Skippering commercial yachts

Charter yachts and superyachts are often based in the Mediterranean, Caribbean or Florida. Staff can be well paid, particularly the skippers, but owners demand exacting standards of service and competence.

Superyachts often employ a Master, mate, engineer, bosun, hostess, chef and deck crew. Jobs are often advertised in the marine press and on social media. There are also many crew placement agencies finding staff at all levels of the industry.

Skippering commercial yachts

The qualifications required are determined by the area in which the yacht is operating. With an RYA Yachtmaster™ Coastal Certificate of Competence you can skipper yachts up to 24m, operating up to 20 miles from a safe haven, while the RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore Certificate of Competence enables you to skipper yachts up to 200gt, 150 miles from a safe haven.

With the RYA Yachtmaster™ Ocean Certificate of Competence you can work worldwide.

Whichever area you are working in, you must hold the commercial endorsement, so a one-day sea survival course and medical fitness certificate are necessary.

Super Yatch on the water

Skippering yachts (over 24m and up to 200GT)

Any skipper of a British flagged private or commercial yacht of this size, operating in UK and many non-UK ports, must hold an RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore or Ocean Certificate of Competence with a commercial endorsement.

Additionally, to enable your qualifications to be valid worldwide and on non-British yachts, you can take three short MCA courses on fire fighting, first aid and social responsibilities to obtain an STCW endorsement on your RYA certificate of competence.

Amendment 1 of MSN 1858 (M+F) covers the UK regulations for deck officers on large yachts (24m and above). This MSN details the latest certification framework, training, and evaluation criteria for deck officers in the yacht industry."

Skippering superyachts (200gt to 3,000gt)

There are a range of MCA qualifications up to MCA Master of Yachts 3000gt. Full details of Master of Yachts training can be found in the Guidance and Regulations section of the MCA website, and a summary of manning requirements is shown in MSN 1858.

MCA pathway for Superyacht Qualifications

The UK's Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) have introduced a pathway for superyacht officers to obtain the Officer of the Watch (OOW) qualification. Candidates can now combine the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence with specific sea time requirements. This change allows flexibility for candidates seeking OOW and Chief Mate certifications by accepting the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate and a practical course completion certificate.

The eligibility requirements have been updated, allowing candidates to substitute the Yachtmaster Offshore qualification with the Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate. Successful completion of the OOW qualification through this alternative route enables eligibility for the Chief Mate Yacht 3000gt examination. For more details please read MIN 580 on the new route to an UK Officer of the Watch (OOW) yachts Certificate of Competency.