Paperwork? But all I want to do is sail!

In our preparations over the past couple of years, one of the things that has slipped under the radar in all of the many lists that have been produced is the paperwork associated with living on a boat. In Ireland, there is no need to register a small recreational boat such as Faoin Spéir, and no need to obtain certification to say that you can sail it. Other optional extras include life raft certification and insurance. So, can you imagine preparing to take a trip across the globe, visiting countries that have some or all of these requirements!

The problem is that as Ireland doesn’t have these requirements, the whole process seems to run backwards, or at best at a standstill. As it stands, to obtain a piece of paper from the Irish government that states that Faoin Spéir exists and is in fact ours, we have to go through the same process as an oil tanker! There is no ‘small ships register’. Ok, fine I hear you say, let’s just get on with it. Having contacted the relevant department three times in writing, they ignored my request three times. I can’t say that I’m too upset because the costs involved are outside of the Faoin Spéir budget, (which anyone who knows us is about 20c).

We’ve had more success with the other bits, Mary obtained her radio operators license which in turn allowed us to apply for a ships radio license. This document looks all official and has the name of the boat and our names on it too, so if we fail in our efforts to register like all law abiding oil tankers do, then at least we have some sort of evidence of existence. As some of you may know, I got the ICC (International Certificate of Competency), issued by the Irish sailing association who should be giving lessons to the department of the marine as they had a 48hr turn around on my application! Thank’s ISA 🙂

All of these little pieces are needed for our application to navigate the waters of the national parks in Galicia, Spain, later this year on our way south. I guess the lesson learned here is that amongst the piles of wood, buckets of resin and miles of wire, make sure enough time as given in advance to tick the boxes of bureaucracy…