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From time to time we are made aware of crew positions that have become available on charter boats. Just yesterday, for example, our friend who runs a charter yacht management company asked me if we knew of any captain/chef teams who’d like to work on a nice 50′ catamaran in the Virgin Islands. While I couldn’t think of anyone off the top of my head, I put out a feeler on our Facebook Page, and decided to do the same thing here. Before anyone gets too excited though, it’s worth noting that like any position of substance, there are some qualifications that must be met in order to get the job.

To begin, while no license is required for boaters to cruise recreationally on their own vessels, a legitimate captain’s license is required if one has plans to operate a boat commercially. This could take the form of a RYA Yachtmaster license, like I have, with either Offshore or Ocean designations. For Americans, licenses would normally be obtained through the USCG. In that case, a Masters license is required.

Regardless of which organization issued the license, there will be a couple of supplementary courses that are required to work on a commercial boat. It’s vital that you research this to determine what they are. The USCG info is available here, and RYA license holders can do their research here.

I have also been told that there is a new STCW course, focused on Leadership and Management, that is required all for captains (USCG and RYA). Relevant for someone running a 6 or 8 passenger boat? Unlikely, but you gotta do what ya gotta do!

In addition to the above, all crew, and this includes the chef, are required to complete the STCW 95 safety courses.


Rebecca heading off to school to complete her STCW 95 training.

Speaking of the chef, don’t wait until you’re on the boat to begin figuring out meal plans, and playing around with presentation. Google and Youtube are your friends! To paraphrase Rebecca, “If I can do it, anyone can do it!


Merry Christmas!

The point of this post is that, if you have aspirations to work in the field, or even if you’d just like to keep your options open, do the homework (courses) now! In many cases, job openings are filled quickly by the people who are ready to begin work right away, not by those who will take 6 months to get up to speed.

Four other things to take note of:

  1. As is the case in this particular offering, sometimes these jobs are for captain and chef teams, and often because of accommodations, they are best filled by couples.
  2. Sometimes, because of the country that the boat is flagged in, the jobs are only open to people of certain nationality. Again, in this particular case, because the boat is flagged in the US, the captain and chef must both be American.
  3. If you are not American, and you wish to work in the US (or USVI), you’ll need to obtain the proper work visas.
  4. If you’ll be working in the BVI, you’ll need to jump through the hoops to acquire their Boatmaster license too. This should not be difficult if you have everything else sorted out.

So, with all that said, if you are part of a potential captain/chef team, are American, and have all of the proper qualifications, or can obtain them rapidly, leave a message on this post and I’ll follow up to you by email. Best of luck!


  1. I’m a launch pilot on NY harbor 3 yrs now. Miller’s Launch Inc. I do a week on/week off hitch. I have 100 ton Master Near Coastal with Sailing Endorcement. Looking to start some part time work in the yacht field. Keep me in mind. Thanks, Capt. Robert Stumley

  2. Yes we are american couple seeking to work in this field. I my self have 100gt master with stcw 95. Been in the boat world over 18yrs. Dont want to leave her behind any more. Any info on where to start our new careers together. Would help
    Thanks. Capt. Lenny

    • Hi Lenny. I have friends in the business who have frequently found themselves looking for a USCG captain to run a US documented boat. Having a parter who can perform as “chef” is a bonus! Yes, both will need STCW certification, along with whatever other misc. documentation the USCG has put into affect. If you have that sorted, send me a message via the contact form on our site and I’ll pass your info along to our friends.

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