7 Ways To Nail Your First 7 Days As A Yacht Stew.
Each episode, you’ll hear about the real yacht life, info on how to kickstart your superyacht career and tips on becoming a super stew.
I’m a Chief Stewardess with over 6 years experience in the superyacht industry. I help aspiring yacht crew land their first job and teach the skills needed to an amazing JUNIOR STEW.
Are you wondering what crew training you need to work on yacht? What qualifications are required for a stewardess?
From the STCW and ENG1 Medical to The Food Safety Hygiene Level 2 and Interior Stewardess Training. There are lots of training courses to work on a yacht, some are required and some are extra’s which can be to your advantage when first trying to get a job on a yacht.
There are two must-have requirements to enter the industry and this includes your STCW certificate and your ENG1 Medical Certificate. There are additional courses you can complete to help give yourself the best advantage when starting out, I’ll also run through these in the episode.
The STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) is an internationally recognised certification standard required by all seafarers working on commercial vessels above 24 meters (79 feet). STCW Basic Safety Training includes five modules designed to keep all crew safe on board. This arms you with an understanding of the basic safety and survival skills essential for anyone working at sea. When you are looking at companies for your STCW training ensure you chose a course that covers the PSA module so the proficiency in security awareness. As you will be required to have this as a part of your SCTW. I have noticed some international schools don’t include this module so it’s something to consider doing the add-on for.
STCW training costs vary from provider to provider, but a typical week-long course covering all key modules costs around €900-€950. There are however other variables that can affect the cost, such as where the training takes place (South Africa is generally much cheaper), as well as if the training includes accommodation.
If you’re thinking about training in Australia, I highly recommend Maritime Career Training located on the sunshine coast in QLD. I personally did my training with them and Barry who runs the school is very helpful!
The next certifcate is the ENG1 Seafarer Medical Certificate
It’s a medical examination to prove you are fit to work at sea, an MCA-approved doctor (so a Maritime and Coastguard Agency doctor) must issue applicants with an ENG1 Medical Certificate or equivalent. In Australia, it is called an AMSA-approved medical fitness certificate. This certificate involved a health check measuring height and weight, testing eyesight, hearing, questions of medical history, urine sample, blood pressure, and a gentle overall physical check for any abnormalities.
TIP: I recommend getting your ENG1 before you book your STCW course. This is because if you are planning a career as a deckhand, it is important to check whether you are colour blind as this will be a safety issue onboard and will prevent you from progressing up the ranks.
So once you have these two certificates in hand you are eligible to work on a yacht.
However with the increase in different sized vessels, the flag state, and depending on if a boat is private or charter there could be other certificates you may need to consider for your desired role.
For the stews this includes the Food safety and hygiene level 2 certificate. Which is roughly about 160 euros and can be done online through companies such as Barcelona Crew Academy. If you are going to be in service I do advise to have the food hygiene level 2 in hand, as more and more positions ask for it. For charter I believe it is mandatory and for most roles that involve any service. So by not having it, you are potentially closing many doors of opportunities onboard.
Another certificate to consider is the PDSD, which stands for Proficiency in Designated Security Duties and costs around 220 euros (check out VIRSEC for this course). It is also an online course and covers why security on a vessel is so important, the roles and responsibilities of those onboard in different security roles, what risks, threats, and vulnerabilities there are, and the extent and limitations of security practices.
On many of larger yachts 50m+ they will require the crew to have this certificate as each member essentially has a security duty such as watch keeping. However, it can also be done at a later point if you’re unsure whether to get it right away when you need to pay for other courses upfront like your SCTW. It will just require about a day of online learning and then voila you have your certificate completed.
If you are thinking of joining The Yachting Kickstarter guide (and you should check it out if you are taking the leap into your new yachting career) there’s a bunch of discounts for training providers to help lower the cost to get started.
So if you’re still confused as to whether or not to do these extra courses (and remember these extra courses, unfortunately, do not guarantee you a job)
Here’s the breakdown… if you are only wanting to work on a smaller, non registered yacht, with no service then it’s fine not to have these extras certs, but if you are wanting to work on a charter, or larger and MLC yacht (maritime Labour Convention yacht), then its best to have in hand so you have 100% of the job market open to you.
If you are looking at becoming a stew or stew/deckhand I would recommend also getting a RYA PowerBoat/Tender Licence as you will need this to drive the tenders onboard.
Extra courses you choose to do at this level will be helpful in terms of giving you additional knowledge and skills. It will also show crew agencies and employers you are keen and eager to learn. Also giving you an advantage as you now have more skills than other green (New to yachting) candidates.
Another big one on your list to consider is probably the interior yacht stewardess training course. And I encourage you to think about whether or not this one can fit into your budget.
You want to be as prepared as possible so that you are as comfortable as possible when you accept your first position. You wouldn’t take on a job working at a computer all day if you had no idea how to type, would you? Having specialized stew training prior to taking employment on a yacht will give you confidence that you know what you are doing, and that will be reflected in your attitude and demeanor with your fellow crew and guests.
Basically, you need to learn on your feet on board…it’s so busy and unfortunately chief stews don’t always have time to train the juniors so if you know what you are doing… Then you’re going to be of greater help to the boat in return leaving a lasting impression with the chief stew.
You’re first job is crucial- it’s the first real reference you’re going to have on your yachting CV, you want to do an amazing job and if you have the practical tools and knowledge behind you on how to do a stewardess role then you’re going to kill this new chapter being a super stew onboard.
When I first started as a junior yacht stew 6 years ago, it was…exhausting and crazy hard. I was in a totally new world and not in a magical way. In a scary, ‘what the heck am I meant to do next?’ way. At the time, there was a Yacht Stewardess course I had looked at, but it was thousands of dollars and I was just so scared to invest that kind of money…
So I didn’t do it. I made the mistakes and learned the hard way. When I was 2 years in, I started to level up! Doing many different types of stew courses to advance my stew skills.
However, to this day, I still kick myself that I didn’t invest in support sooner. Having the practical skills and the right training + tools in hand can significantly improve your job opportunities!
But I know why I hesitated. I was scared. Scared of investing money when things were already so tight.
And it’s something that has bugged me ever since, because right at the start is when you NEED the most support.
But it’s also when you are least able to afford it.
This is actually one of the main reasons I created The Seaworthy Yacht Stewardess Course for junior stews so that I could make the best possible support and advice…accessible.
So you don’t have to do it alone.And so you don’t have to spend years trying to figure it out yourself! You can step onboard with confidence and know exactly what to do in your new stew role!
With The Seaworthy Yacht stewardess course being only a few hundred euros as opposed to thousands of euros from other training providers you’re still able to gain a certificate of completion and include it on your yachting CV. Which gives you an alternative to still being prepared for all the industry throw at you but not having to fork out thousands. Because let’s be honest getting started in the industry is not cheap!
I call these courses investments into your future- as I can tell you right now those courses will be paid off in no time when you’re working onboard. The money you make in yachting is incredible.
Best of luck with your job hunting!
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I’m a chief stewardess with over 6 years experience working in the superyacht industry on boats up to 88m. I help aspiring yacht crew by propelling them with the know-how and tools to confidently break into the superyacht industry.