snap.

Creating a useable resume is fairly simple.  A few short paragraphs the identify you prior experience skippering a similar type of vessel, recent boating experience and any specific skills or certifications (e.g. experience on tidal waters, Coastal Navigation certification, etc.) will provide anyone interested the information needed to quickly evaluate your qualifications as a skipper or crew.

Here are a few other items your sailing resume should include:

  • Name
  • Contact Details including cell phone and email
  •  List of boats sailed in the past 12 months
  • List of boats chartered in the past five years
  • List of boats you have owned
  • How many years have you been actively been skippering?
  • How many days per year do you skipper?

You may want to list specific experience or working knowledge of charter specific skills such as:

  • Sailing in heavy conditions and depowering a sail plan
  • Reefing
  • Sailing in waves and current
  • Close quarters maneuvering under power and sail
  • Picking up a mooring
  • Single bow anchoring
  • Bow and stern anchoring
  • Bahamian anchoring
  • Med-Mooring
  • Docking alongside
  • Docking in a slip
  • Reading nautical charts
  • Reading tide and current tables
  • Plotting location and course
  • Piloting (using visual ATONs to navigate)
  • Using a GPS and electronic charts
  • Dead Reckoning
  • Overboard rescue techniques
  • Safety and emergency procedures
  • VHF Radio use and protocol

All of these practical skills and knowledge items are best developed through a combination of structured learning and experiential learning.  Demonstrating to charter companies that you have both time on the water and the certifications to go along with them is a great way to ensure smooth chartering worldwide.

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