The very first thing you should do is RESEARCH! Look into every bit of information you can find about the yachting industry. Read up on articles, rules and regulations, blogs and listen to podcasts to get as big a picture as you can. (Personal blogs and podcasts should not be taken for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but they will help you to get an idea.) The yachting industry is not for everyone so it’s best to find out early on. Having said that, it is a wonderful industry with fantastic opportunities and experiences for those who want to work hard.

Welcome to yachting!

You should have your medical examination known as an ENG 1. This must be done by a Doctor approved by the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the UK) who can be found worldwide. A list of approved Doctors in the UK can be found here and a list of international doctors can be found here. This certificate is valid for two years so don’t get it done too far ahead. Having said that, do get it done before taking any courses, just in case something comes up in your medical which would preclude you working on yachts. A seemingly simple thing such as colour blindness would severely curtail your watchkeeping career for example.

Once you have passed your medical, you will need to complete your STCW 1995 Basic Crew Training. STCW stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers and this basic training was ratified by the IMO in 1995, updated in the Manila Amendments in 2010. This is entry level training and consists of five modules:
Personal Survival
First Aid and CPR
Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA)

Previous training in any of the above doesn’t count, even if you are a qualified firefighter or paramedic for example, these modules must all be completed. This course will take 5 days to complete and can be done in any maritime training school. This is the first level of commitment you will make for your new career.

For all crew, it would be useful to have (but not mandatory) a tender driving licence (RYA Powerboat level 2 or International Certificate of competence). Experience in any watersports will also be useful. For interior crew, service experience, floristry skills and knowledge of sewing and fabric care will always be welcome and definitely worth mentioning.

Five key points to a successful career in the yachting industry

Professionalism: def. “the standing, practice or methods of a professional as distinguished from an amateur”
Respect: def. “to show regard or consideration for”
Ideal: def. “a standard of perfection or excellence”
Dedication: def. “complete wholehearted devotion, especially to a career”
Etiquette: def. “requirements as to social behaviour; proprieties of conduct”

Pride in your uniform, pride in your yacht, pride in your industry