How the exam to work as a skipper in good standing on boats works


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This is how to become a skipper. Published the decree containing the examination modalities for obtaining the professional title of Recreational Officer Class II. We reveal all the details

Here’s how to become a skipper

As we anticipated to you in the article Skipper in good standing at last, the new professional title Recreational Officer Class II is new 2024. Confindustria Nautica outlined the contents of the implementing decree, the final bureaucratic step to kick off a reform that has been awaited for 15 years.

To become an Official Recreational Skipper Class II, there is now a new procedure simplified. It is not necessary to be enrolled in seafarers’ records or to have a seaman’s book, but you may be qualified to command pleasure craft flying the Italian flag up to 200GT, also used for rental purposes. The new title is valid for 10 years. So no mandatory boarding for 36 months, swimming and rowing tests, and the complex coursework of seafarers’ courses.

So with the new title, one will be able to work as a skipper either for companies, think nautical chartering, or on one’s own with a VAT number.

Exam prerequisites to become a skipper

To enter the Recreational Officer Class II theoretical-practical exam, you must have completed and current:

  • personal safety course for offshore navigation,organized at institutes, institutions or companies recognized as suitable by the Administration such as the Italian Sailing Federation or the most representative national trade associations.
  • basic firefighting courses
  • BLS first aid course (according to the regulations and programs established by the Ministry of Health)
  • GMDSS have earned the GMDSS Short Range radio operator certificate.

Experienced seafarers or those who have worked for more than 10 years with charter companies may be exempted from the practical or theoretical test, according to the terms of the decree, which we do not detail here.

How the exam to become a recreational officer is conducted

The examination takes place at the maritime compartment offices, according to a schedule at least every six months. The examination tests consist of.

  • Theoretical examination, interview with the candidate, aimed at ascertaining knowledge of the program
  • A practical test in maritime waters on a vessel of not less than 15 meters in length

Here’s what they ask on the exam to become a skipper

The decree also contains an annex with the examination program

  1. Ship theory Elements of ship theory and stability. Evolutionary effects of the propeller and rudder.
  2. Engines Elements of operation of motor propulsion systems. Knowledge of auxiliary machinery. Operating irregularities and failures. Calculation of range in relation to engine power and remaining fuel quantity.
  3. Boating Safety Safety regulations, with special reference to safety equipment, life-saving equipment, and the use of fire extinguishers. First aid medicine box. Types of security visits and their periodicity. Fire prevention. Measures to be taken in the event of a casualty (fire, collision, grounding, failure of steering gear, spillage of polluting liquids, man overboard). Measures to be taken for the safety of persons on board in the event of a casualty or abandonment of the unit. Precautions to be taken when sailing in adverse weather conditions. Assistance and rescue: rescue signs and their meaning. Proper use of on-board radio equipment, with emphasis on assistance and rescue. Radiotelephone communications and related procedures. International Signal Code.
  4. Maneuvering and Conduct Precautions when entering and leaving ports, while navigating near the coast or bodies of water, where other boating activities take place. Allowable speeds. Maneuvers of mooring, unmooring, anchoring and man overboard recovery.
  5. Colreg and maritime signaling Regulations to prevent boarding at sea. Light beacons and daylight signals of ships at anchor, maritime signals and traffic regulations in inland waters. List of beacons and fog signals.
  6. Meteorology Elements of meteorology. General circulation of the atmosphere. Elements that characterize weather conditions: pressure, temperature, humidity. Cloud formation and their characteristics. Warm front and cold front. Winds, currents, and tides. Beaufort and Douglas scales. Meteorological instruments and their use. Weather bulletins for maritime navigation. Local weather forecast.
  7. Cartographic and electronic navigation Geographic coordinates. Nautical charts. Mercator projection and other types of projection. Orientation and compass rose. Earth’s magnetism, magnetic poles and geographic poles, magnetic declination, magnetic compasses. Table of residual edge deviations. Distinction between rhumb line and orthodromic navigation. Estimated navigation: time, space and speed. Coastal navigation. Instruments for measuring ship speed. Vessel point positioning, including through the use of electronic tools. Bow and course; effect of wind and current on the motion of the vessel (drift and drift). Nautical publications: pilot book, list of lighthouses and fog signals, coastal navigation radios.
  8. Boating and environmental regulations Powers, duties, and responsibilities of the master. Documents to be kept on board pleasure craft for private use and pleasure craft for hire. Design categories of CE-marked recreational craft and associated navigational limits. Regulation of bathing activities, water skiing, sport fishing and underwater fishing. Shipboard waste delivery and spillage into the sea. Elements of the regulation of marine protected areas. Laws and regulations governing recreational boating, recreational boating code, regulations implementing the recreational boating code, and other regulatory sources applicable to recreational boating, with special reference to: powers of the Maritime and Inland Navigation Authority; ordinances of local maritime and inland navigation authorities; regulations governing the commercial use of recreational units; and penalty regulations for recreational boating.

The practical test

During the test practice the candidate demonstrates the ability to drive the naval unit at different gaits, maintained over stretches of navigation of at least 1/2 nautical mile, performing with skill and promptness of action the necessary maneuvers, including those aimed at recovery by man at sea, at the berth, to the unmooring and anchoring of the vessel, correctly using the devices on board and demonstrating competence in the proper use of safety equipment, life-saving and fire-fighting equipment. The candidate demonstrates the ability to make the necessary preparations for adverse weather conditions and to take preventive measures to safeguard human life at sea.



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