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Skipper Certification Process

Introduction

SEAS Monmouth owns several boats which are available for the use of the club members. In order to maximize the safety of the members - both skippers and crew - and the boats, we have created a Skipper Certification Committee (SCC), who have instituted policies and procedures for granting members the authority to skipper the boats in various sailing areas. There are two distinct things we need to evaluate:

  • An individual's skill and experience in the various sailing areas the boats operate in. There are rivers (Navesink & Shrewsbury) and bays (Sandy Hook, Raritan), and New York Harbor, as well as several bridges in the sailing area. There are four skipper "levels" described in detail below.
  • An individual's skill and experience in operating the boats the club owns, ranging from 16' daysailers through a 28' boat with an inboard diesel engine. The boats can be operated by skippers at different levels depending on the boat's location and the sailing area desired. Again, these are described in detail below.

This document describes the process for attaining the various skipper levels. Because the distinction is important, we reiterate that there is a difference between being granted a skipper level and being granted the authority to operate a particular boat. The SCC focuses on evaluating an individual's application for a skipper level; the authority to operate a particular boat is determined by assigned skippers (not necessarily SCC members) who take the candidate through a checkout process on the boat.

We have attempted to spell out in as much detail as possible what the requirements are for attaining each level. However, ultimately it is a judgment call that the SCC is making and they reserve the right to deny authority to any person who in their view does not have all the skills and experience necessary even if they meet the requirements "on paper". Conversely, the SCC may also waive specific requirements if they feel the candidate nevertheless has the ability to safely manage a boat and crew in the designated area.

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The Levels

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Daysailers

Getting certified on the daysailers is the first step in the skipper certification process. This is not an arduous or difficult process; after you have been out on the boats a few times and are comfortable handling them under sail and power, ask one of the Small Boat organizers (currently Uri Goldinger [urigoldinger@netscape.net] and Greg White [whitegreg@worldnet.att.net]) whether they feel you are ready to be certified. They may ask you to take the boat out with them as crew, if they haven't already sailed with you; and they may suggest that you practice one or more skills and techniques. Once they are comfortable with your skills and abilities in handling the boat (including taking it in and out of the slip where it is kept) and managing the crew, they will certify you.

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Level I, River

Sailing and navigating within the confines of the

  • Navesink River, between the Oceanic bridge and Oyster Point
  • Shrewsbury River, upriver of the Sea Bright-Rumson bridge

Requirements

  • Applicant must have taken the Basic Sailing Course, or have equivalent sailing experience.
  • Applicant must demonstrate his/her ability to maneuver the boat under power and sail, including dropping anchor under sail, and pulling in and out of a slip.
  • On the water experience sufficient to command a boat in the Shrewsbury River or Navesink River will be required.
  • Proficiency in picking up a mooring must be demonstrated to use boats kept on mooring.
  • At least one member of the SEAS Monmouth Skipper Certification Committee will have to personally vouch for the skipper applicant, based on first hand sailing experience with the applicant.

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Level I, Bay

Sailing and navigating in Sandy Hook Bay between the Navy Pier and the Highlands bridge. This level EXCLUDES passing under the Highlands bridge into the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers, or anchoring out overnight.

Requirements

  • Applicant must have taken the Basic Sailing Course, or have equivalent sailing experience.
  • Applicant must demonstrate his/her ability to maneuver the boat under power and sail including pulling in and out of a slip, anchoring in a cove and dropping an anchor under sail.
  • On the water experience sufficient to command a boat in Sandy Hook Bay will be required.
  • At least one member of the SEAS Monmouth Skipper Certification Committee will have to personally vouch for the skipper applicant, based on first hand sailing experience with the applicant.

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Level II

Sailing and navigating anywhere within the confines of the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers and Sandy Hook Bay, up to the Navy Pier. This level includes the authority to pass under the Highlands, Sea Bright and/or Oceanic bridges into the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers, and anchoring out overnight.

Requirements

  • Must meet all Level I requirements
  • The applicant must have skippered the keelboat(s) at least 4 times as a Level I skipper before being considered for Level II. The SEAS Monmouth Skipper Certification Committee will evaluate the skipper's resume and prior sailing experience, and may waive this requirement.
  • Demonstrate ability to safely control the vessel in varying tides and currents under bridges.
  • At least one member of the SEAS Monmouth Skipper certification committee will have to personally vouch for the skipper applicant, based on first hand sailing experience with the applicant.
  • Demonstration of sailing and anchoring skills will be required, including picking up a mooring under sail, dropping anchor under sail, pulling up to a dock and pulling in and out of a slip.

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Level III

Sailing in Raritan Bay and under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into New York Harbor and the Hudson River, and also going into Rockaway Inlet.

Requirements

  • Must meet all Level II requirements
  • Completion of a navigation course by a nationally known organization will be required for navigation beyond the confines of the Shrewsbury River and Sandy Hook Bay. Courses taught by the US Power Squadron, Coast Guard Auxiliary, ASA or US Sailing will be recognized. Written documentation will be required.
  • On the water experience sufficient to command a boat in New York Harbor will be required. This will include a written resume submitted to the SEAS Monmouth Skipper Certification Committee.
  • At least one member of the committee will have to personally vouch for the applicant, based on first hand sailing experience with the applicant. In addition, demonstrated knowledge of all boat systems and basic maintenance and mechanical skills will be required.

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Relationship Between Levels and Boats You Can Skipper

Once you have attained a specific skipper level, the next step is to get a boat checkout on the boat(s) you want to use. The Skipper Certification Committee does not administer these checkouts but will get you connected with the people who do. (As in many organizations it may turn out to be a member of the SCC, wearing a different hat.)

Level needed for each of the SEAS boats

Daysailers

  • Since these are sailed exclusively in the Shrewsbury River, a daysailer certification is sufficient

"Rhodes Less Traveled" (22' Rhodes)

  • When the boat is on a mooring in the Navesink River a Level I, River will be sufficient to sail the boat between the Oceanic Bridge and Oyster Point.
  • To take the boat out to Sandy Hook Bay from Fair Haven, under the Oceanic Bridge, a Level II is required.
  • If the boat is already in Sandy Hook Bay (on a transient slip in Atlantic Highlands), then a Level I, Bay would permit you to sail it in the bay, but not bring it back through the bridge to Fair Haven.
  • If you wish to take the boat outside Sandy Hook Bay (past the Navy Pier), a Level III is required.

"SEAS The Day II" (28' O'Day)

  • Since this boat is in Raritan Bay a Level III is required.

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The Application Process

If you desire to become a SEAS skipper and think you qualify at a certain level after reading the requirements, send your request and any necessary documentation to the SCC coordinator, currently Graham Blundell (graham.blundell@gmail.com). Graham will forward your application to all the committee members and will also send you an acknowledgement, which will include an anticipated timeline for a decision to be made (generally a couple of weeks or less). When the committee has made a decision, Graham will let you know what it is, including any additional requirements the committee may have, such as the need to schedule a sail with one of the SCC members.

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