Do I Need An IPC?

By: Cruising Tips, Destinations, Sailing Tips

The International Proficiency Certificate FAQ’s

Chartering your own sailboat in a new destination is a rite of passage for most sailors. The freedom to sail your own plan and set your itinerary is a dream come true for anyone who has ever tossed the lines and held onto the mainsheet.  A bareboat charter is the definition of freedom on the water. 

Are you qualified to Bareboat Charter? That is a question that charter companies will ask when deciding whether or not to put you in charge of your own vessel.  In the Caribbean, charter companies will often use your ASA logbook, certifications, and sailing resume as evidence of your sailing experience.  In Europe, the situation is a bit different and you will most likely need an International Proficiency Certificate (IPC) to charter your own boat. 

We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the International Proficiency Certificate to help you on your journey.


How do I get the IPC? 

Only sailors who have been certified through ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising can get the International Proficiency Certificate by completing the application on the ASA website. Find it here. The IPC is valid for 5 years from the date of issue.

What do I need to do to get the IPC?

You must be certified through at least ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising, in order to be eligible to apply for an International Proficiency Certificate.  Your certifications should include:

Where do I get the discounted membership?

All sailors applying for an IPC through the ASA website are also eligible for special pricing on a 1-year ASA Membership – Save 20%, pay only $39 and take advantage of all the benefits of being a member of ASA. (Available to members within the United States)

What is the IPC?

The IPC serves as proof of bareboat charter competency for Mediterranean chartering companies, many of whom require the proficiency information displayed in a different format than the ASA Log Book. This certificate is mandatory when chartering in most European / Mediterranean waters. 

An International Proficiency Certificate indicates that you have a certain level of proficiency and competency to safely operate a type/size of vessel. An IPC provides a certification which many Mediterranean charter companies view as equivalent to the ICC. Please note that any certification should also be paired with the appropriate sailing resume and you should check with your intended charter company to verify what they require.

Do I need an IPC to sail in the Med or internationally?

This certificate is mandatory when chartering in most European / Mediterranean waters. ASA strongly recommends you apply for an International Proficiency Certificate if you are chartering in the Mediterranean as well as the inland waterways of Europe and northern Europe.

What’s the difference between the IPC and the ICC?

The International Certificate of Competence (ICC) came about via UN Resolution 40 (UNR40), which was signed at various levels by some governments.  Only agents of countries that have signed UNR40 can issue it. The United States is not a signatory to UNR40, so there is no US-based ICC agent. The ICC is exactly what it is named. It is mostly used around EU countries to certify that the charterer has the minimum skills necessary. Some countries require you to have the ICC before they will charter a yacht to you.

Not every country requires you to have an ICC. However, most charter companies will not charter a boat to you without an ICC, or an equivalent certificate. Since it isn’t easy for a US-based sailor to obtain an ICC, the ASA has an agreement with Mediterranean charter companies to provide a certification similar to the ICC called the International Proficiency Certificate (IPC).

Please note that any certification should also be paired with the appropriate sailing resume and you should check with your intended charter company to verify what they require.

What countries does the IPC work in?

Belarus, Croatia, France, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey.

Do I need an IPC if I’m using my own boat / motorboat?

No. These certifications are typically utilized by charter companies. However, you should inform yourself on the boating rules and regulations of the regions you plan on sailing in.

How long does the IPC last for?

The IPC is valid for 5 years from date of issue.

When applying for an IPC you must:

  • Be an ASA member in good standing. (current)
  • Have the required ASA certifications: ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104
  • Provide a photo for the IPC certificate

Charter Resources

  • Your First Charter Sailing Vacation Today bareboat chartering is the culmination of your sailing education. When you walk across the deck and get your sailing diploma you step on to the metaphorical boat of your future and you can sail it anywhere you want!
  • Charter Sailboat Resources Whether you have just begun to sail and have recently earned your ASA 101 certification or if you have already mastered ASA 114 and are a veteran of bareboat charters this resource should help you.
  • Bareboat Charter in the BVI Getting aboard your bareboat charter is the goal when you get your ASA sailing certifications. Where do you begin? For many, it is a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands.
  • Choosing a Charter Boat Company It’s time for you to set off on your own and explore endless shorelines and secluded coves. You have mapped out your plan and you have reserved your vacation time now all you need is a boat. How do you choose a charter company to rent a boat for a week?
  • Choosing The Right Boat for Your Sailing Charter When you decide to take a sailing vacation aboard a sailing vessel that you will call home for a week or two you’ll be surprised by just how much you think you need.
  • What Is Your Role on a Boat? Chartering overseas is on the bucket list of many a sailor, but making it happen comes with a stipulation or two. A sizable number of countries require an International Proficiency Certificate that lets them know the charterer is trained, qualified and prepared to take one of their boats out to sea.