Do you have a heart for adventure and serving the unreached? Do you feel called to be a part of the ever expanding YWAM ships ministry? The School of Navigation and Seamanship (SONS) is designed to help you do just that by giving you a solid foundation of being a godly seafarers to serve onboard YWAM ships worldwide.

This course is SCI 221 part of the College of Science & Technology from the University of the Nations Colleges and Centres.

What is SONS?

The aim of the SONS is to equip YWAMers with the basic knowledge and skills to help them become qualified crew in order to serve God and bless the needy through YWAM Ships globally. Our vessels need both qualified seafarers and passionate missionaries to meet the great task before us and embrace the opportunities God has given us in this age. Though this marine training, both these needs can be met and allow blessings to set sail.


The first four weeks of the course will focus on seamanship. We will launch the first week at YWAM Harpenden for team building, then continuing the rest of the course in Lesvos, Greece onboard the YWAM vessel S/Y Next Wave. Students will have the option to end their training after the 4th week of lectures and begin practical service. These first four weeks will provide you with the basics of being a deckhand on board a YWAM ship, and will be a step in the direction of becoming a certified Able Seafarer. The course will include: vessel familiarization, basic sailing theory, safety, and deck work.

The seamanship module will be followed by a nine-week intensive Navigational Course that’s designed for those who wish to progress to be a ship’s deck officer. The course will focus on chart work, tidal theory, meteorology, and passage planning. Those who complete this full SONS will sit the RYA Day Skipper theory examination at the end of the lecture phase.
Engineering track is coming soon! Sorry for any inconvenience.
Upon successful completion of the seamanship module, theirs is an optional but highly recommend outreach option. Outreach will be the practical portion of the course putting theory into action in an environment where you are making difference in missions! Outreaches are flexible in time and location. You could serve as trainee crew on any of the YWAM ships whether in here on Next Wave in Greece, Micronesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Australia or Europe! It will be a time of exploring, learning, growing, and serving…all on the high seas!

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wilder seas Where storms will show Your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars.

Sir Francis Drake

See the impact

School Details

2018 | Spring School April 2nd through June 21st
  • Seamanship Only: First 4 Weeks
  • Seamanship + Engineering: 6 weeks + 1 week of testing ashore scheduled individually
  • Seamanship + Navigation: 13 Weeks
  • STCW Basic Training, if coordinated by YWAM Next Wave, would start the Monday prior to the date listed and take place in the U.K.

STCW Basic Training course, accommodation, transportation, and food NOT included in course fees.

18 years old or older when program starts, high school graduate or equivalent, DTS completion certificate, and an STCW Basic Training Certificate.

STCW Basic Training: The STCW is a 5-day Basic Training course that covers First Aid at Sea, Personal Sea Survival, Firefighting, and other essential safety training. It is a standard course that can be taken anywhere in the world and is legally required to serve as crew onboard any of YWAM’s vessels.

The STCW Basic Training is NOT covered by tuition fees.

No prior sea experience is required.

All fees include accommodation, food, and required study material for the school.

  • Registration Fee: £35
  • Seamanship only (first 3 weeks): £800
  • Seamanship + Engineering (5 weeks not including testing week ashore): £1300
  • Seamanship + Navigation (12 Weeks): £2500

The STCW Basic Training is NOT covered by tuition fees.  If you are interested in taking the STCW Basic Training course before starting the SONS course and you have trouble finding an STCW close to you, please contact us and we can help make arrangements in the U.S. or in the U.K. Also, if we receive enough enquires to do the Basic Training prior to the SONS, we will coordinate a course for all trainees to become certified together at a location in the U.K. a week before starting the SONS course. If enough are interested, a group rate may be available.

Fees do NOT include flights, transportation, individual travel to or from training, immigration, or visa fees.  Dates are chosen to ensure that the free Schengen Visa will be enough to cover MOST trainees through the school.  If you are a non-EU citizen of a country honored by the Schengen visa agreement and are in the Schengen area before or want to stay after the course, you may be required to apply for different visa, NOT included in fees.


Our applications will be up soon, for now send us an email to reserve your spot.


Send us an email or check out our FAQ page to see if your answer is there.

First things first

Discipleship Training School is a six-month adventure that will deepen your faith and challenge you to live a life worthy of the calling God has given you. It is the entry level YWAM course that includes a 3 month Bible school and a 3 month mission trip. DTS is mandatory before any staffing or secondary schools. Click here to learn more about the Bluewater DTS aboard the Next Wave.