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Yesterday’s post about charter jobs, as expected, created quite a bit of interest. And rightly so, it’s a legit opportunity for the right people. To be fair to our friends though, I should have listed a few qualifications in that post. People who have read our blog for some time know the steps that I had to go through to obtain the necessary qualifications to work as a charter captain. While no real license is required to operate a pleasure craft (e.g. your own sailboat), once you start doing it for money, things change.

To be more clear than I was yesterday, our friends are looking for people, couples especially*, who have already completed the requirements so that they could walk right into the job. While charter experience is a bonus, it is not required. The licensing is required though. If you have not yet obtained the necessary qualifications, and you aspire to this kind of work, you should start taking the necessary steps today.

The biggest requirement is a Captain’s license, and that can take a couple of forms. Americans will most likely be looking at a USCG (United States Coast Guard) license. Our friend Brittany describes the process that her husband Scott went through to obtain that.

As only Americans can obtain a USCG license, I went a different route, testing for and acquiring a RYA Yachtmaster license. The requirements for that license are listed on the RYA site.

It is worth pointing out that neither of the exams can be obtained by simply writing a test. Days on the water (USCG) or sea miles (RYA) need to be properly logged to qualify. If you haven’t already been doing so, start documenting this!

There are several other courses/requirements that need to be completed in order to legally work on a boat. These include but are not limited to STCW 95 certification, CPR and first aid training, a qualifying medical exam, etc. etc. Non-Americans will also likely require a work Visa. Note that these requirements are for everyone working on the boat, Chef included. All of these things I have documented on our blog, and the posts can be found by using the search feature near the top right of this page.

What about the Chef? Does she (I don’t want to appear sexist but in every crewed boat that I am familiar with, the Chef is a female) require any special training? While it would certainly be nice, no, it is not required. As Rebecca will attest, when it comes to cooking, the Internet is your friend. You can learn to cook and prepare any meal that you want by simply searching the recipes on the web, and perhaps watching a Youtube video or two.

There you go. Instead of just commenting on this post, if you’re still interested in one of those available positions, and have completed the necessary requirements, including at least the Captain’s license, send your personal info and bio/CV to me by email. I will pass it along to our friends and they will contact you. Best of luck!

*Why couples? This solely has to do with the sleeping arrangements on the boat. Qualified singles shouldn’t be dissuaded from applying though. If you have all of the other requirements looked after, opportunities still may exist.


  1. Awesome stuff Mike. There is a good amount of documentation required, and incomplete supporting documentation is the leading cause of delays in processing. Make sure you have it all in order!

    We are headed in somewhat the same direction as you know, but will have the added benefit of also being PADI IDC, and will teach diving as well.

    • There are boats that offer diving as part of their package. That is definitely an asset. Many boats simply offer Rendezvous Diving though, liaising with one of the local dive companies. This works especially well when not everyone on board is a diving enthusiast.

  2. Have they changed the Rules? I have a USCG captain’ s (or operator’s as they now call it) license and I’m a Brit.

    • You are a non-resident of the United States and you have a USCG Captain’s license, 6-pack or greater?

      I am definitely open to being corrected but the research I did at the time led me to believe that no US license greater than a 6-pack could be obtained by a non-US-citizen, and even for the 6-pack you need to be a US resident.

      Please folks, show me that this is not true.

  3. Clarity – your original comment suggested that only U.S. citizens could obtain a license. Yes, no license greater than a six-pack can be obtained by a non U.S. citizen, but they can get a six-pack with residency.

    And yes I am a resident Brit with a six-pack and a business here on an E2 visa.

    I believe that a non U.S. citizen could obtain residency in the USVI by starting a business there leading to residency and then getting his/her six-pack – but it wouldn’t be easy to then migrate to charter captaincy. Not impossible but not easy.

    Sorry – wasn’t trying to create confusion.

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