The Yacht Crew Training Guide - Release 2011

The Yacht Crew Training GuideSTARTING:
If you have not worked on yachts before, you need to show potential employers that you have the necessary qualities to do so.
The hardest job to get in yachting is your first one.

Most yachts would prefer to employ crew with at least one season’s experience; those who found work last year are more likely to be selected.
So, how can you make yourself stand out ?

- The key to getting your first job is to network, network, network!
- ALWAYS carry a copy of your CV (see below for CV guidance)

In addition to registering and checking-in regularly with the agencies, it is important to walk the docks at the local ports and marinas asking for day work and talk to people at the local crew houses, yacht training schools and cyber cafes.
When walking the docks, start early, looking smart and keen. Turning up at the passarelle of a large yacht at 10.00 with a hangover and looking like you have just slept on the beach will NOT get you employment.

How to present yourself:
At all times it is important to have a professional appearance, whether interviewing or walking the docks. You should be clean shaven, well groomed, hair pulled back and presentably dressed. Tattoos need to be covered up and piercings removed.
An overall clean and smart appearance says a lot about your attitude and work ethic.
Always be on time for any interviews. An enthusiastic, polite and personable nature is obviously very important as well.

STCW95 Crew Basic Training is essential to get a job. This is an extremely important course and you should read the description of it in this guide.
The new STCW 2010 enters into force on 1st January 2012.
Other courses are not formally required but if you want to stand out from the crowd and show that you are serious about working in the industry then additional training will benefit you considerably.

Yachting is a well-paid industry and you will recover the cost of your investment in training very quickly when you get that first position onboard.

Your CV:
A CV should be no more than two sides of A4 and should include your photo.
The photo should ideally be in colour, face on and you should not wear sunglasses.
Party photos should not be used! The CV should be targeted at the yachting industry according to what you want to do:
- If you are applying for a steward/stewardess position, emphasize any hospitality experience or customer service you may have had; such as waiter/waitressing, hostessing, silver service, bartending, cooking, nanny/au-pairing, babysitting, flower-arranging, cleaning, and/or laundry experience.

- If you are applying for a deckhand position, include all woodwork/carpentry and mechanical experience in addition to painting, polishing, varnishing, diving, sailing, fishing and all watersports skills/qualifications you may have.

- For an engineering position, include all mechanical experience and qualifications including all work done in refrigeration, air conditioning, hydraulics, engines, electrical work, electronics and computing. If you have any craft skills, such as welding, metalworking etc, then be sure to mention it.

Additional qualifications that are appealing to yacht captains and owners are:
Languages, experience in hotels, resorts, as air cabin crew or on cruise ships, CPR, first aid certification or any emergency medical training, nursing and masseuse/beauty therapy qualifications.

Extra curricular activities such as travelling, recreational sailing, watersports and diving can be helpful on your CV, so stress any experience, even non-professional, and briefly list any recent travels.

Entry Level
- Deck Department - Engineering Department - Advanced Safety - Career Development - Interior Department - Galley Department - F.A.Q. - Yachtmaster, ready? - Training Record Book - Top

If you are seeking work in the yachting industry for the first time, certain courses are essential and others are highly desirable in the eyes of potential employers.
You will find it difficult to obtain a job in yachting unless you have attended these courses. They contain essential safety information for anyone going to sea for the first time.

STCW 95 crew basic training (STCW 2010 from January 2012)
Basic training takes place over 5 days and comprises 4 courses.
These are: Personal Safety and Social Responsibility, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Personal Survival Techniques and Elementary First Aid.
If you are hoping to go on to gain MCA Certificates of Competency, such as are described later, you should be aware that the MCA expect that your STCW 4 element basic training takes place over a
minimum of 5 days of tuition. Some centres offer training over a shorter time period.
Such courses would not be recognised by the MCA.

RYA boat driving certification
Under UK law most people do not require a licence to operate a boat of less than 80 GT. Most other countries, however, have a much lower limit than this. In France, for instance, permits are required over 6 Kw of engine power. The RYA National Powerboat Certificate (Level II) is recognised by most European administrations for the operation of small craft like yacht tenders under 10m.

Any yacht tenders outside the immediate vicinity of the mother ship would be well-advised to have qualified tender drivers. Obtaining this certificate at an early stage could make your CV stand out and enhance your job prospects. The course takes place over 2 days and has theoretical and practical boat handling elements.

RYA personal watercraft certificates (jet skis & wave riders)
The Royal Yachting Association is currently the only maritime certification body to issue a Certificate of Competency specifically for these types of craft.
Although potentially very dangerous in careless hands, personal watercraft are very popular ‘toys’ on superyachts. Having an RYA jet ski licence could set you apart from other candidates for a job, whichever department of the yacht you are hoping to work in.

For new stewards and stewardesses, there are 3 entry level courses designed to help you to be more effective more quickly in your new job.

Interior foundation course
If you have never worked on a yacht before and you wish to enter the interior department, then this course is for you. You will be given a thorough introduction to all duties that you will be called upon to perform.
The interior of a yacht is filled with very expensive fine ceramics, wood surfaces, fabrics, high finish metal surfaces, precious objects. Having your specialist knowledge in caring for fine products could be invaluable.

Service foundation course
This 1-day course particularly appropriate for small yacht crew or junior crew on a larger yacht.
In 1-day, we can only give a broad introduction to this important subject. The course is designed to give you enough knowledge to be a useful member of a serving team on a large yacht and for small yacht crew to be able to provide a good level of basic service.

Galley foundation course
This 5-day course assumes no particular prior knowledge but will train you to function effectively in the very-tight confines of a yacht galley (kitchen). The course is taught in our new training galley and includes a lot of practical cooking to enable you to master the standard cooking skills from which you can build.
The course is ideal for anyone seeking work as a small yacht "stew/chef ", a larger yacht crew cook or sous chef. Whilst our "Seasoned Chef " course is aimed at trained chefs, it is predominantly theoretical and so those qualified cooks wishing to acclimatise themselves to a marine galley may also benefit from the course.

The wine & cocktail foundation course
The Wine & Cocktail Foundation Certificate is an entry-level qualification providing a straightforward introduction to wine & cocktails. The aim is to provide basic product knowledge, skills in serving wine and cocktails.
It is ideal for inexperienced crew who wish to advance their knowledge in this fascinating and important area. The course lasts 1-day and includes sampling a wide selection of international quality wines. It also includes basic bar work and how to prepare and present common cocktails.

The yacht rating certificate
Under rules published in MGN 270, some yachts need to carry a number of crew qualified with a Yacht Rating Certificate (please refer to the manning scales further below in the article).
This is to bring the industry into line with Merchant Navy practice.
The Yacht Rating Certificate is a combined deck and engineering qualification. To obtain it you will need the following:
- 6 months yacht service
- 2 months sea service
- STCW 95 crew basic training
- An ENG1 seaman’s medical certificate.
- A completed Yacht Rating Training Record Book (you will need to download MGN 270 from the MCA website which contains the Training Record Book).
To apply, go online to and follow the link to application forms; you can apply as soon as you have met the above requirements.

3 Day MCA approved yacht rating course
You can short circuit this process AND give yourself an edge in the job market by attending the MCA yacht rating course. Undertaking this course will negate the 6 months yacht service and completed Training Record Book as mentioned above.
This 3-day course will teach you, amongst other skills the basics of seamanship, knots and ropes, turning up heavy berthing ropes, basic rigging, steering, helm orders, engine pre-start checks, shut-down procedures and how to use an oil spill kit.

The approved engine course
This 5-day course assumes no prior knowledge of engineering and can really help you get a job.
Whether you wish to work as a small yacht engineer, in the engineering department of a larger yacht or, in fact, in the deck department, this popular course can help you.
Many yachts are required to carry an ‘assistant engineer’, a position for which this coursewill qualify you.
It does not matter in which department the AEC holder works, many yachts, rather than employing another person for this role, will have an existing deckhand qualified to do the job. The course is described in more detail below.

Entry Level - Deck Department - Engineering Department - Advanced Safety - Career Development - Interior Department - Galley Department - F.A.Q. - Yachtmaster, ready? - Training Record Book - Top

A career in the deck department can be highly rewarding and ultimately very well paid.
A career path exists for you from new deckhand all the way to Master 3000gt.
After this, if you have the dedication, there is a route that can take you through to general service Merchant Navy certificates. Manning scales are at the end of this guide or in MSN1802.

Yacht rating
The qualifications required to work on deck vary according to the position that you fill on board. After STCW95 (soon STCW 2010) the next qualification that you could consider if you are just starting in the yachting industry is the Yacht Rating Certificate.
Vessels that are over 200gt (private or charter) will require a minimum amount of crew to have a Yacht Rating Certificate (please refer to the manning scale).
The requirements to obtain a Yacht Rating Certificate are described above.

Rya yachtmaster
On British-flagged (Red Ensign) vessels there are two Certificates of Competency allowing you to command yachts under 200gt:
RYA Yachtmaster Offshore -  RYA Yachtmaster Ocean
The difference between these certificates is the distance from shore that you are allowed to take your vessel. The Yachtmaster Offshore limits you to 150 nm from shore; the Yachtmaster Ocean has no limitations. Please refer to page 24 for the requirements to obtain these certificates. If you apply for a commercial endorsement to your RYA certificates, you will be allowed to work on a charter vessel which enables you to carry up to 12 paying guests on board.

MCA/STCW master 200 GT
The 2 Yachtmaster Certificates of Competency are not STCW endorsed, which means they are UK-only certificates and therefore limit you to work on British-flagged vessels only.
Once you have obtained these certificates, however, the MCA will allow you to convert them to a 200gt Certificate of Competency which is STCW endorsed, with identical limitations to Yachtmaster.
The Master 200gt Certificate of Competency (either limited or unlimited) is awarded upon successful completion of an oral examination by an MCA official.
This qualification would allow you to work on vessels other than British-flagged (eg. Luxembourg-flagged vessels). Please note that an OOW (Yacht) certificate will now automatically have a Master 200gt endorsement with no further training.

How to apply for MCA deck qualifications
In order to obtain any MCA Certificate of Competency, you will need to submit an application form so that you can prove that you have met the minimum MCA requirements.

This application form must be downloaded from the MCA website
Follow the link for "working at sea", "training and certification" and "application forms"
You will send the application form along with:
- proof of nationality and age
- proof of service, eg. passport, I.D. card (see page further below for definitions of Service)
- a valid medical fitness certificate (ENG1)
- course completion certificates from any required training modules
- examination pass certificates for modules with externally moderated exams
- For OOW applications, a completed Training Record Book

We recommend that you obtain your ENG1 medical fitness certificate BEFORE you start any training. If you have any medical condition which disqualifies you from service at sea, you could have wasted a lot money if you discover this at the end of your training.

If your application is complete, you will receive a Notice of Eligibility (NOE), which allows you to present yourself for oral exam at an MCA office or with an MCA Examiner organised by your training provider.

Please note that, if at the time you obtained your NOE you had not completed all your modules, you will have to present your original certificates to the oral examiner.

Service definitions
Under the new rules laid out in MSN 1802 (you can download this from the MCA website) there are now 6 definitions of service which you need to consider.
Service should be in the deck department and Onboard Yacht Service reckoned from the date of engagement to the date of discharge. At least 6 months of the qualifying Sea Service must have been performed within the 5 years preceding the application. The service definitions are as follows:
Onboard Yacht Service
The time spent signed on to a yacht crew agreement, irrespective of the activity of the yacht.
Actual Sea Service
Time spent at sea, which may include time at anchor or on river or canal transits associated with a passage.
Yard Service
Time standing by a build, refit or repair. This may be counted toward Sea Service up to a maximum of 90 days.
Stand-By Service
Time spent alongside whilst fully crewed, fuellled, victualled, and stored, ready to proceed to sea.
For example between charters.
Watchkeeping Service
This is Actual Sea Service spent as a Bridge Watchkeeping Officer in full charge of the navigational watch for not less than 8 hours in 24, on a passage.
Sea Service
This is a combination of Actual Sea Service, Stand By Service and Yard Service, for use in Yacht CoC applications. For general service applications greater than 3000gt, Watchkeeping Service will be needed.

- Certificate of Competency (coc) prerequisites -
RYA yachtmaster Offshore
This is not a beginner’s course and candidates should make sure that they have enough experience and sea time.
The requirements are:
- 50 days at sea
- 2500 logged miles at sea (half must be tidal)
- 5 passages over 60 miles (including 2 as skipper and 2 overnight)
- Yachtmaster Offshore shore-based theory certificate
- RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Practical exam pass
- VHF (ROC or SRC)
- First Aid Certificate (STCW95, STCW2010 Elementary First Aid Certificate is accepted)
- For Commercial Endorsement: 1 day Sea Survival (STCW95, STCW2010 Personal Survival Techniques is accepted) and ENG1 medical fitness certificate.

RYA yachtmaster Ocean
By completing your Yachtmaster Ocean you will lift the limitation on distance from shore to obtain an unlimited CoC. The requirements are:
- Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competency
- Yachtmaster Ocean shore-based certificate
- Practical experience: have an ocean passage of a minimum length of 600 nm (minimum of 96 hrs at sea) over 50nm from land
- Oral Examination by an RYA Ocean Examiner: during this exam you will have to present to the oral examiner a narrative account of passage plan and execution
- Ocean Sights (sun run sun and meridian passage) and a compass check.

STCW MCA master 200gt Coastal
The requirements for this Certificate of Competency are:
- 19 years of age
- STCW Crew Basic Training
- ENG1 medical fitness certificate
- Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate (commercially endorsed)
- Pass the MCA Master (Yachts less than 200gt) oral examination

SYCW MCA master 200gt Unlimited
- +19 years of age
- STCW95 basic training
- ENG1 medical fitness certificate
- Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate (commercially endorsed)
- Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate
- Pass the MCA Master (Yachts less than 200gt) oral examination

*Note: We strongly recommend to those candidates considering lifting the coastal limitation
of their Master 200gt CoC or obtaining an OOW CoC, to attend a GMDSS GOC course as
there is no route to upgrade a Restricted Operator’s Certificate (ROC) to a General
Operator’s Certificate (GOC).

Officer of the Watch (yacht less than 3000gt)
The prerequisites and service requirements are:
- +19 years of age
- Have (since the age of 16 years) a minimum of 36 months Onboard Yacht Service, on vessels of any size, including not less than 12 months Sea Service on vessels of 15 metres or over load-line length.
- The Sea Service must be:
a. A minimum of 250 days ‘Actual Sea Service’, and
b. the balance of 115 days being any combination of the following:
1. Further Actual Sea Service
2. Stand-by Service
3. Yard Service (max 90 days continuously or in separate periods)
- Have completed the MCA approved Training Record Book1
- Hold all of the following certificates:
- Yachtmaster Offshore shore-based course2
- Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate (commercially endorsed)
- STCW95 Basic Training Certificates: PST, FP&FF, EFA, PSSR
- Advanced Sea Survival for Yachtsmen3
- GMDSS GOC Certificate of Competency
- Navigation and Radar (OOW Y) course completion and exam pass cert.
- General Ship Knowledge course completion and exam pass cert.
- Oral exam
1. Note: Not required if the candidate can provide evidence of 36 months’ Sea Service in vessels of at least 24 metres in load-line length or not less than 80gt. For those having trouble with the MCA OOW Training Record Book, please have a look at page 66 for some useful tips.
2. Note: Not required if the candidate holds a Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate issued before 31 July 2003
3. Note: Where a yacht is fitted with davit launched lifeboats, any person in charge of the launching and operation of the lifeboat must hold a CPSC&RB Certificate from a UK College. Ask in the office if you need advice.

Chief Mate (yacht) endorsement:
To obtain the Chief Mate endorsement on an OOW (Y) Certificate of Competency you are required to complete the following modules:
- Advanced Fire Fighting
- Medical First Aid
- Yachtmaster Ocean – shore-based
- Yachtmaster Ocean – COC
Note: If you have all these modules at the time of your OOW (Y) oral examination your OOW
CoC will automatically have a Chief Mate endorsement when you receive it.

Master 500gt (yacht)
The prerequisites and service requirements are:
- 21 years of age
- Have a minimum of 12 months Onboard Yacht Service as a Deck Officer, including not less than 120 days Watch-keeping Service, in vessels 15 metres or more in load-line length, whilst holding an OOW certificate.
- Have fully met the education and training requirements for issue of the Chief Mate Endorsement, which are:
      - Medical Care at Sea certificate
      - Seamanship and Meteorology course completion and exam pass certificates
      - Master’s Stability course completion and exam pass certificate
      - Master’s Business and Law course completion and exam pass certificates
      - Master’s Navigation & Radar course completion and exam pass certificate
- Pass the Master (Yachts less than 500gt) oral examination
- Hold an ENG1 medical fitness certificate master (yachts less than 3000gt)

Master (yachts less than 3000gt)
- Be more than 23 years of age
- Have a minimum of 24 months Onboard Yacht Service as a Deck Officer, including not less than 240 days Watchkeeping Service whilst holding an accepted OOW certificate. All service must be completed
in vessels 15 metres or more in load-line length and include 12 months in vessels 24 metres or more in load-line length, or six months in vessels 500gt or more
- Hold either MCA Master STCW Reg. 1/2 (Yachts less than 500gt) or have passed all written examinations and short courses required for issue of that Certificate
- Pass the Master (Yachts less than 3000gt) oral examination
- ENG1 medical fitness certificate

General ship knowledge (GSK)
This course covers a wide range of subject material and some pre-course reading is highly recommended. Reeds ‘Superyacht Manual’ provides a good source of introductory reading. Subjects covered are Basic Seamanship, Meteorology, Stability and Yacht Construction.

The course completion and exam pass certificates are valid for three years. The course
is assessed in a 2½ hour written examination.

GMDSS: general operator certificate (GOC)
The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System General Operator’s Certificate is a certificate of competence in its own right as a ship-board radio operator’s licence.
It also forms an important part of the training required to obtain MCA certificates of competency.

You will learn: General communications procedures, in particular distress, urgency, safety and routine communication, using VHF/MF/HF radio, telex and satellite systems.
Students unfamiliar with computer keyboards may be well advised to practice using them before attending the course. This is an intensive course, which requires considerable work outside the classroom.

Duration: 7/8 days plus 2 days of exams
Assessment: There are two written and two practical examinations before an AMERC
examiner. The certificate is valid for 5 years and then must be renewed.

OOW navigation & radar
The OOW Navigation and Radar module is an advanced course in yacht navigation and
it is not for beginners. Students must have taken and passed their RYA Yachtmaster
Offshore before attending.

The course provides an STCW 95 ARPA (Automatic Radar Plotting Aids) qualification.
There are two parts to the course. Ten days of theory followed by five days of
practical navigation in one of our radar simulators.

The first two weeks of theory start from where the RYA Yachtmaster leaves off.
Students must be at Yachtmaster standard before attending
Assessment: Is continuous throughout the course, a 2½ hour written exam and
a practical assessment in the simulator.

- Master’s courses -
Business & law
This course is aimed at making the yacht master aware of his or her responsibilities in law. The course describes how criminal and civil jurisdictions work in the multinational environment of seafaring, the major international conventions that affect yachts and the documents and certificates required to support these. Important safety issues are discussed and in particular UK Health and Safety Laws and also the master and owner’s civil liabilities. Other aspects of UK law, such as that relating to Employment, Salvage and Insurance are covered.
Assessment: There will be a 2½ hour written exam given on the last day of the course. (A pass is valid for 3 years)

Master’s navigation & radar
The first week is theoretical and concentrates on matters such as passage planning, full knowledge of the COLREGS, radar theory, ARPA theory, advanced radar plotting, and ECDIS. In the second week students are placed in a series of exercises on radar simulators of mounting complexity. They will be expected to
improve their performance over the week.
Assessment: Continuous in-course assessment, 2½ hour written examination and practical simulator assessment. (A pass is valid for 3 years)

This course explores the principles of ship stability at a practical level. Emphasis is placed upon those aspects of the subject which can affect the work of a large yacht master.
The course aims to ensure an understanding of the principles rather than testing mathematical ability in their application. Nevertheless many of the principles will be illustrated by practical examples in the classroom and therefore a revision of basic algebra and trigonometry will benefit the student. We also recommend you read the course notes in advance.
Assessment: 2½ hour written examination (A pass is valid for 3 years)

Master’s seamanship & meteorology
This course is designed to cover five different key areas All of these subject areas are given a high priority in the MCA Oral examination for 500gt and 3000gt Master. These are; Seamanship, Navigation and Passage Planning, Meteorology, MARPOL and the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen.
Assessment: 2½ hour written examination (A pass is valid for 3 years)

Oral prep
An oral prep course is not required for any MCA oral examination but many candidates find them very valuable indeed. At bluewater we believe the best approach is to group candidates in classes of 5 to 12 for an intensive and focused revision week where candidates are put ‘on the spot’ in fort of their peers in a light hearted but challenging way. Candidates are encouraged to work in teams after hours in the lead up to the exam. We are often able to arrange for an examiner to attend after the prep week.

Entry Level - Deck Department - Engineering Department - Advanced Safety - Career Development - Interior Department - Galley Department - F.A.Q. - Yachtmaster, ready? - Training Record Book - Top

The yacht engineering qualifications were introduced in February 2001 to provide a system of certification adapted to the needs of the industry. The system allows all those who wish to pursue an engineering career to do so regardless of their previous training.

Mechanical craft apprenticeship?
Those who have a formal UK apprenticeship accepted by the MCA might be able to leapfrog the entry level engineering qualifications when they have accrued enough sea time. This may also be possible for those with overseas apprenticeships who have met the sea service requirements stated in MGN156.

Examples of the sort of apprenticeships accepted are: Fitter and Turner, Diesel Mechanic or Toolmaker. To find out if your apprenticeship is acceptable, you should contact the MCA Seafarer Training and Certification Department.

Non-UK apprenticeship?
If your own government will provide an attestation that they would accept your apprenticeship as relevant craft training towards the award of an STCW engineering qualification, then the MCA may recognise it. You need to ask.

No apprenticeship?
Those without craft training are expected to acquire a certain level of craft aptitude and this is tested in the Crafts Skills Test.
This must be passed by these candidates before admittance to MCA engineering exams.
If you successfully pass your Craft Skills Test you may reduce the sea service requirements in some cases.
Please refer to the specific requirements for each of the yacht engineering qualifications listed. If you consider that you have the required sea time, you must apply for a Notice of Eligibility (NOE) before you attend any of the higher level engineering modules (Y4 and above).

Letter of initial assessment
If in any doubt, you may also apply for a Letter of Initial Assessment. If you consider that you have reached the sea service requirements, you may be able to do a direct entry into MEOL or Y4 level.

You should be aware that the AEC and MEOL(Y) are not STCW95 endorsed certificates, however the Y4, Y3, Y2 and Y1 Certificates are STCW endorsed.
Please refer to the manning scales on page 68 of this guide or to MGN156 or the Large Yacht Code (LY2.)

The assistant engineer
You may have noticed that in the manning section of the Large Yacht Code (LY2) there is a grade of engineer which was not mentioned in the old code (LY1), that of "Assistant Engineer".

The concept of an Assistant Engineer was not invented for the yachting industry but has been adapted from Merchant Navy practice. The Assistant Engineer is someone carried in the complement of a yacht who, though not certified to be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the plant, has enough knowledge to be of use to the Chief Engineer. They will be able to carry out many routine operations such as changing filters, transferring liquids, doing routine maintenance tasks, starting and stopping machinery.
It is also intended that if anything were to happen to the Chief Engineer then the Assistant would have enough knowledge to get the vessel safely back to harbour.

It is important to remember this role is only intended for yachts operating with an Unmanned Machinery Space (UMS): vessels requiring traditional watch-keeping will have to carry a minimum of 2 STCW qualified engineers.
The person holding this position does not necessarily need to be someone who actually works full time in the Engineering Department, they could be a deckhand, the mate or someone from another  department. Deck candidates take note, however, that in their case the sea service credited will not be counted at full rate but will be split equally between deck and engineering service.

The MCA considered that there was a need to enhance the Engineering Department on smaller yachts, and it was also recognised that, on larger yachts, with UMS, operating on coastal voyages, the Second Engineer was not being fully employed and could be safely replaced with an Assistant Engineer.
By using an Assistant Engineer in these positions, a pathway is opened to enable holders of AEC and MEOL(Y) (see below) to gain useful experience on larger yachts on their way to gaining their Y4 qualifications.

As the Assistant Engineer can be a dual-role position, a by-product of this change is a reduction in the salary bill whilst maintaining an acceptable standard of engineering expertise on board. This is important, particularly on smaller yachts where no increase in actual numbers is required but engineering expertise is enhanced.
Those who have been required by an MCA inspection to get an Assistant Engineer will know that nowhere does it say exactly what qualifications are needed for this role!
This is because LY2 is relatively new and MGN 156, which would normally have this information, is too old.
By calling the MCA, you can find out that in fact the Approved Engine Course and MEOL (Y) are the two key requirements depending on the engine power of the yacht and where it wants to go. Obviously general service merchant navy qualifications are also accepted.

The craft skills test
Candidates who do not have a recognised craft apprenticeship can demonstrate their ability in a Craft Skills Test.
Two weeks are allowed for this, although for those who have clear practical ability this may be reduced.

The practical test covers: interpretation of drawings, use and care of hand tools, use of measuring equipment, safe use of portable power tools, safe use of drilling machines, safe use of hand grinders, metal joining (welding, brazing, soldering, gas cutting, mechanical joints), gaskets, flanges, couplings, assembly skills and electrical testing and wiring.

Certificate of competency requirements
All engineering qualifications require that candidates attend the STCW95 (2010) Basic Training.
With the exception of AEC candidates, all must attend the following advanced safety training:
- Advanced Sea Survival for Yachtsmen, or CPSC&RB
- Medical First Aid
- Advanced Fire-fighting

AEC certificate
The pre-requisites and service requirements are:
- Candidates must attend a 30-hour approved course. No formal engineering training is required to attend the course.
- 1 month of yacht service

MEOL (Y) certificate
The pre-requisites and services requirements are:
- 36 months as deck/engineer Officer, or
- 24 months as engineer whilst holding an AEC certificate, or
- MCA Craft Skills Training Test plus 18 months as engineer
- Advanced Safety Courses
- Pass an MCA oral examination

Yacht 4 (Y4)
The pre-requisites and service requirements are:
- 42 months as engineer, including 6 months sea service,
- MCA Craft Skills Test plus 36 months as engineer including 6 months sea service
- UK Craft apprenticeship or equivalent plus 12 months as engineer including 6 months sea OR service
- 12 months as engineer including 6 months sea service whilst holding MEOL(Y)
- Hold the following certificates:
      - Marine Diesel Engineering
      - Auxiliary Equipment
      - Operational Procedures and Basic Hotel Services
- Advanced Safety courses
- Pass an MCA oral examination
Candidates must be aware that these modules cover a large number of topics and therefore pre-study of the course notes is essential.

Yacht 3 (Y3)
The pre-requisites and service requirements are:
- 9 months as engineer including 3 months sea time whilst holding a Yacht 4.
- Hold the following certificates:
      - Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements
- Advanced Safety courses
- Pass an MCA oral examination
Candidates must be aware that these modules cover a large number of topics and therefore
pre-study of the course notes is essential.

Yacht 2 (Y2)
The pre-requisites and service requirements are:
- 24 months as engineer including 12 months sea service whilst holding a Yacht 4
- 15 months as engineer including 9 months sea service whilst holding a Yacht 3.
- Hold the following certificates:
      - Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements (not required if taken for Yacht 3)
      - General Engineering Science I & 11
      - Applied Marine Engineering
      - Advanced Hotel Services
- Pass an MCA oral examination
Candidates must be aware that these modules cover a large number of topics and therefore
pre-study of the course notes is essential.

Yacht 1 (Y1)
The pre-requisites and service requirements are:
- 12 months as engineer on a yacht between 500-3000gt and not less than 3000kW, whilst in possession of Yacht 2
- The candidate must pass an MCA oral examination

Marine Diesels
This is a five day course which forms a part of the MCA Y4 qualification. Broadly speaking it covers the construction, operation, maintenance, defect repair and diagnostics of typical marine diesel engines and their systems. The course is intensive and candidates are advised to be well prepared for the exam by obtaining the course notes early and studying them thoroughly.
There is a 2 hour written examination at the end of the last day of the course

Auxiliary Equipment
Rounding off the academic requirements for the award of the Y4 Certificate of Competence, this course has perhaps the broadest scope of the three. A knowledge of fundamental engineering and physics concepts is required, and the exam deals with pumps and valves, hydraulics, compressed air equipment and services, steering gear, stabilizers, thrusters, batteries, switchboards, AC and DC machines, fuel husbandry and general engineering principles.
There is a 2 hour written examination at the end of the last day of the course

Operational Procedures
This module follows the same format as Marine Diesel Engineering and covers aspects of IMO, ILO, MCA, ISM and marine business and law that affect the engineering department. The Hotel services component covers refrigeration and air conditioning, fresh water and sewage. Ship Construction deals with stress, metallurgy, corrosion and stability. As with all these short but wide ranging courses pre-study is essential.
There is a 2 hour written examination at the end of the last day of the course

Chief Engineers Statutory & Operational Requirements
Completion of this five day course, the written examination and the Y3 oral exam is
referred to as the Chief Engineer Endorsement. The course covers in more detail the
legal obligations, watch keeping routines and plant management function required by the
future Chief Engineer. Particular attention is paid to pollution control, voyage planning,
IMO, ILO, MCA, ISM, the Codes and Conventions and Health and Safety issues.
The ability to use a scientific calculator (non-programmable) is a pre-requisite.
There is a 2 hour written examination the last day of the course

Applied Marine
This course is one of the 4 modules required to obtain Y2 certification. In this five day
module the future Chief Engineer will study AC machine theory, batteries, metallurgy,
and welding. Generation and distribution form part of the syllabus, along with oil and
fuel technology and control principles. The exam is thorough and demanding and thus
we recommend that you obtain the course notes well in advance and take time to study
them properly.
There is a 2 hour written examination at the end of the last day of the course.

Advanced hotel services
This course is one of the four modules required to obtain Y2 certification. In this five day module those aspects of the engineering department that deal with the provision of services to the guests and crew are studied. At the end of the course students will require a good theoretical and working knowledge of refrigeration, air conditioning, hot and cold domestic fresh water and sewage treatment.
The exam also deals with the health and environmental problems caused by vessel operation and maintenance.
There is a 2½ hour written examination at the end of the last day of the course

General science I
These two modules are run over two weeks with consecutive exams at the end of the second week. As these are considered to be academic qualifications the courses can be sat at any time and the certificates issued do not expire.
Students who do not have excellent numerical skills and a good understanding of the fundamental principles of maths and physics should be aware that these are rapid revision courses for exam preparation and it would be hard to achieve the required level without any self study well in advance. If you are concerned our training advisors can give you a self assessment exam in order to help you judge your readiness. We can also arrange private tuition.
General Science I is concerned with fractions, algebra, geometry, graphical equations, trigonometry, vectors, motion, friction, pressure, mechanics, measurement and ship stability.

General science II
These two modules are run over two weeks with consecutive exams at the end of the second week. As these are considered to be academic qualifications the courses can be sat at any time and the certificates issued do not expire.
Students who do not have excellent numerical skills and a good understanding of the fundamental principles of maths and physics should be aware that these are rapid revision courses for exam preparation and it would be hard to achieve the required level without any self study well in advance. If you are concerned our training advisors can give you a self assessment exam in order to help you judge your readiness. We can also arrange private tuition.
General Science II deals with thermodynamics, gas laws, heat, power, machines, stress, electro technology, ohms and kirschoffs laws, Faraday and Lenz’s laws and electrical measurement. An understanding of the function of your non-programmable scientific calculator is essential.

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Advanced fire fighting
This 4 day course is one of the most important safety courses for professional seafarers. Bluewater is one of only 2 schools approved to run it outside the UK and the only one in continental Europe.
This course covers the syllabus required by the STCW Code 1995 Table AVI/3. It is a management level course aimed at those holding or aspiring to MCA Certificates of Competency in both deck and engineering specialisations.
The course contains much practical fire fighting using different types of extinguishers, hoses and breathing apparatus. Students gain experience in fighting fires in an enclosed space with heat and smoke and of casualty evacuation in a series of escalating exercises designed to build confidence and teamwork.
They will also acquire an appreciation of command and control problems. The practical drill can be physically demanding and students should be reasonably fit.

Advanced sea survival
This course is not an STCW95 course but has been created by the MCA specifically to address the need under the STCW convention, for certificated officers to be trained in the operation of survival craft. The STCW "CPSC&RB" can be used in place of this course if desired. As yachts usually do not carry lifeboats this element has been removed from the course.
The course covers onboard organisation for emergencies and drills, imaginative onboard training programmes, survival craft types, lifejackets and immersion suits, actions in survival craft distress communications, rescue boats and launching underway, and man-overboard responses.
The course is assessed in four ways:
- classroom question and answer sessions
- a short written examination
- a practical sea assessment in our training yacht
- a short presentation to theclass, researching the information from the publication provided.

Medical first aid
This course covers the syllabus required by the STCW Code 1995 Table AVI/4-1. It is required for those seeking MCA Certificates of Competency at the operational level and for those designated to provide first aid care in a ship.
The course covers how to prepare for a medical emergency on board so you can do what is required to preserve life until proper medical attention can be given. Subjects include; body structure and function, toxicological hazards onboard, casualty examination, spinal injuries, burns, fractures, care of the rescued, radio medical advice, pharmacology, sterilisation of cardiac arrest, drowning and asphyxia.

Medical care at sea
This course covers the syllabus required by the STCW Code 1995 Table AVI/4-2. It is a management level course aimed at those holding or aspiring to MCA Certificates of Competency in deck specialisations and for those designated to take charge of medical care on board.
The course aims to prepare students to be able to deliver longer-term medical care at sea until professional medical help can be obtained. It includes care to sick and injured patients, head and spinal injuries, ear, nose and throat problems, bleeding, care of wounds, pain relief, suturing, diseases, injections, dental care, hygiene and medical records.

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Courses in this section are not required as part of the mandatory training for MCA Certificates of Competency but they are all qualifications needed by yachts to satisfy various legal requirements.

Often yachts have to send crew away to attend these courses; if you already have them on your CV then your chances of being selected are considerably enhanced.

RYA jet-ski instructor
Most large yachts carry 'personal water-craft' (jet skis and wave riders) and many captains and managers are very concerned about their safety and the legal consequences of an accident.
All maritime administrations in the Mediterranean require jet ski operators to have a certificate. Many yachts have themselves certified as RYA schools to legitimise Jet Ski operation.

The official governing body for recreational boating in the UK, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), has created clear and exacting standards for the operation of personal watercraft. One of the key  requirements of these rules is the employment on the yacht of a qualified PWC instructor.
There is considerable demand for crew with this important certificate. Having this qualification will considerably enhance your chances of employment on large yachts.

Ship security officer (SSO)
Commercial yachts over 500gt are required to be certified in the International Ship and Port Facility Security code(ISPS) and to have an officer qualified with an MCA Ship Security Officer course.
The code was introduced in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.
Students learn how to establish and implement a ship security plan. They are also taught how to carry out effective searches of luggage bags and personnel.

Shipboard safety officer
Commercial yachts over 500gt are required to be certified under the International Safety Management code and to have an officer trained in the duties of Shipboard Safety Officer. This does not form part of the required training for any of the qualifications listed in the other sections. The course covers how to run a Safety Management System, how to encourage a culture of safety on board and how to investigate accidents.
The course is taught using examples from real life, including incidents that have happened in yachts.

Crisis management & human behaviour
This is an STCW endorsed MCA approved one day course that is required for yachts operating as passenger ships. It trains candidates in how to manage a major incident at sea.
People behave differently when placed under extreme pressure or when extremely frightened. How would you cope if faced with managing a major fire or other emergency? The psychology of stress and leadership in these circumstances is at the heart of this course.

Crowd control
This half day STCW course is required for yachts operating as passenger ships and trains crew in the management of guests during emergency situations. Use of life-saving appliances, control plans, assisting passengers en route to muster/embarkation stations, and in mustering procedures.

Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems are now fitted in most large yachts and some small ones. They have revolutionised navigation over recent years. Although many systems are, superficially, easy to use there are many capabilities which are not so obvious and for which training is required. There are also hidden dangers in these capabilities which navigators must be trained to avoid. For this reason in the 2010 ‘Manila Amendments’ of STCW it was decided to make training in ECDIS compulsory for the
deck certificates of competency.
This course fully complies with the requirements of and is approved by, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The course takes five days and involves theoretical instruction in the principles of ECDIS operation and practical training in our navigation simulator.
The course satisfies the legal requirement for ‘generic’ training and it is planned shortly for it to be adapted to serve as ‘type specific’ training for the Transas system and possibly other systems in the future... It is not currently a requirement for deck officer COC’s but will become compulsory.

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Entry Level Courses

Interior foundation
A luxury yacht is not just a high class cruise ship; it is a work of craftsmanship. In the interior of a modern yacht every surface, every fabric and every object is of the highest quality. The care and maintenance of such fine finishes and fabrics are in a different league to that needed in an hotel or most private homes. The level of service which yacht owners and charterers expect is very high.

This course cannot teach you everything in 3 days but it is designed to take a new crew member who has never worked in the industry before and give them the skills needed to quickly become a key member of an interior team.
You will learn about:
- Care of interior finishes
- Care of objets d’art
- Care of crystal and ceramics
- Care of rugs and carpets, including what to do after an accidental spillage
- Comportment and etiquette
- Laundry
- Presentation of cabins and other interior spaces

Service foundation
The foundation course is a 1-day basic course created to give new crew, an insight into what will be expected in the service of food and wines. Students will learn the basics of how to set the table and serve in a variety of styles and traditions.
This course is targeted at anyone wishing to have a rapid introduction to yacht service particularly sole steward/esses on small yachts and junior crew on larger yachts.

The wine & cocktail foundation course
This course is intended for crew starting out in the yachting industry. It provides a basic introduction to wines with emphasis on how they should be stored, opened and served.
It provides an overview of how to prepare and serve standard cocktails. The course is 50% practical and 50% theoretical.

WSET level 1 wine foundation course
Accredited by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, this 1-day course assumes no prior knowledge of the care and selection of fine wines and is ideal for interior staff or other yacht crew who wish to have an internationally-recognised qualification in this fascinating and important area.
The course includes practical sessions in tasting and mixing of wines and food and a written examination.

Advanced service
An intensive course in fine food service. As well as table setting and service styles you will learn about the care and presentation of a variety of different foods and beverages
- You will learn the French culinary terms
- Food tasting, olive oils, exotic salts, sugars and luxury foods
- How to serve all the meals of the service day including tea, cakes and canapés
- Mixing drinks and serving champagne
- Food and nutrition
- Herbal teas and remedies
- Flower arrangements and centre pieces

Interior management
This course has been especially created for those interior crew members who aspire to successfully undertake the role of Chief Steward/ess or for already ‘titled’ Chief Stewards/ess looking to improve their skills. It is a 5-day course which covers a wide variety of subjects designed to incorporate the various roles and responsibilities of the Chief Steward/ess aboard a luxury yacht.
- The role of a Chief Steward/ess
- Crew management skills
- Personal grooming
- Social duties/responsibilities
- Safe service techniques
- Wine storage and service
- Daily routines including formulating rotas
- Laundry management
- Care of furnishing and fittings
- Inventories
- Provisioning
- Welcoming guests aboard
- Table etiquette
- Basic wine knowledge

WSET level II Intermediate Course
This course is intended for those aspiring to be a Chief Steward/ess or anyone who wishes to deepen their knowledge of fine wines.
It is an intensive course lasting 2½ days and is examined and accredited by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London. It includes topics such as the care and service of fine wines and the selection of wines in relation to the menu. It is recommended that students attend the introductory course before attempting this one.

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Operationel Level

Level 1 award in food safety awareness
This course will be available in the near future, in time to comply with forthcoming legislation as a result of the Maritime Labour Convention of 2006. Under UK and European law, all seafarers who have a role in handling food will have to attend this basic safety course.
As well as galley staff and those serving at table, it also includes those involved in loading food during provisioning.
You will learn about:
- Food Safety (food hygiene, hazards, responsibilities)
- Personal Hygiene
- Cleaning
- Contamination

Galley foundation
One of the great challenges of working on a yacht, especially under 35 metres, is the variety of tasks that crew are expected to perform. In many cases the chef in the galley has no or little formal training and often has other responsibilities onboard.
This course is intended to fill this gap. In a 5-day intensive programme you will learn the fundamentals of how a professional galley should be run. In our yacht training galley you will be trained to produce quality food in the sort of conditions typical on a yacht.
Key themes:
- Good organisation                             - Menu planning
- Time management                           - Provisioning
- Efficient use of equipment                  - Safe storage
- Working at Sea                                - Special diets for health & cultural reasons

The course is ideal for smaller yacht chefs and larger yacht crew cooks; or any interior (or deck) crew wishing to give their CV an edge over the others in this competitive job market.

Master classes
A series of 1-day master classes is planned in a range of international cooking styles or focussed upon particular skills, these will include, seafood, baking, sushi etc.
Ask in the training office for more details.

Creative canapés
This 1-day course is for anyone who likes to entertain whether in their own home, on a yacht or in a villa. Challenge yourself and delight your guests!
You will gain a variety of skills giving you the confidence to explore and develop your own ideas.
You will learn:
- Cold canapés
- Savoury pastry canapés
- Desert canapés
- Cheese varieties & presentation

Seafood master class
An immersion into the world of seafood and the wonderful dishes that can be created. This is a 1day course designed to ‘throw you in the deep end’ with a range of fish, shellfish and urchins.
The course is set to prepare you to make amazing seafood dishes at a moment’s notice depending on your latest provisions or catch.
Discover a fusion of different cultures and experience seafood to its full potential.

Seasoned chef, kitchen to galley course
Every year we see an influx of highly-talented and well-trained chefs, sous-chefs and cuisiniers from the hotel and restaurant trades coming into the yachting industry.
Attracted by the prospects of a life at sea, by the often generous wages or simply by the challenge of a different way of life. Most chefs are not prepared for the realities of life at sea: the galley seems impossibly small and everything moves! They may be working alone, expected to menu plan with the guests, budget, source and order top quality provisions, prep, cook and clean up.

How can this be done when the yacht is always moving? Sometimes you are not even told your next destination.Our instructor has vast experience and knows the tricks of the trade to provide high-class yacht catering in every location. Save yourself a lot of stress and get the head start needed to get your first position in the yachting industry.

Topics covered:
- Introduction to the yachting industry
- Crew positions and responsibilities
- Safe working practices at sea
- Living and working with other crew members
- Galley time and space management
- Menu planning with different cultural requirements
- Passage planning
- Crew nutrition, the importance of good crew food
- Preference sheets
- Provisioning in multiple locations
- Working with provisioners
- Additional duties of the yacht chef
The course includes a visit to a local market and practical scenarios using sample preferences, producing a meal in our training galley.

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How do I revalidate any certificate of competency (CoC)?
Send the following to:
Registry of Shipping and Seamen, Anchor Court, Keen Road, Cardiff CF24 5JW
Tel: 44 2920 448800
- Application form MSF420 (download it see below)
- Original certificate
- 2 x passport photos (1 with your name and ‘I certify etc’ the other with name and date of birth)
- Sea Service Testimonials (12 months seatime in the last 5 years)
- Discharge Book or PYA Service Record book
- Valid ENG1 medical
- Fee of £36.00

The Cardiff office will revalidate both the GMDSS and COC at the same time. Just for a simple revalidation then the documents can be sent into Southampton. Additional information can be found in MGN 214.

How do I revalidate my GMDSS after 5 years?
Send it to the MCA:
Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton SO15 1EG
Tel: 00 44 2380 329 100
And include
- Application form MSF4353 (download it see below)
- Original Certificate
- Proof of 1 years yacht time (testimonials/log book)
- Fee £20.00

How do I download forms?
On the MCA website: Click on top left: WORKING AT SEA and follow (I) TRAINING & CERTIFICATION – (II) APPLICATION FORMS and find the relevant form.

How long is my NOE valid for?
It is valid for 2 years.

Who do I contact at the MCA?
Helpline: +44 (0)2380 329231. You don’t need to wait for the operator to ask you questions, you can just select 1 for Deck or GMDSS, select 2 for Engineering or Safe Manning or select 3 for Certificates of Equivalent Competency

Can I work on British-flag vessels with a certificate issued by another country?
Yes, the MCA recognises STCW95 endorsed certificates from other countries, provided that they have inspected and approved the training system in that country.
All EU cer tificates are accepted. You should check the MCA website
applink.html) for an updated list of non EU countries currently recognised.
The MCA should issue a Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC) with the same limitations as the original certificate.

How do I apply for a CEC?
You need to download form MSF4203 from the MCA website. Complete the form and include the following documents:
- Completed application form
- Non-UK Certificate of Competency
- GMDSS Certificate (Deck officers only)
- Passport or discharge book
- Evidence of competency in English language
- Two passport size photographs
- The fee
You can send your application to:
Seafarer Training and Certification Branch
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Spring Place,
105 Commercial Road
SO15 1EG, UK

How do I revalidate my RYA yachtmaster commercial endorsement?
Send to the:
Royal Yachting Association,
RYA House,
Ensign Way,
Southampton SO31 4YA
+44 (8453) 450400
You need to include:
- Original Yachtmaster certificate
- 2 photos
- valid ENG1 or ML5 medical
- proof of sea-time
- a covering letter authorising them to take the fee from you credit card

How much for a commercial endorsement?

Who is an MCA qualified doctor?
There are 2 doctors in France who can do ENG1 and ML5 medicals.
Dr Patrick Ireland Dr Elizabeth Lefebvre
Le Forum, 1913 Route de Cannes, 69 Boulevard Wilson
Valbonne, 06560 06160 Juan les Pins
Tel: +3 34 93 12 95 66 Tel: +3 34 92 93 07 70
Robert Hempleman (English Dentist) 04 92 98 02 06
In Spain you should go to ;
Dr Prudhoe
Club de mar
Avenida Gabriel Roca
Palma de Mallorca
Tel: +34 639 949 125
For a full list of doctors worldwide see the MCA website:

How do I apply for a seaman’s discharge book?
Go to the MCA website. Do a search for MSF 4509. Click onto the second list and the form can be downloaded. The cost is by post £35.00. Or we do have forms in the office.

How long are my course certificates valid for?
All MCA exam certificates last for 3 years. After this date you can re-sit the exam only with an exam fee cost. If, however you fail the exam, you will need to redo the course.
You then have 2 chances to do the exam.

How long before I can do a resit after a ‘fail’ result?
You can re-sit the failed exam as soon as you can organise a date with your training provider. In most cases you must re-sit any failed exam within 12 months of sitting the original.
If you fail a second time, you must retake the whole course before re-attempting the exam.

If I fail OOW Nav & Radar twice, must I sit the whole course?
Provided you pass the practical week initially you need only sit the first 2 weeks, but you will need a short practical assessment in the simulator.

When do my medical certificates run out?
Med FA/Medical Care at Sea is valid for 5 years. You will need to redo only Medical Care at Sea to keep it in date. As Captain, or the designated medical person in charge, your certificates should always be in date.
However, you do not need to send this certificate when you revalidate your CoC.

How do I fill in my TRB?
Carefully! All tasks are to be completed and signed off by your Captain. None of the tasks should be signed off at the same time.
If you are the Captain, you can sign the tasks off yourself, but the MCA will require, with your application for OOW, a letter from someone higher up than yourself, ie owner, management company or PYA, explaining why you have self assessed. Record books should be filled in over a 1-3 year period.

Dates must correspond to time on vessels, with corresponding testimonials. Don't sign off tasks all on the same date.

Am I exempt from the crafts skills test?
This depends on whether you are qualified in a mechanical trade (Diesel mechanic, fitter etc.) If you trained outside the UK you will need a letter from the marine administration of the country where you did the trade saying that they would recognise your trade as relevant for the issue of STCW Engineering certificates.
You will still need to contact the MCA for a Letter of Initial Assessment, outlining your qualifications and sea time/yacht time.

Can I do an MEOL in Antibes or Palma?
No, this is an exam only and has to be done through one of the MCA marine offices in the UK. If you have enough sea time as an engineer on a yacht, you may not need to do an MEOL.

Do I need STCW basic training to get a job?
Yes! You will not get a job on a charter yacht without the STCW95 (2010) basic training, and it is required by the vast majority of private yachts.
Any MCA coded yacht over 500gt will require all crew to have STCW95.

I have an IYT offshore certificate – can I do an RYA ocean course?
No unfortunately, even though the MCA recognise both qualifications, the RYA will not accept the IYT Yachtmaster Offshore (now called “Master of Yachts 200gt”) as a pre-requisite for taking the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean.

I have an RYA Yachtmaster Certifcate of Service. Will this be accepted as part of my application to the MCA?
No, if you hold a Certificate of Service and you are applying for an OOW NOE, you will need to sit a Yachtmaster Offshore theory course and pass the practical exam.
Once you have acquired a Yachtmaster Offshore certificate, you can apply to the MCA in the normal way.

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Are you ready?
If you are not sure you are ready to attempt the Yachtmaster, we have provided below a self-test to help you gauge your level. The assumed (and required) knowledge to attend the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore theory course is navigation to Day Skipper standard. You should be able to answer all the questions below easily.

If you can’t, you will find the course difficult, and should do some more study and perhaps obtain more sea experience before attending.
1. If you are heading W by the compass, what is your compass heading in degrees?
2. What is the distance in nautical miles from 47°00’N to 50°00’N along a line of longitude?
3. Define the knot (the navigational measure)
4. If your distance log reads 20.5nm at 18:00 and 38.5nm at 19:00, what was your mean speed through the water over that time? (State the speed units used)

5. From the extract of a deck log below, what was the course steered between 22:00 & 23:00?
Deck                  Time                          Remarks                                       Course steered
Log:                   21:00                         Weighed anchor -
22:00                                                                                                    337°C
23:00                                                                                                    265°C

6. Your yacht, drawing 2.1m, anchors in 10m of water at high tide. What is the clearance under the keel when the tide has fallen by 4m?
7. Will a conventional stand-alone GPS mounted in a yacht give the yacht’s speed through the water?
8. If you covered 25nm over the ground in 2 hours, what was your SOG (Speed Over Ground)?
9. A motor vessel is being overtaken on its starboard side by a sailing vessel. Which vessel should give way, and why?

Learn the subject areas in the above questions thoroughly, so that answering these questions is easy for you. You may be tested at the start of the YM course. You MUST know the Collision Regulations and be well practised in the use of a course plotter.

The following books may be of use
- An Introduction to Coastal Navigation – A Seaman’s Guide (Morgans Technical)
- RYA Day Skipper (Theory notes, not practical course notes)
- Basic Coastal Navigation – Conrad Dixon
- Day Skippper – Pat Langley-Price & Philip Ouvry
- A Seaman’s Guide to Rule of the Road (Morgans Technical)
- Reeds Superyacht Manual – James Clarke

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Are you having trouble with your MCA OOW Training Record Book?


The MCA have RELAXED the sea time requirements for yachts compared to those required in other areas of the British merchant fleet after lobbying from the industry.
Under MGN 195 they refer to ‘yacht service’ rather than ‘sea service’ on the understanding that candidates serving in yachts complete training record books to ensure that the time they spend on board is put to maximum effect in educating young crew. For this reason, they take the Training Record Book very seriously indeed and therefore so should you.
The tasks recorded in the TRB are generally not difficult to perform in the course of a three-year period of yacht service, in fact the busier the yacht the easier it should be Masters and Mates must accept that training younger crew is part of the job.
The problems arising at the moment are largely because many candidates have not been filling the books in as they go and are ‘back filling’ to when they accomplished the tasks and are often being somewhat slapdash in the way this is done. If we want to avoid the MCA re-imposing sea time then we must ensure that the TRB is given our full attention.
The following tips are based on a recent interview with the Seafarer Training and Certification section of the MCA and reveal the most common reason for rejection.
If you ensure that your TRB does not have any of these failings you should be OK.
If the MCA think that you are cheating they can refuse to consider your application or add 3 or 6 months extra service penalty before you can reapply.

- Ensure that every single section is filled in, including details of the master or person carrying out the assessment, your personal details and the date you started the book. Make sure you sign it where is says signature!
- Make sure that your captain or other officer assessing you puts their Certificate of Competency and its number in the relevant section.
- Make sure that your captain signs the ´Masters Inspection’ section
- Ensure that your service record page is fully completed (date joined, date of discharge, sea service accrued etc.)
- Make sure that you take care with your handwriting. If they cannot read it they will send it back.

- Put the date for the completion of a task which is before you started the TRB.
- Date a task for a time when you were not on the yacht.
- Have a large number of tasks signed off on the same day.
- Have all the tasks spread over a very short period (the MCA do not give a precise time bracket but 6 months is a good guideline)
- Use the fact that you have attended a short course in place of completing a task (for example use attendance at Basic Fire course as evidence that you have worn a BA set – you must do it on board)
- Leave any tasks unfinished unless obviously irrelevant. (e.g. sailing yacht tasks on a motor yacht)

Effort is made to ensure that the information in this guide is correct, however you should refer to official documents if you are in any doubt. It has been produced by the Crew Training Centre from Blue Water Yachting, the world’s leading training provider for yachts.

The crew training guide author cannot be held responsible for any errors in this booklet.
This guide is based partly on information contained in the following documents and publications issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency of the United Kingdom.

MSN 280 (M) Code of Practice for the operation of Small Commercial Vessels (SCV)
MSN 1792 (M) The Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY2)
MSN 1802 (M) Certificates of Competency: Yacht Deck Officers, Training and Certification Guidance - Part A7
MGN 156 (M) Certificates of Competency or Marine Engine Operator Licences for service as an Engineer Officer on commercially and privately operated yachts and sail boats.
MGN 270 (M) Yacht Rating Certificate
MIN 208 (M) Revised Syllabus for Engineering Certificates of Competency.