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  • Writer's pictureYPI CREW

Are you ready for this A captain needs reassurance that promotion? By now you you are not a yacht-hopper and can have probably worked give commitment to your employer, on yachts for several. Having said that, a captain will want years, experiencing to see that you have experienced various situations, shipyards, refits, yachts of different sizes as a deckhand.

The General Skills & Attitude

Whether you are being considered for a promotion or you are applying to another yacht, the captain will need to be satisfied that you have the required maturity, you have demonstrated a keenness to learn new skills as a deckhand, and you took an interest in your colleagues' work. By now you will understand shipboard terms and definitions, you understand common orders and appropriate responses, you understand safe working practice. You know how to keep a proper lookout, have taken part in regular drills and know what actions to take when hearing an alarm. How keen were you in this learning process? Have you been the one asking for advice, assistance? Have you been practicing rope splicing and knots for hours, for instance? How well do you know your cleaning and maintenance products? Have you shown drive and commitment? A proactive attitude, global vision and ability to fit in and be a team player will determine if you are ready for the next step.

A captain will also look at your leadership skills and, whilst you are still at the bottom of the ladder, he or she will want to know that you are capable of organising day workers and are confident with guests during tender runs, jetskiing or diving. The captain will want to know that you are a confident communicator at all levels and that you generally represent the yacht in an intelligent way.

Before moving up to a lead deckhand position. Realistically, without large yacht experience as deckhand, you will not obtain a position of lead deckhand on a large yacht.

The Paperwork

The learning curve from a junior deckhand to a competent lead deckhand is based on experience, training, education and a willingness to learn.

The four Basic STCW 95 Code A-4/1 modules are the essential qualifications required for a junior deckhand position on a large yacht. Providing a good understanding and knowledge of basic personal safety at sea these include

  • the Personal Survival Techniques,

  • Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention, Elementary First Aid and Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities. These courses outline the foundation for your future advanced safety training courses and onboard drills.

While working your way up to becoming a lead deckhand, I recommend the two-day Powerboat Level 2 tender driving course — a great CV add-on that offers an introduction to boat handling and navigation. For those on the larger boats, and without the opportunity to drive the smaller vessels, try to maximise your tender driving skills and boat handling experience.

It is beneficial for those with a minimal level of seamanship knowledge and practical skills to complete the training up to Day Skipper or Efficient Deckhand level. These courses offer the fundamental introduction training for navigation, seamanship and meteorology. It is essential to learn, experience and master the basics prior to undertaking advanced training. Many seafarers who jump straight to the Yachtmaster.

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