Skipper Requirements

Skipper Requirements

To apply you will need to hold or be working towards holding the following documents:

  • Recognised Skipper Licence
  • Basic First Aid Certificate
  • VHF Certificate

Recognised Skipper Licence

Holding one of the licenses below will greatly increase your chances of being accepted. However, we also evaluate each applicant's level of experience sailing and handling yachts under power.

Country Authority Qualification
UK Royal Yachting Association RYA Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore
Italy Uffici delle Capitanerie di porto Patente per imbarcazione da diporto (unità di lunghezza superiore a 24 mt)
Germany Deutscher SegelVerband Internationales zertifikat für führer von sport und freizeitfahrzeugen in alle küstengewässern
Poland Polski związek zeglarski Kapitan jachtowy
Slovenia Ministrstvo za promet, Uprava Republike Slovenije za pomorstvo Poveljnik jahte z bruto tonažo do 500 BT
Norway Sjøfartsdirektoratet Fritidsbätskippersertifikat/Deck Officer Class 5 Pleasure (D5LA)
Sweden Nämnden för Båtlivsutbildning (NFB) Utsjöskeppar-Intyg or Seglarintyg 3
USA American Sailing Association ASA106 & ASA118
Spain Dirección General de la Marina Mercante Capitán de yate
New Zealand Coastguard Coastal Skipper or Ocean Yachtmaster
Portugal Instituto Porutuário e dos Transportes Marítimos (IPTM) A CARTA DE NAVEGADOR DE RECREIRO (Patrão de alto mar) Patrão de alto mar
Ireland Irish Sailing Association ISA Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore
Denmark Søfartsstyrelsen (Danish Maritime Authority) YACHT MASTER 3rd CLASS of YACHT MASTER 1st CLASS

What is your level of experience?

Think this could be the best job in the world but don’t have the necessary experience or qualifications to attend Skipper Academy?

No matter your level of expertise, our partner schools can help you reach your sailing goals and teach you the necessary skills required to attend Skipper Academy.

Whilst we accept a few other internationally recognised sailing qualifications from experienced sailors, we prefer applicants with RYA Yachtmaster qualifications. We encourage those seeking qualifications to choose RYA schemes. Contact us for advice if you have any uncertainties regarding qualifications or schemes.

No Sailing Experience

It is possible to go from zero-to-hero in a short period of time but it will require a significant financial investment in 6+ weeks of intensive sailing and study. Please contact our partner schools below, they will find a suitable program to help you reach your goals. We recommend taking an introductory sailing lesson at your local sailing club before committing so you know what you're getting yourself into.

As a skipper you will be responsible for the safety and wellbeing of up to twelve guests. It is essential that you are both a confident sailor and able to handle a yacht under any weather conditions. It's not always sunshine, ocean breeze, and tan lines – storms can roll in quick, yachts can break, emergencies can happen and you must be prepared. It's not easy starting with no experience. With the right drive and determination, not only can it be done but you're guaranteed to find it an incredibly rewarding journey. Some of our best skippers came from the corporate world, quit their jobs, and have since been sailing the world. It all started with a Yachtmaster fast-track program.

RYA Day Skipper Course and VHF Licence

Build Miles and Experience

RYA Yachtmaster Theory

RYA Yachtmaster Prep Course

RYA Yachtmaster Exam

QD Skipper Academy

Basic Keelboat Experience

If you have any experience sailing keelboats, it isn’t a big leap to the Yachtmaster Coastal. If you have been sailing whilst on a family vacation or completed an introductory sailing course, you may only need a couple more weeks of practice to fine-tune your yacht handling, hone your sail trim, build your miles and learn emergency procedures such as MOB. Please contact our partner schools and they will create a tailored course to help you reach your Yachtmaster. Depending on your level of experience this may take 1-3 weeks and usually requires the Yachtmaster theory module.

Dinghy Sailing Experience

Transitioning from dinghies to keelboats is easy for experienced dinghy sailors. Dinghy sailors generally have excellent wind awareness and sail trim. There are some nuances to keelboats, such as the forces and load on the sails, the responsiveness, and all the technical equipment and yacht systems. It can take 2+ weeks of practical and theoretical training to learn the theory, docking manoeuvres, how the yacht handles, and emergency procedures. You will also need to build miles before you are eligible for the Yachtmaster exam. Our partner schools will give you recommendations on training.

Experienced Without Qualifications

Are you a salty sea dog? Could you sail before you could walk? Is Wind your all time favorite movie? Is an official qualification the only thing stopping you from throwing off the bowlines and sailing away from the safety of the harbour? Do you hold the RYA Yachtmaster minimum requirements? All you need is to take your Yachtmaster practical exam. We recommend that even experienced sailors take a Yachtmaster prep course to learn tips and tricks, common mistakes, and RYA methodology in order to be successful. Our partner schools offer prep week and exam combinations. Whilst it is not essential, we highly recommend taking an online Yachtmaster theory course. The most common reason for failing the Yachtmaster exam is lack of theoretical knowledge.

More information on the RYA Yachtmaster

Partner Schools

INSS partner school

INSS partner school

Location: Ireland

Governing body: Royal Yachting Association

Recommended License: RYA Yachtmaster

Established over 40 years ago, the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School, located in Dublin, runs the full range of RYA Yachtmaster training. The East Coast of Ireland provides a challenging tidal environment and a variety of weather conditions. The school offers a number of structured yachtmaster packages, as well as modular programmes, so there's something to meet everyone's needs. Programmes focus on skills needed by those entering the industry, with additional focus on docking and close quarter manoeuvring, while add-on modules such as RYA powerboat training are available too. There are regular direct flights from Dublin to Zadar and Split in Croatia, and programme finish dates are scheduled with Quarterdeck Academy programme start dates in mind.

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Andrew Simpson Yachting

Andrew Simpson Yachting

Location: UK

Governing body: Royal Yachting Association

Recommended License: RYA Yachtmaster

Andrew Simpson Yachting is an RYA Recognised Training centre and the chosen UK training partner for Quarterdeck Life. Our programme has been specifically designed to take you from absolute zero to professional yacht skipper standard in just 9 weeks. The programme is based on the world-renowned RYA Yachtmaster (TM) Scheme. From our main base at Portsmouth and our centre in Portland, we give you direct access to the best training grounds you can find, and the support of a team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors. Download our brochure or contact us direct for a detailed discussion -

Andrew Simpson Yachting is part of the Andrew Simpson Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to transform lives through sailing.

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