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Chief Officer (First Officer)

The Chief Officer is the second-in-command of a yacht after the Captain. As such, the Chief Officer, sometimes referred to as the First Officer or First Mate, works closely with the Captain on navigation, operations, and planning.

They lead the Deck crew, which – depending on the size of the yacht – includes the 2nd Officer, 3rd Officer, Bosuns and Deckhands.

This is an experienced role, with the Chief Officer managing and leading a large portion of onboard operations, including safety inspections, watch schedules, and even medical care. Ultimately, individuals in this role will be looking to make the transition into a Captain and should therefore be seeking to gain the relevant experience and skills where necessary, as well as having the ability to stand in if required.

Responsibilities

  • Plan and manage the responsibilities of all Deck staff
  • Plan and manage all deck operations and maintenance
  • Collaborate with other department leaders where necessary
  • Handle the boat’s navigation in lieu of the Captain when required
  • Help to set and plan navigational courses
  • Undertake bridge watch whilst at sea
  • Plan and manage training for Deck crew

Skillset

  • Necessary qualifications
  • Boat handling
  • Extensive knowledge of maritime law
  • Extensive knowledge and experience of all deck operations and maintenance
  • Extensive knowledge of onboard health and safety procedures
  • Bridge management skills
  • Personnel management skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Delegation and communication skills
  • Detailed understanding of engineering operations, with the ability to diagnose and fix problems being beneficial

How much does a Chief Officer earn?

Salaries for a Chief Officer typically begin at 4000 EUR a month, depending on experience and the size of the yacht and crew.

Qualifications

A Chief officer onboard most yachts will require a Chief Mate 3000GT. The largest yachts in the world will require a commercial Chief Officer Unlimited gained through service in the merchant fleet. Other yachts may require the following:

  • OOW Unlimited
  • OOW 3000GT
  • OOW 500GT/Master 200GT
  • Yachtmaster Ocean
  • Yachtmaster Offshore

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