New To Yachting - Where Do I Start?

Working on a Superyacht can be unique, lucrative, and potentially a long term career path, but breaking into the field can seem very intimidating. If you aren’t sure where to begin, it’s important to know what sort of job you’re looking for, and also what you can do to increase your chances of placement on a crew.

A high quality crew is always in demand and there are many different crew positions to fill on a superyacht. The number and type of positions can vary depending on the size of the boat, but the most common positions are:

  • Captain
  • First Officer/Chief Mate
  • Second Officer/Mate
  • Bosun
  • Lead Deckhand
  • Deckhand
  • Chief Engineer
  • 2nd or 3rd Engineer
  • ETO
  • AV Engineer
  • Electrician
  • Purser
  • Chief Steward(ess) /Junior, 2nd or 3rd Steward(ess)
  • Head of Interior
  • Head of House Keeping
  • Laundry Service
  • Head Chef
  • Sous Chef/Crew Cook/Cook-Stew

Experience is highly valued in a crew member, so if you are lacking in relevant prior experience, you could be at a disadvantage. However, if you are serious about working on a superyacht, there are a few things you can do to increase your value before you even start applying for possible jobs.

Training and Certifications

There will be several training courses and certification options available from many sources, and once you have considered your long term goals for a crew position, that will determine which courses and certifications are required. The absolute minimum requirements for all crew members are to be STCW ‘95 Certified. STCW ’95 stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, standards that were set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The STCW ’95 consists of 5 basic training courses that will cover Personal Survival, Fire Fighting, First Aid & CPR, Personal Safety & Social Responsibility, and Security.

If you are serving on board a ship and are qualified in any of the following you must, as 1st of January 2017, have documentary evidence of either completing the training course or updating/refresher training within the last 5 years

You must also have your ENG1 Medical Certificate, the MLC states that every seafarer must have a valid medical certificate. ENG1 is a relatively quick and unobtrusive examination set by the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to minimize or prevent potential hazards at sea. MCA approved Doctors will establish whether or not you have any medical conditions that might cause you to be unable to perform certain duties at sea. As mentioned above, these are only the minimum requirements, for each specific position you look into, there will be a list of many more qualifications and courses that will also be required. E.g. Engineers require holding a ticket such as AEC, MEOL or their Y4, Y3, Y2, Y1 Ticket, another example would be the Certificate of Competence (COC).

Crew Agencies

Once you have your training and qualifications under your belt, you might find it beneficial to register with a crew placement agency. This is a very common way for newcomers to land their first job. There are many agencies out there, so deciding which will be the best fit for you will be at your own discretion. The general procedure is to either sign up on their registration page, or email the placement agency providing them with your CV, and other related documents. There may be a quick interview before it is official, but once you are registered, the search for the jobs begin.

Social Media is also a great way to get started, joining and posting in related groups, and making sure you are out there looking for either day work to get your foot in, or through contacts.

However you choose to pursue a crew position on a superyacht, whether you are aiming for a potential career or more temporary employment, it is important to present yourself in a professional manner. Dressing well, and maintaining a respectful, friendly attitude during courses and interviews can make a big impression on potential employers and valuable network contacts. It is very important to honest about the job position you are seeking for and the qualifications you hold.

The job you want is out there – by doing your part to prepare yourself with proper training and knowledge can only work in your favour. You are already half way there!


For further information please check out our CREW FAQs.