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. 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 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!

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 in Harpenden, England for those who still need their STCW Basic Training
  • 9th April in Lesvos, Greece for those who already have their valid SCTW Basic Training certificates
  • Seamanship Only: First 4 Weeks
  • Seamanship + Engineering: 6 weeks + 1 week of testing ashore scheduled individually
  • Seamanship + Navigation: 12 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 and accommodation, transportation, and food associated with the Basic Training, are NOT included in SONS fees.

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.

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 4 weeks): £800
  • Seamanship + Engineering (6 weeks not including testing week ashore): £1200
  • Seamanship + Navigation (12 Weeks): £2500

Once your application is received and you are accepted to the course, a deposit will be required for registration and ordering books.  The Deposit is taken out of the school fees owed and is NOT in addition to the school fees.  Track corresponding deposits are listed below:

  • Seamanship only: £250
  • Seamanship + Engineering: £400
  • Seamanship + Navigation: £750

The STCW Basic Training is NOT covered by tuition fees, but is a requirement prior to the course.  If you need to take the STCW Basic Training 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, we will coordinate a course for all trainees to become certified together at a location, the Monday before the course starts, in the U.K.  If enough are interested, a group rate may be available.  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.

The estimated cost for the pre-course STCW Basic Training, arrival date 26th March, is £750-950 depending on ammount of attendees.

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.


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.