Approved Skippers Applications
To charter any of the Civil Service Sailing Association’s yachts you must be an Approved Skipper. Applicants must hold a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Certificate of Competence as a Coastal Skipper, or Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore or Ocean, to register as a CSSA Coastal Skipper or CSSA Offshore Skipper.
You can download an application form below. You will need to supply the following details:
- Your name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail, and CSSC/CSSA membership numbers.
- A photocopy of your RYA Certificate of Competence as Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster.
- A photocopy of your Ofcom VHF Shortwave Radio Operator’s Certificate of competence.
- A photocopy of your current and valid RYA First Aid certificate (or equivalent).
- The contact details for two CSSA Approved Skippers at equivalent or higher standard than that applied for with whom you have sailed and who have agreed to act as referees.
- Information on any illness or disability (angina, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.) that may be relevant to your capacity as a skipper.
Upon completion of a successful application you will be added to the CSSA Approved Skipper register and issued with the appropriate CSSA Skipper card for Area Category 3 or Area Category 2 (see ‘CSSA’s Expectations’ below).
There are currently around 200 approved skippers who charter the CSSA yachts for weekend and weekly cruising and racing events throughout the year. Training events are factored in, often combined with the long summer cruises which enable those undertaking coastal skipper and yachtmaster qualifications to sail alongside those learning to sail for the first time, or those wanting to gain offshore sailing experience through a well managed crew bureau.
Contact the Offshore Secretary
CSSA’s Expectations of its Approved Skippers
The CSSA voluntarily requires its Divisions to operate the Association’s yachts accordance with the Marine Coast Guard Agency’s [MCA] (Code of Practice – The safety of small commercial sailing vessels). Skippers are expected to be familiar with the CoP. In particular, Skippers must follow the advice on competence and manning set out in Annex 7 of the CoP and be familiar with the operation of the yacht’s hardware and the documentation and procedures for handover as set out in Annex 8 of the CoP. See also Section 26 and Annexes 3, 7, and 8 of the MGN 280, extracts below. Civil Service Offshore Racing Club skippers must also be familiar with Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) rules.
Many CSSA Skippers will have familiarised themselves with a CSSA yacht while sailing as crew. If not familiarisation during a short pre-charter briefing will be required.
CSSA Coastal Skippers shall plan to remain within 20 miles of a safe haven (Area Category 3 of Annex 3, MGN 280.) The Division operating a yacht may grant permission for a Coastal Skipper to venture beyond 20 miles from a safe haven provided the crew are aware that this is outside the terms of the Code for commercial operation for a Skipper with a coastal certificate AND the Division is satisfied that it has discharged its responsibilities as the managing agent in accordance with CSSA’s policy in this respect.
CSSA Offshore Skippers holding a Yachtmaster Offshore (or higher) certificate shall plan to remain within 60 miles of a safe haven. The cruising range of CSSA Offshore Skippers holding a Yachtmaster Ocean certificate is likely to be limited by the stability and the equipping of the yacht – CSSA yachts are usually restricted to operation within 60 miles of a safe haven (Area Category 2 of Annex 3, MGN 280.) A CSSA yacht should not venture beyond 60 miles from a safe haven without the express permission of the CSSA General Committee.
In cases of Force Majeure the cruising limits can be exceeded but must be logged and the operating Division informed accordingly.
Skippers should follow a number of other routine practices including: appointment of a Mate they consider sufficiently experienced to deliver the yacht to the destination should the need arise; giving safety briefings before voyages commence; preparation of passage plans in accordance with the International Convention for the “Safety Of Life At Sea,” SOLAS V;[im1] maintenance of ship and radio logs in accordance with SOLAS V; keeping a safe navigational watch; conducting sufficient number of man overboard drills to ensure that the crew are familiar with the procedures; and ensuring that the charts used are updated with the latest UKHO corrections.
CSSA will delegate its duties where possible.
Skippers are responsible for:
Delivering safety briefings in accordance with Annex 9 of the blue CoP [im2](and Annex 7 of the Annex to MGN280);
Making handovers in accordance with Annex 8 of the blue CoP (and Annex 8 of the Annex to MGN280);
Assembling a crew with sufficient competence for the intended passage (or limiting passages according to the strength of the crew); and
Logging and reporting to the Division all incidents that involve the yacht and crew individually or with a 3rd party.
Obtaining their operating Division’s permission (and where necessary the approval of the CSSA General Committee) to sail outside the limits applicable to their qualification: and for informing their crew that this permission has been obtained.
Operating Divisions are responsible for:
Obtaining for the yacht a Certificate of Compliance from a Certifying Authority in accordance with clause 27.5 of the blue CoP (and Clause 27.3 of the Annex to MGN280);
Arranging annual self examination of yachts (using form SCV2) in accordance with clause 184.108.40.206 of the blue CoP (and Clause 220.127.116.11 of the Annex to MGN280)and reporting the findings to CSSA;
Providing a manual containing sufficient information for CSSA skippers to operate the yacht safely;
Maintaining and operating the yacht in accordance with clause 27.8 of the blue CoP (and Clause 27.7 of the Annex to MGN280);
Assisting CSSA Skippers to provide adequate safety briefings aboard their yacht;
Assisting CSSA Skippers to make adequate handovers of their yacht;
Restricting Skippers to Area Categories commensurate with their experience and qualifications – and within the strict requirements of the blue CoP (and Annex 7 to MGN280) for skippered cruises;
Reporting to the CSSA of any major damage to the yacht, incidents involving 3rd parties, and injury to the crew.
Notifying the CSSA if their yacht does not continue to comply with the blue CoP (and MGN280).
Satisfying themselves that the skipper and crew of all charters are competent for the intended voyage.
Recording in their Division Committee Minutes each case of any permissions given to skippers to sail beyond the limits of their formal qualifications.
The CSSA is responsible for:
Maintaining a register of CSSA approved skippers and the Area Categories in which they can provide skippered cruises according to their RYA examined competence;
Reporting of major damage to the CSSC and the Certifying authority; and
Notifying the CSSC and the Certifying Authority if a CSSA yacht does not continue to comply with the blue CoP (and Clauses 27.7 and 27.8 of the Annex to MGN280).
Manning of CSSA yachts in accordance with the blue CoP and Annex 3 of the Annex to MGN 280
CSSA yachts are coded for operation upto Area Category 2 waters, i.e. up to 60 miles from a safe haven.
Extracts from Annex 3 of the Annex to MGN 280.
1. Areas of operation
|Area Category 6||To sea, within 3 miles from a nominated departure point(s) and never more than 3 miles from land, in favourable weather and daylight.|
|Area Category 5||To sea, within 20 miles from a nominated departure point in favourable weather and daylight.|
|Area Category 4||Up to 20 miles from a safe haven, in favourable weather and daylight.|
|Area Category 3||Up to 20 miles from a safe haven|
|Area Category 2||Up to 60 miles from a safe haven|
|Area Category 1||Up to 150 miles from a safe haven|
|Area Category 0||Unrestricted service|
Table 1 – Deck Manning Requirements Small Vessels in Commercial Use
|Skipper qualifications||Certificate of competency – Yachtmaster Ocean (MCA Accepted)||Note A||☺||☺||☺||☺||☺||☺||☺|
|Certificate of competency or service – Yachtmaster Offshore (MCA Accepted)||Note A||☺||☺||☺||☺||☺||☺|
|RYA/DfT Certificate of competency or service – Coastal Skipper||Note A||☺||☺||☺||☺|
|RYA/DfT Day Skipper Theory and Practical Certificate||Note A
12 months relevant experience
|RYA/DfT Day Skipper Practical Certificate||☺|
|Additional requirements||Unless operating in single handed mode …. A second person capable of assisting the Skipper in an emergency should also be on board||☺||☺||☺||☺|
|There should also be on board a second person deemed by the Skipper to be experienced||☺|
|There should also be on board a second person holding at least an RYA/DfT Certificate of Competency or Service as Coastal Skipper||☺|
|There should also be on board a second person holding at least an RYA/DfT Certificate of Competency as either Yachmaster Ocean or Yachtmaster Offshore||☺|
Note A: Certificate should be noted motor or sail, as appropriate.
Note: Small commercial sailing vessels entering Area Categories 1 or 0 should have aboard someone who has completed the RYA Diesel Engine Course or satisfied the MCA as to their appropriate engineering experience and competency.
CSSA rulings on Mates
CSSA skippers should appoint a Mate. CSSA recommends that a Mate should have the experience and abilities of at least RYA Day Skipper Theory & Practical.
For passages in Area Category 2 waters, i.e. between 20 and 60 miles from a safe haven – the Mate should be a person deemed by the Skipper to be experienced as required by the CoP.
For voyages in Area Categories 3, 4 , 5, and 6 a person should be aboard who is capable of assisting the skipper in an emergency as required by the CoP. The Skipper should appoint such a person as Mate where circumstances permit.