There is a limit for International Bareboat Skipper: In coastal waters up to 20 miles offshore (IYT page).

But what is the right way to measure it: from continent or nearest coast (island)? In my opinion it should be 20 miles from land with proper harbor or marina, but I have not found clarification of this rule.

  • Sailing questions are on topic at The Great Outdoors, and this question would probably be better there. May 1, 2015 at 16:45
  • @DJClayworth, thanks. Next Q will be on The Great Outdoors. Maybe moderators can move it. May 1, 2015 at 17:26
  • I can't migrate this one, since the question is too old. May 3, 2015 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


You should think of the regulation allowing you to sail within 20 miles from a safe haven, rather than offshore. In nautical terms, a safe haven is a port, harbour, or any other sheltered place suitable for mooring. A flat coast constantly subject to strong winds and strong currents and waves might not be considered a safe haven. Thus the distance is not measured from the shore itself, but from any place where you might safely seek refuge in if needed.

Having said this, it could technically be possible to sail from, say, Genova to Barcelona with a coastal-waters-certification by tracing a route that always remains within the 20 miles limit.


It also says "in coastal waters." I would take this to mean that sailing from small islands in the ocean is not covered. As for where to measure the 20 miles from, it's from the shore, not from the marina.

  • But which islands are large and which are not? I mean: where is a border for legal sailing for IBS? Or I should read it like a recommendation to fair skipper? Jan 12, 2015 at 9:23
  • 3
    I don't really know, but sometimes sailing is about common sense. A lot of times, actually. Australia has coastal sailing. Iceland too, I guess. But probably not Grenada. But hey, I'm not the international maritime police (and neither is anyone else!). Jan 12, 2015 at 10:28

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