Recipients of the Sea Education Program of the Year award by Tall Ships America, we’re hugely proud of our history and the sailing programs we offer.

Sea|mester is the only study abroad and gap year experience where students spend their entire semester aboard a sailing vessel. We’re also the only academic sailing program that circumnavigates the globe, and with that comes the responsibility to provide our student’s ample training.

Tasked with taking the helm, charting the course, trimming the sails, monitoring the systems and maintaining a safe vessel, Sea|mester students become experienced crewmembers by journey’s end.

While your practical skills are learned while sailing the vessel, all of the theory portions for the IYT sailing certifications are taught within the 3-credit Seamanship and Nautical Science course.

No sailing experience is necessary to join the team as our course design and experienced staff help to quickly develop seamanship skills and train our students to become integral members of the crew.

Based on your experience, we teach these courses…

International Crew Certificate

The IYT International Crew course is designed for students with limited previous experience, who are looking to become an active and competent crew member aboard a power or sailing yacht. It is the level of competence that someone needs either when acting as watchkeeping crew on a yacht or as a skipper of a small yacht in protected waters where help is immediately available in calm conditions. During the class you’ll learn sailing vessel handling skills, deck seamanship, passage planning, rope work, basic rules of the road and sail handling.

VHF Operator Certificate

The IYT VHF Radio Marine Communications course is designed to ensure a thorough understanding of maritime radio communication at sea. It is intended for all marine environments and follows International standards. IYT`s Maritime Radio Course provides VHF Radio training for the entire spectrum of VHF radio communications for recreational and professional boating. Students will learn how onboard radios and handheld radios, EPIRBs, SARTs, AIS and DSC-enabled radios, are used effectively in marine communications.

Navigation Master Certificate

The Navigation Master Certification is a stand alone course designed to enable the offshore mariner to safely navigate extended passages using traditional methods. It includes practical navigation exercises and sample chartwork calculations.

Master of Yachts 200 Ton Offshore Theory

The IYT Master of Yachts 200 Ton Offshore Certificate is a Commercial Certificate of Competency for operating Yachts up to 150 nautical miles offshore. The program is an extensive theory course designed to provide the highest standards of maritime education for both the professional and recreational yachtsman and woman. It is an intensive course designed for experienced crew with sufficient on the water experience*.

The theory portion of the Master of Yachts qualification is only one section of this professional course. After completion of the theory portion, students must independently enroll in both a 5-day safety course (STCW 95), as well as a 5-day practical examination at an IYT examination school. Please call us with further questions about this course.

*Once accepted to the voyage, students must submit an additional petition to participate in the Master of Yachts 200 Ton Offshore Theory course.

Whether coastal cruising between the idyllic islands of the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles or setting out on a transatlantic, transpacific or trans Indian-ocean passage, there is no room for passengers aboard.

Rotating through every role aboard the vessel, both on deck and below deck, Sea|mester students become experienced crewmembers by journey’s end. Because with Sea|mester, every location that we drop anchor is a destination our students helped to reach.

Sailing and instruction is naturally a huge part of our experience. We are an IYT, International Yacht Training Partner School, and all students have the opportunity to work toward sailing certifications that include International Crew, VHF Operator and Navigation Master. Many of these qualifications form the backbone of the Basic Seamanship class that we teach aboard.

Beyond these recreational certifications, we also offer the Master of Yachts 200 Ton Theory course as part of our Professional Skipper & Crew Training class.

This class is ideally suited for those with previous yachting experience wanting to embark on a career in the professional yachting industry.


“I have past experience sailing, but I think I became much more confident being on a boat. For me, it was a break between college and beginning my career in the real world. It was just what I needed. It was time to explore and think about what is important to me moving forward. This trip was just that. ”
A. Cohen
“The best experience of my voyage was working together with the rest of the crew, learning how to sail Argo, and eventually being able to control her ourselves. The staff was absolutely excellent in teaching-- there was a good balance of teaching us the ropes and letting us figure things out for ourselves so that we really learned how to sail. The crew became like a family, and I will have friends forever from this experience. I love Seamester! The program is extremely well run! Thank you so much for the best 3 months ever!”
Francesca S.
“This program rocks! It changed my life and made me realize that oceanography really is what I want to do in some form. I will recommend this to anyone! Thanks for changing my life!”
Michael R.
“When I thought I couldn't stay awake for another second, I stood watch. When I thought I couldn't take another step, I hiked down a volcano. When I thought I couldn't possible get any more seasick, I clipped in and booted again. When I thought I couldn't stand in the sun without being burned to a crisp, I led sail flake. Basically what I'm trying to say is that whatever limits I thought I has, Sea|mester blew then completely out of the water (literally). I may never say the words I can't again.”
Ariana T.

Follow the experience

Watch our 3 part series as the student crew crosses the Atlantic from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean