09 Oct 2023

Do I need qualifications to become yacht crew

The answer is yes – some – but not as many as you may be told!

Don’t be pressured into completing unnecessary courses as you can build on your professional development throughout your career.  Related experience and attitude go a long way to getting your foot on deck as yacht crew in the superyacht industry.  It is your money you’re investing into qualifications so think wisely before committing.

If you’re interested in a career in the superyacht industry:

A mandatory requirement to work on a yacht as crew is passing the ENG1 medical examination set by the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) to assess whether individuals are fit to work on a seagoing vessel and perform duties at sea.

  • It is carried out by an MCA Approved Doctor
  • Depending on your health it can be valid for 2 years
  • We strongly advise completing this medical examination before booking any courses

And the qualification all yacht crew must obtain (and keep updated), to enable them to work at sea, whatever the job role or how many years you’ve been a crew member is:

  • STCW Basic Safety Training Course x 5 modules (elementary first aid, personal survival techniques, personal safety & social responsibility, fire prevention & fire fighting, proficiency in security)
  • The STCW remains valid for 5 years and then has to be refreshed

Additional qualifications that can help your yacht crew CV

While the STCW is mandatory, there are a number of additional qualifications that can make you more competitive in the superyacht industry. It can be a very crowded market for securing the best jobs and the industry has seen a big uptake of new crew members. Holding more qualifications gives you a competitive edge.  Some good to have are (Deck and Interior):

  • PDSD – Proficiency in Designated Security Duties
  • RYA VHF Radio
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2
  • RYA Radar Course
  • RYA Diesel Engine Maintenance
  • RYA Yacht Master
  • MCA Yacht Rating Certificate 
  • A recognised food safety/hygiene course e.g. CIEH Food Safety Level 2 (Interior)
  • Superyacht Interior Certificate (Interior)
  • Barista training, wine appreciation and cocktail mixing course (Interior)

Will qualifications guarantee I get a job as yacht crew?

No. We always advise potential yacht crew to be very mindful of the personal financial cost associated with getting the qualification against the lack of guarantee of securing a job – always seek advice from responsible recruitment agencies and training course providers as to whether a qualification is right for you. We can support you in making these decisions.

How to get started as super yacht crew

If you’re interested in a career in the superyacht industry, the best place to start is by talking with a specialist recruitment agency about what training you may need. There are a number of training providers that offer courses and we are always happy to support our candidates in finding the right provider for them. We have a partnership with trusted training provider https://www.flyingfishonline.com/ 

Once you have your basic qualifications, you can start looking for entry-level superyacht crew positions. You can find job postings on our website and register as a candidate on our Careers HQ (link here)

What other skills are relevant for my CV?

There are non-formal skills and other qualifications that are highly transferable what are very useful and relevant to the superyacht industry. 

  • Hospitality/front of house/waiting or bar work
  • Medical (e.g. FREC3)
  • Physical training instruction
  • Security/Close Protection
  • Sports/therapy massage
  • Teaching
  • Additional languages
  • Water sports
  • Diving
  • Photography/drone
  • Carpentry

If you have any experience in the above be sure to highlight it in your CV.

Working on a superyacht can be a challenging but rewarding career.

If you’re passionate about the sea and have excellent customer service skills, you could be a great fit for this industry!