Sailing the High Seas

Now you’ve set sail on this once in a lifetime opportunity, check out our guide on how to progress even further.

Bank Account

Your monthly wage, bonuses and tips will be paid to you in either Euros or US Dollars and having the right bank account is important when starting out if you want to make the most of your money. Using your Australian bank account to be paid into does work, but there is a couple of issues with it. First is the currency conversion, depending on your bank provider, there will be a fee to convert to Australian Dollars and they generally give a bad rate for that conversion. Second is the credit or debit card you have with that account; does it charge you for international transactions and again you will lose money on converting money from AUD back to the local currency. There are options though, some of which have been laid out below, but depending on your personal situation depends on which account or where you would like to set up an account, so research is recommended. 

The most popular accounts at the moment for yachties are either Wise or Revolut, which provide an online bank and services such as receiving international payments, accessing cash abroad, and sending money internationally. They have a better currency exchange rate than a traditional bank, charge lower fees and is the recommended account for travellers. The two banks do differ in certain areas which include bank transfer fees, rewards, type of account, converting currency, number of available currencies, withdrawal fees etc. but all these features can be compared online. 

Another option is the Standard Bank, based in the Isle of Man, which has a specific account for seafarers. They provide four different currencies that can be used to be paid into, free online payments, and unlimited deposits and withdrawals. It requires some forms to be filled out and sent and has a fee associated with setting up the account. Each account you open also must hold a minimum of $3,500AUD. This bank use to be classed as an offshore account that was used to avoid tax but this is no longer the case, same goes for banks in the Cayman Islands, Panama, Malta and Switzerland to name a few other favourite “tax havens”. 

“Tax Havens”

In 2015 the Automatic Exchange of Information was established to fight against tax evasion. As of 2023, over 100 countries are involved in this automatic exchange including the Isle of Mann and Australia, which means if you do not meet all the requirements for being a non-tax resident in Australia and they wish audit your account then they have access to all the above options. You can find more information regarding tax at Life While Yachting – Tax.


Ignorant bliss, confusion, fear, anger and acceptance… The rollercoaster of emotions all Australian yachties working overseas experience when it comes to tax and it is a sore subject for me personally. 

Aussies are told and even sold that working on a superyacht overseas will earn you large amounts of money (and you do) through tips, bonuses and a monthly salary, that it is all TAX FREE. We work on a vessel that is registered in a tax haven (Cayman Islands, Malta etc), our foreign counterparts don’t have to pay tax and we even set up an “Offshore Bank Account” in the Isle of Mann with Standard Bank. We cut ties with Australia completely, and spend less than six months of the year in the country, even going years without visiting. For most crew that have been in the industry for a number of years think they have done their research and even paid accountants for advice, some think they found a loop hole with a second passport, and we also speak to one another to see what they do. We research tax havens, looking at buying a residency in Dubai, an apartment in Panama or a house in Vanuatu. And then there are the many stories of people getting given huge tax bills because they didn’t think they had to pay. So where does everyone stand and what needs to be done?

Are you a tax resident of Australia? 

First step is completing the four tests set out by the ATO that determine whether you are a resident for tax purposes: 

  1. Residency Test
  2. 183-Day Test
  3. Commonwealth Super Fund Test
  4. Domicile Test

Residency Test

This is the first and primary test, if this alone is not satisfied then you are automatically a tax resident. Here are some factors that determine your status:

  • Physical presence in Australia
  • Family – partner and dependants
  • Assets within Australia – property, shares, bank accounts 
  • Social and living arrangements
  • Maintaining a life within Australia

Basically, if you still call Australia home then you have to pay tax on your overseas income. 

If you pass this test and it is decided that you have cut all ties with Australia you still have to pass the next three. 

183-Day Test

The easiest of the four tests, all that is required is if you are present in Australia for more than half the income year, whether continuously or broken up. This only applies to individuals that are arriving in Australia. For most yachties we pass this test, unless you are on time for time rotation and return to Australia for your off time. 

Commonwealth Super Test

Another simple test that applies to Australian Government employees working overseas, so this does not completely apply to Australian crew. But if you are contributing to a self-managed fund then you are considered a tax resident. 

Domicile Test

The domicile test is where the majority of yachties will fail. You must prove that you have a permanent place of abode outside of Australia, that you have a residency in another country. This does not include yachts.

On the ATO website you can find a taxation ruling for Income Tax: Residency – Permanent place of abode outside Australia. The purpose of this ruling is to provide guidelines for determining whether individuals who leave Australia temporarily to live and work overseas cease to be Australian residents for income tax purposes.

What stands out in this ruling is “Factor C” which outlines whether the taxpayer has established a home outside Australia, stating that: 

“Individuals or family group who ‘make do’ in temporary accommodation with limited resources and facilities such as in barracks, singles’ quarters, aboard ships, oil rigs or mining towns, will be less likely to be considered to have established a permanent place abode overseas” 

Click Here for the full taxation ruling on the ATO website if you wish to read the entire document.

The above taxation ruling is where most Australian yachties will fail when it comes to whether or not they have to pay tax. But if you want to get your money back into the country, buy a property and go land based in Australia then the ATO will find out what you have been up to, and there is no statute of limitation when it comes to tax evasion or fraud. 

I have spoken with many different accountants over the years and spent a lot of money trying to work out my obligation and ways around it, but in the end, I had to pay. If you would like to know more regarding my personal experiences and if you want to talk about yours, or if you would like to get into contact with the people that helped me the most send an email to [email protected], and I can point you in the right direction. 

AMSA International CoC Endorsement Application

This page is for crew that have their international AMSA Certificate of Competency, such as Chief Mate <3000GT and are thinking about joining a foreign flagged yacht. 

AMSA issued international qualifications may be also accepted by overseas Flag State Authorities for use on international flagged vessels

Each country standards of training are quite similar when it comes to the international marine industry. Yachties who started out internationally generally complete their Certificates of Competencies (CoCs) with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), either going the OOW <3000GT (Yacht) route or they complete the unlimited CoC which enables them to work on any size commercial vessel. These qualifications are recognised by a number of different flags, and the only requirement to work on them is you have to apply for a CoC Endorsement from the vessels registered country (Flag). 

It isn’t any different for AMSA qualifications depending on which route you have taken. If you have completed an officer ticket under international certification you are able to work on a foreign flagged vessel such as Cayman Islands or Malta, two of the most popular flags in super yachting, and all you have to do is apply for a CoC Endorsement to work on that vessel. The vessel you have been employed by will help you with this application when you join, and most of the time will pay for it as well. 

The application can be found online, just search Cayman Island (Or Malta) endorsement application, and you will find all the required documents, payment methods and application form. 

Sea Service

Keeping a sea service record from the start of your career is important if you wish to progress through the ranks. It is a document that confirms your time at sea and service time to a vessel that you have worked on. There are minimum days required before applying for certain qualifications, such as your Officer of the Watch certificate of competency, and this document is proof of completing these days. The document, along with others, will be sent to the corresponding maritime authority to support your application for the qualification. 

The document is completed when either a crew member has gone on leave, or they have completed their contract and departing the vessel permanently. 

For Australians working internationally, it is recommended, if you are to return to Australia and want to prove sea service, to complete both the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) Sea Service Testimonial and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Confirmation of Sea Service letter when leaving a vessel. 

Though the sea service record was first intended for engineering and deck departments, it is becoming more of a common requirement for the interior and galley departments as the industry is developing more qualifications for these departments. This only applies to the UK MCA Sea Service Testimonial and not the AMSA Sea Service letter for international yachties. 

MCA Sea Service Testimonial

The MCA Sea Service Testimonial is the standard template that international yachts use when giving a sea service record to its crew as most countries accept this document as proof of sea service. Most yachties also complete their training and gain qualifications through the MCA as they are accepted by all foreign flagged yachts. 

The document is normally completed by a crewmember with the help of an officer, then is signed and stamped by the master of the vessel. 

For more information on Sea Service Testimonials and to get a blank template Click Here. This MSN also has other information for aspiring deck officers. 

AMSA Sea Service

For deck and engineering Australians wanting to prove their sea service to Australia, they will have to also complete the Confirmation of Sea Service letter. This letter requires similar information to the MCA Sea Service Testimonial but has to be signed and stamped by the employing company, not the master of the vessel. This letter is used when completing a Sea Service Assessment which is the application to AMSA to confirm your sea service days and is the first step to transferring your MCA tickets to AMSA equivalency, see “MCA to AMSA” for more information on transferring tickets. 

Here are the instructions and templates to complete Sea Service Assessment letter: Click Here

Please note that AMSA calculates sea service differently to the MCA, a section from AMSA Marine Order 74 – Master and Deck Officers Yachts, schedule 3, states: 

“3.2 – Qualifying seagoing service is calculated as follows:

  • If the person is undertaking master or deck officer duties for at least 8 hours in a 24-hour period, the sea service is taken to be served as a whole day,
  • If the person is undertaking master or deck officer duties for less than 8 hours in a 24-hour period, the sea service is taken to be for the actual hours served plus 25% of that time. 

3.3 – For clause 3.2, sea service calculated to be at least 8 hours in any 24-hour period is taken to be served as a whole day and no more than a whole day.”

Where as the MCA accepts only four hours in a 24-hour period for officers and masters as one day of watchkeeping service, and a day at sea counts once the vessel has left the dock. 

Training Record Book

The MCA Yacht Training Record Book (TRB) is part of the qualification requirements for Officers of the Watch (yachts) <3000GT certification or OOW<3000 (Y). 

It is an 81-page book that you will carry from vessel to vessel, having a Deck or Engineer Officer and the Master sign off various sections once you have demonstrated the knowledge of that particular topic.

It is to be slowly completed throughout your years as a deckhand alongside completing the required sea-time, service time and courses which will all be submitted when it is time to apply for your Notice of Eligibility (NOE) and sit the oral exam. 

Note, that the TRB is only for deckhands that wish to progress through the ranks and receive their MCA Certificate of Competency (CoC) on yachts that are less than 3000GT overseas, not in Australia, as AMSA does not recognise the TRB.  

Showing Initiative 

If you are wanting to start yachting outside of Australia you are going to want to standout and have everything you can to help you secure that first job. There is only so much you can do if you have no experience on yachts and having the TRB printed, ready to go and even some of the topics researched will put you ahead of other green deckhands. Mentioning you have it ready in an interview, out socialising or at daywork will make you stand out and put you ahead of other green deckhands. 

Click Here for the MCA Training Record Book. I recommend that you have it printed, have a read through and bound ready to go for when you have your first interview and job. 

Oral Prep – Shiptalk

You have been a deckhand a few years now, completed the courses, have the sea time required, you’ve put in the hours and all you have to do is sit the oral exam to get that MCA OOW or Master CoC. That’s where James comes in from Shiptalk. The newest guy on the block in the oral prep space, which until now has largely been dominated by a BB gun wielding Brit, Shiptalk is taking on oral prep in a new and simple way. 

James has extensive industry experience and is now utilizing this to help others through an online platform offering individual and/or group study sessions, mock exams, and he is there to support you on the lead up to your exam, getting you through it with no worries so you can enjoy a cold one afterwards.

Shiptalk Services

MCA Oral Preparation – OOW and Master (500GT / 3000GT)

E-Learning – COLREGS, Situations, Buoyage, 

NOE Application Guide

Career Guidance

Group Study Sessions 

Individual Study Sessions 

If you need more information or wish to book a session or two, fill out the form below, using Code YOAus and James will get back to you as soon as possible. If you do contact James direct and book a session, be sure to mention Yachties of Australia when you speak with him.


International Sim Card – VeslSIM

Yachties of Australia have partnered with VeslSIM, a global roaming sim card provider that was created for yachties around the world. VeslSIM is offering a 25% discount on the first three billing cycles, all you have to do is follow the link and use the promo code below 

Promo code: YOAUS25

VeslSIM and Yachties of Australia

Working in this industry requires a large amount of travel; you jump from country to country during the summer season, then cross one of the oceans to another continent to do the same for the winter season. Additionally, crew take holidays and fly to countries close by to explore even more of the world. Keeping connected via mobile is essential, and the options out there can be either difficult, require multiple sim card changes (and phone numbers), expensive, or confusing. The implementation of E-Sims has made life easier for us, but there are next to no SIMPLE and manageable options when it comes to sticking to one number that works all over the world.

VeslSIM, created by an ex-yachtie, has developed a solution and a number of different mobile roaming plans to suit the different needs of crew around the world, making it hassle free to move between countries and not have to worry about keeping connected. No longer do you need to swap sim cards when moving around, this is a one phone number plan that can be used in numerous countries around the world.

They offer different options for crew depending on their individual needs and their location, but the chosen plan can be changed month to month, upgrading or downgrading, if need be, while keeping the same number. There are also no lock-in contracts, you can cancel at any time, and you just sign up to a 30-day rolling plan.

Key features offered by VeslSIM:

  • E-sim and physical sim options
  • +200 roaming countries
  • Calls, data and SMS
  • Upgrade / Downgrade between plans
  • Multi-network in many countries
  • All plans 30 days rolling contract
  • Bring your own number (Qualifying countries only, inc Australia)
  • Talk direct to VeslSIM with WhatsApp
  • Manage your account online (App in development)

VeslSIM Discount Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

VeslSIM logo, link to website

Ship Security Officer Course – VIRSEC

Yachties of Australia have partnered with one of the only regulatory approved, STCW ISPS recognised online training providers of the Ship Security Officer course, VIRSEC. They have tailored this course to the superyacht industry and VIRSEC, through Yachties of Australia, are giving a 5% discount to all students that book the course through the link below and use the promo code YOA-5 at the checkout page.

Ship Security Officer Course

One of the requirements for a yacht to comply with the provisions of the ISPS code is to have an appointed Ships Security Officer (SSO). The SSO ensures both the security of the ship as well as the implementation and support of the ship security plan (SSP), which is done alongside the Captain and the Company Security Officer (CSO).

The Second or Chief Officer of a yacht generally has the responsibility of Ship Security Officer. So, this additional course for OOWs can not only be an extra certificate on the CV but can be a requirement when applying for these positions on board commercially run yachts. 

The course duration is expected to take approximately 21 hours and learners may enter and exit the course as often as they require for up to 6 months, so you can spread out the course over a number of days. The exam, which is also online, has to be invigilated by either a senior officer or captain on board the vessel, or, if taken at home, either have a person of good standing (police officer, lawyer, doctor etc) or you can attend a free remote invigilation session offered by VIRSEC directly.

Senior Crew & Captain Courses – The Crew Academy

Yachties of Australia has formed a partnership with The Crew Academy. The Crew Academy is a course provider that offers both online and in-person courses for individuals starting their careers as yachties all the way to captains. As part of their collaboration, Yachties of Australia and The Crew Academy are providing a 5% discount on all courses exclusively for users of YOAus. To take advantage of this discount, interested crew are required to fill out the form provided below and a member of The Crew Academy will be in contact with details on booking the course or just mention YOAus to the team and the discount will be included. 

The Crew Academy (TCA) was established in 2009 with the primary focus of providing training specifically for yacht crew pursers and service training for interior crew members. However, in 2019, TCA made a shift towards incorporating more e-learning courses into their offerings. As a result, they now provide a comprehensive range of fully-accredited yacht courses under the Guest IAMI accreditation, catering to crew members at all levels. These courses are accessible worldwide, allowing individuals to access training materials 24 hours a day at their convenience.

TCA offers courses in five distinct areas, ensuring that crew members can find appropriate training opportunities based on their specific needs and career goals. These areas are:

Purser and Administration: This course focuses on training crew members in purser responsibilities and administrative tasks related to yacht operations. This two-week program can be completed in-person at TCAs residence in the UK, or online, either over the two weeks or flexible training to tie in with your work schedule.

Leadership: TCA offers leadership courses aimed at developing leadership skills and capabilities for crew members aspiring to take on managerial roles on board yachts. These include an Advanced Leadership course for all crew, a HOD Level Leadership course and a Command / Senior Level leadership course.

Mental Health: These courses address the importance of mental health and wellness for crew members, providing training and support resources to promote overall well-being, suicide prevention, addiction and recovery, suicide first aid and also captain’s mental health.

Yacht Owners Representative Program: This program is aimed at senior crew and captains and is divided into three sections: Foundations of a New Build Project, Management and Compliance Obligations and Specialist Project, Legal and Administrative Knowledge. The program can be completed in the three separate sections or as a whole for a discounted rate.

Interior Courses: TCA offers training for interior crew members at the beginning of their career all the way to HODs, covering various aspects of service, hospitality, and guest relations to ensure a high level of professionalism and excellence in interior operations. See Life Before Yachting for more information on the beginner courses.

By offering a diverse range of courses in these areas, TCA aims to meet the training needs of crew members at different stages of their careers and provide them with valuable skills and knowledge to excel in the yachting industry.

Visit The Crew Academy’s site today to see the full list of courses on offer, and if you would like to receive the 5% discount, don’t forget to fill out the form below or mention Yachties of Australia to the team. 

Senior Crew Course Enquiry

Wine and Spirits Course – Senior Interior Crew

Yachties of Australia have partnered with two WSET course providers, Melbourne Wine School and The Wine Tip. They are both offering 5% discount on all courses, all you have to do is fill out the form at the bottom of the page and we will send you a unique promo code to use when booking the course.

The WSET Level 3 Award in Wines or Spirits is designed to give a thorough understanding of the factors that account for the style, quality and price of international wines or spirits. The qualification will assist and prepare those who are required to make professional evaluations of either with regards to these factors. and provides the in-depth product knowledge required to underpin job skills and competencies, for example in product selection in the retail and hospitality sectors. 

When the course is successfully completed, you will be in a position to advise management, answer customer queries with authority and to make informed selections of wines and/or spirits in a variety of situations. 

As a Chief Stew, this knowledge can be and is useful to those that work for yacht owners that love wine and spirits or for elevating the charter guests experience to another level. 

Both qualifications require you to have completed the WSET Level 2 in either Wine or Spirits and there is a minimum of 84 hours of study time, which is divided up into 30 hours with a course provider, about 50 hours of personal study and revision and two exams, part one being closed book multiple-choice and short answer questions, part two is a blind tasting of two wines or spirits (depending on the course). 

If you are looking at advancing your knowledge in this area then WSET Level 3 will not only benefit your career in yachting, but will also have transferable skills to many hospitality industries globally. 

Training Providers

Melbourne Wine School, Melbourne

Melbourne Wine School is a small Collingwood based education and consulting business that offers a selection of approved WSET certified courses and tastings that aim to help both novices and industry veterans expand their knowledge. Their educators are passionate about the industry, education and their products, being qualified in WSET Level 4 Diploma in wine and spirits and WSET Level 3 in Sake. Melbourne Wine School have partnered with YOAus and wish to offer a 5% discount to anyone interested in completing any courses in Melbourne. At this point, Melbourne Wine School only offers the Level 3 in Wine and Sake, not in spirits. 

The Wine Tip, Sydney

The Wine Tip is located down the road from Westfield shopping centre in Bondi Junction, Sydney. Director and owner, Paul Huet, earnt his Diploma of Wine and Spirits after seven years of tutelage in London and after numerous ventures in the hospitality industry opened The Wine Tip to fully live his passion of transmitting his love of wine through education. Paul is a certified WSET educator for both wine and spirits and is a CMS Certified Sommelier. The Wine Tip and YOAus have partnered to also offer a discounted rate of 5% to anyone wishing to complete a course in Sydney. At this point, The Wine Tip only offers up to Level 3 in Wine, not in spirits.

WSET Course Enquiry Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Cyber Security Awareness Course – VIRSEC

Yachties of Australia have partnered with VIRSEC, an online training provider of the Cyber Security Awareness course. They have tailored this course to the superyacht industry and VIRSEC, through Yachties of Australia, are giving a 5% discount to all students that book the course through the below link and use the promo code YOA-5 at the checkout page.

Cyber Security Awareness Course

Cyber Security Awareness is a newer online course that is not a mandatory requirement (at this point in time) for crew to complete. The regulations around cyber security and yachts only state that there must be a policy on a vessel and that crew are aware of said policy. In some instances, these policies state that a crew member has to complete the awareness course, and in the future, I see this becoming a mandatory course, just like the STCW basic training, as we go more digital every day. 

If you are one of those crew that joins a vessel requiring this Cyber Security Awareness course, VIRSEC offers it online. Taking only a few hours to complete and you are able to come and go as you please. 

The course covers the basics of:

  • General knowledge of cyber threats with real world cases
  • Steps to avoiding attacks
  • Spotting a threat or an attack in progress
  • Following a cyber security policy 

Though not mandatory, more and more attacks are happening to yachts, in some instances succeeding. There have been yachts that have paid false invoices for hundreds of thousands of dollars without checking the details first, other cases of hacking emails and getting sensitive information. So, it will only be a matter of time before this becomes a must have on the CV.