The Marshall Islands has recently announced its offering of superyacht-specific course for captains wishing to gain their Unlimited license. The Superyacht Owner catches up with John Hafner, vice president of seafarer manning and training at the Marshall Islands registry and IRI, to find out what this means for owners.



The course and ticket, which is limited to superyachts, is an answer to what so many label ‘the glass ceiling’ for superyacht captains – that is, when they want to work on a superyacht larger than 3,000gt, they need to step into the commercial realm, spending significant time and money working on commercial vessels to get the required sea time and experience that qualifies them for their exam. Which, of course, means a captain will have to leave their owner.

“If an owner wants to go to the next level and build a megayacht, and it happens to be over 3,000gt, his only option is really go out into the commercial realm and try and find a captain, and typically these owners want to keep their captains,” explains Hafner.

The six-day course, held at Maritime Professional Training (MPT) in Fort Lauderdale, is only available to those captains who meet the 13 outlined prerequisites, including relevant sea time, all of which have been based on the STCW requirements for captains gaining their commercial Unlimited license but without the reference to cargo, and focuses on Marshall Islands maritime law.


“If you’re going to build a yacht over 3,000gt and you want your captain to go with you, the Marshall Island flag will certainly be a viable option."
- John Hafner, vice president of seafarer manning and training, Marshall Islands registry and IRI


While the Marshall Islands has stated this course and ticket has not been put in place with a view to make money (“We’re not doing this from the flag administration perspective to make money, because we make the same money on a yacht captain as we do on a supertanker captain,” says Hafner), it does offer the possibility that the Marshall Islands flag, has approximately 540 yachts under its registry, becomes a popular choice for new owners, or even a new choice for existing owners. “If you’re going to build a yacht over 3,000gt and you want your captain to go with you, the Marshall Island flag will certainly be a viable option, because your captain can now obtain an Unlimited license,” Hafner tells The Superyacht Owner.

Find more information about the course on TheCrewReport.com.