It's true that the primary quality most yacht crew captains or hiring agencies are looking for is the love of yachting. But that doesn't mean they will hire someone without same basic training under his or her belt. You won't need to obtain a college degree, but it is a good idea to get in some of the courses described on this page if you're interested in getting a job as a yacht crew member. There are three basic types of yacht crew training that you may want to sign up for, depending on the yacht crew job you're most interested in: international Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW), yacht crew training, and service training.
All yacht crew members, no matter what job they perform, are required to take basic STCW training. In some cases this may mean basic safety training only, and in other cases it may mean more extensive training. The International Maritime Organization developed the STCW standards in 1978 to ensure that all paid crew members onboard tankers and passenger ships (except those that only travel domestically) have specific qualifications. These standards were enacted in order to save the lives of all those onboard the ships. There are several yacht crew training programs and schools that provide training that meets STCW standards. Upon completion of the course the school will provide you with the certificate you need to prove you have met all STCW standards.
One of the most basic segments of the STCW is basic safety training, and it is usually required for all crew members. Basic safety training is typically a five-day course, and it covers personal survivor techniques, personal safety and social responsibility, first aid, and firefighting. The firefighting subsection of this course can take up to two of the five days.
Additional STCW training depends on the job you're interested in pursuing. Deck officers are usually required to complete bridge resource management and proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats in addition to basic safety training. Engineering crew members are only required to complete basic safety and proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats.
If you have any questions about the kind of STCW training you'll need to complete, you can find the information you need in the CruiseJobFinder Members Section.
It used to be there was no formal training for yacht crew members or people who wanted to become part of the industry. Often people interested in becoming captains or officers on yachts attended maritime colleges in order to get training. While going that route is still a good alternative, today there are several schools and training courses available for prospective yachting crew members. The STCW requirements coupled with the rapidly expanding number of yachts and jobs have led to the development of specific yacht crew training programs and schools. The courses at these programs include the STCW training, and then the rest of the content depends on the course and the job. For example, there are competent crew certificates that include training on handling sails, rope work, knowledge of the ship and systems, and helmsmanship and sailing, among others.
There are also specific training programs for captains and first mates, or yachtmasters' certificates. These training programs include STCW and a lot of the material in the competent crew program, as well as radio communications, and proof of a logged number of hours sailing. All of these programs will provide hands-on sailing experience onboard a yacht.
There are now specific training programs that stewards, stewardesses, and other service-oriented workers can take in order to learn about or improve their abilities to serve passengers onboard yachts. You can earn a certificate and improve your chances of getting a job by completing one of these training programs. Part of the program will include teaching sensitivity to international customs. This is usually a five-day course.
Despite the fact that there are more jobs than ever before in the yachting industry, the competition for these jobs is also dramatically increasing. Getting this basic training is a good way to let employers know you're a serious candidate.