Superyacht Training Academy

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The minimum legal requirement for all crew working commerically at sea are the mandatory STCW certificates recognised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

STCW stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping.

During this course you will learn how to keep yourself and others safe at sea. The STCW certificates required for employment onboard a Superyacht include 5 modules namely;
Elementary First Aid, Marine Fire Fighting, Personal Safety & Social Responsibility, Personal Survival Techniques, Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD).

For a Stewardess or Chef working onboard a Superyacht, you will also require the mandatory Food Safety Level II certificate.
All crew handling food in the galley or serving food onboard need to be suitably qualified in food hygiene.

Another compulsory certificate for all crew is the ENG1 medical certificate or an ENG1 equivalent medical certificate – without this certificate you won’t be able to work onboard a Superyacht.

The ENG1 medical certificate ensures crew are fit and healthy to work at sea and are able to perform their dedicated duties while onboard.

This is a basic medical examination carried out by an ENG1 or ENG1 equivalent certified doctor. Your general practioner won’t be able to issue you with this type of certificate.

A standard eye test, colour blindness and hearing test will be included along with an oral inspection of your teeth and gums, a check up of your ears and throat.
Your height and weight will be measured, reflex testing, testing of your heart rate and your blood pressure.
Listening to heart and lungs, hernia testing and a urine sample will be required to test blood sugar level and kidney functionality.
Questions on your medical history will also be discussed during your appointment.

The MCA ENG1 or an ENG1 equivalent such as the SAMSA Medical or Norwegian Medical are all accepted by the Martitime Coastguard Agency (MCA) for work onboard a Superyacht.

We strongly recommend the medical is completed prior to the start of your courses. The medical certificate is valid for 2 years.

Deckhand – A Deckhand is responsible for the exterior maintenance of the yacht, your duties will include polishing, varnishing, wash downs, driving the boats tender,
driving the jet ski’s. Watchkeeping.

Minimum Course Requirement: STCW10, Superyacht Deckhand Course, RYA Powerboat Level II, RYA PWC (Jet ski) & VHF Radio.

Stewardess – A Stewardess is responsible for the interior of the yacht, general housekeeping duties which will include making beds, cleaning, polishing and detailing the interior area,
laundry and ironing, along with food and beverage service.

Minimum Course Requirement: STCW10, Stewardess Course, Food Safety Level II

Chef – A Chef is responsible for creating unforgettable meals for guests, this is a high-pressure position onboard, you need to be innovative and creative.
Depending on the size of the vessel you may also cook for the crew or you’ll work under the Head Chef, assisting or cooking for the crew.

Minimum Course Requirement: STCW10, Food Safety Level II and land based cheffing experience.

The Superyacht Industry is very competitive, we strongly recommend entry level crew take a look at our carefully designed Superyacht Career Course packages relating to their
preferred role onboard as the courses included in these packages will help to broaden your skills and make you more eligible for employment onboard a Superyacht.

Please reach out to us for assistance with choosing the correct compliment of courses suited to you and your budget.


Dual roles entail being able to perform more than one role onboard, this will in turn make you a more versatile crew member onboard.

Dual roles are however more common on smaller vessels and may include the following:

Deck/Stew – Your main responsibility onboard will be maintaining the interior of the vessel, your secondary duties would include exterior
maintenance – wash downs, polishing and varnishing, line handling, assisting with mooring and driving the yachts tender.

Chef/Stew – This role is split between cooking and Stewardess duties or assisting with Stewardess duties depending on the size of the yacht.

Stew/Masseuse – Advancement in yacht design has seen a growing trend in improving spa facilities onboard Superyachts which is creating great demand for crew with massage therapy or beauty skills. In this role your main responsibility lies within the interior department, the massage/beauty skills will only be required when the yacht is in guest mode.

Deck/Engineer – You need a minimum of your AEC1 + AEC2, to do these courses you need to have completed your STCW10 and be over 18 years old, you’ll also need to have sea time recorded.
It is recommended to complete a course in Diesel Engines. Most entry level Engineers will need to start out as a Deckhand, assist the Engineer onboard to gain some experience before moving completely into an Engineering role in future.

Apart from completing one of our packaged career courses to get you started in the Superyacht Industry, courses within our extended course offering have been designed to make your CV stand out from the crowd! Created by Ex-Superyacht Crew, the Advanced Beverage Service, Advanced Silver Service and other advanced courses will have you increase your skill set to a higher level making you more employable in this competitive Industry.

If you are looking to obtain practical sailing skills, we offer sailing courses from beginner to Yachtmaster – these courses are all completed under sail.

We are also able to refer you to reputable suppliers should you wish to complete a Diving Course or the Approved Engine Course (AEC1).

As yachts are getting bigger, skills that go beyond yachting are becoming a great advantage.

Skills or experience prior to yachting which will give you a competitive edge include; hospitality experience, working in a hotel or resort, onboard a cruise ship or restaurant.

Skills such as beauty therapy/masseuse, au-pairing, babysitting, teaching, yoga/pilates instructor, personal training, diving, fishing experience, kite surfing instructor, watersport instructor, photography, drone pilot, helicopter pilot are a great value add for your CV.

We schedule in our courses every month throughout the year, we are able to put together a course schedule for you based on your
preferred start date and course availability.

There are no set intake dates which allows for flexibility and personalised course schedules.

Our courses can be purchased individually or as part of a career package. Our career packages include a discount on the course fee.

We require a completed booking form along with a copy of your ID or Passport, once we have received your paperwork you will be sent an
invoice with our banking details – a 50% deposit payment is required within 3 days of submitting your booking form, the balance payment will be due 2 weeks prior to the start of your courses.

If you are booking your courses within 2 weeks of your course start date – full payment will be required upon booking.

Courses must be paid for in full before your course start date.

Our refund policy is as follows:

More than 4 weeks’ notice – Full refund

2-4 weeks’ notice – 50% refund

Under 2 weeks’ notice – No refund

Over 10 years of training successful Superyacht Crew.

Dedicated Stewardess and Deckhand Instructors, with over 12 years experience as Superyacht Crew.

World class training facility based at the V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa specialising in Stewardess, Deckhand and Chef training.

Being based at the V & A Waterfront opens up wonderful opportunities for crew to complete local day work to gain valuable experience prior to entering into the Superyacht Industry.

The only Superyacht Training Academy in Cape Town to offer crew accommodation on-site.

Seasons & Getting Over There

Mediterranean Season: April – September: Best time to go would be May when it is warmer and the yachts are arriving for the 2 major events in France (Monaco Grand Prix & Cannes Film Festival – Mid May – Beginning of June).

USA Season: Beginning of October – March: Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show happens mid-Oct every year and you want to be there for the daywork opportunities that lead up to it and potentially work during the boat show.

A season is generally 4 – 5 months.

It is never too late, but there are ideal times to go and that is before the season officially starts, too soon is also a problem as many yachts are still cruising to the new seasons location and you will be using your visa days when there are less yachts around.

Ideally, be in the Med or USA 3 weeks before the major events kick off at the beginning of the season.

Florida, USA is seen to be evergreen, meaning that yachting never truly stops there as they don’t have major cold winters and many yachts still do trips to the Bahamas.

Cannes Film Festival – Mid May

Monaco Grand Prix – End May or Beginning June

Monaco Boat Show – End September – Beginning Oct

Fort Lauderdale Interational Boat Show (FLIBS) – Mid October

Antigua Charter Yacht Show – Beginning Decemeber

Europe: France, Italy, Palma De Mallorca, Greece

USA: Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach

Caribbean: Antigua and St.Martin

That is dependent on how much effort you put in and how dedicated you are. Many people get lost in the festivities of their new environment and do not stay on track.

On average it takes 3 – 6 weeks to find a role but can take longer.

Starting salary: $ 1800 – $ 3000

Experienced (2+ years): $ 3500 – $4500

Head of Department: $4500 – $ 8500 (vessel size dependent)

Captain: $ 9000 – $ 25,000

Accommodation: R 4 500 per week

Food: R 200 per day

Telecommunications: R100 per week

Travel/Trains: R120 – R500 per week (depending on how often you need to travel)

Entertainment: – R 2 000 per week


Your CV is your number one marketing tool and the only thing standing in the way of you and the daywork or the job you are looking for.

Competition is very strong each season with 9000+ people looking for work, so you need to stand out.

It is advised to following a yachting CV template and have someone read through it for you.

If you have the budget get a Professional Yacht CV made by Virtual Yacht Assistant (VYA) in order to ensure your CV is top notch.

Never put your passport or ID numbers on your CV, it opens you up for identity theft.

Place all your certifcates in order of importance, starting with STCW10, PDSD, ENG1, Food Health and Safety Level II, followed by Deckhand or Steward/ess courses.

Dockwalking & Daywork

Dockwalking is walking along the docks at popular marina’s where Superyachts are moored, looking for work opportunities.

Approaching the vessel, speaking with the crew onboard to try and secure daywork, permanent work or to leave your CV.

Dockwalking is becoming more strictly regulated in Europe and you may struggle to enter into certain marinas. It is illegal to look for work in any country while on a tourist visa.

In the US, it is illegal to dockwalk, unless you are an American citizen or have a valid work visa. Do NOT risk it!

The best times to dockwalk are between 07h00 – 08h00 or 15h00 – 17h00 during the week. On weekends only dockwalk in the mornings.

Dockwalk on your own and not in a group. Be professional. Be confident when handing over your CV.

As an entry level crew member, your main form of finding work is via networking, talk to as many people as you can.

Attend networking events, you will meet people looking to hire here. These types of events will be posted in the crew houses or you will find out about them from fellow crew.

Join all the yachting Facebook groups, post your CV on yachting websites – continuously check for new positions or daywork.

Ensure you are reachable.

Settle into your new environment and pin the following places on your google maps:

Pharmacies and doctor in your vicinity
Closest restaurants and supermarkets
Closest metro or tram line
Closest bike rental
Closest ATM

Walk around and make sure you become familiar with things around you so that you don’t feel so lost.

6:30 – 8:00: Walk the docks and hand out your CV business cards.

8:00 – 9:00: Make an appointment with a yacht agent and meet them face to face.

9:00 – 10:00: Facebook pages. Select 10 Facebook pages and visit them and look for work that you qualify for . Keep track of the pages you have already visited, re-visit tomorrow morning . Do not apply on Facebook, easy way for customs to catch you out, only email applications it is more professional.

10:00 – 11:00: Instagram yacht agents posts. Visit your top reciter pages on IG and apply for roles that you qualify for.

11:00 – 12:00: Visit the job boards and apply for work that you qualify for.

12:00 – 13:00: Lunch break (go to the beach and relax)

13:00 – 14:00: Create a profile on a new yacht agents page and make a booking to visit them tomorrow morning between 8:00 – 9:00.

14:00 – 15:00: Visit 10 new Facebook pages, and apply for work. Keep track of the pages you have already visited, re-visit them tomorrow afternoon.

15:00 – 16:00: Job board websites, apply for work.



Networking – meeting as many people as possible outside your crew house

Job Boards – websites that post work and allow for you to create a profile with them

Yacht Agents
Facebook & Instagram pages

Most people find work through people they know, so networking is your tool to success.

Yacht agents mainly focus on experienced crew as green crew are too vulnerable to put forward as they have no proven track record.

However, it is not to say do not attempt to sign up with them, just don’t spend all your time on them.

You need to create a profile with them and upload all your documents, make sure it’s as good as your CV, otherwise you won’t stand out.

Once your profile is completed, book a face to face meeting with your agent (if there is one in your town).

Start applying for work on their job boards.

Networking means attending all social events, conversing with the crew on the vessels you are dayworking on and making friends while out. Networking will grow your database of people that know about work you can apply for as it becomes available.

There are weekly networking events that take place in the USA and Med regularly, this is where experienced and green crew get to meet and network.

Do not get intoxicated as this will reflect poorly on you.

Going out is something that yachties do to blow off steam, so it is important to frequent the yachtie hotspot in order for you to network.

You are being watched and the yachting industry is small, so remember to not over consume alcohol.


A seasonal contract is one that only last for 1 season, generally 4 – 6 months.

No dedicated time off, only weekends or days given by the Captain.

This is a contract which is for 12 months and they generally run back to back unless one party has given notice.

32 – 40 days off per annum.

The first 3 months on any new contract is deemed your probation period in which you or the vessel can give anywhere between 1 – 7 days notice to leave the vessel (contract will state number of days).

Some vessels have a 6 month probation period.

It is your most volatile period onboard a vessel and it’s to see if you fit into the culture of the vessel. You need to be on your A game.

2-2 rotation means you work for 2 months on and 2 months off, and paid all year around. Reserved for HOD’s with a lot of experience.

3-1 rotation means you work for 3 months on and 1 month off. Reserved for larger vessel crew.

5-1 rotation is when you work for 5 months and get given 1 month off. This is the most common for junior crew on medium to large vessels.

Depending on the contract you have, you will be provided a flight budget to use within that year.

Rotational contracts have more flight allowance. $ 700 – $2000 (average).

Some vessels will only pay for the cost of a flight that is equal to a flight to your home port (stated on contract), the rest you can pay in, if you are not flying home and going to another destination.

You must be provided full comprehensive global medical aid on each contract, which states how much you are covered for, what you are covered for and “sick leave” duration allocation.

By law you need to get 32 – 40 days on Red Ensign (UK) registered vessels.

More leave days are at the discretion of the Owner / Captain.

Some contracts will allocate a training budget that can be used towards courses to up-skill.

Some vessels will only pay for courses that benefit the vessel and it’s guests.

Generally the budgets are between $800 – $2000 per annum, course and position dependent.

If you leave before a year is complete from starting the courses, you will then need to pay the vessel back in pro-rata for the remainder of the course costs.

Your contract will outline on what grounds your contract may be terminated.

Nautilus is a company that assists crew members in unlawful dismissals and other cases, you need to be a member and pay a subscription fee.

Use your contract to know if your dismissal was covered in the contract, if in doubt, contact Nautilus.


The SAMSA medical is seen as equal to the ENG1, contray to popular belief. This medical certificate will assist you in obtaining a SAMSA seamans book once you have been employed.
They are equal, however some vessels have a preference which is ENG1, but the ENG1 will not get you a SAMSA Seamans book. You can always have both, as this comes in handy during advanced courses and CoC conversions.
Valid for 2 years and needs to be renewed.
Your hearing, sight, chest x-rays (TB) and balance, medical history will be discussed.

It is advised to book your medical when you book your courses, so that you don’t fall into the back log during the busy season. (January – June).

We recommend the medical is completed prior to the start of your courses to ensure you are fit and healthy to work at sea.

They increase every year with approx. 10%. Currently you are looking at R3 300 for the MCA ENG1 medical certificate and +- R750 for SAMSA medical certificate.

The short answer is NO.

Captains, Officers, Engineers and Deckhands are not allowed to be colour blind as they have to do night navigation and need to distinguish between the navigation lights.

Other crew onboard can pass with “restrictions” such as “no navigational look out duties to be performed”.

By law you should be covered for all eventualities while onboard the vessel, read your coverage carefully and ask to see a copy of the terms and conditions.

You are covered on the vessel for any medical required, however, some contracts do not cover you when you are off the vessel, meaning you need to have all your bases covered.

Bupa or Cigna are great for global travellers requiring medical coverage when off the vessel.

Pro-trip world is also great and can be selected for only a pre-determined period of time and you don’t have to sign up for a year.


B1/B2 Visa: R3 608

Schengen Visa: R1 600 – R2 200

B1/B2 Visa: It is advised to start the process well ahead of time 4+ months.

Schengen Visa: You can do this at a minimum of 3 weeks prior to the travel date.

The availability of the appointment is subject to what is available at the time of booking. Generally we advise booking the appointment 6-8 weeks before departure at a minimum.

You can book 3 – 6 months in advance.

B1/B2 Visa: 1 – 10 years, the consulate will decide to give you a 1 year or 10 year visa.

Schengen Visa: First time applicants will only get maximum 3 months, however if funds do not meet the minimum requirements they may only give you 1 -2 months.

If you have been issued a Schengen visa twice in the last 5 years, you can motivate for a 6 month – 1 year visa – but it will still only allow you 3 months within the Schengen zone at a time.

A recommended minimum is R200 000 for a 3 month visa stay, if you are staying for less than 3 months then R100 000 + needs to be in the account.

Your sponsor can be anyone, but it is recommended that it is a direct family member; mother, father, sibling or grandparent.
Many Schengen countries (does not apply to USA), only allow you to undertake your appointment in your home province or if one is not available in your home province then a pre-determined province allocated closest to your home province.

B1/B2 Visa: It is advised to wait 6 months before re-applying, you are able to apply again immediately but you will need to declare that you were denied within the last 6 months.

Schengen Visa: If you are denied, in most cases you can re-apply immediately, unless you were denied for a criminal reason.

France, Italy, Germany and Spain have the highest denial rate of all the Schengen countries – they know yachties apply to go look for work there.

There are too many requests during the Med season for French, Italian and Spanish visa’s and so they have become a lot more strict with denials.

The process is tedius and time consuming. You are only recommended to take the documents the system produces for you, any other documents are generally not requested but can be taken with.

They have a high denial rate, even though you can prove something is true in your application they make their decision based ONLY on the information in your application and do a thorough search on each applicant and their answers.

B1/B2 Visa: You don’t need travel insurance to go to the USA, but it is HIGHLY recommended as medical costs are of the highest in the world in the USA and you just want to cover all bases.

Pro-trip world is a great place to have a look for USA covered travel insurance.

Schengen Visa: You need to have Schengen compliant travel insurance for your visa, you are looking at R729 – R3 600 for 3 months coverage. The costs vary based on what is covered.

Allianz offer great deals for South African citizens.


During completion of courses at our academy, students have the option of staying at our accommodation available on-site.

The accommodation is dormitory style, shared accommodation with bunk beds.

Male and female dormitories are separate,
bathrooms are unisex and the living areas are shared.

Self catering facilities are available – fully equipped with microwave,
kettle, toaster, airfryer, gas stove top, crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils and glassware along with fridge space.

Shops and restaurants are within walking distance. Washing machines and tumble driers are available.

The accommodation is reserved for students completing courses only.

A crew house is a privately owned facility that offers clean, budget friendly accommodation for yacht crew. These are typically
run by fellow yachties or former crew members in prime hubs and hiring locations around the world.

Crew houses usually have shared rooms, fully equipped kitchens and cooking facilities, laundry facilities and common areas.

Crew houses are a great way for professional crew to connect, they also offer staff looking to hire crew a great amount of
available crew.

Yachties of different levels stay in crew houses which opens up opportunities for new crew to obtain industry
advice or guidance.

As with accommodation around the world, crew house accommodation can vary hugely with regard to quality and cleanliness.

The popular crew houses will book up very quickly, some meet crew standards and there will be those that don’t!

Initial accommodation can be booked for 1-2 weeks, this will give you enough time to familiarise yourself with the area and to see if
the accommodation you have booked is suitable for your needs or if there are any other options available.

Bedding and linen is provided. Most crew houses will have TV’s and internet access, computers and printing facilities.

Self catering facilities with fully equipped kitchen facilities, crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils and glassware.

Laundry facilities.

Due to the nature of the Industry, crew house accommodation is mostly flexible, offering accommodation on a weekly rate basis, they usually require the full weeks payment upfront with a 24 hour notice period should you need to leave to join a boat.

The unused nights will generally be refunded.

Accommodation is cheaper than staying at a backpackers or hotel.

Crew houses are ideal places for networking.

Crew houses are mostly located in areas near to where crew have the best chance of finding work.

Job opportunities may come to you if staying in a crew house.

Bank Accounts

It is recommended that you don’t use your South African bank cards overseas due to the high charges that will be incurred.

You can open up a bank account in the USA or Europe.

Getting a multi-currency account is the best option as it does not charge fees like a bank, the two most used and recommended are: or

You need to have your salary paid into a USA or European bank account, and put the money into a savings account to earn interest.

You can set up debit orders to go off to deposit your spending money into your multi-currency accounts to avoid over spending.

USA: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JP Morgan

Europe: Barclays, BNP, Societe Generale, UBS, HSBC

It is important to note that you can’t open up an account with either unless you have a USA, Canadian, Australian or European address.

Use your crew house address to open the account once you have booked it.

General Queries

Unfortunately we are not a recruitment agency, we do however fully prepare crew and guide crew through the process of
obtaining employment onboard a Superyacht during their courses.

During the 5 day Stewardess Course component and
4 day Deckhand Course component we provide in-depth information about the Superyacht Industry as a whole along with to how to go about finding work, where to go to look for work, crew agencies, crew houses, interview techniques, the yachting CV and more.

The minimum age to work onboard a Superyacht is 18 years old, majority of entry level crew are between 18-35 years old.

There is no age limit to working onboard a Superyacht. Older crew looking to work onboard a Superyacht need to consider if they are physically fit and able to meet the demands of the job.

As an older crew member, you may find you need to take instruction from a younger crew member and you’ll need to be able to accept this if this is the case.

An advantage of being an older crew member is life and work experience which some yacht owners or captains may prefer.

All crew no matter their age need to be prepared for hard work and long hours, along with this comes rewarding pay and exciting travel opportunities.

Daywork experience is very valuable to have when starting out in yachting, daywork is temporary work on a yacht to assist permanent crew in areas where required.

This type of work can be anything from detailing the galley, cleaning cabins, assisting with laundry or a wash down.

Daywork can last from 1 day up to a few weeks or a few months. Day work will assist in building your CV, as you include more work on your CV, you’ll obtain references which will help for future job applications.

Daywork is also a great way to learn what to expect in the industry.

The yachting industry is safe, as long as crew follow safety guidelines.

Crew safety onboard is the responsibility of yachts owners, captains and the crew themselves by following regulations, working together and promoting safety within the team, accidents onboard can be prevented.

Most incidents that happen onboard a vessel are related to negligence – running on deck and slipping, not wearing appropriate safety equipment or following the correct procedures.

Many other incidents happen when crew are off the vessel and consuming alcohol.

Finding work as a couple is extremely difficult but not impossible.

Many Captains are wary of hiring couples as the Superyacht Industry is a high pressured environment and can put strain on relationships.

Other concerns would be cabin arrangements or if one person leaves or is dismissed will the Captain lose both crew members.

Marketing yourselves as a solid couple will help to increase your chances of finding work together, mention how long you have been together and if you have living or work experience as a couple. Perseverance is key.

Alternatively if you have to consider finding work individually when starting out in the industry in order to get your foot through the door, establish a good working relationship with the boat, some yachts will consider hiring a partner when a suitable position comes available.

A crew agent places well suited crew into a position onboard a Superyacht.

A crew agent has the responsibility to place crew on yacht which is safe and where the crew are treated fairly.

A crew agent won’t ask you to pay any money upfront or to pay for any services or advise.

There are lots of crew agents and it is recommended to sign up to as many as possible, baring in mind, crew whom obtain a position through a crew agent have some experience or a valuable skill such as a diving instructor qualification.

Unfortunately there are no Superyacht crew agents based in South Africa.

It is extremely rare for crew to obtain employment onboard a Superyacht from South Africa. Captains and senior crew want to meet potential crew face to face.

As an entry level crew member your best form of finding work is to actively look for work in Europe or the US at the beginning of the Mediterranean or Caribbean season.

Networking will be your main form of finding work, speak to as many people as you can!

Are you ready to book your seat?

For more information, course schedules and availability

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