We recently caught up with captains in the Superyacht Industry to hear their views

UKSA, the charity and maritime training centre based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, has reported a growing demand for their professional Yachtmaster Offshore qualification as the entry-level ticket to the professional yachting industry.

Professional Yachtmaster Offshore students on the water

In the superyacht sector high-ranking professionals such as captains and officers have been sharing their thoughts with UKSA about the desire for entry-level candidates to have attained a Yachtmaster qualification, as opposed to an STCW95, for example.

What do you look for when you hire deck crew?

A superyacht officer shared his thoughts with UKSA: “We hire them [Yachtmasters] because we believe after a crew member has invested the time and money into a Yachtmaster course they are more serious about making a career in the industry. Also, from experience, a Yachtmaster is far better on deck as they have a good base knowledge of line handling, weather, boat handling etc. than someone with just an STCW. For the reasons above I personally believe Yachtmaster is an entry-level ticket to our industry now.”

Professional Yachtmaster Offshore students

Those seeking to enter the industry have not only been selecting the Yachtmaster course but have been actively seeking to enrich their knowledge with courses such as UKSA’s Superyacht Cadetship. The flagship course for the training centre has been growing in popularity, with numbers almost doubling in recent years. The structured course equips graduates with a strong foundation of knowledge and a realistic understanding of the burgeoning superyacht industry, with the first phase of the course including the cadets undertaking their Professional Yachtmaster Offshore qualification. During the four-year programme, the cadets combine both academic study and practical paid employment on superyachts and have the option of pursuing a Foundation Degree in Operational Yacht Science, with Falmouth Marine School. This option provides additional career and training pathways into different sectors of the maritime industry.

Professional Yachtmaster Offshore students working towards their ticket

The Yachtmaster ticket opens up so many opportunities

The Yachtmaster qualification is also a vital tool in the wider industry and UKSA is delighted to see former Yachtmaster graduate Josh Stickland secure a place as one of the eleven professional skippers for the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Race.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is undoubtedly one of the greatest ocean adventures on the planet, also regarded as one of its toughest endurance challenges. Taking almost a year to complete, it consists of eleven teams, with each made up of one Skipper, one Mate, and a crew of everyday people from many different walks of life, competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts.

On being appointed as Clipper Race Skipper, Josh said: “It has been a long time coming! I have wanted to be a Clipper Race Skipper since I qualified as a professional skipper when I was 22 at UKSA. Before then I didn’t even know it could be a job, but when I found out it was possible, I wanted to do it and have been working to get to this point.”

Former UKSA student and instructor announced as Clipper Race professional skipper

For Josh – it all started at UKSA

Josh gained his professional sailing qualifications at UKSA, including Professional Instructor Training (watersports) in 2008, before qualifying as a Commercial Yachtmaster in 2010. Josh also worked there as a watersports instructor and undertook numerous other courses, including MCA qualifications, to further his professional development – all leading to him becoming qualified to skipper a race such as the Clipper Race. Josh was a recipient of the Stephen Thomas Bursary whilst undertaking his professional training at UKSA.

Josh has fond memories of his time at UKSA and said: “I’d like to thank everyone at UKSA throughout my years of learning and working there, from the kitchen, and housekeeping staff through to the watersports and yachting also the back offices. Without you all, I wouldn’t be writing this. It really is a special place that is always a joy to return to and has given me the support and the coaching needed to get me where I have today. When this chapter comes to a close I look forward to seeing all of you!”

Professional Yachtmaster Offshore students onboard a UKSA yacht

UKSA’s CEO Ben Willows is delighted that Josh has been selected and said the following: “I have had the pleasure of seeing Josh grow and develop as a professional yachtsman during his time at UKSA. As a popular instructor and member of the USKA team, I know we will all be watching him closely as he takes on this epic race with his crew.”

UKSA holds regular open days throughout the year for those interested in pursuing a career in the professional yachting industry.

Ready to secure your Yachtmaster Offshore ticket?