International boat licence now for seafarers too
Until recently, only Belgian pleasure boaters could obtain an international sailing licence for pleasure sailing that was recognised in several European countries. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the North Sea Vincent Van Quickenborne is therefore extending the legislation concerning this international sailing licence (ICC licences). As a result, seafarers can now also sail abroad for pleasure. For example, officers in the merchant navy or skippers in the fishing industry will also be able to apply for an ICC licence. This is a response to a demand from the sector. It concerns about 2,000 persons. Moreover, the new digital application will make the application easier and more user-friendly for everyone.
The International Certificate for operators of pleasure craft (ICC) is an international certificate for pleasure craft that is recognised in several European countries. The Belgian national certificates (such as the sailing licence, yachtman and yacht navigator), on the other hand, are not always accepted abroad by the local authorities or boat rental companies as proof of sailing ability.
In order to eliminate this anomaly, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the North Sea Vincent Van Quickenborne has expanded the legislation concerning ICC licences. As a result, seafarers, such as officers in the merchant navy or skippers in the fishing industry, can now apply for an ICC licence in addition to persons with an inland navigation or professional navigation licence. With this, the minister meets the demand from the sector. It concerns some 2,000 persons who have an STCW (professional certificate) and can make use of this equivalence. With this sailing licence, they can now engage in pleasure navigation abroad. In order to obtain a Belgian ICC, it is sufficient to be Belgian or to have an official residential address in Belgium and to have a proper Belgian licence. The ICC is valid for life.
The ICC licence granted is valid for motor navigation in coastal waters. It can be extended with an authorisation for sailing. This can be obtained after passing a test at a recognised practical centre. For inland waterways, an additional permit can be added after additionally obtaining a limited pilot's licence.
We are also calling a halt to the paper mill. That is why the procedure for applying for the ICC licence has been modernised. They have developed a new digital application that allows you to submit a digital application for an ICC. This application makes it easier and more user-friendly for everyone.
Vincent Van Quickenborne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the North Sea: "Thanks to the expansion of the ICC licences, every seafarer will be able to sail abroad without any obstacles. With the new digital application, the application procedure will be quick and easy."
Bart Heylbroeck, Director-General a.i. Shipping of the FPS Mobility and Transport: "In renewing pleasure navigation, we are certainly also paying attention to seafarers. On the basis of their licence and experience at sea, they too can now apply for an ICC licence for pleasure navigation."
Rowan Van Schaeren, general manager of Hogere Zeevaartschool Antwerpen: "This adjustment is a wonderful development to bring everyone who spends time on the water closer together. Passing from pleasure to commercial navigation, but also from commercial to pleasure navigation, will be clearer and easier: a confirmation of the Belgian Maritime Excellence."
- 23 March 2022