Wanting to get a job in the superyacht industry?

Let us guide you in how to get started.

You’ve binged on ‘Below Deck’ in lockdown and now you want to get a job on a yacht.

Does this sound familiar?

If you’re serious about trying to get a job in the superyacht industry, then read on.

When asked about how to go about getting into the yachting industry, the advice is as follows.

Working in yachting can be lucrative, and offer a potentially long-term career, but it can also be a difficult industry to break into – and that’s where Cara Lees Yacht Crew Ltd comes in. Securing a job on a superyacht is the objective, but if you’re unsure where to begin, it’s important to know what sort of yacht jobs are out there and which positions would be a good match for your skills, abilities, and personality. Have you experience in hospitality? Perhaps worked in Spa and beauty? Or maybe you’re a keen weekend sailor who works in an office.

Do your research

For example, not everyone is suited to a much larger crew size, say 35+, some prefer and thrive better in a more familial environment, whereby your crew do become “your family” so chasing after working on a 95m + may not be the ideal. Bigger is not always best!

Apart from having the necessary certificates to ‘break in’ to the industry you need to be a ‘people person’. Hard work, stamina, a good team spirit, great attitude, the willing to learn and a “no drama” approach will get you far. Do your research. Are you cut out for the lifestyle? It’s long hours and generally hard work but it can offer great rewards.

Job on a yacht

You then need to know what you can do to increase your chances of being taken on and we have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to help you do just that. There are lots of yacht jobs available out there, and it’s our job at Cara Lees Yacht Crew Ltd to help you find and secure the ideal job for you. We provide the expert help, you provide the enthusiasm and determination, and together we can achieve your goal.

Your journey into the super yacht industry starts here…

Prepare! Make sure you have the right training.

Taking the global pandemic and travel restrictions out of the equation for now, it can be a difficult task trying to break into the yachting industry at the best of times, but before looking at flights to jet off to the Cote d’Azur, Palma, Fort Lauderdale or further afield with your keen intentions to dock walk and get that job, your time and money must be spent in obtaining the relevant certificates.

It is imperative to have first completed the basic STCW safety training and obtain a Seafarers medical certificate, the most popular being the ENG1 which is issued by an MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) professional medic.

If your CV doesn’t list the STCW safety training and a Seafarers medical certificate, your chances of getting a job on a yacht are nil. A yacht crew recruiter cannot represent or consider you for any positions onboard without these certificates.

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What is STCW?

 STCW stands for Standards of Training, certification and Watchkeeping. STCW certification was created to promote safety of life and property at sea and to protect the marine environment. It establishes internationally accepted standards of training and certification of seafarers, ensuring that crew are qualified and fit for duties at sea.

It is a five-day course, and costs £1,050 and includes.

Personal Survival Techniques

Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting

Elementary First Aid

Personal Safety and Social Responsibility

Proficiency in Security Awareness

Cara Lees Yacht Crew

Prepare! Make sure you have the right training. 

There are many training providers in various locations throughout the UK and overseas.

Cara Lees Yacht Crew Ltd are pleased to say that we are working in association with SALT Services, an MCA accredited STCW training provider based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

SALT Services delivers maritime education and practical training, providing up to date equipment and expert training to the highest industry standards compliant with all STCW training for professionals already working in or looking for a career in the maritime or super yacht industry.


or contact Manager Stuart Black directly on 0131 510 0321to enquire about available courses and places.

The Seafarer Medical Certificate (ENG 1)

You can get your Seafarers Medical Certificate from a doctor approved by the appropriate board – the most popular of these accreditations is the ENG 1 certificate, which is the British Seafarers Medical Certificate, and it must be obtained from a Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) approved medical professional.

The ENG 1 is a simple medical that involves the following.

Cost £115.

It takes around 45 minutes to complete. You will need to take a form of ID (passport or driving licence) and any glasses you use for reading with you. The Doctor will measure your height, weight, blood pressure and ask for a urine sample, to check for diabetes. The medical is non-invasive.

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Alternative Yacht Certificates of Medical Fitness

In addition to the popular ENG1 Seafarer Medical Certificate are several alternative yacht qualifications that are accepted. When mentioning crew medical certificates, it is easy to forget that the ENG1 is not the only accepted certificate of medical fitness for seafarers to secure a job on a yacht. This can be somewhat misleading, making it seem more difficult than necessary to secure the required yacht crew certificates.

Depending on the flag state of the yacht you intend to work on, there will be several alternative countries that you can get your bill of health from, with the ENG1 seafarer medical certificate simply signifying that the assessment is from a British-government-approved practitioner.

Yacht Training Courses for Yacht Chefs

In order to work as a yacht Chef, you will very likely already have an impressive array of culinary qualifications and experience gained from working on land

While we don’t recommend any specific culinary yacht training courses for yacht chefs, there is a certificate that is now required.

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What is the Ship’s Cook Assessment?

The Ship’s Cook Certificate Assessment verifies that a candidate has been assessed by an accredited organisation and proves competency in the learning outcomes in Annexes 1 and 2 of MCA MSN 1846.

Key Facts:

– It replaces the Merchant Shipping (Certificate of Ship’s Cooks) Regulations 1981, which have been revoked.

– It sets out the minimum training requirements for all ship’s cooks and catering staff.
– New training prerequisites take religious requirements and practices into account as they pertain to food as well as duration and nature of the voyage.
– The requirements relating to ship’s cooks do not apply to ships which:
– only operate within 60 miles of a safe haven and,
– ordinarily operate with fewer than 10 seafarers on board.

Who needs a Ship’s Cook Certificate?

Any Commercial Vessel that operates more than 60 miles from a safe haven and has 10 or more seafarers on-board must have at least one Ship’s Cook Certificate of Competency holding chef.

How do I get a Ship’s Cook Certificate?

If you want your Ship’s Cook Certificate of Competency, you will need to:

– undergo the Ship’s Cook Assessment an MCA-approved training organisation.
– be 18 years old, or more.
– have completed a minimum of one-month sea going service.
– have completed the Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Firefighting, Elementary First Aid, Personal Safety as well as the Social Responsibility and Security Awareness STCW courses.
– hold a current Seafarer Medical Fitness Certificate (ENG 1) or equivalent.

After completing all the above, you can apply for your certificate of competency from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Level II Food Safety Certificate

More recently, yachts are also requesting and /or require interior crew, that being chefs, cooks, steward/stewardess, deck/stew etc who handle food and beverage on commercial (charter) yachts to have the Food Hygiene safety Level 2 certificate. While this is not mandatory on privately used yachts, it is certainly beneficial to have and may open some more opportunities for you.

Prior to the global pandemic, online food safety courses were not recognised by the MCA. However, they have confirmed recently that they do now recognise certain online courses that are accredited with the exam being invigilated remotely.

This ensures that you have completed the course and not someone on your behalf.

Make sure you choose wisely.

see the link below for the amendment


I’ve Got My Essential Yacht Certificates, What’s next?

Register with Crew agencies. There is a plethora of crew agencies out there but be sure to register with an MCA accredited agency. The full list of UK agencies can be viewed below




Let’s take the global pandemic out of the equation for now and the travel restrictions it brings. In a non-disrupted world, get yourself to the yachting hotspots.

Antibes and Monaco are the main hubs in the south of France, hop on the train and travel the short distance along the coast to San Remo in Italy. Palma de Mallorca also a very popular destination to ‘dock walk’.

“What is dock walking?” I hear you ask.

Dock walking is the process of walking the marina docks, going up to a yacht, politely requesting to speak with the crew on-board if the moment is suitable, (keep in mind the crew are at work) with the aim of trying to secure any of the following: day work, permanent work or to leave them with one of your CVs. Remember that this is your time to shine and create that first impression. Arriving by skateboard or longboard will probably not be received well. And certainly, do not smoke.

Make sure your appearance is smart. Polo shirt and shorts/trousers and clean shaven for the blokes and a polo shirt/ blouse and shorts or skirt is perfectly acceptable for the girls. Have your hair neatly tied back if it’s long and go easy on the make-up. It can be a difficult task to have to present yourself this way, but it is remarkable how many crew are hired ‘off the dock’.

It also gets you out there with other ‘yachtie hopefuls’ and although you are essentially competing against one another for jobs, a great element of camaraderie usually does ensue and chat amongst the dock walkers can give you leads to possible jobs to pursue.

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Further Courses to Perhaps Consider

Once you have your essential yacht crew certificates, then there are a wide range of further yacht training courses that you could look at to help you to get that first break in your yachting career.

Training Courses for Deck Crew

Yacht Crew Jobs

Deck crew positions are highly competitive in the superyacht industry, as they are typically one of only two entry-level positions making this a department where additional yacht training courses will really help you to stand out from the crowd. Many captains want to see that you bring additional skills to the role, such as being able to drive a tender, operate Jet Skis, or being able to dive.

Some additional yacht training courses to consider include:

The RYA Powerboat Level II

The RYA Tender Operator

The RYA Yacht master Certificate

The RYA Competent Crew

PWC Personal Watercraft Proficiency

General GRP and Carpentry Repairs

VHF Radio

If you are an entry level deckhand, I would strongly recommend that you complete the PWC watercraft, VHF radio and the RYA powerboat level II to give you further chance of gaining employment on deck. Of course, these courses are not restricted just to those wishing to work on deck. Often those working on a smaller yacht where there is a lot of cross over in the ‘department roles’ would be of great benefit to have the above courses completed also. Click on the following link to view other course options.

Yacht Training Courses for Yacht Engineers

In addition to the mandatory yacht training courses, yacht Engineers will also need to have completed the Approved Engine Course 1, or the AEC. The AEC is a 5-day course that will give you the theoretical knowledge, in addition to hands-on experience of diesel engines. This course is the first step towards a rewarding yacht engineer career, which will enable you to work in the dual role of Deckhand/Engineer. Once you have completed this yacht training course you can move onto the Approved Engine Course 2, which builds on the knowledge learnt in the AEC 1 course and includes more practical experience. More advanced yacht training courses for those seeking to pursue a yacht Engineer crew include the MCA Engineering Officer of the Watch.

From advanced STCW training courses to department-specific courses, such as the GUEST or WSET courses for Stewards and Stewardesses to PADI Divemaster courses for the deck crew, there is sure to be a course that will help you to stand out above the crowd of other candidates.

I hope this has been of benefit in giving an insight as to where to start. If I can be of further assistance, please don’t hesitate to email, text, or call as I would be delighted to have a chat and expand more upon the above subject/s should you have any questions.

All the very best and good luck!

Cara Lees Yacht Crew