Short and Quick Yacht Crew Courses: Get a Better Job

As the summer yachting season gets underway in the Mediterranean, competition for jobs is hotting up within the yacht crew market. Captains are constantly competing for the best yacht crew in order to shape a capable team ahead of the season.

Each year, competition for jobs within the yacht crew market gets more intense. Captains are constantly competing for the best yacht crew to shape a capable team ahead of the season. Every crew member, from stewardesses to engineers, rely on other skills besides yachting. While yacht crew courses help them stand out in the piles of CVs that yacht recruitment agencies and captains receive, it also helps to get side qualifications such as massage and diving certificates.

To land your dream job on a luxury yacht, it is extremely helpful to bolster your yachting skills with a yacht crew course. Aside from the RYA Competent Crew and STCW 95 – which arms crew with the fundamental knowledge required for working on yachts – it is advisable to complete other short and quick yacht crew courses on offer from the RYA.

As the leading authority on yacht crew recruitment, YPI CREW is on hand to advise on yachting qualifications and the best ways to secure your ideal crew position. Here, we describe the essential modules that constitute the STCW 95 and outline some of the courses that are good to have for job-hunting yacht crew. Whether searching for your first yachting job or considering changing boat, these courses can help get your foot in the door.

Essential (STCW 95):

Basic Sea Survival

Part of the STCW 95, the Basic Sea Survival Certificate is a one-day course that provides crew with the basic knowledge of how to stay alive in case of an emergency. The course covers liferafts and the equipment they contain, survival techniques, lifejackets, medical aspects of sea survival and search & rescue techniques. No prior knowledge is required for the course, which provides practical information for surviving heavy seas on a small vessel.

Elementary First Aid

As an important feature of the STCW 95, the Elementary First Aid Course equips crew with the skills to respond to common emergencies on yachts. As well as CPR, participants learn about bandaging techniques and methods for moving an injured person. This short and quick yacht crew course also teaches how to treat injuries in a makeshift environment or when one may be required to improvise.

Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities

This one-day yacht crew course lays out the correct protocol for crews to prevent accidents on board, ensuring a safe environment for yacht crew. Various safety procedures are taught, including the protocol for alarms and signals. Concerning social responsibilities and matters of personal welfare, participants are taught about rights in the workplace, employment conditions, in addition to ethical issues like pollution prevention and team welfare.

Fire Protection and Basic Firefighting

This rudimentary course provides an introduction to the different types of fires on board and how one can prevent them. Participants are taught how to use firefighting equipment and breathing apparatus, and how to deal with fires of different types and sizes. Fires are one of the biggest risks to safety on a yacht; knowing how to combat the threat is an important skill.

Proficiency in Security Awareness

The latest addition to the STCW 95, the Proficiency in Security Awareness Course provides crew with the knowledge and skills to enhance a yacht’s security by following a given Ship Security Plan. This yacht crew course takes one day to complete and requires no prior knowledge.

Good to Have:

Marine Radio Short Range Certificate

Operating a radio in a universally recognised manner is an essential skill for yacht crew. The Marine Radio Short Range Certificate legally equips crew with the practical knowledge to operate VHF and DSC radios. Participants learn about the basics of radio operation, emergency broadcasts and other important requirements. The course takes 10 hours to complete and there is an examination at the end.

Radar Course

Taught over just one day, the Radar Course teaches participants how to function a radar system as a means of navigation and collision avoidance. An increasingly important piece of equipment, the radar is found on most modern vessels and improves a yacht’s safety. Having this certificate demonstrates your worth to an employer and it’s a very short and quick yacht crew course as it only lasts a day.

Powerboat Level 2

While the Powerboat Level 1 precedes Powerboat Level 2, it is not necessary to have completed the first before undertaking the second. Most employers desire at least a Powerboat Handling Level 2 so employees can successfully handle tenders. The two-day course focuses on low-speed, close-quarters handling, as well as man overboard recovery, driving at planing speed and collision regulations.

Diesel Engine Course

Also targeted at beginners, the Diesel Engine Course provides crew with the basic knowledge to prevent and fix diesel engine failure. Having this certificate in your arsenal will assure employers that you are capable of caring for a yacht’s engine and can start it again in the event of an emergency, without possessing the in-depth knowledge of an engineer. You will be taught how the engine works, the best practices for keeping it in good condition, and how to perform routine maintenance.

Safe and Fun Safeguarding Course

This online-only course is targeted at yacht crew that might work with children and vulnerable adults at RYA training centres or clubs. It encourages people to consider real-to-life scenarios that may arise while working in a position of responsibility.

Extra Yacht Crew Courses To Help You Stand Out:

If you feel you are lacking experience on yachts, don’t despair. There are a host of land-based jobs that offer transferable skills and some short courses are ideal for yacht crew positions. You may well have previously worked in a job where you honed skills that will be appreciated on a yacht and if not, you can always think strategically and do a course. 


Anyone who has worked in a hotel, cafe or other hospitality-based establishment is well-equipped to gain a job as a Stew or Stewardess. But if you haven’t, there are courses to help you such as UKSA’s Superyacht Stewardess and Steward Training. The three-week course covers personal presentation, table management and styles of service among other practical skills. The ability to serve guests in the correct manner and understand client relations is essential when working on a yacht. 

Wine Certifications

There are numerous wine and cocktail- making courses that can enhance your knowledge and presentation of drinks on board. The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)® is the leading international provider of wine and spirits qualifications. WSET® offers five different qualifications in 60 countries, but the three-day Level 2 course for interior crew members offers a comprehensive overview to best serve guests with confidence. Some of the biggest yachts employ sommeliers, but most will be thrilled to have a stewardess with that skill set. Captains are more likely to hire you after a short and quick yacht crew course in serving and buying wine – plus, you’ll taste lots of delicious wine to get the certification!

Divemaster Course

The PADI Divemaster course takes between a month and six months depending on whether you’re doing it full-time. It’s the first level of professional training and you need to have logged at least 40 dives to begin and 60 dives to earn the certification. You’ll also need to have received a medical statement from a physician and Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care training within the past two years. You’ll be trained to lead dives by improving your dive and rescue skills so you can easily solve common problems. You’ll develop management and supervision abilities to guide and work with other divers – perfect for yacht charters with guests who like to dive. 

Water Sports

If you have experience as a water sports instructor, you have a good chance of getting work on yachts. Otherwise, you can brush up on your skills with a two-week UKSA Kickstart course which covers dinghy sailing, windsurfing and paddle sports. There are shorter 5-day courses in July and no experience is required, but by the end you will feel confident enough to help guests on the water. Although they are not specific yacht crew courses, they are certainly beneficial for those seeking a job on a superyacht with water toys. 

Massage Certification

A recognised massage or beauty qualification can do wonders for a yacht stews CV. However, in their absence, you can take a quick and short yacht crew course in masseuse training. Since yachts with spas are extremely popular, a short massage course or workshop will help you with the basics of anatomy and soft muscles, hygiene, alleviating stress and promoting touch through healing.