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Home > Crew Matters > Looking to become a Deckhand?

Looking to become a Deckhand?

Yacht sunset photo

Where do you really go to gain sufficient knowledge to enter this market?


Having worked in the yachting industry for a few years and spent time both teaching RYA courses and working as a Captain on motor yachts, I often hear students talking about how they get started in this industry?

Once you have completed your STCW [Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping] and obtained your ENG1 medical, in theory, you are able to work legally on a yacht or even a cruise ship.

In practice, if you are new to the industry, you won’t really know one end of a boat from the other! You could do your RYA Powerboat Level 2 which would allow you to drive tenders but there is still so much to learn if you really want to progress.

The Competent Deckhand Course is designed to give you all the training you need to work effectively as a Deckhand in the yachting industry with a number of structured modules covering all aspects of being a Deckhand.

What is covered on the 14 day Competent Deckhand Course:

RYA Powerboat level 2         

  • The industry standard for all deckhand and a prerequisite for entry into the yachting industry. This certification will allow you to drive ribs and tenders up to 10m long.
  • This will include tuition on Williams Jet Tenders.

RYA Tender Operator [Night Operation]

  • Covering night operations and pilotage allowing Tender Operations in the hours of darkness.
  • Handling guests and difficult situations. 

RYA Personal Watercraft [Jetski] Certificate

  • Essential certification in many countries to allow you to legally operate a PWC.

RYA VHF Short Range Radio Certificate

  • An essential part of any marine qualification is to be legal and competent on the VHF radio. This allows effective and clear communication between vessels, ports and marinas

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Theory

  • An essential requirement for anyone looking to work in the industry allowing knowledge of collision regulations, Safety, Weather, Navigation and Tides etc.
  • The requirements for you to pass your Yachtmaster Practical includes having completed 2500 logged sea miles and being a competent Skipper, however, the completion of the RYA
  • Yachtmaster Offshore Theory shows any prospective employer that you are capable of carrying out watch duties and assisting with navigation and passage planning.

PPR – Professional Practices and Responsibilities

  • How you fit into the professional maritime world, importance of correct manning, keeping skills up to date, safe management of commercial vessels, the compulsory carriage and maintenance of safety equipment and how to create and implement risk control.

Toys and Water Sports training

  • Many Yachts are looking for Deckhands with experience with water toys and towing skiers, wakeboards and inflatable toys.
  • This includes Tender towing training, towing skiers and wakeboards, operation of Seabobs, Electric Foils, Stand up Paddle Boards etc.

Docking Skills

  • The role of a Deckhand is critical when arriving or leaving a dock, understanding the correct preparation, organisation, your positioning and effective communication
  • Including practical time of a motor yacht gaining real knowledge

Rope Work

  • Learn to tie all the necessary knots and understand their uses. Understand the different types of ropes and their benefits.
  • Rope coiling and storage


  • Understand fender positions, heights, and use of roving fenders
  • Fender storage and preparation

Tender Launch and Recovery

  • Launching and recovery of tenders form an important part of any deckhand role, and there are many different configurations, including stern platform, garage, and crane options

Cleaning and Preparation

  • The yachting industry requires a totally different level of cleanliness and attention to detail.
  • Learn about daily deck routines
  • How to effectively clean GRP/fibreglass, teak, windows, upholstery
  • Tricks of the trade for removing stains and marks

Guest and Crew Interaction and Etiquette

  • Learn about correct guest interaction and understanding your customers’ needs.
  • Dealing with difficult customers
  • Living in confined areas with other crew
  • Personal presentation 

Career Advice and CV Workshop

  • Understanding the different yacht types and how roles on yacht types differ
  • Understanding private and charter yachts
  • Making your CV stand out in a crowd

Tender on water

Upon completion of the course candidates will have the confidence to join any yacht with the training and knowledge that will allow them to fulfil their role and continue to develop their career path

Each candidate will receive a credit card style Competent Crew ID card with QR code that allows prospective employers to scan via an app and see all your current certification and CV.

For more information go to www.competentdeckhand.com

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