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Becoming A Captain?

Discussion in 'Licensing & Education' started by SeaMaster, Dec 15, 2004.

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  1. SeaMaster

    SeaMaster New Member

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    Hi i am trying to figure out the best way to become a SuperYacht Captain. Should I go here http://www.usmma.edu/default.asp to become a SuperYacht Captain. I do live in Key West Florida. Also what other steps should I take to becoming a SuperYacht Captain. If I were to go to a place like this should i also go to a regular college to get a degree on engineering (that is what i would want to be if i am not able to be a yacht captain). So should i go to the merchent marine academey and should i also get a college degree in the other thing i would like to be. Thank You, For all your help. Hope to see you out on the water when i become a Yacht Captain.
  2. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Hi,

    To give you a short answer is to talk to one of the crew agencys. They often arrange special add-on practical training as fire-fighting (big scale) and offshore rescue. But in general you need the basic school as you are pointing at, and a certain number of hours at sea. Best is always to try to get on a superyacht as a deckhand to start with and to learn what it is all about.

    Also to discover if you have the right touch to handle a big yacht, which I shouldn´t say, but some captains are a little scary especially how they manoeuvre in ports...

    As a Superyacht captain you are also a hotel manager, maintenance supervisor, travel agent and the guy who runs the yacht. A demanding, interesting and rewarding job. Go for it and good luck!
  3. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    The USMMA is the federally run 4 year merchant marine academy. In order to apply for admission, you must be appointed by your state senator or your congressional representative. The majority of your college expenses are covered by the federal government, but it is not a free ride.

    Upon graduation, you will have a college degree and a Merchant Marine Officer's License. I beleive, but am not sure of this, that upon graduation you will have a service obligation to repay your federal help with the tuition room board etc.

    Most merchant marine academies have a deck license program, and an engineering license program, and I think you can even do both. (That would make my head spin!)

    You would have to inquire with the school as to what your options are. If you take the deck route, you will graduate with a Third Mate Any Gross Tons license.
    This puts you into the advancement track to work towards your Master Any Gross Tons License.

    Some license requirements for various levels can be found here:
    USCG Licensing

    I know you stated in an earlier post you would like to run a "giga-yacht". Well, most of those yachts are not American flagged, so you would need to investigate what is needed to run one of their vessels.

    I do know that if you hold a USCG Masters License for 500 Gross Registered Tons (GRT), or 1600 GRT (which is the same as 3000 gross tons under the International Tonnage Convention or ITC), you can apply to the MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency in the United Kingdom) for a Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC) which will allow you to captain what is called a Red- Flag Registry vessel given the constraints of your USCG License.


    The USMMA is not the only merchant marine academy you can attend. Many states have a merchant marine academy, and when you graduate you will have a degree and a license. Just off the top of my head there is SUNY Maritime in New York, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy, and I believe there are academies in Texas and California.

    AMG gave some very wise advice as well. You may want to get a job as a deckhand (go to school for one week to get your STCW certificate first!) to see if yachting is for you. Having the requisite license will get you in the door, but the job and lifestyle are not about navigating the boat from point A to point B. Driving the boat is actually one of the lesser parts of the job.

    You may very well decide that yachting is not for you, there are jobs on the commercial side should you choose that route.
  4. SeaMaster

    SeaMaster New Member

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    Thank You for your help!
  5. Stonie

    Stonie New Member

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    My son wants to be a megayacht captain (some day) as well...

    He just graduated from University of Central Florida's Rosen School of Hospitality Management and received his OUVP (6-PAK) Captain's License. I've suggested he look into joining the USCG OCS in that I'd think he'd to get where he wants to be a lot faster than starting off emptying ashtrays and polishing brass on a yacht.

    What do you all think??

    Thanks!
  6. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    If your son has just done a degree in hospitality management I would say he was more suited to emptying ashtrays and polishing brass than any other entry level job on a modern mega yacht.

    If you think that's all the interior staff on one of these does you should think again.

    BTW- I am an Engineer not an Interior Crew Member.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Experience in the USCG does very little in regards to the yachting industry. It is much faster, easier, and better to start polishing brass and washing and so forth. I have seen many friends go from deckhands to mates to Captains in very little time because the former Captain or Mate left and they were there and the owner liked them. Coming out of the USCG, you're still going to need to learn how to polish brass, empty ashtrays, and shine windows.....
  8. sailandfish

    sailandfish Member

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    If becoming a yacht captain is your goal and only goal I suggest that you just go and get a job on a yacht. Here is why, the maritime academies put you on a fast track for a license, but it still takes 4 yrs, and in the case of all except USMMA a considerable sum of money. When you graduate from USMMA youll have to put in Naval Reserve time, no big deal. But graduates are strongly encouraged/ obliged to sail commercial, and not take shoreside or other jobs; this may change if commercial demand dries up.

    If you go out and start working as a deckie youll immediately be making money. If you get on a good boat that moves around a good bit, you should be able to get a yachtmaster/ 200T or better in about 4yrs. So youll have saved a wad of cash gained experience and got a license to build on.

    If you go to an academy youll spend a wad of cash, get trained on commercial ways, and upon graduation be a high tonnage mate. Youll apply for mates position and if lucky, with no yacht experience get a mates job, which you also could have had after 4yrs of just working on the yacht. Youll still have to get additional sea time to upgrade to captain.

    If you decide education and a degree is what you would like, I highly recommend looking at Maine Maritime's Small Vessel Operations program. 4yrs degree program and upon graduation youll be 500T licensed, and have had small vessel training which is more appropriate for yachts. You can even spend your sea time summer internships on a yacht, gaining industry experience.


    Just looked at the dates on these post, oops, USCG for training on a yacht, bad idea. If he does that hell be another 4yrs older and have no applicable experience for a yacht. I say this confidently because I work with various USCG departments daily, and have many good friends who are enlisted, bottom line, the are some of the worst mariners around. Hell get training in either politics or law enforcement, not nautical issues. Dont mean to offend anyone in the CG by this, and I feel that joining the USCG is a great career, just not if the ultimate goal is to work on a yacht. And as said above hell be polishing worse than stainless in the CG, my enlisted friends perform some of the most demeaning/ boring chores one could think of.

    I have a friend who graduated from the same school as your son about a year ago; he went and got a deckie job and is having a ball and making money!
  9. Stonie

    Stonie New Member

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    Thanks Guys!!

    All very good advice. I have passed this all on to him and he is interviewing with yacht crew agencies.

    Thanks again,

    Stonie
  10. revdcs

    revdcs Senior Member

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    It is said that a young man thinks about girls every 55 seconds!

    But it is also true that every young deckie or stew thinks about being a captain every 60 seconds!!

    So, there are a lot of you out there with the same dream. Might I suggest that you spend a little time trying to discover where your passion lies. Do you love machines and making them work? Will you treat them as if they are your children? Or do you like driving machines full of people and enjoy not only being in their company, but at their beck and call? Talk to those who know you well and try to discern where your heart lies.

    If you find you are an engineer in the making then seek out the best marine engineering degree course - but also get yourself weekend and holiday jobs on yachts to gain as much hands on experience of all areas of yachting as you can - this will pay big dividends in the future.

    If you discover that you really do want to be a captain above all else - then get a job on a yacht as a deckie - BUT - don't tell anyone that you want to be captain one day! Just learn everything there is to know about the job you are given. Do any task willingly and to the best of your ability. Arrive early, leave late, be reliable and show real dedication. Always be smartly dressed, courteous, gracious and willing to serve those who own the yacht, going the extra mile even if you don't want to do what they ask of you. Then, you will find yourself being given more and more responsibility and moving up the ladder faster than those who just dream.

    Also look at part time yacht master courses and get to know the senior crew on the yacht. Don't be a 'toady' but spend time asking intelligent questions about navigation, safety at sea, instrumentation, radio systems, power plants, guest entertainment and anything else to do with daily running of the yacht.

    But enjoy yourself too. Have fun with the crew, laugh when they put you through practical jokes and be sure to go out socialising with them - even though you want to be their captain, you are still part of a team.

    Hope this helps to get you started?

    Oh, and don't stop thinking about girls every 55 seconds! :D
  11. sailandfish

    sailandfish Member

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    Tell him to not get discouraged with the job hunt, and make sure that he thinks the boat/ schedule/ crew are compatible; even if this means turning a job down.
    It could take a couple of months to land a job, but work is out there, you just have to look and work better than the guy next to you.
  12. Crewagency

    Crewagency Guest

    Superyacht Captain

    I think we have to clarify what is a Superyacht ?
    over 500 gt or over 3000 gt ? or over 50m , 100m or more ?
    This year due to all the big Projects above 50m ( where we currently have 500 !!!) in progress at this moment everybody will be welcome in this market.

    I place Crew for more than 8 years now on Yachts, Super yachts and the new Megas and have discussions with Captains every day about the Crew that is currently available.

    More and more coming from East Europe especially Engineers, Steward/ess and Officers. All with zero experience on Yachts.
    More and more "Training Schools " just produce Crew for the current market and that means around 900 Yachts over 25m in progress at this moment and that also means 10.000 Crew will be needed shortly. But how we will find experience and not only papers.
    I have never seen a business in my life where Millionaires and Billionaires put their own life and the life from the whole family in such unexperienced hands.
    In my opinion the solution will rotation on all positions to allow the Crew to practice and also to build up the career. Papers and certificates does not count if you see how easy ( but expensive ) you will be able to collect seatime and miles with just booking the right courses.
    Nice if you have one season experience but if you just spend this season on board a yacht in the shipyard I am not sure.
    Seatime and Seamiles is for me the only thing that counts to check experience.
    Also safe manning is a great idea but is it realy safe than ?

    So if you finish your course start at the bottom and get seatime and than you will be successful to climb up the ladder otherwise you have to become an Owner to feel as Captain.
  13. T.K.

    T.K. Senior Member

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    Only young men ;)??
  14. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    That is a pretty bold statement, do you have any factual data to back up this statement.

    Please PM me the establishments that include sea time and miles in their courses, I know a few guys who might like to take up this type of course. :D
  15. Henning

    Henning Senior Member

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    Uhhh.... I believe you're thinking about the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. Kings Point (USMMA) is a public school with open enrollment.

    This thread is hilarious..... Crew Agents... ROTFLMAO....
  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You might want to recheck that. "Candidates must be nominated to the Academy by a U.S. Representative or Senator. Candidates may only be nominated by qualified authorities from their state or territory". Per the Kings Point USMMA web site- Nomination. Now about that ROTFLMAO.
  17. Henning

    Henning Senior Member

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    Interesting, I wonder how some of the Brit Kings Point grads I know got in... They probably have dual citizenship.

    It was the Crew Agent comments that got me laughing. Crew Agents are pretty much useless at the captain level in the yacht industry.
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Agree there. As for your Brit friends, check the site http://www.usmma.edu/admissions/facts/foreignstudents.htm.
    Foreign exchange students are covered there.