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The Yachting Capital of the World starts with Crew Training

The Marine Advisory Committee (of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce) has searched for the reason why – and how – our marine community has achieved the status of the “Yachting Capital of The World.” How does this community distinguish itself from other coastal areas that have similar marine amenities?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Fort Lauderdale is home to a multitude of marinas and shipyards, countless maritime contractors, and (the sometimes overlooked) Yacht Crew Training programs. It is this full circle of maritime services that have cemented Fort Lauderdale into the yachting community, and why we will continue to benefit from the marine industry.

What is Yacht Crew Training?

Professional maritime training programs are like other “on campus” schooling. In Fort Lauderdale, we have institutes such as Maritime Professional Training (MPT) that offers all levels of certification, license, and document study programs. Many of these programs are in-school tested and are USCG (United States Coast Guard) approved, as well as recognized by many foreign administrations.

In the yachting industry, yacht owners and captains require well trained crew. Some certifications, such as STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping), are mandatory for all active crew and higher paying positions need other certifications and licenses for a person to be qualified for hire.

What separates this type of schooling from other college/university programs is its clear and focused course curriculum. A school like MPT offers specific programs with clear end goals. When a student passes a program and acquires the mandated time at sea (if applicable), they can apply for that desired yachting job. Most school programs last for only short periods, while the time actually spent on board a vessel to finish the certification can, potentially, last years.

What training is available for new and experienced yacht crew?

STCW, or basic safety training, is something that is mandated for all crew on board a vessel. This is offered by every maritime training program around the globe, but it is just the beginning.

Maritime schools offer programs for Deckhands, which is normally an entry level position. Deckhands are responsible for much of the yacht maintenance work on the outside of the ship.

There are also programs for Interior Crew Members. These are normally Stewards, Stewardesses, and Pursers, who help maintain the interior of the vessel and perform much of the hospitality services within a yacht.

Engineering Courses are essential for the yachting industry, as these certificate holders become the Chief Engineers, ETOs (Electro Technical Officers), and Electricians, who maintain the quality of the vessels.

Captain’s Licenses can also be obtained through maritime schools. They often take years of experience, prior to being able to even take a captain’s course. But once complete, these roles offer the highest paid positions in the industry.

The yachting industry is unique in that schooling never really ends. As a person’s career grows, more programs and certificates become available, allowing for more opportunity as the years go by.

How does someone enter the yachting industry?

If you are interested in getting into the yachting industry but have no clue how to begin, here’s how it works. Follow the steps below and you will be on your way.

  1. Living in or around Fort Lauderdale is a solid start. Being around the yachting industry and attending events like the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), Triton Networking Events, and the other various gatherings around the community ensure that you get seen by industry leaders, specifically captains and crew who make hiring decisions.


  1. Create a professional resume! In the yachting industry, they call this a CV (short for “curriculum vitae”). A resume that shows you are an energetic team player is your best marketing tool. Make sure to take great care putting this together, as others will be competing with you for attention.


  1. Register with a professional yachting group. In Fort Lauderdale, there are multiple yacht management companies that can help get your CV to potential vessels. Remember, their reputation is on the line in presenting you as a candidate, so your attitude and resume will go a long way to promote your value!


  1. Complete your basic studies! As stated above, the STCW is mandatory for all crew. Complete your basic schooling ahead of time and the likelihood of getting hired goes way up.


  1. Establish references. Living in Fort Lauderdale offers a huge benefit. Work is available right now! Day work on vessels in local shipyards is a great way to build your references. If you want to get into the yachting industry, get work on a vessel that is performing maintenance, repair, or a refit locally and you can use this time to build your CV. If you want work, you can get it now!


  1. Keep your phone on. The yachting industry is incredibly fluid and work can come up in an instant. Make sure you stay available and ready. You never know when work will call!

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