Skip to main content

Proposed yacht crew rules eased

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Coast Guard plan still would require license recertification at five-year intervals instead of 10


Megayacht crews may have to do a little tap dancing and make some adjustments if the proposed 2011 amendments to the U.S. Standard of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers are adopted, industry sources say.

“At this point I believe that the impact will be less significant than with the original [Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking],” says Amy Beavers, academic principal for Maritime Professional Training, a Fort Lauderdale license training school. She says the Coast Guard has made some concessions.

However, the amendments will have effects. The most significant change would require license holders to be recertified every five years instead of 10. On a yacht, that affects mainly the master, who on most megayachts (those that weigh less than 200 gross tons) is the only licensed crewmember required, says Will Watson, a spokesman for the Marshall Islands Registry, which registers yachts in the Marshalls as a port of convenience.

Another change: The timeworn classification able-bodied seaman has been changed to able seafarer, either deck or engineer. This could be another major change for megayacht crews, says Wayne Conwell, senior adviser for Sea School, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based licensing school. Conwell, a retired Coast Guardsman, says the new rule will set standards for the two new categories of seafarers and require that qualified people assess the crewmembers who fill the positions to see whether they meet the standards.

On a yacht, that ordinarily would be a licensed mate or engineer, but because many yachts don’t have any licensed crew other than the master, yacht captains may have to rely on schools to make the assessments and certify seafarers for duty.

“It’s not a big change, as far as we’re concerned,” says Peter Baker, president of Megayacht Technical Services International, a Fort Lauderdale-based company that specializes in regulations affecting megayachts. He says some captains he advises wonder whether a requirement to recertify the medical person in charge every five years would include the original weeklong $2,000 to $3,000 course or whether a much less expensive refresher course would suffice.

The amendments allow “the preservation of the ‘hawsepipe’ program, which permits use of on-the-job training or practical experience to obtain endorsements and would foster career paths that were not previously available” — a major win for the industry, the Federal Register announcement says.

The proposed rules also would tighten the oversight of licensing courses and change the weekly rest requirement for crew from 70 hours to 77, although some flexibility would be allowed in “exceptional circumstances.”

Public meetings were scheduled in August and early September in Miami, New Orleans, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The comment period for the supplemental notice ended Sept. 30.

The Federal Register notice of the proposed amendments is available at Search keyword “watchkeeping.

This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue.



Propeller Precision

Yamaha’s new $20 million foundry produces about 100,000 propellers a year


PR Firm Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Martin Flory Group has served the RV and marine industry segments since 1962.

Screen Shot 2022-09-26 at 9.29.49 AM

Mack Boring Turns 100

The New Jersey-based engine and components supplier, started in 1922 by Edward “Mack” McGovern, today is still a family-run business.


IBEX Canceled

Tropical Storm Ian is expected to strengthen into a hurricane and impact Florida’s west coast sometime Wednesday.


Clearing the Deck

Bombardier Recreational Products unveiled the Rotax outboard with Stealth Technology in August


Shoring Up Your Defenses

Marine businesses are just as open to cyberattacks as all kinds of other businesses in nearly every industry


Hinckley Unveils SilentJet

Hinckley Yachts teamed up with Wisconsin-based transmission-maker Twin Disc to create a hybrid electric system called SilentJet that can switch automatically from diesel to electric power, depending on how much throttle you use.