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As I mentioned just under a week ago, Rebecca and I paid a visit to the British Shipping Registry to begin the process of my obtaining my BVI Boatmaster license. Like the visas and all of the other charter-related formalities that we’ve had to sort through, we now have this looked after. As it turns out, the license is really just an endorsement of my RYA Yachtmaster license. The Shipping Registry verified all of the paperwork that I submitted and are basically saying that if the RYA thinks that I am fit to operate a commercial vessel, they concur and thus I can now do so in BVI waters. That’s nice to know. 🙂

A couple of notes about this…

I think many people are under the mistaken impression that they can easily restock their cruising kitty by running a few charters here and there. As I’ve documented in countless posts here on this blog, there are a lot of regulations in place which govern this business of chartering. Many people still attempt to do it by flying under the radar. While that may work, at least in the short term, it’s not how we like to operate.

Secondly, in the martial arts world where we previously made our living, we were very much against the use of the word Master. We used titles like Coach, Sensei (Japanese), Professor (Portuguese), Ajarn (Thai), etc. but never Master. In the boating world, the word gets used a lot though with the Captain of the vessel often being referred to as the Master of the ship. There’s no avoiding it.


  1. I think you will find that ‘Master’ is the original and correct term (in English) for the person in command of a vessel. Captain is a title given to a Master who is appointed to the command of a major, usually commercial, vessel. There are many people who hold a ‘masters ticket’, as they refer to it, but they remain First Officer or something until they get a Command.

    This is the basis of the term used by the RYA in your Yachtmaster qualification. You are fully qualified for the command of an appropriate commercial vessel. When you are in charge of such a vessel, you could be called Captain, but in English it is usual to call you the Skipper. Though skippers can be qualified by experience too.

    The British Navy follows the same convention. You may be a First Lieutenant, but if you have command of (say) a smallish Mine Sweeper, but you will be called Captain when aboard your ship.


  2. I concur with your feelings on the title Master — I even hate the title Captain– skipper is a much better description — the only title that I think is appropriate is Admiral for the person who is the real inspiration for all of us.

  3. I agree with you on the use of the word master in relation to martial arts. It implies that you have no more to learn and that is never the case… In relation to the boat though I’m ok with master as it only implies that you are in charge of the vessel. It isn’t a reference to your knowledge level.

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