Yacht Crew Training


It is essential to have basic knowledge about working on yachts. A few training schools offer a one-day introductory course that teaches basic seamanship, industry regulations, chains of command and personal appearance expectations.

From entry level yacht jobs to management yacht crew, here is the training you need to be considered for your first job or advance to the next level. The more training you have, the more attractive you will be as a potential crew member.


Yacht Crew Training

To land an entry level yacht job, some initial training will help boost your resume and put you ahead of someone that has absolutely no maritime training.  Here are the essential courses:


STCW 95 Basic Safety Training

Most yacht Captains and owners expect that all their crew have taken the Basic STCW95 Safety course as a bare minimum. STCW stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers which was a convention that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted in 1995. This basic safety training encompasses four separate modules:

  • Personal Survival Techniques (PST)
  • Fire Prevention and Basic Fire Fighting
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR)

The course focuses on basic safety skills and knowledge in order to provide a framework for safe working practices, emergency procedures and teamwork within the maritime environment. Generally the course takes five to seven days to complete and costs around $1,000.


Yacht Rating Certificate

For someone that wants to be hired as an unlicensed Junior Engineer or a Deckhand, the MCA Yacht Rating Certificate encompasses a number of topics. It is an entry level qualification that covers seamanship, navigational watch duties, engine watch duties, pollution prevention, lifesaving and fire-fighting equipment. Many training centres offer a five-day training program to get this certificate.


Interior Yacht Job Training

There are a number of certifications that are beneficial in getting hired for an interior yacht job of a Steward or Stewardess. To take your career to the next level as Butler, Chief Stewardess, or Purser, even more Professional Yachting Association (PYA) qualifications are required.


Yacht Junior Steward Certificate

Although no sea time is required to get the Yacht Junior Steward Certificate, there are a number of courses that are required. Here are the PYA GUEST Introductory Level Courses needed for this certificate.:

  • Interior Introduction
  • Interior Basic Food Service (Silver Service)
  • Food, Safety and Hygiene
  • Wine and Cocktail Introduction
  • Floral Design and Care (Optional)
  • Introduction Barista Training (Optional)
  • Housekeeping/Plus Services (Optional)
  • STCW95 Basic Training


Yacht Senior Steward Certificate

To achieve this certificate, the individual needs 12 months of yacht service plus 60 days of guest service time. Additionally, these are the PYA GUEST Level II courses needed:

  • Barista and Tea Master
  • Cocktail and Spirit Intermediate
  • Interior Intermediate
  • Wine Intermediate
  • Powerboat Level II
  • MCA Medical First Aid


Yacht Chief Steward Under 500gt Certificate

To achieve this next level certification, additional sea time and courses are required. The individual must have completed 12 months yacht service and 60 days guest service time while in the position of Senior Steward.  Here are the required additional PYA G.U.E.S.T Level III and MCA courses:

  • Yacht Interior Management
  • Wine Advanced
  • Cocktail and Spirit Advanced
  • Management of Food Safety in Catering
  • MCA Medical Care
  • MCA Advanced Fire Fighting
  • MCA Sea Survival


Yacht Chief Steward over 500 gt Certificate

To apply for interior management positions on yachts above 500 gt, the individual must have the Yacht Chief Steward Over 500gt Certificate. To get this certificate the individual must complete additional courses and take a written and oral exam. These are the courses:

  • MCA Human Element and Leadership Management
  • Yacht Accounting & Budget
  • Introduction to International Safety Management (ISM)

Yacht Deckhand Training

The career path to becoming an Officer and ultimately a Captain typically begins as an entry level Deckhand.  As there is considerable competition for deckhand jobs, candidates should consider the following courses to increase skill sets and make their resume stand out:


RYA Powerboat Level II (RIB) or IYT Tender Driving

For someone that wants to be considered for a position as a Deckhand, the Powerboat Level II or Tender Driving course is an asset. It is a professional certification that allows you to operate the Rigid Inflatable Boats (aka: RIB or “toys” onboard the yacht), something a Deckhand is typically expected to do. It is generally a two day course that costs around $600.


RYA Short Range VHF Operators Radio Certificate (SRC)

This is another course that looks great on an entry level resume. The VHF Radio Course teaches the basics of VHF radio operation with respect to channels used, search and rescue and emergency procedures. It is typically a one day course that costs about $200.


RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course

The contents of this course can be taught over two days, although there are opportunities to take this course online as well. Topics covered are charts and publications, engine checks, passage planning, anchoring, pilotage, rules of the road, and weather forecasts.


RYA Radar

This is typically a one day course that teaches the basics of radar operation. Learn how radar works and terminology such as target definition, radar reflectors, radar plotting and use of radar in navigation for collision avoidance.

For Deckhands that are serious about advancing to the next level as an Officer of the Watch, sea time and many additional courses are required. In the very basic of description, the career path of qualification proceeds from Officer of the Watch (OOW) to Chief Mate with the highest licence being Master Unlimited. Check the resources at the bottom of this page for additional information.


Junior Engineer Training

In addition to the Yacht Rating Certificate, Junior Engineers can educate themselves in any number of areas to make them more suitable for a yacht job. Look for courses in diesel, refrigeration, air conditioning, plumbing, electronics and outboards. There are a few yacht certifications that will be needed to get to the next level of a career as an Engineer.

  • RYA Diesel Engine Maintenance
  • Marine Engine Operator License – Yachts (MEOL)
  • MCA Approved Engine Course (AEC)

The next level for a Junior Engineer is become a Second Engineer (Unlimited) and then Chief Engineer. As for Chief Engineer certifications it starts with Chief Y4, Chief Y3, Chief Y2, Chief Y1, and finally a Chief Engineer Unlimited. For more info on this career path, see the resource section at the bottom.


Other Professional Development for Yacht Crew

  • RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory
  • RYA Yachtmaster Coastal/Offshore Practical
  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Proficiency in Medical Care on Board Ship
  • Crisis Management and Human Behaviour
  • Crowd Management
  • Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS)
  • Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS)
  • International Safety Management (ISM)
  • Ship Security Officer (ISPS Code)


Training Websites and Resources


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