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Superyacht Captain job description

Captain on superyacht bridge
The Captain of any yacht (large or small) has one primary duty, which is the safe manning and operation of the yacht. This includes taking full responsibility for the crew, the tenders and toys, and the guests. Every crew member falls under the ultimate command of the Captain.

Yacht Captains hold responsibilities in various areas and must answer to the owner with regard to all decisions. Tasks generally include:

  • Safe navigation and operation of the yacht
  • Budget management
  • Managing money and accounting on board
  • Decision making with regard to crew
  • Overseeing the upkeep of the vessel
  • Taking control of repairs and yard visits
  • Assuming the role of ‘host’ and entertaining when necessary
  • Manage refit projects

Generally speaking, the smaller the yacht, the more hands-on the Captain must be. The larger the yacht, the more administrative duties the Captain will hold. 

Regardless of the size of yacht, the Captain must be familiar with overall safety codes and the safety training of crew.  Captains should be familiar with issuing standing orders and budget management at all levels.

The Captain’s job is all-encompassing. The responsibilities are tremendous, but the reward is often worth it.

Required Skills and Experience

A Captain must have considerable maritime experience and training and will normally have significant experience gained in either the superyacht or the merchant navy sectors. A Captain of a superyacht has to have excellent seafaring knowledge, a good grasp of accounting, IT and administration and also deal with authorities on matters such as paperwork and health and safety. Previous experience of yacht handling is essential and handling a yacht of the same or similar sizes a distinct advantage. The Captain must be highly skilled at dealing with people, both crew and the owner/guests. Personnel management skills are very important.

Required Certification:

Vessels <200GT

  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (with Commercial Endorsement)
  • or RYA Ocean Certificate of Competence (with Commercial Endorsement)
  • or IYT Master of Yachts <200T
  • or MCA STCW Master (Yachts) <200GT

Vessels <500GT

  • MCA STCW Master (Yachts) <500GT Certificate of Competence

Vessels <3000GT

  • MCA STCW Master (Yachts) <3000GT Certificate of Competence
  • or MCA Merchant Navy STCW Master <3000GT
  • or MCA STCW Master (Unlimited)

Vessels >3000GT

  • MCA STCW Master (Unlimited)

Salary Range

A junior Captain based on a smaller superyacht (<30 metres) could expect a salary of between £3,500 and £5,500 per month. More experienced Captains, working on medium-sized superyachts (30-50 metres) could expect between £4,500 and £7,000 per month. Very experienced senior Captains on large superyachts (>50 metres) could expect between £6,000 and upwards of £10,000 per month. In exceptional circumstances this could rise to £15,000 per month. In many of the larger yachts there may be the opportunity for rotation.

Career Progression

Superyacht Crew
As a Superyacht Captain you’ve reached the ‘top of the tree’, however experienced Captains will always be in demand, and you could progress to working on other, larger yachts.

Marine Industry
Your experience is likely to stand you in good stead for a whole range of careers within the wider maritime industry. If you want to continue working with Superyachts you may choose to work for a Yacht Management or Service company, or in a Superyacht Yard or Repair/Refit company.

Alternatively you could look to the Merchant or Port industries, finding a position as a Marine/Technical Superintendent or Harbour Master for example. Jobs in surveying, for example a Yacht Surveyor or Marine Insurance Assessor/Investigator also value your experience.

You may also wish to be involved in training and education as a Lecturer or Instructor.

Other Industries
Your excellent management skills and good head for problem-solving, customer service and operational management will serve you well in any other industry.