In today’s superyacht industry there are a number of aspects that have been taken from the commercial arena – the prime example being the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC). However, one way the commercial industry helps prepare its crew for a career in this industry – and one way the commercial industry comes off as one both serious and professional – is its adoption of numerous cadetship training programmes.

This is something few in the superyacht industry are doing, but it is a wonder why more are not embracing this fantastic method of training that separates those professional, long-term crew from those looking for quick cash and a summer job.


Cadetship programmes are a great way for crew to really learn about life and work at sea. Credit: Billy Black

One reason why the superyacht industry has resisted these schemes could arguably be due to space on board, but this is something one superyacht captain thinks could change as the size of yachts in the Global Order Book increases. “As far as the cadetship side goes, it's a fantastic way of training. It's difficult to relate it with yachting … but it is the way forward. It is difficult with the superyachts because we've only got a certain number of berths on the yacht and a cadet really is taking up space, and at least in the commercial world you have those extra cabins and they can be on board there. And that's where these big yachts can really help out because in theory they've got a lot more space.”

There are, however, some in the superyacht industry offering cadetship programmes for the crew of tomorrow. Emma Baggett is the cadetship manager at UKSA, which offers cadetship programmes to crew of between 18 and 25 years old. “The chance to nurture a passion for yachting over several years guided by an expert in that field, while simultaneously enjoying independence, extra curricular activities and new friends is not to be easily overlooked. During a cadetship students will hone their interpersonal skills and get a chance to practice communication and team playing, all of which are high on a captains list of necessary attributes for entry-level crew.


"During a cadetship students will hone their interpersonal skills and get a chance to practice communication and team playing, all of which are high on a captains list of necessary attributes for entry-level crew."



“The primary role of UKSA’s Superyacht cadetship is to train and prepare yacht crew for the challenges of life at sea in the twenty-first century. Over the next three years, UKSA cadets will embark on an intense training program designed to equip them with the knowledge, skills and qualifications they need to progress in the superyacht industry.
“Developed in close consultation with the MCA and their approved training guidelines, the cadetship course combines phases of training at UKSA with paid work placements in the superyacht industry. There is no fast-track route to the top and that is why UKSA has developed a long-term plan for the development of our cadets.”

Viking Recruitment, moreover, has established the professional Yachtsman Bursary Scheme with The Corporate of Trinity House which, set up with the RYA, enables students to train at UKSA with 75 per cent of tuition already paid for.

The superyacht industry is clearly aware of the benefits of cadetship training programmes, though in the past they have been spoken of little. Perhaps now, with larger yachts leaving the shipyards, the industry will begin to accommodate more of these schemes for the benefit of tomorrow’s superyacht crew.

Join our debate on cadetship programmes in the superyacht industry.