Professional Yacht Cadetship

The Professional Yacht Cadetship is our flagship course. The cadetship is a structured 4 year programme with one intake per year, which allows you to earn while you learn to train for a long-term career in superyachting.

Course overview

We are the only place to offer such a programme, designed specifically for the superyacht industry. It has been developed in close consultation with the MCA and wider industry. The cadetship course combines phases of training at UKSA with paid work placements in the superyacht industry. It really is second to none!

The Professional Yacht Cadetship is designed to provide a structured progression through the RYA Yachting scheme to MCA Deck Officer training leading to the MCA Officer of the Watch (3000gt) Certificate of Competence.

It is also possible to complete a Foundation Degree in Operational Yacht Science alongside the cadetship; the FdSc is split into two stages of study, similar to a first and second year of a conventional degree. Each of these stages has to be completed to a satisfactory level in order to proceed with the programme. Falmouth Marine School will advise students on their performance and issue feedback on all coursework. The Foundation degree studies are concluded with the submission of a research project. For more information on pre-requisites and course content click here.

Pre-requisite experience:

  • Applicants should be between 18 and 25 with a genuine interest in a long term career within the superyacht industry.
  • Good communication, oral and written skills, are essential, as is a good understanding of mathematics. Cadets should ideally have GCSEs (or equivalent) in English, Maths and Science, passed with grades A-C.
  • 120 UCAS points are required if applying for the Foundation Degree alongside the Professional Yacht Cadetship. If you are over the age of 21, and you do not have the required UCAS points, you could be assessed on any work place learning / training you have done.


Delivered over 4 years

Qualify for:

Officer of the Watch  (Yacht less than 3000gt)

What’s included:

Includes all food and accommodation during Cadetship training phases. There are no hidden costs.

How to apply?

To apply, you will be required to pay a 10% deposit, book your place on a 2 day selection event and complete an application form.

On selection days you will take part in team building exercises, complete an aptitude test, deliver a presentation on a superyacht of your choice and sit an interview where you will be required to demonstrate a proven interest in a long term career within the superyacht industry.

Please call us on +44 (0)1983 203038 for current dates and prices.

Meet some of our current cadets. Read about how RowenaCharlie and Jaime found out about the Professional Yacht Cadetship and their experiences of the programme so far.

Superyacht Cadetship 2014 intake

Professional Yacht Cadetship Benefits

  • Gain the qualifications needed to work on the world’s largest yachts
  • A great alternative to university, high-quality vocational training with the option of a Foundation Degree
  • Periods of practical employment, with up to three years paid work during the course, greatly offsetting the cost of training
  • Develop your qualifications and skills while working in the industry on a clearly structured and supported programme
  • Long-term career benefits of higher qualifications firmly establish your career prospects for work on the largest vessels


As a charity, we do have funding opportunities available for many of our students.

A new bursary, the Professional Yacht Cadetship Bursary, helps young people onto our Professional Yacht Cadetship. Your course adviser will be able to provide you with the details, assess your eligibility and put you forward if you are a suitable candidate.

For more information and a full list of all the funding opportunities we are able to offer click here.

Please note, even if you are not eligible for a bursary, most of our cadets earn enough during the work phases to more than cover the next phases of training. You really could graduate debt free, with all your key tickets and valuable work experience in the industry.

Professional Yacht Cadetship Qualifications

  • Officer of the Watch (Yachts less then 3000gt) Certificate of Competence, with all modules to this:
    • Advanced Sea Survival for Yachtsmen
    • Navigation and Radar (OOW Yachts)
    • General Ships Knowledge (OOW Yachts)
    • GMDSS General Operators Certificate
    • Human Element, Leadership and Management (Operation Level)
    • Efficient Deck Hand (EDH)
  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean (sail)
  • RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased
  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore (sail)
  • RYA Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased
  • Commercial endorsements for RYA Yachtmaster qualification*
  • STCW Basic Training
    • Personal Survival Techniques (STCW A-VI/1-1)
    • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW A-VI/1-2)
    • Elementary First Aid (STCW A-VI/1-3)
    • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (STCW A-VI/1-4)
  • RYA Day Skipper Shorebased
  • RYA Marine Short Range Radio
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2
  • RYA Personal Watercraft Proficiency
  • RYA Diesel Engine Maintenance
  • RYA Small Craft Radar
  • MCA Approved Engine Course (AEC)
  • Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (STCW code Reg A-VI/6-2)
  • Business Module
  • Yacht Maintenance training
  • Foundation Degree in Operational Yacht Science**

The Professional Yacht Cadetship training programme in detail

Phase 1 - Essential Cadetship Training – 19 weeks (academic study)

This phase is designed to train cadets in seamanship, watch keeping, maintenance and industry knowledge; the qualifications necessary to obtain an entry level position of employment.

Phase 2 - Cadetship Industry Phase – 12-18 months (paid employment)

Cadets will work at sea, following the guidance of the MCA Training Record Book, with regular communication to the UKSA and reports from the cadet’s Captain / Employer. UKSA will expect monthly reports from the cadet reporting on their work, roles and responsibility. For those cadets on the Foundation Degree programme, Level One Modules will be completed by the end of this Phase.

Phase 3 - Yacht Operations and Management – 10 weeks (academic study)

This is the link between a senior deckhand’s role and that of a watch keeping officer’s, building on the cadet’s working experience in Phase 2. Increase competence and confidence in planning and executing an ocean passage. This phase includes further Officer of the Watch training, and prepares cadets for the final training phase. They will be aiming for roles as junior watch keeping officers in Phase 4.

Phase 4 - Cadetship Industry Phase – 12-18 months (paid employment)

During this phase the cadet will gain watch keeping experience, in line with the MCA Training Record Book; applying and honing the practical techniques and practices learnt in Phase 3. Once again the UKSA will expect monthly reports from the cadet on their progress and development onboard. For those cadets on the Foundation Degree programme, this would be completed by the end of this Phase.

Phase 5 - Cadetship Completion Training – 8 weeks (academic study)

This is the final stage of the Officer of the Watch (Yacht less then 3000gt) training. Building on training and experience gained over the period of the course, Cadets will study senior modules towards the final examination and qualification.


1. ENG 1 Medical – You must have an ENG 1 seafarer medical fitness certificate to work at sea if you are a seafarer, in charge of a ship or are serving on a merchant ship or yacht. The maximum fee for an ENG 1 medical examination is £80, must be issued by a doctor approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).  Please follow the link below to see a list of all MCA approved doctors based in the UK.

MCA approved doctors: UK-based

2. Commercial Endorsement – to commercially endorse your RYA Yachtmaster Certification you will need to apply to the RYA directly, enclosing relevant documents and pay a £33 fee. See the RYA Commercial Endorsement page for information.

*An optional qualification, requires academic pre-requisites. Please budget for an extra £300 for accommodation in Falmouth if opting for the Foundation Degree.

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