New Crew Start Here!

Training Information » New Crew Start Here!

So God's calling you to maritime ministries?

That's wonderful!

Here we have tried to put all the information and contacts you need to help you get from where you are today to where you believe He is leading you.

If you get stuck along the way, drop an email to [email protected] and we will try to connect you with the right person or organisation to help.

There are many ways you can play a role in maritime ministries and most of them don’t even involve wearing a captain’s hat!

God is using boats of all shapes and sizes in a huge variety of ways around the world. For these to be a reliable, productive tool for the advancement of His kingdom, each of these boats needs maintaining, cleaning, operating safely, the crew need feeding spiritually and practically and that’s just as much a part of ministry as the direct evangelism, health care, etc.

If you are crewing aboard a Mercy Ship, there will be almost every role you can imagine there, from hairdresser to photographer, and engineer to surgeon. If you are sailing a small yacht with your husband or wife, doing one-on-one evangelism or 3d printing limbs on board for a developing nation, there will likely just be the two of you to fulfill all the positions on board!

What qualifications are required?

Here we are going to focus on what qualifications are required for the crew on board.

Generally, we are going to speak about Private Vessels, as being under 24mtrs in length and Commercial Vessels, which are usually larger, although there are exceptions to both!

Private yachts, as you would expect, require far fewer qualifications, if any, than if you are taking paying passengers or carrying cargo, where the requirements are a lot higher, for both vessel and crew.

We need to start with two questions

So we need to start by asking two questions, 1) What is your current level of experience? and 2) What type of maritime ministry is God leading you into?

Don’t worry if this is not clear when you start out, that’s ok, He will make it clear as you step out in faith.

1) Your current level of experience


Okay, so you are fairly new to boating but you feel like God is leading you in this way and want to know how to get started.

First off, don’t worry about ‘being certified’, the first thing to do is to gain some experience, there are many ministries listed on that would love to have an extra pair of willing hands for a short trip or to help refit (work on the boat) during the off season.  Both of these are great opportunities to see whether it’s really for you and make a difference at the same time.

Whatever part of maritime ministry you ultimately want to work in, learning to sail in dinghies is a great place to start. Joining a local sailing club, if you have one, can also be a great way to get afloat and see if it’s for you.
So today, join the Crews Mess community, browse the ministries on and start to connect with like minded believers!


Okay, so you have been sailing a bit and want to charter a yacht, buy your own yacht or just have some proper training to help point you in the right direction and make you a useful crew member.

There are various training organisations around the world, however a good place to start is with the RYA, the Royal Yachting Association. Although it is a UK based organisation, it is well respected internationally and has a clear progression from beginner to skipper.

Jump to: Private Yacht Licences


You already have a good base of knowledge and boating experience and are looking to advance, that’s great, we always need people like you!

The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and Ocean tickets provide you with the knowledge to sail or motor a private yacht offshore or across oceans.  (and both can be commercially endorsed.)

If you are considering working on vessels over 24mtrs, or carrying cargo or paying passengers at some point in your career you need to start looking at Commercial (STCW) Licences.  STCW licences are a worldwide requirement.

In the UK, working up the RYA ladder with commercial endorsements, provides the entry route into the MCA certification.  In the USA the Six Pack is a good starting point, although this is generally only accepted in the USA or American territories.

UK Commercial Licences        USA Commercial Licences

2) Which type of ministry do you feel called to?

Private Vessels (under 24mtrs loadline and under 80GT)

Private yachts are generally under 24mtrs (although not necessarily) and will certainly require far fewer qualifications, if any depending on the flag and country the vessel is registered in.

You have to confirm this with your flag state and the laws of the countries you are visiting.

Remember no paying passengers or cargo are permitted.

Commercial Vessels (over 24mtrs / 80GT or carrying passengers/cargo)

Commercial vessels are generally considered any vessel that carries paying passengers or cargo, or are over a certain size, usually 24mtrs.

The UK's MCA's (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) definition of a paying passenger is “anyone paying anything more than a contribution to the direct expenses of the operation of the vessel incurred during the voyage or excursion.”  and their definition of a commercial yacht is: “a yacht licenced to carry up to 12 passengers.”

All crew working on a commercial vessel (over 24 mtrs) are required to have Basic STCW training, this is a five-day course, that has to be refreshed every five years, it consists of:

Personal Survival
Fire Fighting and Prevention
First Aid
Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
Security Awareness

The qualifications for officers aboard commercial vessels are split into two areas, deck / engineering.

STCW Deck         STCW Engineering

All commercial certificates must be STCW endorsed and these can be supplied by various countries and organisations around the world.

The MCA is considered a gold standard.


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