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OOW Unlimited: is it for me?

Tim Clarke
May 13, 2021

What are the merits of gaining your OOW Unlimited qualification? Will it help you get that dream job?

Will getting your OOW Unlimited help you get that dream crew job on a superyacht?


During the recruitment process, Quay Crew often get asked about the merits of crew having their OOW Unlimited qualification. As Tim Clarke, Director of Quay Crew, gets asked this almost on a weekly basis, we’d thought we’d share his thoughts here. There are always a handful of crew out there who are working towards gaining their OOW Unlimited or strongly considering it as they rack up the sea days.

Is gaining your OOW Unlimited worth the time & money invested?


The questions normally revolve around does it benefit their career, will they get a rotational job afterwards etc.? It really does depend on the individual candidate and as always there are exceptions to the rule.
I’ve seen and placed quite a few yachties who have gone down the commercial ticket route and some have found it relatively easy to get suitable jobs and some have really struggled. The main pattern I have found is that your career prior to gaining your OOW Unlimited has a massive influence on the yacht you end up on.
If you have worked as a deckhand / bosun on yachts which are 80m and up, and have good longevity, then generally it is much easier to get a job on a yacht over, or very close to 3000gt. Obviously these yachts are also where there is a significant amount of rotation which is what everyone desires too.


If your yachting career prior to getting your OOW Unlimited has been on smaller yachts as a deckhand / mate, eg 60m and under, then unfortunately I think it will be a real struggle to get the job you want and I would definitely question the wisdom of the financial outlay required to complete the OOW Unlimited.
Gaining your OOW Unlimited is NOT a magic bullet which opens up doors to jobs you previously could only dream about unfortunately. You still need a good CV and good longevity on the right sort of yachts to be considered for those prestigious 2nd and 3rd Officer roles offering a good rotation on boats which are 80m plus.
In a previous blog Is rotation always a good thing?, I discuss if rotation actually benefits everyone.


Occasionally we get yachts over 3000gt which are specifically looking for a yachtie who has their OOW Unlimited because of the deck, watersports and maintenance skills they bring. Unfortunately these yachts are in the minority though.


Of course getting the qualification increases your knowledge and skill set significantly which is a huge positive and if that is what motivates you then I would recommend going down this route. But if you are doing the OOW Unlimited purely because you think it will be easier to get rotational jobs then you need to take a long hard look at your CV and yourself before deciding if this is the route to go down.


If anyone is considering going down the commercial route and wants me to give them an honest appraisal of their chances of securing one of the elusive rotational 2nd or 3rd Officer roles mentioned above, then please send your CV to tim@quaycrew.com and I will give you my honest thoughts.


I would love to hear the thoughts of everyone regarding this. Perhaps you are a yachtie who got your OOW Unlimited and you can share any tips or advice you may have? If you are taking the step from commercial to yachting, the previous blog Taking the step from commercial to yachting might interest you.


If you are a yacht owner or Captain and have experience working with OOW Unlimited qualified crew, then please do get in touch with your views.

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