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Where to Begin?
Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2009 12:49 AM
Joined: 15/06/2009
Posts: 2

Hey, Im 17 and I am curently Sailing in the Caribbean and South Pacific with my family on our 42ft Catalina. I am very interested in becoming a Captain on a Mega yacht.I am looking at what schools are best. I am looking into UKSA(yachting cadetship)  in the UK but have also heard of Mas. Maritime in the USA. Does the school you go to really matter? I'm also confussed about the stew/deckhand/mate thing. When I finish one of these schools, will I go straight to Captain or will I go got stew/deckhand? I was in ROTC back in Canada and am hoping someone can tell me the order of "rank" to me. Any information would be most helpfull.



Alex Jennings  S/V Coolabah

Mike French
Posted: Friday, June 19, 2009 4:24 PM
Joined: 06/05/2008
Posts: 57


It would take quite some time to answer all of your questions and one would need much information in order to know where to start.  Your nationality for example limits some of your choices.  So does your budget.

It takes several years to get to the stage of captaining a large yacht and there is a well worn career path that will undoubtedly take you all the way to the top.  There are a number of options to get started and getting the basic training is what most would advise you to do.  Please feel free to give me a call at IYT in Ft Lauderdale (+1 954 779 7764) and I will do my best to point you in the 'right' direction.  At least this will give you a start so that you can compare costs and standards and help you make the best decision when you need to.

In the mean time, log everything you do.  Maintining a good sea time log will prove vital in the future.

Good luck!

Posted: Saturday, June 20, 2009 4:40 PM
Joined: 07/05/2008
Posts: 4

Alex, it is great to hear that you already have the ambition to shoot for the top. Mike French is a very respected in our industry and has offered you some great advice. There are many ways to achieve your goal, but let me discuss something a bit different. Yachts are not always the best vehicle for acquiring sea time, and neither are schools or military avenues, i.e. Coast Guard. My background started in an industry that I enjoyed, namely recreational diving and fishing. You have to claw your way in and the financial rewards are likely not much in comparison, but the experience coupled with doing something you truly enjoy can make it all worthwhile, especially when you are so young. I am not advocating that you forego formal training, but don't pigeon hole yourself to yachting just yet. Explore options that will allow you to learn engineering and navigation skills, acquire sea time on appropriate sized vessels, but enjoy what you are doing. There is always time to go back to an academy, and the curriculums there have evolved to be much more flexible than in the years past. I hope this helps.

Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 8:54 PM
Joined: 15/06/2009
Posts: 2

I have tri-citizen ship(Canadian, British, an New Zealand).Does UKSA have a good name? I will most likely be goign there pending my acceptance....
Posted: Friday, July 3, 2009 5:08 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

The academies such as Mass Maritime, Kings Point, California Maritime... are geared to the Unlimited ratings of commercial ships. When you graduate through the deck programs, you will have a 3rd Mate Unlimited, which with enough sea time, will also allow you to add a Master <500grt endorsement. You will be qualified to wind the clock on the bridge, do paper work and will be the Officer of the Deck responsible for a watch. Most likely you will be given the watch with the most senior AB (Able Bodied Seaman) to keep you from screwing up too bad. Unfortunately, IIRC the OOD on the Exxon Valdez was the 2nd mate, so he didn't listen to his AB when he said "Uhhh, you're lined up to pass that bouy on the wrong side." None of these schools teach about the yachting industry, and there is no school or ciricculum of training that doesn't involve 5 years duty on vessels that actually get serious use that will qualify you to be captain. If you want to learn to handle a boat, next year go to work for an oilfield boat company.
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2012 7:14 PM
I am 27 years old and finishing up 6 years enlisted in the US Coast Guard as a bosun's mate. I have achieved many qualifications. I am exploring working in the private yachting industry as crew and wondered if any of my Skills learned in the USCG would give me an advantage in finding work.
Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2012 6:25 AM
UKSA does not have a good name. Warsash has a good name. If you like Vancouver, BCIT has a good name. Military is not the way to go for yachting. Yachting Master 3000t tickets will take you 7 years to acquire.
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