Skip to content
Email or telephone on +44 (0)1784 223628

Superyacht training and certification

Superyacht UK 2019 AGM St Katharine Dock London
Anyone wishing to work on a superyacht must anticipate the need to take relevant training, certification and qualifications. In many cases there are mandatory courses to take, in others being able to demonstrate formally learned skills will give you an advantage.

Read on to learn about the key areas of superyacht training and certification that you might need to consider and click on the button below to access Superyacht UK\’s members that specialise in superyacht training and recruitment.

Note you should include on your CV full details of what you have achieved and an outline of what skills you have learnt (for example a brief syllabus).  This will help potential employers to understand exactly what training you have received, even if they are not personally familiar with every course.

MCA certification

MCA stands for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. It is the organisation responsible for maritime safety in the UK.  This role encompasses setting the standard for training and certification for seafarers, including the minimum requirements for certification of superyacht crew.  The MCA is an agency of the Department for Transport of the British Government.

Even if you have completed similar courses, unless they are approved by the MCA they will not be recognised for use in the superyacht industry.

Courses include:

  • MCA STCW Basic Safety Training Certificates
  • MCA Yacht Rating Certificate
  • MCA Deck Officer Certificates (Officer of the Watch (OOW), Chief Mate and Master)
  • MCA Engineering Officer Certificates (Chief Engineer)

If you have any previous maritime experience, or wish to talk to someone in more detail about which level of certification is right for you, please contact the MCA directly on 023 8032 9231.  Or visit the MCA site for further information.

RYA Qualifications

RYA stands for the Royal Yachting Association, which is the UK’s national association for all forms of recreational and competitive boating.  RYA’s training schemes for powered and sailing craft provide qualifications for skippers, instructors and water sports professionals worldwide.

RYA Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean

The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence is gained by taking an exam in either a sailing or motor yacht – your certificate will be endorsed accordingly.  There is no formal training course leading up to the exam, but those who have not previously taken RYA courses often find it useful to book themselves in for some informal training prior to taking an exam.  You will need to get your Certificate commercially endorsed for it to be valid for working on board superyachts.

The Yachtmaster Ocean exam is an oral and written test of your knowledge of ocean passage making including planning, navigation, worldwide meteorology, crew management, yacht preparation, maintenance and repairs.  You will also be questioned on your sights taken at sea during an ocean passage.  Again, you will need to get your Certificate commercially endorsed.

IYT (International Yacht Training) is a US-based organisation and its equivalent courses are also recognised by the MCA.

Find more information about RYA training and certification

Degrees and Foundation Degrees

A Foundation Degree has been developed for the Superyacht sector. Known as the FdSc Operational Yacht Science, it is usually delivered over a period of three years in conjunction with other training or a ‘cadetship’.  Some training providers are now offering a full programme of training to provide you with a broad overview of all superyacht operations including deck duties, engineering and hotel services, and a ‘fast-track’ route to Deck Officer OOW certification.

There is often the opportunity to ‘upgrade’ your Foundation Degree to a full degree with further study to achieve a BSc (Hons) Marine Studies (Ocean Yachting), for example.

There are benefits with both the foundation degree route, and the more traditional on-the-job certification route and you should consider these carefully before making your decision.  Find out as much information as you can about your chosen route before embarking on it.

Stewarding and Hospitality

Marine and non-marine training providers offer training courses for stewarding and catering skills such as:

  • Silver service
  • Wine appreciation
  • Table management
  • Bar management
  • Floristry

Courses also exist covering an overview of all of these types of skills, sometimes including certifications such as STCW Basic Safety Training or RYA qualifications.