In September, representatives from the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Cayman Islands Registries met to discuss the latter formally accepting the RMI Master (Yachts) Unlimited Tonnage qualification, and the two authorities came to positive agreement.
This means that yacht-experienced captains will be able to run Cayman Islands-flagged superyachts with tonnage in excess of 3,000GT, provided they give evidence of the required sea service, the pre-requisite courses and pass the relevant five-day Capstone course and assessment for the RMI qualification.
It is important to note that this is a process that takes significant commitment. But it does give those captains who have built up a lot of service and experience on yachts an opportunity to carry on their captaincy on Cayman Islands-flagged superyachts in excess of 3,000GT. Prior to the unlimited yacht certificate’s creation, any superyacht-qualified captain would need to effectively start over again as an (unlimited) officer, accumulating sea service to progress to the rank of master on a yacht over 3,000GT.
The sea time requirements and proof of course knowledge that are needed in order to qualify for the new route’s Capstone assessment are nevertheless rather rigorous. Candidates will need to possess the knowledge underpinning the assessment for up to the Chief Mate Unlimited certificate (as per Table A-II/2 Management Level of vessels of over 3000GT – view here), bar the cargo modules.
The official statement on the Cayman Islands Registry website on the subject says that it accepts the RMI’s Master (Yachts) Unlimited COC for its safety standards because of this, and as such it deems it is fully STCW compliant.
This preparation, in some cases, can take six months or more of study and assessment to reach this Chief Mate Unlimited standard. But for many, the benefits may outweigh the cost in time, course fees and loss of earnings.
The Cayman Islands Registry added that this route “allows owners and managers to keep their working relationships with trusted and experienced yacht Masters, who can now continue their yachting careers over the traditional limit of 3,000GT.”
Currently, the only location offering the Capstone course and assessment is MPT in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The MPT website notes that prior to enrolling, candidates must apply to the Captain John Hafner at the Marshall Islands with their experience, qualifications and proof or prerequisite training for approval to take the course and assessment. At this point, if the candidates are ready, they are referred to MPT by Captain Hafner.
Edge Yachts CEO and Founder Anthony Sands is positive about the Cayman Islands acceptance of the Unlimited yacht certificate, commenting:
“That the Cayman Islands flag registry will be accepting the RMI Master of Yachts Unlimited is evidence of a very tangible shift in the regulation of superyacht captains, as a response to growing market pressures as more yachts over 3,000GT are delivered. It reflects the need for a pool of well-qualified superyacht captains who understand the demands of superyacht operations in this top-tonnage range. Of course, we have the highest expectations that captains will deliver a safe experience, but they also need to provide an entertaining experience on board for owners and guests. It will be interesting to see the take-up of the RMI Unlimited ticket over the coming years.”