Chief Officer, depending on the size of the yacht is also known as the First Mate, Chief Mate or Mate.
They are second in command and report directly to the Captain. The Chief Officer is the designated safety officer and this role requires a thorough understanding of all safety procedures as well as managerial and leadership skills.
Chief Officers are responsible for managing the smooth operation of the deck department which includes the general maintenance and supervision of the deck operations.
What does a Chief Officer do? | Chief Officer Job Description
On smaller yachts, the Chief Officer has a more hands-on role, whilst on the larger yachts, their responsibilities are more administrative, ensuring the yacht meets all the legal maritime and safety requirements.
The Chief Officer has a thorough understanding of the bridge and navigation systems, knowledge of all safety procedures onboard as well as the ability to teach and train the deck crew.
The responsibilities of a Chief Officer include:
Assisting the Captain with administrative and safety duties
Ensuring that the yacht is in all respects compliant with the relevant laws and maritime regulations (ISM, SOLAS, MARPOL)
Ensuring that the yacht is prepared for annual flag surveys, annual class surveys and port/flag state controls
Management of deck crew and maintaining crew discipline
Arranging regular safety drills
Weekly and monthly safety checks and maintenance
Conducting safety familiarisations and safety training for the crew on a regular basis
Setting watch-keeping schedules
Navigation and passage planning
Keeping all charts and publications up to date
Overseeing docking procedures
Maintenance and management of all toys and tenders
Deck Department budgeting and inventory
Overseeing shipyard periods
Soft and hard skills required to be a Chief Officer
The Chief Officer has a thorough understanding of the bridge and navigation systems, as well as knowledge of all safety procedures on board in case of an emergency.
Being responsible for the crew means it’s very important for a Chief Officer to be of a calm nature and have the capacity to manage negative situations.
The skills of a successful yacht Chief Officer include:
Strong knowledge of onboard safety procedures
Ability to assign duties and delegate crew on projects
Boat handling, watchkeeping and navigational skills
Excellent leadership and communication skills
Extensive deck maintenance knowledge and skills
Advanced product knowledge
Excellent tender driving skills
Advanced water sports knowledge
Mandatory certificates needed to work on board a yacht
All crew members regardless of their position and seniority need to have a valid STCW Basic Safety Training certificate, along with a recognised Seafarers medical certificate, the most popular being the ENG1 which is issued by an MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) professional medic.
Without these two certificates, it is not possible for crew to work on board a yacht and a Recruiter will not be able to assist you in finding work onboard a yacht.
For more information about mandatory certificates please visit our Mandatory Certificates Guide.
Are you ready to secure a Chief Officer position onboard a yacht?
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Each of our recruiters is specialised in crew placement for a particular department and they will do their best to get you an interview onboard a yacht. They will also advise you on how to best present your experience and skills and prepare for a yacht job interview.
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Chief Officer jobs
Chief Officer is a highly regarded and authoritative role onboard a yacht, and one in which one can develop their profile as a leader while embracing the yachting lifestyle.