What qualifications do you need?

The qualifications you need will depend on whether you are looking at a career on the deck, in engineering, or the interior as a stewardess or chef.


STCW 95 stands for: Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, it was ratified by the IMO in 1995. Generally speaking, within the industry, the basic entry level certification is abbreviated to Basic STCW 95 and comprises five modules:

  • Personal Survival
  • Fire Fighting
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Personal Safety & Social Responsibility
  • Proficiency in Security Awarness (PSA)

The course will take five days to complete and is available in all major yachting centres. All modules must be completed to obtain the license.

By obtaining this basic certificate, entry level crew will achieve two things: You will you be a more able and knowledgeable candidate and you will also confirm to potential employers that you are serious about this industry.


An ENG1 is a seafarer medical certificate issued by a MCA approved medical practitioner to work on a UK flagged yacht. Please note a medical certificate issued by a maritime authority of any country listed in MSN 1815 (M) will also allow you to work on a UK flagged vessel. The list of these countries can be found here.

By the same token, an ENG1 certificate will allow you to work on most non UK flagged yachts. Always check with the relevant flag state to make sure your medical certificate is recognised.

The above is in accordance to the MLC 2006 Standard A1.2 Medical Certificate. You can find the list of doctors, worldwide, accredited to carry out an ENG1 on the following link from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, MCA.


If you have a hotel school degree or even diploma that's fantastic; if you don't, it's not the end of world. Perhaps you have worked in high end hotels or resorts and have acquired good hospitality and service experience. If you have not, it's not the end of the world either. You can always learn the ropes on a yacht working under the guidance of an experienced Chief Steward/ess : You need to demonstrate during the interview that you are willing to learn without challenging your Head of department and that you have stamina (the hours are long) and a team spirited attitude. Also, there are plenty of stewardess courses available which you can take before joining or after the first season; We do not recommend any specific courses or schools, do your research on the internet.


Cooking on yachts is very challenging yet rewarding. You will cater for high net worth individuals who will have eaten in the best restaurants in the world, who probably already have private chefs on their estates; basically, there is no room for error. So, it is likely that you will come to the yachting industry with already an impressive land based curriculum vitae and a long list of cooking achievements from all over the world.

Depending on the size of the yacht there will be between 1 and 4 chefs in the galley. Typically, a yacht below 50 meters will only have one chef which means that the chef will also cater for the crew (a 50 meter yacht will typically have a crew of around 10). Larger yachts will have executive Chefs cooking for owners and guests and crew chefs catering for the crew. Starting as a crew chef is often the best way to establish yourself in the yachting industry. You will get a feel for the industry, get to know the suppliers and build relationships with them without having the pressure of having to deal with the guests frontline.

Just like for stewardesses, there are many chef courses available suited for yachts.

MLC 2006 has changed the requirements for Chefs working on commercial yachts with 10 crew or more; all flag states are updating their requirements, so please check with the flag state of the yacht you will be joining for their qualification requirements. for information about chefs working on UK registered yachts Please read MSN 1849 (M) and MIN 513 (M)


The competition can be harsh at the beginning of the season for deckhands, there are many people looking for work, so the more you have to offer the better. Sometimes the STCW 95 is not enough and captains may want to see evidence of recreational boating, sailing, water sports, jet sky driving, diving, perhaps a yacht master or power boat level II which qualifies you to drive a tender.

Yacht licenses for deck officers – Please read the Yacht Deck Officer Training and Certification Guidance from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website here.


You can look at the syllabus for engineer on the following MCA link.

The basic certificate required (in addition to the STCW 95) is the AEC : Approved engine course. This 4 or 5 days course gives you the theoretical knowledge and practical hands-on experience of diesel engines. It will enable you to carry out regular servicing of marine diesel engines, and to carry out fault detection and prevention. It is the first level for the MCA engineering officer training scheme, and will also allow you to work in the dual role of deckhand/engineer. There is a clear career path available for engineers on yachts and it is a very rewarding career.

You can find out more about the AEC by following this link on the MCA website .

Yachts licenses or training and certification guidance for yacht engineeers – Please read the MSN 1859 (M+F) from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website here.

Find out more about the Letter of Initial Assessment for yacht engineeers here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-an-lia-or-college-letter-to-train-as-an-engineer-officer

CoC for engineers – https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-a-uk-seafarer-coc-deck-and-engineer-officers

Certificate of Equivalent Competency – https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-a-cec-for-deck-and-engineer-officers

For information, the CEC helpline is +44 23 8032 9254