In just 16 hours you will know how to navigate

Throughout our experience training new skippers, we always see the same doubts on students’ minds:  “Shall I take the license or would a degree suit me better?” We always say that besides the privileges that one title or the other offers, what really matters is to think about the true usefulness it will have for each student in the future.

There is no necessary previous training for the following three different licenses:

Navigation License: It allows navigating in boats of up to 6 meters, near the coast and during the day, in addition to driving jet skis without power limit. Testing can be done in one day (2 hours of theory and 4 hours of practice), there is no need to take an exam and you obtain your license almost immediately. It is a good starting point for all recreational boating. 

Basic Navigation Skipper (BNS): It allows to navigate boats up to 8 meters, up to 5 miles from the coast, day and night. It requires taking a written exam and undergoing 8 hours of navigation practices and 4 of radio communications.

Recreational Boats Skipper (RBS): You can sail boats up to 15 meters, up to 12 miles from the coast, day and night. It requires taking a written exam and undergoing 16 hours of navigation practices and 12 of radio communications.

These latter two courses have their mandatory practices (radio communications and motor navigation). However, there are a series of optional certifications, such as for sailing by doing an additional 16 hours of sailing practices or to extend the RBS for boats up to 24 meters and navigate between the peninsula and the Balearic Islands by undergoing an uninterrupted 24-hour trip.

If, like many others you do not know which license you’d like to get we give 10 tips or guidelines to consider when choosing your degree:

1. What boat do you want to ride? If you have a clear answer to this question, you may not need to continue reading. The length of your boat will determine the license you need, although sometimes even if BNS suffices they decide to obtain the RBS in case they rent or buy something bigger in the future.

2. How much time do you have? If you are short of time to prepare for it, you may prefer to get the BNS or even the license to start with. If you go for the Basic Skipper, you can later validate part of the agenda to obtain the RBS. Even though the RBS requires about 6 weeks, it is not much for a lifetime of sailing.

3. Do not get stuck: If you are very clear that you are not going to ride a boat of over 8 meter of length, it does not make sense to take anything beyond the BNS or the license if it suits your daytime trips plans.

4. What is this all about? If what you want is to try and have a first contact with boating to figure out if you like it, perhaps the most appropriate is to start with the Navigation License. For less than 200 euros and one full day, you will have a license to start sailing. At Cenáutica what you spend towards your Navigation License will be discounted it in the following 12 months if you go for a course and practices for BNS or RBS.

5. Once I’m committing: It is a “standard” statement of many students, making the RBS the most sought for license, as when someone “is ready” one often opts to make the most out of it. Ultimately, it requires less commitment of time and money. 

6. I just want to join another skipper: In this case maybe a license is enough, where you will learn basic maneuvers to help you while on board… Although ideally one should choose BNS so that he learns how to handle the ship’s radio and is able to use it if the skipper suffers an accident on board and there’s a need to search for help.

7. I want to feel safe: If what you want is to have maximum confidence and security, the best alternative is to opt for RBS, which is the one that requires the longest hours of practice. Bearing in mind that with these mandatory minimum hours nobody completely learns to navigate, you will need to continue to gain experience and in order to achieve it nothing better than making friends with your nautical school classmates, joining someone who owns a boat or joining a Skipper Club to have opportunities to sail.

8. I have not studied for a long time, will I be able to pass the exam? BNS and RBS study program is simple requiring limited commitment of time.  Cenautics instructors are experts in preparing students to make the most of their time and pass at firsttrial. Anyone who has passed driving test can take the BNS or the RBS effortlessly. 

9. I am frightened about RBS charts: Practically no one fail the exercises of navigation in RBS charts. The only required knowledge prior to the course is to know how to add and subtract. In fact, the key issue to pass the exam is not the charts, but the International Regulations for the Boarding Prevention.

10. It is not yet clear to me. To learn more, we recommend attending one of the Cenautics information sessions where they will explain everything in depth; you can also approach one of our schools to guide you to one of our advisors. If you still have doubts, ask for an invite to a free entrance to the first class of a course, without any commitment.