Yacht interior training for stewards and stewardesses
Last updated: 23/10/2019
A yacht steward or stewardess wears many hats aboard a superyacht, taking up the role of host, housekeeper, manager and mother.
From junior to senior roles, stewards/esses are collectively responsible for the everyday running and smooth operation of the yacht’s interior and guest hospitality. As such, the role covers everything from serving and entertaining guests to laundry and full housekeeping duties, and even accounting responsibilities.
Interior training for yacht stews and stewardesses
Every crewmember working aboard a superyacht (24 metres and over) must have completed mandatory STCW Basic Safety training, and a steward/ess is no different, so time should be set aside to take this five-day course. He or she will also need an ENG1 crew medical certificate or equivalent to prove fit to work at sea.
No other training is mandatory for interior crew, but to get ahead in the race, it’s highly recommended to enrol on an industry-recognised interior crew-training course to improve your chances of landing a job on board.
One route to interior training is the Professional Yachting Association’s GUEST Program, which includes the STCW and ENG1 requirements within its modules, making it a worthwhile investment, and one that you will likely recoup in your first month or two working aboard.
PYA GUEST Program
Provided by the Professional Yacht Association (PYA), GUEST stands for ‘Guidelines for Unified Excellence in Service Training’ and offers stewards and stewardesses a clear training route, leading to an industry recognised Certificate of Competency (CoC) within a carefully designed career path for interior crew.
The course has three levels, ranging from G.U.E.S.T I for junior stews, through to G.U.E.S.T II for senior positions and G.U.E.S.T III for heads of department.
Introduction: G.U.E.S.T I for Yacht Junior Steward/ess CoC
For those with no sea service, G.U.E.S.T I students will complete the below modules, giving them a Yacht Junior Steward/ess Certificate of Competency:
- Yacht Interior Introduction
- Yacht Interior Basic Food Service
- Wine, Bartending and Mixology Introduction
- STCW Basic Safety Training
- Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering (or equivalent)
- ENG1 Medical (or equivalent)
Advanced: G.U.E.S.T II for Yacht Senior Steward/ess CoC
Those with the G.U.E.S.T I / Hospitality Level 2 qualification, plus 12 months’ yacht service and 60 days’ guest-service time, will be able to progress on to the G.U.E.S.T II course, which will lead to a Senior Steward/ess Certificate of Competency. Modules include:
- Yacht Interior Administration and HR
- Yacht Interior Advanced 1 and 2
- Yacht Interior Advanced Housekeeping and Valet Services
- Yacht Interior Advanced Laundry Services
- Floristry and Plant Maintenance
- Yacht Barista and Hot Beverages
- Yacht Interior Advanced Wine Appreciation 1 and 2
- Yacht Interior Advanced Bartending and Mixology 1 and 2
- PBL2 tender driving training (or equivalent)
- STCW (A-VI/4-1) Medical First Aid at Sea
Management: G.U.E.S.T III for Yacht Chief Steward/ess CoC
Those with the G.U.E.S.T II / Hospitality Level 3 qualification, combined with a total of 24 months’ hands-on experience and 120 days’ guest service in a senior position, will allow interior crew to progress to chief stew/head of department, completing the below modules to receive a Chief Steward/ess Certificate of Competency:
- Yacht Management
- Yacht Leadership
- Accounting and Budgeting
- International Safety Management (or equivalent)
- STCW (A-VI/2-1) PSC&RB or Advanced Sea Survival
- STCW (A-VI/4-2) Medical Care Aboard a Ship
- Level 3 in Supervising Food Safety in Catering (or equivalent)
- Interior management
- Cocktail and spirit advanced
- Management of food safety in catering
- MCA medical care
- MCA advanced fire fighting
- MCA Sea survival
Note that completing GUEST II modules is not a prerequisite to taking GUEST III.
Alternatively, if you have already gained experience and qualifications working in hospitality and interior service either on land or on board, you could be eligible to apply for a Letter of Assessment, which may entitle you to an alternative route to your GUEST CoC.
Interior training alternatives
Of course, the GUEST Program is not the only route to certification as a yacht steward/ess. Each training school often provides its own version of interior crew and hospitality training, which all adds weight to your crew CV.