Being a superyacht captain is the ultimate goal for many who work as a deckhand or stewardess. However, it is an arduous journey that consists of years of hardcore dedication, an abundance of logged sea hours, and advanced certifications to qualify. In other words, becoming a superyacht captain means you have to be invested immensely, financially and physically both. With a little luck and will to prove yourself, you can definitely cease the position for yourself.

This article will focus on what exactly you would have to do to become a superyacht captain–and how to improve your chances.

Set the Right Attitude

Not everyone is born a leader but one can learn to be better. As a captain, you share a special bond with the owner of a yacht. You are their main channel of communication with the rest of the yacht.

Hence, what kind of “right” attitude you need may completely depend on the owner. The yacht industry has seen all sorts of captains: extroverts, introverts, assertive, confrontational, joyful, serious, or laconic; and they have all been successful in their respective captain roles.

Our all-rounder advice for having the “right” attitude would be “being humble and flexible while having the right amount of confidence”. That’s a good start. Because, a captain may not only be responsible for the administrative role and the safety of the vessel but also for the handiwork roles such as cleaning and maintaining the vessel, just like a deckhand. This is more common on smaller vessels. However, on larger vessels, a captain mostly sticks to their administrative role, apart from safety and navigation.

It’s important to Meet your Expectations

As a captain, it is most important for you to meet the owner’s expectations. After all, you are the first representative of the owner and his yacht. You are expected to keep the standard all-time high and make the experience enjoyable and rich for the owner and his/her guests alike.

Hence, superyacht owners do prefer hiring captains with a rich knowledge of relevant etiquette and standards. Apart from the abundance of experience and knowledge you have about yachts, owners do prefer superyacht captains with extra perks like knowing how and when to host parties, or how to make reservations in the most elite restaurants in the city.

And most importantly, you are expected to keep the yacht in tip-top shape. The yacht you will captain is a multi-million dollar asset, which the owner entrusts to you. This means you are not allowed to make mistakes, especially the mistakes that would cost the owner a fortune. Although they are some of the richest people on this planet, they are highly conscious of their financial assets.

Get the Right Qualifications

Of course, attitude and etiquette are important. But without the right qualifications and experience, you will not be a captain. What’s more? The experience we talk about here has to be related to the yachting industry.

That means, if you wish to be a captain, you need to dedicate yourself to the yachting industry extensively.

If you are a newcomer, you won’t get to be a captain of course. You will start as a deckhand, most likely. Or a stewardess. From there onwards, if you perform well and pursue improvement in your work, then good chance you will be entitled to promotion as well.

As for the captain position, you will have to become a chief mate beforehand. On average, the captains have noted that it takes about 5 years* for someone to become a captain, and that takes dedication and hard work.

There are three distinct certificates to captain a yacht. In this article, we will only be covering the certificates required for Mediterranean cruises.

  • MCA Master 200GT; allows you to captain a yacht up to 200 gross tonnages.
  • MCA Master 500GT; allows you to captain a yacht up to 500 gross tonnages.
  • MCA Master 3000GT; allows you to captain a yacht up to 3000 gross tonnages.

You have to obtain these certificates in order. You cannot just directly jump to the MCA Master 3000GT Qualification. As for how you can reach this level, we will be covering the process thoroughly in another article very soon. However, for an idea about these certificates, we highly recommend you check this out.

Bottom Line

Becoming a Superyacht Captain is no easy task. Even after you have all the qualifications, it does not necessarily mean that you will get to be a superyacht captain right away. You have to go to great lengths to achieve what you want to achieve, which is what we have tried to cover in this article. This is exactly why having a dynamic and flexible personality often comes in handy when you are pursuing a goal like this.

If you are looking for MCA Courses in South Africa to be a superyacht captain, please feel free to connect with us. We will help you steer the helm in the right direction. Happy Yachting!

How to be a Captain of a Superyacht?