Sailing levels explained

Sailing levels explained

Destinations to suit your level

Each of our destinations is grouped by experience level so you can find the right sailing ground for your skills and qualifications. Level 1 destinations have the easiest and safest waters and are perfect for beginners. Level 3 destinations are the most challenging, so you’ll need to make sure that at least one member of your crew has the sailing experience needed to have fun and stay safe.

Many sailing destinations require formal qualifications before you can charter a yacht. An International Certificate of Competence (ICC) or RYA Day Skipper qualification is the minimum requirement across the Mediterranean. We strongly advise that your skipper and first mate be qualified to at least this level so you can keep your destination choices open.

Please note: sailing levels are for guidance only, and all destinations are variable.

No experience

Even if you’ve never sailed before we have a range of options to get you started.

Level 1


  • Five days or 100 miles as skipper on an equivalent size yacht
  • International Certificate of Competence (ICC). ICC or RYA Day Skipper is compulsory for Croatia, and Greece.


Sailing conditions

  • Wind: 5-20 knots
  • Navigation: line-of-sight sailing. Basic knowledge of charts and ability to plot your position required.
  • Moorings: predominantly stern-to mooring in the Mediterranean and buoys in the Caribbean.

Level 2


  • 10 days or 200 miles as skipper on an equivalent size yacht
  • RYA Day Skipper
  • ICC or Day Skipper is compulsory for Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Spain .


Sailing conditions

  • Wind: 10-20 knots
  • Navigation: you’ll need to understand tidal flow and navigate in open water.
  • Moorings: predominantly anchoring. Protected anchorages, Mediterranean-style anchoring and/or marina slips.

Level 3


  • 20 days or 400 miles as skipper on an equivalent size yacht
  • RYA Day Skipper with experience to a higher level*
  • RYA Coastal Skipper
  • ICC with experience to a higher level* 
  • Temporary certificate of competence is compulsory in Belize


Important Information

To sail in Belize without a skipper, you must apply for a temporary Certificate of Competency. This is issued by the Belizean Port Authorities, and is required for all bareboat charters.

Download the Temporary Certificate of Competency


  • Wind: 10-25 knots
  • Navigation: you’ll need to understand large tidal variations, cope with strong currents and make a passage plan.
  • Moorings: predominantly anchoring, some more exposed anchorages with poor anchor holding ground.

Please check sailing regulations and minimum requirements for your destination when you book.

Choose Sunsail

Destinations worldwide

Flotilla routes

Types of yachts

40 yrs
Creating holidays

4 hr
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