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Yachts - to work, to live, to explore

Updated: Aug 10, 2023


Working in the Yachting industry


Want to work on a luxury yacht, earn thousands in cash tips in addition to a pretty good salary and travel to some of the most sought-after locations in the world?


Its all possible, if you consider there are over eighteen miles of new yachts in production, and an industry that can be pretty much recession proof, working on superyachts could be easier than you think. Sue Richardson of Hygiene Sue explains

Can I work on a superyacht?

Superyachts are large, privately-owned luxury boats, usually based in the Mediterranean for summer, and the Caribbean for winter. Training and experience are pre-requisites for the management crew onboard a yacht; this includes the captain, first officer, engineer and chef.


However, the most common superyacht jobs are deckhands and stewardesses. These roles do not require previous yachting experience, making these the easiest positions to jump into for inexperienced crew. Responsibilities for deckhands include deck maintenance, chamois/polishing the boat exterior, launching and driving tenders and assisting guests with the safe use of the boat’s ‘toys’ – banana boats, jet skis, laser sail boats etc. The stewardess’ responsibilities include detailing the boat’s interior, guest and crew laundry, housekeeping, meals and drinks service. Yacht owners expect exceptionally high standards; however, the generous salaries and large cash tips mean that crew positions onboard these vessels are often in great demand.

What do I need?

Certain credentials are now mandatory. Any person working on boats must hold an up-to-date seafarer medical certificate. In addition, all crew members must have completed the five-day basic safety training course – STCW 2010, which can be undertaken at centres either in the UK or overseas. However, be warned, at peak times, centres offering these courses get booked out, so plan in advance we have heard of months-long waiting times.


To actual gain employment on a Yacht the best way is through the many crew agencies. Major ones can be found in; Antibes (French Riviera), Palma (Mallorca) and Fort Lauderdale (Florida, USA). All of which can get very busy during peak times in April/May and September/October. Crew agencies usually prefer to interview new crew face-to-face, but they also offer valuable advice on tailoring your CV so that it is suitable for the industry.


That said, opportunities for superyacht jobs can still present themselves through good old-fashioned networking at the numerous bars and restaurants in and around the major yachting hubs. Although be careful as the yachting industry is a small world! Don’t forget that yachting hotspots for recruitment also tend to be party spots so be on your best behaviour as you could be interviewing with that person on the next table in the morning!

How can I beat the competition?

Captains have numerous CVs to sift through, therefore it is essential that you stand out. Undertaking superyacht training courses are a great way to show your seriousness and motivation. Worked in a pub? Put it on the CV. Worked that ski season? Put it on the CV.

You will also need to be prepared to work hard. The industry is well-known for its long hours and night watchkeeping duties. In addition, crew quarters are invariably small and cramped, and undoubtedly you will be sharing with another person. The ability to get on well with other crew members in such conditions is a skill worth learning.

Nevertheless, captains are aware that crew work exceptionally hard on charter. Therefore, off-charter you might get some much-needed down time to explore your location – usually somewhere people pay a lot of money to visit.

There is a whole world out there to discover and owners that are keen to explore it. With the right credentials and a bit of luck you too could land your dream role; working on a luxury yacht, earning big bucks and accompanying the world’s glitterati on their journeys to some of the finest locations on the planet.

Fact file

For those wanting to work as crew in the yachting industry, no visas are required and, in general, you must be over 18. Some boats may have non-smoking or no-alcohol policies (Arab-owned boats in particular).

Seasons

There are two seasons. The Mediterranean one runs from May to October and the major ports for crew are Antibes in southern France and Palma in Majorca. The Caribbean season runs from October to May and the major port for crew is Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

Boats There are two types of employment vessels: motor yachts and sailing yachts. The first ones tend to pay more, as they charter for more, travel for longer and have larger staff. They tend to have a more formal atmosphere. Sailing yachts pay less, but are more relaxed.

Positions On the larger boats, they include: deckhands, diving instructors, tender (speedboat) drivers, client chefs, crew chefs, engineers, laundry workers, stewardesses and masseurs. On the smaller boats, a crew of four is typical and would consist of a captain, deckhand, chef and stewardess.

Pay At the absolute minimum, a lowly laundry entry position should fetch £1,200 per month. A standard entry level position could earn £1,465. An experienced stewardess can be on £1,865 and upwards, while a chief stewardess can earn between £2,000 and £3,000.

However, pays are supplemented by tips which should be 10% of the yacht charter. If the boat rents for £50,000, a £5,000 tip would be split between the crew - at the discretion of the tipper of course. A tip for a week's work could range anywhere from £1,000 to £67.

To learn more and to find out about the courses available call Sue Richardson 01892 524957 or email theteam@hygienesue.co.uk

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