Swiss Offshore license
Do we need the Swiss Certificate of Competence for Ocean Yachting for our trip, when we want to sail with our boat under the Swiss flag, having over 20 years of experience and Ela has the Polish offshore license? Not really. We could register our boat a the Swiss Maritime Navigation Office with Lukas as owner and Ela as skipper. But we nevertheless decided to make the Swiss Certificate. It is recognised and welcome in many places all over the world and so you can charter a boat without problems. Also we want both of us to be skipper of our boat.
In order to get the offshore license you must meet the following criteria: passed theory test, sailors’ basic experience, such as the Swiss inshore certificate “D”, valid emergency passport, sufficient eyesight and hearing, evidence of practice on sea with over 1000 nautical miles.
Offshore license questionnaire
We bought the questionnaire and the nautical chart for the exercises in the CCS online shop. How should we learn all these questions? The money for the course we would rather spend on another sailing trip. We anyway couldn’t go out as we can’t leave our small kids alone at home. Then we had the following idea: We invited our neighbours once a week to play with us the sparkling offshore-license-game. Here’s how: Each player is dealt five cards say “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” and “?”. The youngest player starts and reads the next question from the CCS catalog. Each player places the answer and submits a response card face down in front of him. It must be placed only one answer card per turn. The MC shows on the notebook the right answer and the players must uncover their cards. If one or more players typed on the wrong answer the MC plays the “Wetten, dass…” looser’s melody. For any player who has revealed an incorrect answer card, there is a point. The game ends when someone is too tired. Then all the points are added together. The player with the most points must bring some snack for the next time. Of course, we discussed ambiguities, researched on the internet or in the books. For the exercises on the nautical chart and the tidal calculations we slightly changed the mode of the game. That’s how learning was fun :=).
Offshore license theory exam
We have made the theory exam at CCS. Registration can be done here. The exam consists of three parts and lasts 7 hours. In the morning there’s a best-of from every chapter of the questionnaire: navigation, boat handling, seamanship, meteorology, legal issues, onboard medical and tidal calculations. You need 75% correct answers in each chapter. Thanks to our cool learning system we all reached 100%.
After a one hour lunch break, when you start getting tired, the nautical chart exercises are on the plate: 18 tasks within 3.5 hours is quite sporty as you can easily make a silly mistake like confounding East with West. Keeping the focus is the key.
Bring with you: pencil, eraser, dividers, parallel ruler, calculator, clock and a lot of chocolate :=)
From our own experience we can say that it is better to sail a few miles before the test, so you can connect the theory to the practice. We were with “4oceans” on the “SY Passage” and could learn a lot. Miles can be gained 4 years before and 4 years after the pass in the theoretical exam (full calendar year).
Officially you need to provide proof of minimum experience. 3 weeks seafaring with at least 18 days at sea and 1000 nautical miles, which must be at least 700 after passing the theory test. You also need to highlight all acquired skills and actions in the journey list and the logbook must contain the signature of the skipper.