How to Get a Job as a Deckhand on a SuperYacht

Saturday, September 22, 2018
How to Get a Job as a Deckhand on a SuperYacht - Article Image

What is a Yacht Deckhand?

Updated: June 2019

A superyacht Deckhand is an entry-level position within the exterior department onboard a yacht. Deckhands include a large list of duties and responsibilities, having to assist in the exterior maintenance, cleanliness, and manoeuvring of the boat and tenders - this includes everything outside, on top and underneath the vessel and keeping it in pristine condition at all times.

On occasion, yacht deckhands may assist with the interior and galley department however this varies on each vessel and its size. His or her responsibilities are carried out under the leadership of the yachts Lead Deckhand, the Bosun, Chief Officer and/or the Captain.

Deckhand Jobs

What Does a Deckhand Do on a Yacht?

Depending on the size of the yacht, there are between 1 and 10 or so deckhands. The duties and responsibilities as a yacht deckhand vary depending on the size of yacht and number of crew on the yacht. Your first job as a deckhand on a larger size superyacht will consist of learning the basic duties of a deckhand. Washdowns (cleaning the yacht from top to bottom), cleaning windows, polishing stainless steel and scrubbing the teak decks are high on the agenda to keep the yacht in immaculate condition.

Onboard a smaller yacht with a smaller number of deckhands, some of the deck responsibilities for deckhands will increase to more hands-on duties such as; tender driving, anchoring, mooring procedures, sanding, varnishing and painting etc. And on occasion, you will be expected to assist within the galley or interior operations, which is generally more common on smaller yachts.

The workload varies depending on the yacht, season, itinerary and whether you have guests onboard. The busiest times are usually pre-season, boat shows or guest arrivals and whilst guests are onboard. A yacht deckhand position on a superyacht requires energetic professionals and as you’ll be constantly on your feet, lifting heavy objects and cleaning large areas, it sure is a great job to keep you fit and active.

Being a deckhand is also considered a “front of house” position when assisting guests with water sport and yacht toys such as jet skis, paddle boards, kayaks and more. It’s important to interact with owners and guests in a professional manner when teaching them how to operate the equipment on their own.

Deckhand Jobs and Responsibilities:

1. Cleaning
2. Sanding
3. Painting
4. Varnishing
5. Polishing
6. Carpentry
7. Fibreglass restoration
8. Line handling
10. Driving Tenders & Toys
11. Cleanliness of the yacht wash downs, stainless polishing, waxing
12. Assisting the Bosun and Mate in maintenance projects; sanding and taping up for varnishing or painting (Awl grip), caulking, filling
13. Continued learning of yacht maintenance, operations and systems; line handling, tender driving, navigation, safety, water sports

The Reality of Deckhand Jobs on a Yacht

Living and working on a superyacht means that you’ll get to travel the world and see some incredible sights. However, it’s important to remember that during a busy season with guests onboard, you will generally have little or no time off. Guest trips tend to be extremely demanding and exhausting, however, a watch system (Hours of Work and Rest) will be in place to ensure you receive adequate rest. It is important to remain professional, calm and patient. Try and focus on the positives and once guests are off, you will appreciate the downtime more!

During off-season, most deckhands work Monday to Friday with weekends off, if the schedule allows. Your leave accrued will usually be granted during this period of off time whether it be alongside the dock or in a shipyard. During the off-season, you get time to perform general maintenance and repairs to keep the yacht in great condition. Should it be a dual season, a yacht may have a very quick turnaround into a crossing or delivery, therefore, you will have to be prepared. Some yachties enjoy dual seasons as it keeps them busy. To find out more about Seasons in Yachting.

Essential Certificates You Must Hold Before You Can Get a Deckhand Job on a Yacht are:

1. STCW Basic Training
2. ENG 1 (Seafarers Medical Certificate)
3. Passport and visas, if applicable

How to Get a Deckhand Job on a Superyacht?

The competition for deckhand jobs is getting fierce. It’s no longer enough to complete your STCW, obtain your ENG1 Medical and expect to land yourself a deckhand job. Captains are looking for that little bit extra, whether it’s a skill, a background in carpentry, experience with watersports, sailing background, etc.

Tips to Become a Yacht Deckhand

How do I stand out as a Deckhand from the rest of the yacht crew? There are a number of things people can do to increase their chances of finding work as a yacht deckhand on a superyacht, for example having experience in any of the following mentioned tasks would be a distinct advantage over other deckhands looking for a job.

Additional Superyacht Deckhand Courses:

1. MCA Yacht Rating Certificate
2. RYA Day Skipper
3. Powerboat Level 2
4. PWC Ticket
5. Mechanical skills
6. Scuba Diving and any other water sports instructor tickets (e.g Kite Surfing)
7. VHF/SRC Radio Operators Certificate
8. Exterior Maintenance such as varnishing, painting, fibreglass works, carpentry skills etc.
9. Photography or Drones are great hobbies
10. Personal Trainer qualifications
11. Navigation and Boat Handling skills
12. Carpentry, Mechanical and Engineering Skills

Deckhand jobs are extremely competitive, if you are looking to secure a position as a Deckhand but not sure where to start, check out our choices of Crew Accommodations. It is also a great way to network and land your first Deckhand job.

Dock walking is another great tool to assist you when looking for deckhand jobs. The goal of dock walking is to secure daywork and essentially network your way into a full-time deckhand job. Be sure to treat daywork like an interview, work as hard as you possibly can, learn the ropes of being a deckhand and earn a solid reference. Who knows, you might shine through and end up with a number of deckhand jobs to choose from at the end of a few weeks of day work.

How To Become a Deckhand With No Experience?

If you have no experience in the superyacht industry, the first thing you will need to do is read the Ultimate Guide of How to Get a Job on a SuperYacht. Having no experience doesn’t mean that you can’t ever land a Deckhand job. Captains have, in the past, hired crew with a variety of backgrounds such as Hospitality, Cruise Lines, recent Graduates, Mechanics, Engineers, Divers and anyone who can prove they have the willingness to learn with the right work ethic.

What Do Superyacht Captains Look For in a Yacht Deckhand?

- Positive attitude
- Professional appearance
Hard working
Good work ethic
Willingness to learn
Team player
Good communication skills
Energetic and Enthusiastic
Physically fit
Ability to learn on the job

How Much Does a Yacht Deckhand Earn?

At entry-level, a Deckhand could expect to earn between $3,000 and $3,700 per month. An experienced deckhand could earn upwards of $4,000 per month depending on the size of the vessel and previous deckhand experience, training and certification. These numbers are based on an average, all yachts are different and sometimes pay more or less depending.

5 Useful Apps for Yacht Deckhands:

1. Navigation Rules Pro
2. ColRegs: Rules of the Road
3. Marine Rules & Signals
4. Nautical Chart Symbols & Abbreviations
5. Freds Oral Prep Quiz

10 Steps to Getting a Deckhand Job:

Step 1: Research – Understanding the position and requirements
Step 2: STCW Basic Training
Step 3: ENG1
Step 4: Training and Qualifications
Step 5: Register with SuperYacht Crew Agency
Step 6: Upload a quality CV
Step 7: Network
Step 8: Dock Walking – Day Work

In a quick summary, getting a job as a deckhand on a yacht can be a challenge, however, if you have read this far, the first step of the search for a deckhand job is already complete. Check our Deckhand Jobs via our Job Board to get a Job as a Deckhand on a Superyacht.

Job as a Deckhand on a Yacht

If you require additional advice on how to get a job as a Deckhand on a superyacht, please don’t hesitate to send us an email.