Superyacht Cadetship

Number of phases
Course duration
4 years
Deckhand to Officer

From cadet to officer on superyachts

Are you between 18-25 and looking for an exciting career on superyachts? The UKSA Superyacht Cadetship is a structured programme designed to train the future officers of the superyacht industry.

About the course

The UKSA Superyacht Cadetship is a structured four-year programme designed to train the future officers of the superyacht industry.

Designed in consultation with the MCA, the Superyacht Cadetship combines the most relevant training and mentoring in the industry. It equips graduates with a strong foundation of knowledge alongside offering a realistic understanding of what it takes to succeed in a career in the Superyacht industry.

The four-year programme is a career path to STCW II/1 Officer of the Watch (Yacht <3000GT) and progressing to theSTCW II/2 Master (Yacht <3000GT) qualification.

Cadets also have the opportunity to undertake a Foundation Degree in Operational Yacht Science during phase 1 and 3 of the Superyacht Cadetship, awarded by Plymouth University. This option provides additional career and training pathways into different sectors in the maritime industry.

The programme offers some significant advantages. Whilst the average debt for a University student in the UK can amount to £35,000 to £40,000, at UKSA our students can earn while they learn. This ensures they are able to pay off course fees while actively working and training within the industry.

Meet UKSA’s Cadetship Manager, James Potipher

We have a dedicated Cadetship manager who is on hand to support, mentor and guide our cadets through their exciting journey into the superyacht industry.

James has extensive knowledge and skills from working on superyachts to teaching a variety of MCA modules. He has passed all the courses students will be completing on the Cadetship, so has first-hand knowledge of the entire programmes. He has also completed his MCA oral exam to gain his OOW 3000grt ticket and teaches these courses to our students with impressive feedback.

With the wealth of experience both working and teaching in the industry, James is perfectly positioned to support our Superyacht Cadets to ensure they fulfil their potential and rise through the ranks to progress their careers on superyachts.


Don’t just take our word for it – watch our video


  • You must be aged 18-25 when you start the Superyacht Cadetship, but can apply when you are 17 if you wish.
  • Excellent communication, oral and written skills, are essential, as is a good understanding of mathematics.
  • Cadets should ideally have GCSEs grades 9-4 (or equivalent) in English, Maths & Science.
  • If applying for the Foundation Degree alongside the Superyacht Cadetship 48 UCAS points are required.

How to apply?

Here’s how to apply 
  1. To apply, you will need to contact a course adviser who will provide you with an application form to complete and discuss your suitability.
  2. The next step is to book a cadet selection at UKSA. Our selections are usually run over two days, however due to the current Covid-19 Situation, we will be running virtual selections. On the selection you will be required to deliver a detailed presentation on a superyacht of your choice and sit an interview with UKSA’s cadetship selection panel, where you will be required to demonstrate a proven interest in a long-term career within the superyacht industry.
Find out more

To learn more about the selection event, or to apply for the 2021 intake of the Superyacht Cadetship please call us on+44 (0)1983 203038 or email [email protected] for further information on how to apply.


We are here to support you

As a charity, we have funding opportunities available for many of our students. UKSA can help with assisted funding of up to £10,000 towards the Superyacht Cadetship Programme. Please follow the link for further information on UKSA’s Superyacht Cadetship funding. Alternatively, please talk to one of our course advisers who will be able to provide you with further information on the funding that is available and assess your eligibility.

A great Alternative to University, our cadets can graduate debt-free!

Please note, even if you are not eligible for financial support, 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 the required qualifications and experience to work at the pinnacle of the superyacht industry.

Course stages

Phase 1 – Essential Cadetship training to launch your superyacht career – 160 days (academic study)

The Cadet will develop skills and knowledge of seamanship and safety as well as industry qualifications. Mentoring and guidance will help the Cadet obtain entry-level deck positions on superyachts, progressing into long-term opportunities within the sector.

Qualification gained
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore
  • STCW Basic Safety Training
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2
  • RYA Personal Watercraft Proficiency (Jet-Ski)
  • RYA Radar and Simulator training
  • RYA Short Range Radio
  • RYA Tender Operator Course
  • MCA Proficiency in Designated Security Duties
  • MCA Approved Engine Course
  • Superyacht Deck Maintenance Training
  • Foundation Degree in Operational Yacht Science (First year of study)

Joe Burnip – 2018/19 Crew FO Top Cadet Award. Joe, who was sponsored by Seafarers UK and the Royal Yacht Squadron, said:

The cadetship is a very intensive course. It’s pretty full on, but it does set you up well for the industry. After putting in all the time and effort, you know you’ve worked super hard to achieve what you have, and this makes it ten times better.

Phase 2 – Industry experience working onboard superyachts – the world is your classroom – 12-18 months (paid employment)

Our Cadets will be employed on a superyacht as an entry-level deckhand, following the guidance of the MCA Training Record Book with mentor support from UKSA.

Phase 3 – Yacht operations and management stepping up the ranks and taking on more serious roles – 3 weeks (academic study)

This is the link to progression from junior deckhand to more senior positions onboard, such as lead deckhand or bosun. Training builds on the Cadets working experience and provides the first steps to gain their Officer of the Watch (Yachts less than 3000gt) qualification. Cadet’s who are also completing the Foundation Degree will move forward with their coursework (Additional time-based at Falmouth University) and using the knowledge gained from working on board and training at UKSA, move closer to gaining their FDSC in Operational Yacht Science.

Charlotte Reynolds – Phase 3 Superyacht Cadet. Charlotte graduated as a Superyacht Cadet in 2018, she says:

“The whole Superyacht Cadetship has gone really quickly so I would advise new cadets to make the most of every moment of the course. I’m really proud of how I’ve developed and I look forward to seeing where I’ll end up.”

Qualifications gained
  • MCA Efficient Deck Hand (EDH)
  • MCA Human Element, Leadership and Management (Operational Level)
  • RYA Yachtmaster Ocean (Shorebased)
  • Superyacht Business skills
  • UKSA Phase 5 Officer of the Watch (OOW) preparation
  • Foundation Degree in Operational Yacht Science, Year Two completion
Phase 4 – Industry experience 12-18 months (paid employment)

During this phase, the cadet will gain watch keeping experience, in line with the MCA Training Record Book. Practically applying and honing the techniques and practices learned.

Phase 5 – OOW Training from Cadet to Officer of the Watch (OOW) – 8 weeks (academic study)

This is the final stage of Officer of the Watch 3000gt training. Building on training and experience gained over the period of the course, cadets will study senior modules towards final examination and qualification competencies MCA Officer of the Watch Modules.

Qualification gained:
  • General Ship Knowledge (OOW Yacht)
  • Navigation and Radar (OOW Yacht)
  • Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Other Than Fast Rescue Boats (Restricted)
  • Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS)
  • GMDSS General Operators Certificate (GOC)
  • Oral Preparation Officer of the Watch (Yachts less than 3000gt)

Get free careers advice

Superyacht Cadetship


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.

Dan Snook – Superyacht Cadet

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