Dan Snook, signed up for the Superyacht Cadetship when he was just 15.
UKSA is the only place to offer a Superyacht Cadetship, and as such, it is our flagship course. A five-phase programme structured over four years, it allows students to earn money while simultaneously training for a career in the superyacht industry. The course begins with 19 weeks of academic study and ends with a final examination – in between, cadets will study, train and work at sea. If the cadets complete the course they will receive an Officer of the Watch (less than 3000gt) Certificate of Competence, which will establish long-term career prospects for employment on the largest vessels.
Beginning Phase One of the Cadetship is the first step into an incredible career
Dan Snook, who has completed the Cadetship, put his name down for it when he was 15. When he was 18 he began Phase One of the course after being sponsored by Trinity House – he represented them at events such as the Lord Mayor’s Show. He is about to begin his sixth season onboard a 45m sloop and is currently on his way back from the Caribbean, getting prepared for charters in the Balearics and the eastern Mediterranean. Dan shares his story:
“Beginning Phase One of the Cadetship is the first step into an incredible career. I made a point of starting as I meant to carry on, focusing on what I was looking to achieve via UKSA and taking advantage of the relatively short training phase. Making friends and contacts paid off tenfold when it came to landing my first position – I was grateful for every opportunity that came my way. Ultimately, my four years were a fantastic journey with first-class training and support.
I have some amazing memories of the course, almost too many to list, but they include four Atlantic crossings, racing in the Palma Superyacht Cup 2016, scuba diving in the Caribbean and sailing, full power through anchorages, weaving in and out between other superyachts. I was in Bermuda for the Americas Cup 2017, and at the end of Phase Four I graduated in UKSA’s Foundation Degree in Operational Yacht Science at Truro Cathedral.
“Remember that no job is too small and that each person is essential to make the crew a team.”
What was your first challenge after graduating from phase 1?
My first challenge was trying to land the ideal deckhand position, but with UKSA’s support and the qualifications with which they sent me into the industry, it was only a matter of time before I found a job. Another challenge was the transition from a 30m motoryacht to a 45m sailing yacht, but I learned that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I kept reminding myself that I was an officer in training, not just an aspiring deckhand.
What are your future career aspirations?
My plan for the coming winter is to gain the Chief Mate 3000gt Certificate of Competency. From there I will be seeking a Chief Officer position in the large sailing yacht sector. At some point I will take a long beach holiday, somewhere far away, with plenty of windsurfing and diving. The end of the Superyacht Cadetship is not the end of my time at UKSA – within the next three years I plan to start the Master 3000gt modules. The UKSA campus has a relaxed environment that allows you to focus on study without any distractions, which is why I choose not to take courses anywhere else.
What advice would you give new cadets?
If I was to advise anyone embarking on the Cadetship, I would say a few things. If you are ready, ask for more responsibility – you are a future officer, after all. Remember that no job is too small and that each person is essential to make the crew a team. If you stay loyal to your crew, the benefits will pay off. While on industry phases, make an effort to revise your courses and theory. Most importantly, if you leave it years and years before you begin the next phase of the course, you’ll forget things and have to begin again, so get your head down, focus, and finish the Cadetship.”