Just like an airplane license, you need to have experience before you get your license. A sailing license is required for the Mediterranean. In the Caribbean, only an acceptable resume is required to charter a boat - but the resume must be strong. This means you have relevant size boat experience as a skipper of the boat as required by the yacht charter companies and the insurance companies. No charter company will rent you a boat if you just have a certification - despite what the Sailing Association markets to you. Some certifications are given with just 1 week of training. That is not enough!
The NauticEd SLC license requires 50 days of sailing experience, 25 of which at least as master of the vessel and 25 of which are on a vessel greater than 28 ft. The premise here is that without the 50 days of experience it is doubtful that enough can be known to be competent in all circumstances of weather and conditions etc.
When wanting to go chartering for the first time or with little experience, we recommend hiring a captain. The captain is there to ensure you have a good time, teach you what you would like to know, give you the helm as much as you like, and generally take the initial stress off you and make your crew feel comfortable. Taking a captain the first time is the prudent thing to do.
Coursewise, we recommend starting with the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses in your curriculum. The first course in the bundle to start with should be the Skipper Course. This will give you a good start to the theory knowledge you need to start learning. Next, it is best to get with a school to get a good start to the basic practical skills. Then you should somehow gain access to a boat either through a friend or through a local yacht club. Continue to gain experience and all the while continuing to pass the online courses for theory knowledge.
You can choose to start with a big boat (26 ft or greater) or a small boat (25 ft or less). It is your choice. If you start with a small boat, do the Skipper Small Keelboat course. If you want to start straight out on big boats, that works too. In that case, start with the Skipper course which is focused on bigger sailboats 26 ft and above.
But why the 50 days of experience even if an instructor deems me competent?
Would you go flying across the country with someone who had a license but minimal hours of experience flying around their local airdrome? Considering the non-breathable properties of water, when sailing offshore, it is prudent to have the right amount of experience, wouldn't you agree? For that reason, Yacht charter companies will not rent you a yacht without adequate experience no matter what certificate you have from any association.
To renew your SLC license in subsequent times we require recent experience logged into your logbook. You can either have logged ten days in the past 2 yrs or 5 in the past yr.
See this blog article which refers to why experience is required. We call it the greatest lie in sailing.