|"Arr, matey, I be parallel parking this scurvy scow!"|
|Slicker, peaked cap, spoked wheel and manly facial hair: Most male cruising sailors are using "old salt" as a style guide.|
|So, Captain Douchebagge, we meet again.|
|So the bumboat boys know who to pester|
I see the YM course as a qualification, but not as a licence like a "ticket" from a marine school or institute. Some sailors obtain either through youthful employment or via military service or working on tall ships or coastal boats, certifications like a "60-tonne Master Limited". But generally, this pro or semi-pro level of mariner education is not pursued by those who wish to just sail their own boats, or, at best, run a rather limited sort of charter operation,
But the lure of the title remains: The "ticket", leading to the stepwise attainment of the rank of Captain, is a sort of guild distinction. In the British Merchant Navy it's like being in a trade (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_Navy_%28United_Kingdom%29); you have to take both shoreside courses and "work study" aboard vessels if you want to get to second mate.
|A Captain able to find rum before it's gone and all the occult treasure and seamonster one could wish. Docking, not so much.|
I think the equivalency might be "private Cessna jockey" versus "commercial airline pilot", or private car driver versus the tractor-trailer driver of road freight. If I fly a Cessna for fun, it doesn't qualify me to fly a DC-3 for money, although if the DC-3 pilot has a heart attack, the Cessna pilot is probably the best option for experiencing a flame-deficient landing. The YM Offshore, which a good sailing friend of mine has recently achieved and is happily using on his sailing adventures, isn't a commercial or a professional certification, whereas a Captain is a sort of trade description, as well as a title or rank. Interestingly, until the mid-18th century, a naval Captain could be any titled lubber, Court hanger-on or Army guy, and was the person who made "naval" decisions based on the advice of the ship's master, the non-dilettante career sailor actually responsible for the sailing-not-sinking part. It took a series of reforms to professionalize the Royal Navy and to get the "place-men" reduced, although advancement still favoured the well-connected and the aristocratic.
|If this is your charter captain, switch to a walking tour.|
I have seen a documenton official RYA stationary in which the "am I now a Captain" question was answered with "we take no stance" is an attempt to say "call yourself Captain, because it doesn't matter". If people think they are captains, or even armchair admirals, it's going to have some sort of persuasive effect on RYA course-taking, even though that is *never stated* in the literature; it's sold as "the opportunity to improve one's seamanship skills" (which it is, of course), or the opportunity to evaluate one's existing skills (which it also is, as in the case of professional mariners who can "challenge" the higher YM exams and basically get passed into them for the purposes of post-career mucking about in boats.
|Another fictional old salt, only this one is just "Skipper". Note the cardboard signage on "S.S Minnow". Good grief.|
So while I'm happy with "Skipper", I'll leave "Captain" to the pros. The simple fact is that there are different expectations that are bundled up with "Captain", and if you screw up, as one does, it seems worse surrounded by braid than when one is just "Skipper". And as for the hat, I'll bow to my pasty Celtic ancestry and just go with something that keeps the melanoma at bay.
|Also good for garden work, I would imagine. Gold braid and anchor badge optional.|