Yacht Captain
  • September 12, 2023
  • Blog
  • by Admin

Navigating the sparkling waters of the UAE on board a luxurious superyacht is a dream many harbour. With its picturesque coastline and sun-kissed marinas, it’s no wonder Dubai has become a hub for maritime enthusiasts. 

If you’ve ever fancied taking the helm of such a vessel, let’s set you on the right course.

Defining Yachts and Super Yachts

Let’s start by understanding what differentiates yachts from superyachts. Typically, a yacht is any boat with sleeping accommodations, primarily used for leisure, and measures under 80 feet in length. Contrastingly, a superyacht is a luxurious vessel extending beyond 80 feet and can house at least six passengers, though it’s likely to accommodate more than 10 people plus an expansive crew. 


Superyachts above 130′ are occasionally referred to as Megayachts, especially when they span ~200 feet or 60 meters.

The terminology can vary, with terms such as yachts, superyachts, and megayachts often being used interchangeably. However, for the sake of clarity, the above definitions are widely accepted.

Essential Qualifications

To ascend to the esteemed role of a superyacht captain, one must be well-versed in maritime training. A baseline requirement is ensuring all seafaring certificates are up to date, including STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers) and the Seafarers’ Medical Certificate.

STCW Convention

The International Convention on STCW sets global qualification standards for masters, officers, and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships and large yachts. 

Adopted in 1978, it underwent numerous revisions to uphold the highest maritime standards. Essentially, the STCW ensures lateral training consistency worldwide. This means whether you’re a captain from Europe or America, you will undergo similar, internationally recognised training.

Getting Started in Dubai

If Dubai is your chosen port of call, there are specifics to be aware of. Firstly, one must hold a marine boat driving license. It is mandatory for all ships registered in Dubai to possess a sailing permit, authorised by the Dubai coast protector. 

Whether you’re a boat owner or part of a vessel group registered in another Emirate, a boat driving license from the Dubai Maritime City Authority is a must. If you are considering buying a yacht, remember that the complexities of being at the helm demand intensive preparation.

Steps to Obtain a Yacht Captain License

  1. Education and Training: Enrolling in a reputable institution is essential. Make sure to choose one that not only offers courses tailored for aspiring superyacht captains but also grants a globally recognised yacht captain license.
  2. Gaining Experience: The journey from deckhand to captain is filled with invaluable maritime experiences. Typically, it can take between two to five years to be fully equipped for the captain’s role, depending on your qualifications and expertise.
  3. Job Application: Having secured the required credentials, your subsequent move is to venture into the job market. Liaising with a yacht broker might offer a deeper understanding of potential openings in the world of yachting.

The Mandate of a Superyacht Captain

Piloting a superyacht transcends mere navigational skills; it’s intrinsically tied to leadership. In more intimate yachts, the captain is deeply involved, while the grandiosity of larger vessels calls for administrative prowess. 

From the gourmet chef to the diligent deckhand, each crew member resonates with the captain’s directive.

Being a leader amidst the vast waters requires fostering harmony amidst varied personalities, adeptly allocating responsibilities, and ensuring the overall safety and welfare of every soul on board.

Charting Your Course

Setting forth on the path to becoming a superyacht captain is indeed a venture of grit and gratification. With apt training, seasoned experience, and a fervour for the seafaring realm, the aspiration of guiding through the cerulean waves on a lavish vessel becomes an attainable vision.

Whether you’re considering yachts for sale or pondering the purchase of a yacht, cherish the voyage as much as the ultimate port of call. May clear skies ever guide your sails!