At the end of every charter season, yachts are put to the yard to undergo their fixing and maintenance. The yards are a big part of the whole picture, but not something guests see or experience. In the end, when the yacht’s in the yard it’s a time for the crew to let their hair down, though it can also be hard work, hectic, and very chaotic.

We spoke to Lisa Dijkshoorn, a Maritime Training Academy (MTA) graduate, experienced yachtswoman and crew maintenance operative about her experiences at sea. We met Lisa when she studied for her MTA diploma in Boatyard and Marina Operations in 2018.


Choosing a course with the Maritime Training Academy

I was seeking to gain credentials in maritime relations on the advice of a friend. I’d just finished a contract on a yacht and I decided to look for inspiration about what to do next. I came upon the Maritime Training Academy (MTA) and recognised a lot of company logos who’ve done courses with them. I was really impressed and contacted the school who were incredibly helpful and supportive. This made my decision easy, and I chose the Diploma in Boatyard and Marina Operations with the idea, in the back of my mind, that eventually to be able to settle on the land (but not in a 9 to 5 job) I could still work in the world I love.


The wild sea mesmerized my senses from a young age

I’ve been working for yachts and superyachts for about 13 years. I grew up on a Caribbean island so most assumed it was inevitable I’d end up working on boats. My dad is a sailor, yet when I went along as a child I got seasick and scared. If you’d told me as a kid I’d end up pursuing a career in the maritime industry I’d have laughed you off.

When I got a little older, my dad made me take sunfish and laser lessons. I was always on the water laughing with friends who were mainly guys. The atmosphere was fun and competitive. I felt such freedom; it was mesmerizing. I never got seasick again or scared after that.


How my qualification helps my yacht crew career

In my 20s, I was asked to help bring a 37-foot Bavaria sailing boat from St. Maarten to Curaçao. It was at this point my career took off. And these days, as much as I see yachting as a high-end chartering business, the yards where I’ve worked are very much part of the crew’s life and what in the end keeps a ship afloat. Though it can be tough, it’s amazing to see the accomplishments and visually see and experience the intricate “clockwork” of the business you work in.

With a yachting career under my belt, I figured getting some formal qualifications would be a new challenge, but not something completely new to my world. After this course, and the confidence I’ve gained from realising how much I’ve learned, I’m considering going for my US Captain’s 500 ton license. Onwards and upwards!


Women make up only an estimated 2% of the world’s maritime workforce. Of those, 94% are employed on passenger and cruise ships. Having Lisa, a student involved in crewing, choose MTA for her diploma course was an honour and a privilege. MTA is happy to support the careers of women in the maritime industry in areas traditionally underrepresented.

For more information, help and guidance about our courses, please contact us today.