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 weeks of the course will focus on seamanship. We will launch the first two-weeks at YWAM Croatia for the STCW Basic Training course and team building, then continuing the rest of the course in Lesvos, Greece onboard the YWAM vessel S/Y Next Wave.  These first 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, deck work, and practical sailing service.  Students will have the option to end their training after the end of the seamanship track on 27th April and begin practical service, or continue the course and learn navigational or engineering skills.

The seamanship module will be followed by a eight-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. Upon passing your exams at the end of the lecture phase, you will receive the following: RYA/MCA Day Skipper/Watch Leader Certificate, RYA Radar Course Certificate, and RYA Steering Certificate and you will be set to pursue higher legal certifications in the maritime field.

The seamanship module will be followed by a two-week Engineering Course that’s designed for those who wish to progress to be a ship’s engineer or a duel deck engineer (a deckhand and engineer). Upon completion of the Engineering Course, you must attend a MCA Approved Engine Course (AEC). It is a four-day course (30 hours) that provides the practical basic hands-on training and theoretical knowledge of engines and associated systems. The Approved Engine Course (AEC) is the first level qualification for the MCA Engineering Officer training scheme. This four-day course is to obtain the legal certification for the knowledge you learned during your time with us.

Upon successful completion of the seamanship module, theirs is an optional, yet highly recommend outreach or practical service option. This opportunity puts the theory you learned during the SONS 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!

This school is offered in partnership with YWAM Harpenden

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 Adventure

School Details

2018 | Spring School

  • 26th March for those attending the Seamanship + Navigation full 12-week course whether you have the STCW Basic Training or not
  • 9th April ONLY for those who are attending the Seamanship only track AND already have the STCW Basic Training certification
  • Seamanship Graduation: 27th April
  • Seamanship + Navigation Graduation: 15th June

STCW Basic Training coordinated by YWAM Next Wave will start 26th March at YWAM Croatia.  STCW Basic Training course, accommodation, and food associated with the Basic Training, are included in SONS fees.

18 years old or older when program starts, high school graduate or equivalent, and perfered, a DTS completion certificate.

No prior sea experience is required.

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

  • Registration Fee: £35 non-refundable
  • Seamanship only 9th April – 27th April: £600 + £200 Deposit
  • *Seamanship + STCW 26th March – 27th April: £700 + £500 Deposit
  • *Seamanship + STCW + Engineering: £1200 + £600 Deposit
  • *Seamanship + STCW + Navigation 26th March – 22nd June: £2300 + £800 Deposit

DISCOUNT AVAILABLE: If you already hold a current STCW Basic Training Certificate, you can receive a discount of £350.

Once your application is received and you are accepted to the course, the deposit will be required for registration and ordering books.

The one (1) week of engineering testing, Approved Engine Course (AEC), and accommodation, transportation, and food associated with the AEC course, are NOT included in the SONS Engineering track fees.  While you are here with us attending the course, we will help you schedule the week ashore for the AEC course to fit in your schedule.  Please note the AEC course is not a YWAM course, but a legal requirement to serve as an engineer aboard any of YWAM’s ships.

Fees do NOT include flights, transportation, individual travel to or from training, nor does it include 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.

Please note the STCW Basic Training is not a YWAM course, but a legal requirement to serve as crew aboard any of YWAM’s ships.

*Fees do NOT cover flight costs from the STCW Basic Training location to Lesvos, Greece.  Estimated cost for flight, £300-400.


Submit your application here and let the adventure begin!


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.