Considering a career in Yachting requires investment in training. Fact. It is extremely rare that a job can be secured without holding certain certificates and, arguably, the placement could be questionable. Achieving certificates through training improves your opportunities for work as well as providing the building blocks of knowledge and experience.
If you’re starting from scratch, then a good look at the RYA training schemes will give you the information for the required career progression.
Firstly, we advise to secure your basic training certificate that follows the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, commonly referred to as STCW. The basic training modules are:
- Personal Survival Techniques,
- Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention,
- Elementary First Aid,
- Personal Safety and Social Responsibility and
- Proficiency in Security Awareness.
In this early stage it’s a good idea to secure a medical report too; the ENG1 is the most recognised and is valid for two years.
And then, start small… the RYA Powerboat Level 2 is generally recognised as a beginner licence. As crew you are more useful if you can drive the yachts’ tender. Holding this licence naturally leads to requiring a licence to operate a marine radio. With a PB2 and VHF certificate in hand, and STCW completed, you’re set for your first season. At this stage, you’re looking at eight days of training commitment: 5 x days for STCW, 2 x days PB2, 1 x day VHF.
At this point, we recommend considering commercial endorsement for your PB2. You’ve got most of the requirements anyway (medical, STCW, PB2 and VHF) therefore an inexpensive €59.50 spent on the RYA’s online course (PPR), along with the RYA’s endorsement fee of £34.50, will ensure your ‘title’ is now a licence rather than a course completion certificate. Your Commercial Endorsement will automatically be attached to future RYA endorse’able certificates.
Make it big
Next we start ‘thinking big’. A question I’ll ask everyone who walks through our door is “sail or motor?”. This helps to determine the way your training should start.
If your response is SAIL, we will advise five days on a Competent Crew course. An awesome liveaboard adventure learning how to sail. If you’ve already done a bit of sailing (the RYA recommends 100 sea miles and 5 days onboard a sail yacht) you can skip this course and aim straight for Day Skipper.
The ‘Day Skipper’ is the first sailing Certificate you can add the Commercial Endorsement too. You’ll need a theory certificate to support the practical. You can achieve the theory certificate through an online course or through 40 hours of classroom teaching and a written exam.
A commercially endorsed Day Skipper licence provides you with a ‘work ticket’ for sailing in category 5 waters. Category 5 is within 20 miles of a nominated departure point, in favourable weather and daylight. This gives you a great opportunity to offer yourself up for some delivery work and gain hands on skippering experience.
If you’re heading down the MOTOR route, the training syllabus starts with the two-day Helmsman course, followed by a four-day Day Skipper course. Depending on previous experience you may proceed directly to Day Skipper. Training on a motor cruiser yacht, up to 15m, with twin engines and flybridge really makes a difference from tender driving.
And build your yachting miles
When you’ve got some certificates under your belt, start to build your log book. If Yachtmaster is in your plan of progression, ensure you keep a true log of your experience. The RYA and MCA require a certain amount of experience before you contemplate training towards the Master of Yacht certificate so don’t bluff it. Gain your experience properly, ensure you have genuine tidal miles in your log book and note down ports you visit with the mileage of each passage. Pay attention to navigation on every route and learn from your crew mates. Ask for more experience and more responsibility to ensure your progression up the ladder is built on solid foundations. We wish you good luck.
There are over 2,500 recognised training centres throughout the world, and qualified staff within each centre will be on hand to advise you appropriately for your individual situation, and the goals you want to achieve for a career in yachting.