A crew's guide to becoming superyacht qualified

With thanks to Galileo Maritime Academy and JPMA - John Percival Marine Associates


If you’re thinking about beginning a career in the superyacht industry but you’re not familiar with what qualifications you will need or how get them then this guide is for you.

What qualifications you need to get started

One of the first things to know is that before starting on a yacht you will need to have some basic training, this is mandatory.

Galileo Maritime Academy explained, “It is an international legal requirement that all crew have the basic STCW 2010 and ENG 1 in place before they start work in this industry.”

JPMA added, “Every yacht will have a safe manning scale, listing how many crewmembers must hold certain certificates, so there is a definite need to have qualified crew.”

Crew Training Course Underway

What qualifications you should also consider

Becoming qualified with a basic STW 2010 and ENG1 certifications allows you to officially begin work on a superyacht, however any additional skills will increase your employment chances. Further qualifications could include engineering, carpentry, nursing, spa, child care, water sports and SCUBA diving, IT, electrical and photography.

Galileo Maritime Academy added, “Most captains value multi-tasking capabilities and that is why we recommend that entry level candidates complete the deckhand / steward (ess) DSS course or the deckhand / engineer DEC course. Thus they will be competent and useful in deck - interior or deck - engineer multi-tasking when necessary. This can make a vital difference to getting your first position on a fine superyacht quickly.”

Larger superyachts have a slightly more complex working environment, so there is a greater need for unlimited qualifications. Crew training providers can offer a range of specialist courses which enable students the opportunity to progress onto larger superyachts.

Galileo Maritime Academy elaborated, “Galileo includes several specialist courses in the 15 day superyacht entry level package for this reason, including power boat / tender driving, food hygiene, personal watercraft and basic seamanship and navigation.”

Scuba Diving Training Course

Where to find a course provider

There are course providers located across the world who offer entry level training and other relevant courses for beginners interested in working in the industry.

For anyone who is new to the superyacht industry and unfamiliar with the process of selecting crew training courses, there are training providers and graduates available to answer any pressing questions. Crew training providers offer students guidance to ensure they do not select any unnecessary courses.

Galileo Maritime Academy explained, “Galileo employs a superyacht careers advisor who graduated from Galileo and then worked on several superyachts. Her role is to help entry level applicants choose the right course or courses to meet their career goals, act as a mentor during the course and then assist in the launching or advancement of their career once they have the appropriate qualifications.

“In the case where technical advice is required by senior crew and officers, our MCA certified instructors can provide assistance in selecting the correct path and sequence of qualifications they require to advance most effectively.”

“As long as they follow the MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency) guidelines that are laid out in the M-Notices, it should be clear as to what courses they need to do in order to achieve the final Certificates of Competence,” added JPMA.

Applying for crew training courses

Once you’ve decided on the right course, you will need to complete an application. The application process will vary slightly depending on what is expected of the relevant course and courses, however the initial step will be deciding upon a suitable date. You will be sent various forms to fill in, along with a request from the provider for passports (if valid) and other documentation to support their application.

Galileo Maritime Academy expand on the process by stating, “We arrange everything on our side and continue to assist and answer any questions via phone call or email leading up to them arriving.”

JPMA further elaborated, “Yacht training is very ad hoc – as an example, an individual who is working towards OOW needs approx. 13 weeks’ worth of courses, most of them being one week duration. They may do a few courses at a time, or one course every six months, depending on how busy their yacht is. Many crewmembers find that they suddenly have a few weeks available to them, and will call around the training providers to see who has a space for them to join a course or two.”

Yacht Crew Staff On a Boat Ramp

Financing crew training courses

Applying and booking dates for the relevant courses is exciting, however the financial burden of the courses can be overwhelming. Training providers can offer financial support, through part-funding scholarships for chosen applicants or promotions that run throughout the year. It is encouraged that course participants enquire about funding and keep an eye on yearly scholarships.

JPMA added, “The Marine Society have a scholarship fund that candidates working towards Merchant Navy qualifications can apply for – there are many yacht crew who have gained Yacht quals who are now going on to Unlimited qualifications as Yachts are being built bigger all the time.”

Once employed, some yachts will set up a payment scheme, where the crewmember must essentially work for the superyacht over a set period to pay off their course fees.

JPMA expanded, “The vast majority of crew are paying for themselves, although there are some yachts who have a scheme where they will pay the crewmember back if they stay on the boat for 1 or 2 years after doing the courses, or the yacht pays for the courses with the guarantee that the crewmember will remain in their employment for the same amount of time.”

Additional benefits of becoming qualified

Students who partake in a crew training course will not only gain the necessary and vital skills to pursue career on a superyacht, but will also have the opportunity to network with other crew members, industry professionals and students alike. Networking allows students to meet others who share similar ambitions and interests, and could result in friendships which last forever.

JPMA expanded, “We provide lunch for all of our students, and it’s interesting to see students mixing from the different departments at the Mess Room table.”

Galileo Maritime Academy added, “Galileo offers lots of social activities during the evenings as well as taking them to some incredible spots during their training exercises that require team work.”

Now that you are familiar with the process for becoming qualified as a crew member, learn about the specific courses available to ensure an exciting journey in one of the most unique industries.

To read more of Yachting Pages’ Crew Training articles click here.

Crew Training Articles
March 12, 2021
Tried & Tested: Best Yacht Crew Polo Shirts
Tried & Tested: Best Yacht Crew Polo Shirts

In this Tried & Tested, yacht bedding specialist Sea Design conducts a review into the best duvets, quilts and pillows on the market. It tests a series of leading products to work out the best yacht bedding money can buy.

By Nathan Bees
January 21, 2021
Tried & Tested: Best Yacht Cleaning Products
Tried & Tested: Best Yacht Cleaning Products

In this Tried & Tested, yacht cleaning expert Marine 16 Ltd and cleaning expert Judith Shaw rate and review some of the best cleaning products available to buy. Find out which product was crowned the best following rigorous testing.

By Yachting Pages
January 13, 2021
Tried & Tested: Best Water Toys
Tried & Tested: Best Water Toys

In our brand new Tried & Tested, yacht water toy specialist EAMS and a group of experienced superyacht captains and crew rate and review the very best luxury water toys on the market. Find out which brand and product was crowned the best...

By Nathan Bees

Finished reading? Now find your perfect supplier.

Search our industry-leading directory for over 20,000 superyacht suppliers, providers and marinas.

Search now