Superyacht training; a yacht crew guide to training and certificates

A job at sea offers an exciting career alongside the opportunity to travel the world. If you have dreamed of working as a yacht crew aboard some of the world’s most luxurious yachts and megayachts, then you’ll need the right qualifications behind you. It takes a highly skilled and specialised crew to maintain and run a luxury yacht, so alongside the mandatory superyacht training and certificates, you’ll also need a can-do attitude, an eye for detail, the desire to go above and beyond for the yacht’s guests and owners, as well as a positive outlook. It may also be worth going through with some yacht rentals in Los Angeles or elsewhere first, just to make sure that this is the life you want to lead.

Here we outline some of the basic superyacht training you will need to kick-start your yacht career, whether you plan on working as a yacht chef, spa therapist, engineer, or deckhand. Also, we highlight some of the other yacht training that will set you apart from the competition to help improve your chances of getting hired. Most people start their yacht crew career in an entry-level position, then work their way up the career ladder, acquiring the right superyacht training and certifications as they go.

Superyacht training – mandatory certifications

STCW Basic Safety Training

The STCW Basic Safety Training certificate is required by all yacht crew, no matter which area of the yacht they plan on working. The course focuses on basic seafaring skills and procedures within the maritime environment. The STCW Basic Safety Training certificate covers areas such as personal survival techniques, fire-fighting and fire prevention, personal safety and social responsibilities, elementary first aid, and security awareness. The course takes about five days to complete.

ENG1 Seafarer Medical Certificate

Another superyacht training mandatory must-have is the ENG1 medical certificate. This seafarer medical certificate confirms that you are fit and well enough to carry out your duties at sea. The certificate can be obtained from an approved doctor, following a satisfactory non-invasive medical test. Following the test, you will be issued with one of three ENG1 medical certificates; fit without restrictions, fit with restrictions, which limits you to be able to carry out only specific jobs, and temporarily or permanently unfit. Ordinarily, you will be issued with your certificate the same day. The ENG1 medical certificate is valid for up to two years, meaning it will need to be renewed regularly as part of your ongoing yacht training.

Superyacht training – bonus ways to get ahead

Create a winning yacht crew CV with additional skills

Having a superb yacht crew CV can help you stand out from the crowd, even if you don’t have any direct yacht crew experience, or only have the mandatory superyacht training required.

Many people start their yacht crew career in an entry-level position, such as a stew/stewardess or deckhand. Highlighting any relevant industry experience will help demonstrate that you will be an asset to the yacht crew.

For entry-level positions such as stew or stewardesses, this may include experience in silver service, table setting, housekeeping, cooking, flower arranging, bartending, and childcare. If you have a relevant hotel school degree or diploma, then make sure you highlight this on your CV too.

For deckhands, experience in recreational boating, sailing water sports, diving, jet ski or boat driving is seen as a real bonus in addition to your mandatory superyacht training. Many deckhands choose to make themselves stand out from the crowd by obtaining additional qualifications through the Royal Yachting Association, such as the RYA Tender Operator certificate, which qualifies you to drive a tender.

Superyacht training for specialised positions

Some of the world’s largest superyachts hire yacht crew in specialised positions, including yacht chefs, spa therapists, hairdressers, and engineers. Alongside the mandatory superyacht training, each of these positions requires specialised training certificates that highlight that you are qualified in your field.

Register with a yacht crew agency

Once you have acquired the mandatory superyacht training and certificates, the next step is to find the right job. For many, this means registering with a professional yacht crew agency, such as YPI CREW. A yacht crew agency often has thousands of yacht crew jobs on their books and will be able to work with you to find your dream yacht job.