Study towards a Chief Mate Yacht or Master Yacht certificate of competency

New Zealand Diploma in Yacht Operations (Level 6) with optional strand in Master Yacht

Programme highlights

Take the next step as Chief Mate or Master on a superyacht.

If you're already working as yacht crew in the superyacht industry, this qualification will give you the training you need to become a Chief Mate or Master on yachts over 24 metres and up to 3000GT.

Holders of this qualification will have the skills, knowledge and experience required to work in a watchkeeping and/or command position at management level on a yacht.

This qualification leads to a Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) certificate. Expand for more detail.
To become a Chief Mate Yacht

You will need to complete the New Zealand Diploma in Yacht Operations (Level 6) before applying to MNZ for a:

See for all requirements needed before you apply.

Master Yacht (optional strand)

Take your career to the highest level of qualification for yacht crew with an additional 12 weeks of study. You will learn the skills and knowledge to take command as Master Yacht.

You need to complete this qualification with the optional strand before applying to Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) for a:

Holders of the UK Chief Mate Yacht may progress to the optional strand in Master Yacht. Upon application, your Chief Mate Yacht certificate of competency will be recognised as prior learning.

Award of the MNZ certificate of competency will also require the completion of:

  • Sea service
  • MNZ medical fitness certificate
  • Eyesight test (including for colour vision)
  • Fit and proper person check
  • Final exam
  • Ancillary certificates.

See for all requirements needed before you apply.

Key facts

Start month(s)

Chief Mate Yacht:


Master Yacht:

June, July

Study location(s)

New Zealand Maritime School

Level 6
Domestic fees

$7,200 (approx.)

Click here to see individual course fees

Youth Guarantee (fees-free*)

Not available

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Programme code NZ2516

Chief Mate Yacht:

Full-time for 1 year (35 teaching weeks).

Includes online learning, 7 months of class attendance, and completion of TRB.

Master Yacht:

Full-time for an additional 12 teaching weeks.

Includes 9 weeks class attendance and online learning.

Part-time available.

Includes distance learning (online) and reduced teaching weeks, customised to learner needs.

Study method

Blended (includes on-board training, online learning, class attendance and completion of a training record book)

Credits 120 - 200
International fees Chief Mate: NZD$17,400 (approx.) Master Yacht: NZD$11,600 (approx.)
Māori and Pasifika Trades Training Scholarship (fees-free*)

Not available

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Qualification leads to

New Zealand Diploma in Yacht Operations (Level 6) with optional strand in Master Yacht

Entry requirements


Open entry for domestic students

There are no academic requirements that need to be met to enter this programme.

International students: English language entry requirements

For the minimum English language requirements refer to the requirements set out in the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules

International students will generally be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency, for this programme an IELTS Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5 is required. Equivalent acceptable evidence can be seen at the following NZQA link:

Important information

Entry to this qualification is open but completion does not guarantee the award of a Maritime New Zealand licence.

All persons wishing to qualify for a seafarer licence must also check the Maritime New Zealand prior certification and minimum service requirements for that licence. Also: Seafarers Framework which outlines medical fitness requirements and Maritime New Zealand Part 34:Medical Standards

International students

Test your English level to help you plan.

Take our free online English test to get a basic indication of your English level. This will help you understand what programmes you can apply for and what preparation you may require before you start your programme of study.


Book your British Council IELTS test with us.

You will complete your test in one day, plus get free online tuition to help you succeed. We offer paper-based or computer-delivered IELTS. Choose computer-delivered IELTS and get your results in 3-5 days.

Programme structure

You will need to complete the below 15 courses (120 credits):

Chief mate yacht

Level 2

942.212 STCW – Basic Safety Training – Basic Sea Survival (5 credits)

Apply safe and sustainable work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response on board a vessel.

942.213 STCW – Basic Safety Training – Basic First Aid (5 credits)

Apply safe work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response to first aid on board a vessel.

942.214 STCW – Basic Safety Training – Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR) (3 credits)

Apply safe and sustainable work practices, demonstrate effective communication and emergency response on board a vessel.

942.215 Proficiency in Security Awareness (2 credits)

Providing knowledge, understanding and proficiency to personnel intending to work on ships who will not have any designated security duties.

Level 4

942.459 STCW – Basic Safety Training – Basic Firefighting (5 credits)

Apply safe work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response to fire on board a vessel.

942.464 Proficiency in Survival Craft (PISC) (5 credits)

Operate survival craft and rescue boats.

Level 5

942.585 Medical First Aid (5 credits)

To enable an appropriate medical response to be offered where professional care may be at least a week away.

Level 6

942.614 Advanced Fire Fighting (5 credits)

To direct fire-fighting operations on board a vessel.

942.671 Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) (5 credits)

People credited with this course are able to: Demonstrate knowledge of GMDSS theory, transmit and acknowledge distress, urgency, medical and safety calls, communicate using GMDSS subsystems and maintain battery systems.

943.630 Chief Mate Yacht Navigation and Passage Planning (10 credits)

By the end of the course, the student will be able to plan a passage, navigate the vessel and determine a position accounting for tides and vessel safety information.

943.631 Chief Mate Yacht Celestial Navigation (10 credits)

People credited with this course are able to: determine position using celestial techniques, determine compass error and plan star sights.

943.632 Chief Mate Yacht Electronic Navigational Aids (10 credits)

To be able to determine the ship’s position by use of all navigational aids and equipment commonly fitted on board ships and consider the limitations of use.

943.633 Chief Mate Yacht Stability (15 credits)

By the end of the course, the students will be able to maintain vessel stability across a range of known and unknown operating conditions.

943.634 Chief Mate Yacht Watchkeeping (20 credits)

In a simulated environment, students will demonstrate the ability to conduct a safe passage, including demonstrating knowledge of BRM principles, watch-keeping practices, and ship handling. They will utilize the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual in response to emergencies at sea.

943.635 Chief Mate Yacht General Knowledge and Orals Prep (15 credits)

Students will gain an understanding of global meteorological patterns, vessel construction, management of workloads and compliance with international requirements to contribute to their management of the vessel and preparation to pass their final Oral Exam with the MNZ Orals examiner.

For master yacht strand, you will also need to complete the below five courses (80 credits)

Master yacht

Level 6

941.601 Master Yacht Business and Law (20 credits)

Controlling the operation of the ship and care for persons on board at management level and monitor compliance with legislative requirements.

941.602 Master Yacht Meteorology and Seamanship (20 credits)

Manage the safe operation of the vessel at sea taking into account the development and effect of weather conditions and be able to respond to unplanned events that may impact on the safety of the ship.

943.636 Navigation Command and Control of Emergencies (20 credits)

Plan and conduct a passage and determine the position and manage the maintenance of a safe navigational watch, whilst responding to and controlling emergencies and distress at sea on a vessel up to 3000GT.

943.637 Master Yacht Orals Preparation (15 credits)

Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to manage all shipboard operations and personnel to ensure the maintenance of a safe navigational watch and response to changing conditions and unplanned events at sea including emergency situations and the management of machinery systems.  This will assist in preparing candidates for their final MNZ Oral Examination.

Level 7

943.732 Proficiency in Charge of Medical Care (5 credits)

To lead the provision of medical care to persons’ sick or injured onboard ship where help is not close at hand.

Optional course

942.732 Crisis Management and Human Behaviour (5 credits)

Controlling the operation of the ship and care for persons on board at the operational level.

Key dates and timetables

To find the key dates and timetables of this programme, please view the maritime calendar.

Career opportunities

Watchkeeper, command positions as chief mate or master on a yacht up to 3000GT.

Further training or study

This is the highest level of qualification for yacht crew.

Graduates can progress to the New Zealand Diploma in Nautical Science (Level 6) and then to degree level study to become Chief Mate or Master of a foreign-going ship.

MIT is becoming Te Pūkenga

Vocational education in Aotearoa is changing to better meet the needs of learners like you.

As part of this transformational change, MIT will next year become fully part of Te Pūkenga, a national network delivering skills training in a wide range of locations throughout Aotearoa. This means that while you’re applying with MIT now, from Semester 1, 2023 when you enrol you’ll become a Te Pūkenga learner.

The new system has the success and wellbeing of learners at its heart, and a review of all programmes is currently underway to help support this, including the programme that you’ve enrolled with. The aim is to make qualifications more portable, consistent and closely aligned with the needs of industry, and more in tune with where the world is headed.

As the programme review is ongoing, the courses outlined may be liable to change over time. Rest assured that we’ll notify you of any material changes to delivery that might impact what you’re studying, where you’re studying or the ways you’re learning.

Information is correct as at 27 September 2022. Programme fees are based on a full-time student and may vary depending on your final selection of courses that make up your programme. To provide you with an indication of costs, the approximate fees quoted in this publication are based on the indicative 2023 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2023 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2023 programme or course fees. Further information about the CSSF can be found here Programmes stated as eligible for free study in 2023 are based on the 2022 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2023. All fees are in New Zealand Dollars. You will be advised of the current fees at the time of enrolment. All courses and programmes will proceed subject to numbers and academic approval. Manukau Institute of Technology Limited is accredited under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020. International students must study in class and will not be able to enrol for online study options.