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How To Get a Job On a Superyacht - The Ultimate Guide 2018
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Our Story – Who We Are and What We Do
We are Superyacht Crew Agency, and we get asked every day how to get a job on a superyacht. Yacht crew already working on superyachts also get asked the same question – right after being asked, “What is a superyacht?”
You see, friends, family, and people you meet are interested to know what you do, and they may never have heard of a superyacht before, but once you’ve told them, the next question they ask is, “Where do I sign up?”
It’s for this reason, we’ve put together How to Get a Job on a Superyacht: The Ultimate Guide, so that next time you or anyone else has a question about superyacht jobs, you can find the answers here. Working on a superyacht can be a unique, lucrative, and potentially long-term career, but it can be an intimidating field to break into – and that’s where Superyacht Crew Agency comes in.
Securing a job on a superyacht is the ultimate goal, but if you’re unsure where to begin, it’s important to know what sort of yacht Jobs are out there and which positions would be a good match for your skills, abilities, and personality. You then need to know what you can do to increase your chances of getting signed up, and we have the knowledge, experience and expertise to help you do just that. There are plenty of yacht jobs available, and it’s the job of Superyacht Crew Agency to help you find and secure the ideal job for you. We provide the expert help, you provide the enthusiasm and determination, and together we prepare you for an exciting career in your dream job.
Your journey starts here…
What is a Superyacht?
A superyacht is a large luxury yacht of over 24 metres in length that can be powered by motor or sail. They are generally privately owned and professionally crewed, with some maintained exclusively for the owner’s use and others available for crewed charter. In recent years, superyachts have super-sized and those measuring over 70 metres in length might also be termed a megayacht and over 100 metres a gigayacht.
Superyacht ownership is the preserve of the super wealthy. Yachts cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and it’s estimated that maintenance and running costs average around 10 percent of the purchase cost every single year, but owning a superyacht is the pinnacle of luxury living. The owners are ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their superyachts are high profile status symbols, with many upgrading frequently to stay ahead of the latest technological trends.
The world’s fascination with the lives of the rich and famous has led to several documentaries being made about superyachts, everything from how they’re built to what’s inside them and where they go, and of course, who owns them. But, there’s also interest in how they’re run, and an entire TV series on Bravo was dedicated to a behind the scenes look at the life of superyacht crew. For every celebrity sun-tanning on board in St Tropez or relaxing at anchor in Monaco, there’s at least one dedicated and fully qualified member of a professional crew taking care of their every need.
There are now over 10 000 superyachts in existence and according to sales data, this number is set to continue rising. Over 370 superyachts were sold in 2017, totalling an amazing €3285 million (around $4400 million or £2900 million) with the most expensive yacht of the year costing €162 million (that’s just over $190 million or £140 million) and the largest measuring 107 metres in length. More superyachts will mean more job opportunities for crew at every level, so whether you’re just starting out or you already have some experience under your belt, the demand for skilled yacht crew is set to rise in direct correlation with yacht sales.
Some superyachts are commissioned and built to the owner’s unique specifications, others are refits or upgrades of existing yachts, but the Boat International Media Showboats Design Awards presented each year give owners the opportunity to showcase their vessels and gain a little extra kudos. Categories include Best Exterior Design and Styling, with Joy, the 70-metre winner in 2017 having a lengthened bow to allow space for basketball games, and Plvs Vltra winning the Best Recreational Design Feature award with its onboard wellness centre featuring a hair studio and hammam.
2018 will see a brand new superyacht is due to be completed and it will become the largest and most expensive superyacht in the world. The owner remains anonymous but it’s reported that Triple Deuce will cost $1 billion (around £788 million) to build and measure an incredible 220 metres in length. Until its launch, Azzam, owned by the President of the United Arab Emirates, remains the longest superyacht at 182 metres long, followed by Eclipse, owned by Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, measuring 163 metres. It’s enormous, but Triple Deuce will cater for no more than 36 guests and will need a full-time yacht crew of between 50 and 70 to run and maintain it.
If you’re fascinated by the latest superyacht design innovations, or just want to find out who owns such things you can feast your eyes on the world’s most beautiful builds at SuperYachtFan.
Superyacht owners and operators are bound by the requirements and legislation set out by regulating bodies including the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). These standards help to ensure the safety of everyone at sea, whether a passenger or a crew member. The number of crew required to safely man a superyacht, and the professional qualifications needed, will vary depending on the size of the yacht and the number of passengers on board, but most superyachts of between 30 to 60 metres will cater for a maximum of 12 guests with a crew of six to 18. Over the 60m mark and we see a sharp increase in the number of crew.
Positions – Contract Lengths, Requirements, Qualifications, Duties, Salaries
The superyacht industry is booming, so let’s take a look at the career opportunities within it. Yacht crew contracts can be seasonal, temporary, or permanent, with seasonal typically spanning a three to six-month period, temporary covering changeable periods of anything up to a year, and permanent offering employment for one year or longer. A growing number of captains and engineers choose to work on rotational schedule contracts, and crew rotation at every level is slowly becoming more commonplace across the industry. There are also openings for day work, not only offering a daily wage but also providing excellent opportunities to gain valuable onboard experience.
Below is a list of yacht crew positions, and then read on to learn more about what each job entails.
Crew positions on board a superyacht:
- First Officer
- Second Officer
- Chief Engineer
- Second Engineer
- Third Engineer
- ETO (Electrical Technical Officer)
- Chief Stewardess
- Second Stewardess
- Head of Interior
- Head of Housekeeping
- Head Chef
- Sous Chef
Not all superyachts will fill every position, much depends on the size of the vessel and its safe manning requirements, and in some cases, yacht crew will perform dual roles. For example, a second engineer could also be a deckhand or a stewardess could also be a crew cook. Salary expectations are listed in US dollars, but payment could be made in other currencies (Euros or Pounds) depending on the Superyacht.
The captain’s primary role is the safe navigation, operation and manning of the vessel, so the holder of this position is responsible for the superyacht and the yacht crew, as well as the guests on board. The captain is at the top of any superyacht crew hierarchy and answers only to the owner, with duties including legal and regulatory compliance and accounting, shipyard and project management, and the recruitment and management of all onboard personnel.
Skills required: A captain must have extensive knowledge of yacht operations in all departments on top of the necessary nautical knowledge to manage the yacht. Skills extend to maintenance, engineering, IT, and administrative tasks including accounting and complying with all required paperwork. To succeed in this role, superior leadership and communication skills are a must, and the ability to make quick and effective decisions.
Salary expectations: This will vary depending on the size of the superyacht and the level of professional experience, but the average range is currently between $5000 and $30 000 per month.
First Officer / Second Officer
The first officer, also known as the chief officer, is the second-in-command on board a superyacht and effectively the captain’s right-hand man (or woman). The holder of this position must be able to stand in for the captain, meaning an extensive knowledge of all superyacht operations is required, and day-to-day duties revolve around supervising all deck and safety procedures. Responsibilities include navigation and passage planning, bridge watch, maintenance, management of crew operations, and ensuring the safe use of all water toys such as jet skis.
Most superyachts have a first officer, but larger vessels may also employ a second officer and Third officer who assists the first officer in an understudy role. The second officer may also assist with bridge watches and the monitoring of radio equipment, and could be the designated onboard medical officer. Experience as a second officer can provide a stepping-stone into employment as a chief officer.
Skills required: The role of captain and chief officer require similar levels of knowledge, expertise, and organisational ability. The only difference between the roles, including the second officer, is the level of overall responsibility.
Salary expectations: The average salary for a first officer is currently between $3000 and $11 000 per month and a second officer between $3000 and $5500 per month.
The bosun may also be known as the senior or lead deckhand and as such is responsible for supervising all other deckhands. The main duties revolve around general maintenance of the yacht’s exterior, extending to the tender and any other mechanised equipment including water toys. The bosun is generally the main tender driver and the person in this role needs to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of how each item of motorised equipment operates. They may also undertake a security and safety role on the passarelle, and other responsibilities include varnishing, painting, maintaining deck supplies and ensuring safe storage, as well as bridge watch duties and basic engineering.
Skills required: The bosun is a highly experienced deckhand and experience will have been gained through working up the career ladder from an entry level deckhand position. The role involves daily interaction with onboard guests, so an upbeat can-do attitude is essential along with excellent communication skills. Strong organisational skills are also needed, along with an eye for detail and a willingness to maintain exceptionally high standards at all times.
Salary expectations: Depending on experience, the average salary of a bosun currently ranges between $3500 and $6000 per month.
Deckhands are responsible for a wide range of exterior duties, including cleanliness and maintenance of the vessel. Responsibilities mirror those of the bosun, and every task must be completed to the highest of standards. Daily jobs might include wash downs, polishing, varnishing, fibreglass restoration, sanding, painting, small carpentry projects, and on some superyachts the deckhands also assist crew in the interior and galley departments when required.
Skills required: Success as a deckhand comes down to being prepared to work hard and keep a smile on your face. This is an entry-level position, and while previous experience can boost your potential to secure a job, the most important quality to possess is a positive attitude and a willingness to give it your all as you learn.
Salary expectations: The current salary range for a deckhand position is between $2400 and $4000 per month.
The chief engineer is responsible for the management of the vessel’s engineering department, including engineers, assistant engineers, electricians and ETOs. The main duties in this role are to ensure the smooth running of all technical equipment, carry out servicing and repairs as required, and source and order parts when needed. Day-to-day work revolves around scheduled maintenance, but the person in this role must be able to troubleshoot and multitask to keep all onboard gadgetry performing as expected by the owner and guests. Further duties include docking, undocking, and anchoring the yacht.
Skills required: A chief engineer must have expert technical knowledge of all superyacht equipment and the practical skills to fix malfunctions as and when they occur. They must also be able to organise and supervise other members of the department and liaise with on-shore subcontractors and engineers when necessary. This, along with being able to talk directly to guests, requires excellent communication skills.
The second and third engineers answer to the chief engineer and share the same onboard responsibilities. The essential skill all engineers in the department must possess is the ability to fix everything – anything from a TV to the main engines.
Salary expectations: Licensed engineers are in high demand and a chief engineer can earn between $7000 and $15 000 per month depending on the size of the vessel. A licensed second engineer can earn between $6000 and $10 000, and a second or third engineer with minimum AEC (Architecture, Electrical, and Construction) industry qualifications can expect to earn between $4000 and $6500.
The main responsibility of the ETO is to maintain the onboard electrical equipment, including computers, audio-visual equipment and communications systems. On larger yachts, a separate audio-visual engineer or IT engineer might be employed to take responsibility for each specific system, and some yacht crews include an electrician who takes responsibility for all electrical circuits, circuit breakers, lighting and switches.
Skills required: An ETO needs knowledge and experience of all electrical yacht equipment such as radar, radio, telephone, satellite, and navigation systems, as well as AV and IT skills to maintain and repair interior equipment.
Salary expectations: The current average salary range for an experienced ETO is between $4000 to $9000 per month, depending on the size of the vessel. If you are unsure of the potential for AV or IT engineer positions on a superyacht, check with a superyacht crew agency to find the right job for you.
Larger superyachts with greater numbers of yacht crew will often employ a purser to manage recruitment and financial matters. On smaller yachts, the chief stewardess fulfils this role. Duties include bookkeeping and accounting, payroll, ensuring crew certifications are up to date, managing the yacht’s inventory and organising supplies of everything from food and drink to cleaning supplies and crew uniforms. The purser is also in charge of coordinating delivery contracts and managing guest transport to the yacht and to and from planned events and venues.
Skills required: A purser will have gained experience as a chief stewardess on smaller yachts. The person in this role needs to be highly organised with strong admin skills, and able to manage the paperwork for every department. Excellent communication skills are also required as the purser will work closely with guests to organise trips and events, and may take responsibility for hiring new crew members when needed.
Salary expectations: There is considerable crossover between the duties of a purser and a chief stewardess, but on larger yachts where both roles are filled, a purser can expect to earn between $6000 to $10 000 per month.
The term stewardess is being used here as statistically there are more females than males in interior department roles, but it could also be a chief steward position. The primary aim of the yacht’s interior department is to ensure the comfort of the owner and all onboard guests by providing exceptional service. Duties extend to food and drink service, cleaning, polishing, flower arranging, and cabin preparation, with the chief stewardess taking responsibility for overseeing the tasks completed by the entire department and reporting directly to the captain. Extra responsibilities include arranging guest trips and transport and obtaining the appropriate currency for each location.
Skills required: The chief stewardess needs to have exceptionally high standards and an eye for detail. Skills will generally have been developed through experience in a stewardess role, and success in this role requires an ability to provide services above and beyond 5-star expectations. Discretion is also extremely important, and an experienced chief stewardess can anticipate the wants and needs of every guest.
Salary expectations: Depending on experience and the size of the vessel, the current salary range for a chief stewardess is between $4500 and $9000 per month.
A superyacht stewardess (or steward) is responsible for maintaining the interior of the yacht and providing the highest standards of onboard hospitality. This is an entry-level position and a stewardess will work under the supervision of the chief stewardess. Duties include food and drink service, bartending, table setting, cabin preparation, and general housekeeping and laundry for both guests and yacht crew. On larger yachts, housekeeping duties may be overseen by a separate head of housekeeping, and laundry becoming a designated job role.
Skills required: As with an entry level deckhand position, success in this role comes down to being prepared to work hard and keep a smile on your face. Previous experience of providing silver service or having skills as a barista or cocktail maker can boost your potential to secure a job, but the most important quality to possess remains a positive attitude and a sense of pride in achieving the highest standards in your work.
Salary expectations: An entry-level stewardess can expect to earn between $2700 and $3200 per month. On larger yachts, the stepping-stone position of the second stewardess can provide greater responsibility by sharing some of the chief stewardess’ duties and earnings increase to an average of between $3300 and $5500 per month.
The yacht chef is responsible for the galley and the preparation of meals for everyone on board. On larger yachts, both a head chef and a sous chef will be employed, and in some instances, a separate cook for the crew. Duties extend beyond food preparation, with the chef responsible for devising menus, sourcing, buying and arranging transportation of ingredients in different locations, and catering for individual dietary requirements and the potentially diverse tastes of the owner and guests.
Skills required: A head chef will have professional qualifications and previous experience of preparing food to extremely high standards, often in a hotel or on a luxury cruise liner, along with stringent hygiene standards. Organisational skills are essential, along with the necessary creative flair required to devise exciting menus and create delicious and beautifully presented meals – at times with limited produce. The food served on board is often the most memorable aspect of a superyacht holiday, and a successful yacht chef knows how to create the best memories.
Salary expectations: A culinary trained chef currently earns between $6000 and $12 000 per month depending on experience and the size of the vessel. A sous chef can expect a salary range of $4000 to $6500, and a crew cook will earn on average between $3500 and $6000. Experience as a crew cook and/or sous chef can be a useful step on the career ladder towards becoming a head chef.
Crew Hierarchy on a Superyacht
On any size of superyacht, there will always be a crew hierarchy and a general chain of command, but every individual role is of equal importance in terms of ensuring the safety and comfort of guests, and essential to the overall team effort.
Yacht Crew Contract Expectations
The safety and welfare interests of all yacht crew are protected by the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) which sets out minimum employment requirements. A contract should be MCA-approved and provide details of all aspects of employment from salary, hours of work and rest and time off (what, how and when you’ll be paid), your rights as a crew member, down to personal hygiene expectations. A good example of a Seafarers Employment Agreement (S.E.A) can be found here.
Standard remuneration packages for yacht crew include a salary plus uniforms, transportation, food, and the provision of other items such as soap, linen and onboard laundry services. Health and dental insurance may also be provided after a probationary period of 30 to 90 days, and provision made for salary increases through regular performance evaluations.
With expense-free living and a salary, why wouldn’t you want to get a job on a superyacht?
Which Job is Right for You?
The superyacht crew job that’s right for you will not only match your skill set but also your character. If you have previous experience and references from other yacht crew jobs, or you have transferable skills and experience from land-based jobs, you have a head start, but there are plenty of opportunities to break into the industry with no previous experience if you’re prepared to work hard.
The first step onto the yacht crew career ladder is to decide which department you want to work in – deck, interior, galley or engineering – and then focus your efforts on securing an entry-level position. In demand qualifications and experiences such as culinary skills or certified engineering skills can lead to day work opportunities or temporary contracts that have the potential to develop into permanent job offers, but the most common entry-level positions are deckhand or stewardess.
Dockwalking is a time-honoured approach to securing day work on a superyacht, and this, combined with the right attitude and work ethic, can help to give you the experience you need to make your superyacht CV stand out from the crowd – but more on this later.
Types of Superyacht
After deciding which type of crew job is right for you, you then need to decide which type of superyacht you want to work on.
Motor Yacht Vs Sail Yacht
Currently, only around 10 percent of the superyachts in existence are sail yachts, making motor yachts the most popular choice by far with owners, but what’s the difference from a crewing perspective?
The jobs available and the crew hierarchy remain the same whether a yacht is powered by motor or sail. The main difference is living and working space, with crew accommodation generally more cramped on a sailing yacht. More often than not, deck crew on a sailing yacht will have recreational sailing experience behind them, but many choose to work on both sail and motor yachts. Those who prefer to stick with sail power tend to do so for the adventure of sailing silently across open seas under the power of nature, and those who prefer motor power often prefer the comforts of living and working in a bigger space.
Superyacht Crew Cabins
Experience of crewing a sail yacht at any level can be a bonus on your CV when applying for motor yacht crew positions as many captains believe the experience of working at close quarters with other sail crew helps to build the sort of can-do attitude and team spirit they’re looking for.
Private Yacht Vs Charter Yacht
As the name suggests, a private yacht is used exclusively by the owner, whereas a charter yacht can be hired by other groups or individuals when it’s not being used by the owner.
Private yacht salaries are generally higher than charter yacht salaries, but charter crew typically earn tips of around 10 to 20%.
As with motor versus sail yachts, the jobs available and the crew hierarchy remain the same whether a private yacht or a charter yacht, but there are some differences. There are no hard and fast rules, but on the whole, the following distinctions can be made:
- Private yacht salaries are generally higher than charter yacht salaries, but charter crew typically earn tips of around 10 to 20 percent of the yacht hire cost split between them.
- Tips are less common on private yachts but there is greater potential for the end of year bonuses and for other benefits.
- Charter yacht crew generally have a busier schedule for more weeks of the year, whereas private yacht crew may be docked for several weeks at a time while the owner is away from the yacht.
- Depending on the owner, private yachts tend to travel less and to fewer locations than charter yachts.
- Charter yacht crew generally cater for a larger number of onboard guests than private yacht crew.
Superyacht Vs Cruise Ship
Superyachts can be as big as cruise ships, but they are worlds apart in every other way. The main difference is that cruise ships cater for hundreds, if not thousands, of passengers on each trip, whereas superyachts cater for only the owner and his guests – typically up to 12 people.
Depending on the size of the superyacht, it’s common for crew members to be responsible for more than one job, but cruise ship crew tend to have just one specific job, and very often any socialising opportunities are limited to that one department.
Yacht crew salaries are typically higher, but contracts can be short. Cruise ship crew are generally employed on contracts of between six months to one year, but hours are long and it’s a seven-day week for the duration of the contract.
In short, cruise ships cater for the masses, and while standards can be high on luxury cruise liners, superyachts are the domain of a very select super-wealthy few and standards are the absolute highest.
No Experience, No Problem!
A question we’re often asked at Superyacht Crew Agency is, “Can you get a job on a superyacht without experience?” The answer is yes, absolutely.
The most common entry-level positions are deckhand and stewardess, but on larger yachts, it’s also possible to secure an entry-level position as the crew cook. It’s important to consider your previous work experience and whether you already possess skills that make you ideally suited to a yacht crew position, but securing a job as a newcomer is as much about having the right character and attitude as it is about having a proven track record.
It will come as no surprise that picking up day work to gain experience often leads to a day of mundane tasks, but doing everything you’re asked to do to the best of your ability and with a smile on your face is the only way to make yourself stand out as someone worthy of a longer-term contract. Entry-level responsibilities might include cleaning and polishing, laundry, cabin preparation and detailing the interior of the vessel, food and drink service, painting and varnishing, wash-downs and detailing the exterior of the vessel, and line handling.
However, if you’re serious about starting a superyacht crew career, there are certain “must haves” to gain before you can be offered your first job.
Must Haves To Get A Job On A Superyacht
You must be STCW 2010 certified to gain employment on a superyacht. STCW stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, and these standards are set by the IMO. The STCW 2010 consists of five basic training courses:
Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention, Elementary First Aid, Personal Survival Techniques, and Proficiency in Security Awareness.
You must also have an ENG1 Medical Certificate. Set by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to minimise or prevent potential hazards at sea, it is an MLC requirement that every seafarer must have a valid medical certificate. The ENG1 is a relatively quick and unobtrusive examination by MCA approved doctors to identify any existing medical conditions that might prevent you from performing certain duties at sea.
You must have an up-to-date passport with page space available for any visas required.
USA (B1/B2 Visa) – It is essential to obtain a B1/B2 visa if you are a non-US crew member applying for crew positions on international flagged yachts cruising in US waters. This multi-entry non-immigration visa is valid for between one and 10 years, depending on your passport, but it does not permit you to work on land or on US flagged vessels.
Once offered employment, the captain may provide you with a letter to support your visa application, but applying in advance without a job offer is a simple process.
Europe (Schengen Visa) - The Schengen States are 26 European countries that have signed a treaty allowing holders of a Schengen visa to travel freely between them. It can be obtained from the embassy of the first country you will be visiting.
Courses and Training
The five basic training courses required to achieve STCW 2010 certification are compulsory for yacht crew at every level, but there are plenty of additional training courses and certification options to consider. Your long-term yacht crew goals will determine which training courses are essential, and which may enhance your CV and your employment prospects.
The cost of completing all five STCW 2010 basic training courses is currently between £700 and £1000 in the UK, with qualifications valid for five years. Each STCW 2010 training course can be taken separately, but many crew training centres offer package deals for intensive courses, and costs may vary from country to country.
STCW Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities course: A half-day course costing £80 to £100.
STCW Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention course: A two-day course costing £480 to £500.
STCW Elementary First Aid course: A one-day course costing £100 to £120.
STCW Personal Survival Techniques course: A one-day course costing £100 to £120.
STCW Proficiency in Security Awareness: A half-day course costing £80 to £100.
Note: As of January 1st, 2017, you must have documented evidence of completing the Personal Survival Techniques and Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting courses within the last five years, or of completing refresher training within the last five years. The same applies to Advanced Fire Fighting, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats, and Fast Rescue Boats.
The minimum requirements apply to all yacht crew positions, but each job vacancy will list essential qualifications along with any other desirable training. For example, engineers need to have AEC or MEOL (Marine Engine Operators Licence) certification or a Certificate of Competence (CoC) at Yacht 4 level or above, and all galley crew will need a Health and Hygiene certificate, but further culinary qualifications may be desirable.
There are numerous training centres around the world offering a wide range of superyacht crew training courses for every department. An internet search will provide a list of centres in your area, but make sure any certificates gained are internationally recognised.
How Much Will It Cost Me to Get a Job?
The costs involved in getting a superyacht crew job revolve around the “must haves” listed above.
STCW 2010 – currently between £700 and £1000, valid for five years.
ENG1 medical certificate – currently, a maximum charge of £80 applies, valid for up to two years.
Passport – currently, a new UK passport (or renewal) costs £72.50 and is valid for 10 years. A jumbo passport with extra pages for visas costs £85.50, and this can be a worthwhile investment if your yacht owner likes to travel extensively.
USA B1/B2 Visa – currently £120 ($160), valid for up to six months.
Schengen Visa – currently £53 (€60), valid for up to 90 days within a six-month period.
Further expenses will revolve around travelling to the best dockwalking locations to search for work, and the cost of accommodation until you secure a job offer, but there should be no cost involved in registering with a yacht crew agency.
Yacht crew recruitment agencies play an essential role in the superyacht industry. Once you have your basic training under your belt, registering with a crew agency is one of the most common ways to land your first job on a superyacht as the majority of yacht captains will turn to a reliable agency as their first port of call when crewing up for the season ahead or in need of replacement crew.
Registering is a straightforward process of signing up on a crew agency’s online registration page, or emailing your details and CV.
SYCA registering GIF/Video
The minimum requirements a crew agency will need from you are:
- Your CV
- A copy of your (valid) passport
- Valid visas (if applicable)
- Up-to-date references
- A valid ENG1 medical certificate
- Valid STCW 2010 certification
Depending on the agency, there may be a quick interview, but once you’re signed up, your search for a superyacht crew job is underway. There are plenty of crew agencies out there to choose from, but it’s important to choose one that is fully compliant with the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) – and a copy of the certificate should be readily available on a reputable agency’s website.
Finding the Right Superyacht Crew Agency
As crew, the objective of signing up with a yacht crew placement agency is to secure a job. As a superyacht captain, the objective is to find the best crew to fill the available positions, and the objective of the superyacht crew agency is to bring the best matches together. Crew should never be asked to pay a fee, and yacht captains/owners should feel the fee they pay is money well spent. Crewing up can be time-consuming, and sifting through piles of CVs in search of someone with the right qualifications is something captains want to avoid, so they rely on an agency to do the groundwork for them and present them with only the best matches for the position. In the superyacht industry, it’s all about quality, not quantity.
A quick google search for Superyacht Crew Agency....
Don't take our word try it for yourself ;-)
With this mind, the right crew agency for you is the one that takes the time to understand exactly what type of superyacht job you want and works with you to help you find a position that matches your skill set and your personality. For captains and owners, the process of crewing up can be costly when every element of interviewing, training, filing essential paperwork, providing uniforms, paying for flights etc. is taken into consideration, so they want to avoid the headache of having to repeat the process when crew members fail to gel into an effective team. It’s the job of a professional superyacht crew agency to gather as much relevant information as possible from prospective crew members and yacht captains so that the right candidates are presented for the right jobs.
Registering with an agency is the most common route to securing your first job on a superyacht, but it’s not a case of signing up and then sitting back waiting for job offers to pour in. You need to proactively get out there and raise your profile, and social media is a great way to get started. Join superyacht related groups and post on forums to build your contacts in the industry, and then go to the places where superyachts go to network and dock walk in search of day work that might just help you to get your foot in the door of a superyacht career. Most agencies look for crew who are readily available, so being resident in a superyacht hub can really boost your chances of finding work quickly.
Scam Recruitment Agencies
Rogue crew agencies operate through Facebook and elsewhere, so beware. Never send details to an agency that is not MLC certified, and never pay a crew agency to find work for you.
Where to Start (Locations) – Right Place Right Time
It goes without saying that the best places to look for superyacht crew jobs are the places where superyachts go. Here are our Top 5 superyacht hub choices…
- Port de Palma, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
- Port Vell, Barcelona, Spain
- IYCA Port Vauban, Antibes, France
- Rybovich, West Palm Beach, Florida
- Sails Marina, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
There is no better way to be in the right place at the right time than to base yourself in a superyacht hub, stay in yacht crew accommodation, and spend your days dockwalking and networking with other crew.
Crew houses are essentially hostel-style accommodation, offering lodgers a bed and bed linen, a furnished living area with a TV and internet access, and a stocked kitchen, for an average rental cost of around €30 to €60 per night. The most popular crew houses in each superyacht hub may receive calls from yachts offering day work, so if you’re new to the industry it can be worth spending a little more on accommodation to ensure you’re mixing and networking with more experienced and established yacht crew who will be able to provide useful contacts.
Other options are to share private rented accommodation such as a flat or apartment with other yacht crew or stay in a local hotel or youth hostel on a day-to-day basis. Private rental can work out at around the same weekly cost as a crew house, but the hotel or hostel accommodation will become costly if you’re unable to secure work for any length of time.
Our list of superyacht hub crew accommodation can be found here.
The type of accommodation you choose comes down to personal choice, but crew houses very quickly become booked up at the start of each yachting season so it’s best to plan ahead.
Yachts will normally crew up for the Mediterranean season around April or May, but some may look for crew earlier. The Caribbean season begins around September, and both seasons run for four or five months. Some owners will take on a delivery crew to cross the yacht from one seasonal location to the next, then crew up for the season when they arrive at the new location, while others will crew up early for the season ahead.
To give yourself the best possible chance of getting a job on a superyacht, you need to be at the right location at the right time, but another way to be where the superyachts are is to attend one of the many prestigious boat shows held throughout the year. Here are our Top 5 Superyacht Shows you won’t want to miss…
- Cannes Yachting Festival – Europe’s leading in-water boat show, held in mid-September each year.
- Monaco Yacht Show – an exhibition of one-off superyachts, held in late September each year.
- Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – hailed as the “Yachting Capital of the World”, the Fort Lauderdale show is held in late October/early November each year.
- Antigua Charter Yacht Show – an industry-only event that takes place in early December each year.
- Thailand Yacht Show – helping to make Thailand the winter destination for private and charter superyachts, previously held in December but switching to February in 2018.
As the name suggests, dockwalking is walking along the dock in locations where superyachts are tied. The aim is simple; to secure work (day work or otherwise), or at the very least, introduce yourself to crew members and distribute your CV.
Security in some dock areas, especially in the US, is becoming increasingly tight and members of the public can be prevented from entering. For this reason, it can be a good idea to team up with experienced dock-walkers who know the ins-and-outs of gaining access.
Of course, dockwalking is not guaranteed to get you a job and you need to be prepared for rejection. Always be polite and keep a smile on your face, and always present yourself in the best possible light by dressing neatly and appropriately. It takes confidence to walk the docks and approach superyacht crew, but it’s the way many of those crew got their first job so pay attention to any advice they might offer. Most importantly, don’t take rejection personally.
Top Tips for Dockwalking:
DO introduce yourself confidently and make eye contact.
DON’T approach crew at lunchtime. Having time to eat is more important than talking to you.
DO stay positive, just say thank you and move on to the next yacht when faced with rejection.
DON’T approach a yacht with guests on board.
DO make sure your CV is up-to-date and pass it to as many yachts as possible. They may not have a vacancy that day, but if you’ve made the right impression, they may contact you directly when they do.
DON’T try to be something you’re not. Try to stand out from the crowd by playing to your strengths and skills, but don’t pretend to know something when you clearly don’t. Demonstrating enthusiasm and a willingness to learn will win you more support than being a know-it-all!
Dockwalking can lead to on the spot day work offers, so go prepared (and dressed) for work. Crew uniforms are generally shorts or skirts/skorts and a polo shirt, and flat, comfortable shoes. It goes without saying that if you’re offered day work for the following day, be on time. The work may be mundane, but this is your chance to show what you can do and demonstrate your determination to succeed in a yacht crew career.
Pay for day work is variable, around $12 to $15 per hour on average, but the real benefits of picking up day work extend far beyond financial gain. It’s a great way to try out different jobs and get a feel for where you fit into the industry, and the people you meet when working or dockwalking in search of work can teach you more about life onboard a superyacht and succeeding in a superyacht crew career than you could ever learn from a website.
We’ve all heard the expression, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” but in the superyacht industry, success is much more to do with what you know. However, you still need the right people to know about what you know so that the right opportunities can come your way, and that’s where networking comes in.
Network at every opportunity with everyone and anyone connected to the superyacht industry, beginning with crew agencies. Register with a yacht crew agency and let them know what you know and what you can do so that they can put your details and experience forward for suitable jobs. But networking doesn’t end there. Network with the people you meet on training courses; join superyacht groups on social media; attend boat shows and superyacht events; meet and mix with fellow ‘yachties’ in crew houses at superyacht hubs, and socialise in the pubs and eating places they go to. The more people you know in the industry, the more you boost your chances of having your name put forward for work.
There’s no shortage of tips and advice available on how to create an impactful CV, but the key to making your CV stand out when applying for a crew position is to make your CV a superyacht CV.
Your CV represents you, and like it or not, the way you present the information about yourself leads the reader to make assumptions about the type of person you are. Here are our top tips on superyacht CV presentation.
Keep it concise – no more than two pages is sufficient.
Give personal details first – required information includes everything from your name, address and contact numbers to your nationality, marital status, and current location.
Highlight your most recent experience and qualifications – do not list any qualifications that are not relevant to the job/industry, and give concise details of your duties in any previous yacht employment or land-based employment relevant to the job.
Provide references – give the name and contact details of previous superyacht employers. Newcomers to the industry should provide references from any previous employment related to the job. E.g. hotel, bar, restaurant, or land-based engineering.
Keep interests and hobbies brief – no one needs to know about your every pastime, but list a few interests that best define your personality and character.
Provide a photo – make sure you look neat and tidy and have a smile on your face.
Proofread and spellcheck twice – success in the superyacht industry is all about attention to detail. If your CV is full of typos, you’re not the right candidate for the job.
You can download our recommended superyacht CV template here.
Captains and yacht crew agents may use social networks as part of the screening process when recruiting. Your social media profile can speak volumes about your character and personality so make sure any comments you make are a positive reflection of who you are.
Adding a list of relatable skills or experiences can go a long way towards making your CV stand out from the crowd, even without prior superyacht employment. Every suitable candidate will have the same basic requirement qualifications, so you need to promote any bonus skills you have.
Deck crew bonus skills might include MCA certificates, RYA certificates, power boat level 2 qualification, instructor certificates in scuba diving, jet ski handling, kiteboarding, or any other water sport, drone photography, carpentry, woodwork, varnishing, painting, fibreglass or shipwright skills etc.
Interior crew bonus skills might include masseuse, hairdresser, or personal trainer qualifications, floristry skills, bartender, cocktail or barista experience, computer skills (excel, word), photography, silver service, white glove service or any other formal service training, hospitality experience in hotels or cruise ships, cooking skills etc.
Galley crew bonus skills might include culinary training, food presentation skills, an experience of a wide range of authentic global cuisines, wine connoisseur etc.
Engineering crew bonus skills might include mechanical skills, AV/IT and computer skills, an experience of fixing jet skis and other onboard motorised equipment, and any deck crew skills that increase the potential for a dual role.
Bonus skills pic for each dept table
If you are invited to interview for a job, your CV has already caught the eye of the yacht captain, so it’s important that you make an equally good impression when you meet in person.
Whether you are a newcomer hoping to land your first contract, or you have previous experience on another superyacht, the following tips will help to ensure you make the most of the interview opportunity. First impressions matter, so…
- Be punctual, a little early is better.
- Be smartly dressed and presented in professional yachting crew-style attire. Wear minimal makeup and jewellery, don’t chew gum, keep tattoos covered if you have any, and switch off your phone.
- Be prepared with copies of your CV, licences, references, and any other documentation. If you’re new to the industry, make sure you brush up on your understanding and use of superyacht terminology.
- Be confident, at least on the outside. Make eye contact and offer a firm handshake, and make sure you think before you speak.
- Be clear about your objectives and your career path in the industry.
- Be focused on what you can offer as a crew member, and demonstrate why you are a good fit for the job.
- Be honest and be true to yourself. Saying you don’t smoke when you smell of cigarettes and you were seen putting out a cigarette before the interview will only guarantee that you don’t get the job.
- Be committed and demonstrate that you’re serious about a yacht crew career and being the best you can be in your chosen career path.
An interview for a yacht crew position is not just about assessing your skills and abilities, it’s also about assessing your character and personality. If your land-based job history shows a pattern of flitting from job to job in a range of different industries, your commitment to staying in the position on offer may be questioned. You need to be ready to answer the question, “Why should I employ you?” with a well-prepared and honest answer. Things change, and no one has a crystal ball, but communicating that you’re looking to for a long-term career makes you a much more attractive prospect than someone who may just jump ship as soon as the going gets tough.
To succeed, you must be yourself. Attempting to be something or someone you’re not, simply wastes everyone’s time. Not every interview is going to get you the job, and there can be times when you may be the best qualified for the position on paper, but your personality is simply not a good match for the dynamic of the yacht and the existing crew. Every interview is an opportunity to learn, so take the positives with you and move on. The right job for you is out there.
Working on a Superyacht – What’s it Like?
Most superyacht crew with a season or two of experience under their belt will admit that working on a superyacht is no picnic, but they’ll also tell you that all the hard work is worth it, and they’ll be first in line to sign up for another season. So, what’s it like to work on a superyacht?
Crew accommodation is not as salubrious as guest accommodation, and depending on the design, the overall size of the vessel, and crew position, you might be sharing a bunk room or have your own cabin. Most superyachts have well-kitted crew kitchens and relaxation spaces with TVs etc, and some of the larger superyachts even have dedicated crew gyms. The most important thing to consider in terms of living space is that crew will live, eat, sleep and work together in relatively close quarters for the entire season.
Space is of a premium in shared cabins, so you need to be prepared to travel light. Bulky hard suitcases take up too much room, so you’ll need to make do with soft, foldable luggage that can be stowed away. You also need to get into the habit of staying neat and tidy and being quiet when your cabin-mate is resting.
Superyacht crew will have meals prepared for them by the yacht chef or dedicated crew chef using the finest of ingredients – what’s not to like!
A yacht job is unlike any other in that you’re surrounded by your fellow crewmates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They’re your work colleagues, your bunkmates, your friends, and your family away from home, and this often leads to some of the strongest, most fun, and long-lasting relationships you’ll ever have.
The working hours on a superyacht are long, and it’s the nature of the job that when the owner and guests are awake, you’re busy doing everything you can to make them comfortable, so 12 or 14-hour days are not unusual. The daily work schedule is regimented and laborious, but doing your job to the highest standards possible does bring with it a huge sense of pride.
During the season, days off can be few and far between, but the captain will always try to give the crew a day or two whenever possible. Time off is welcomed, but an extra bonus is getting to spend that free time exploring the ports in some fabulous locations.
In what other job would you get to experience a completely different lifestyle hands-on, and get to mix with celebrities? Okay, you’re not living the life of the wealthy guests, but you are able to experience the lifestyle, and depending on the owner, you will often have access to the equipment and luxury facilities for your own use when there are no guests on board – and on top of all that, you get to travel to some of the most picturesque locations of the earth.
First Job – Day in the Life
Although the daily schedule is often regimented, there is no typical day on board a superyacht. The work and the workload will change depending on the season and whether there are guests on board or not, but there is always maintenance work to be done and the yacht must be kept in immaculate condition throughout. This means that a large part of daily life is going to revolve around cleaning and polishing.
The new crew will be kitted out with uniforms on their first day and they can expect to be given a tour of the yacht (familiarization), and to be amazed by the opulence they see, before the process of familiarisation with fire escapes and all other safety concerns begins. From there on in, whether you are entry-level in the interior or on the deck, the rest of your day will be spent learning the ropes of your daily cleaning routine.
It goes without saying that you will need to learn your duties and the standards you will be expected to maintain, but newcomers to superyacht life also need to learn the rules of life on board. These include being considerate of others (crew and guests) at all times, taking shoes off in certain areas, closing doors quietly, taking care not to scratch the paint or use the wrong brush/cloth or apply the wrong cleaning product… the list goes on. It can feel like an alien world, but the key to success is to watch and learn and learn quickly by doing.
You may be in the Med or the Caribbean surrounded by guests in a party mood, but you’re going to need your bed after a hard day’s work!
Building a Life at Sea
Many newcomers to superyacht crew life admit that the first few weeks on the job can be tough and leave them questioning whether they’ve made a mistake, but those that persevere never look back
Hours can be long and free time a rarity, but building a life at sea brings with it many perks.
Living the dream – As yacht crew, you’ll get to travel to some of the most famous and beautiful locations in the world, and a berth in the most exclusive ports and marinas when you get there. Then, to add to the adventure, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with the world’s wealthiest individuals, and getting a taste of their lifestyle.
Travel – Travelling to exotic locations and getting the chance to spend some free time off the yacht exploring them is the stuff of dreams. Of course, there’s always work to be done, but getting it done in an exotic location lightens the load.
Friendships – Superyacht crew live and work together, and the most successful crews have genuine team spirit. The friendships that form at sea, are often friendships for life.
Money – Yacht crew earn a competitive salary compared to land-based equivalents and depending on your nationality, your earnings can be tax-free.
Expense-free Living – Life at sea is virtually expense-free. On a superyacht, you have no accommodation, laundry, food or drink bills to pay. You are supplied with a uniform, so you have no clothing expenses, and you have no gym membership or other leisure activities to pay out for, so what you earn is yours to save – and what you do with your savings is up to you.
And, of course, there are the memories. The sunsets at anchor, the gourmet food, and the day trips in amazing locations – these are the perks that become stories you’ll share for years to come.
The Actual Job – Reality of Working on a Superyacht
Let us stop right here, Superyachting can be a dream job, but it’s important not to get carried away with the romance of it all. A superyacht crew job is not for everyone, so make sure you consider the realities before signing up.
Away from home – Embarking on a superyacht crew career will mean many months away from home at a time. How much would you miss family and friends?
Long hours – A superyacht crew job is not a 9-5 with weekends off career. Are you prepared to work hard?
Disconnect – Life at sea can create a sense of being disconnected from the “real world” as you live in your superyacht bubble. How important is that connection to you? Can you handle life away from Friends, Family and Loved Ones?
Limited travel – not all yacht owners travel, choosing to stay in only one or two familiar locations. And free time to explore exotic locations is not always given. Would you cope with extended periods of dock time, or seeing only a porthole view of your location?
Pay (similar to land) – not all yacht crew jobs pay better than land-based equivalents, and the hours will most certainly be longer. Are you in it just for financial gain, or are you enthusiastic about building a career?
Eat, sleep, live crew – superyacht crew accommodation is generally comfortable, but space is limited, and you’ll have no escape from the people you live and work with every day. How well would you cope with a lack of privacy and little chance of ever being alone?
Do You Have What It Takes?
Quit my 9-5 to work on a Superyacht
Okay, you’ve read through this guide and considered the realities, and you’re now more convinced than ever that you want to quit your 9-5 and embark on a superyacht crew career. But, have you got what it takes?
- First things first, you will need your STCW 2010 and ENG1 certifications. This involves a time commitment to take the five courses, and a financial commitment to pay for them, but you could perhaps remain in your job and fit training around annual leave.
- Before handing in your notice, consider if you have enough savings to tide you over while searching for your first crew job. To give yourself the best chance of finding work, you’ll need to relocate to a superyacht hub, meaning airfare and accommodation costs.
- Remember that superyacht crew work is seasonal, and you need to be in the right place at the right time. How much notice will you need to give your employer?
- As soon as you have the basic requirements, get yourself registered with a superyacht crew agency. To find work, prospective employers need to know who you are and what you can do, and it’s an agencies job to make sure your CV gets into the hands of the right people.
If you’re serious about making the move, do your research, and do it now!
The Superyacht Life… and Why They Keep Coming Back
And just in case you need a reminder of why you want to know how to get a job on a superyacht, here’s a list of just some of the “toys” you might find yourself playing with as you enjoy some well-earned free time:
- Superyacht Sub
Three passengers can dive down to 100m in the Superyacht Sub 3. What a way to explore the mystical world under the waves.
- Floating Volleyball Court
- Inflatable Slides
But it’s not all about toys. Yacht crew keep coming back for many reasons, including the lifestyle, the chance to meet new people and make friends, the money, the ever-changing industry, the experience of new challenges, the potential to climb the career ladder, the room to grow professionally and personally, and the simple fact that it’s a job like no other.
Superyacht Crew Agency get asked many questions, so here are a few that may help to answer any remaining questions you have.
Q. How old do I need to be to work on a superyacht?
A. The minimum age as set by the MLC is 16 years, with some restrictions, but many Crew Placement Agencies prefer crew to be a minimum of 18 years old.
Q. If my CV is suitable, when may I be given details of a job to consider?
A. It may take days, weeks, or even months, and it will depend on the availability of jobs to suit your qualifications, ability, and personality. It’s the job of a crew agency to match the right candidates for the right job.
Q. How long will it take to get a job?
A. Yachts are constantly looking for crew, and in many cases, it’s about being in the right place at the right time. The answer to this question will depend on you, the job market, and luck.
Check here for a full list of FAQs
Final word from Superyacht Crew Agency…
Whatever method you choose to land your first job on a superyacht, we wish you the best of luck in finding your dream job. Just as in any land-based career, it’s important to present yourself in a professional manner at all times, maintaining a respectful, friendly attitude during courses and interviews. First impressions matter. The ultimate aim is to secure a job, but always be honest about your skills, abilities, and the qualifications you hold.
The Superyacht Job you want is out there – doing your part to prepare yourself with proper training and knowledge can only work in your favour. You are already halfway there!
Good Luck! We would love to hear how it all works out for you, and should you have any questions or need any advice, please feel free to email us.
Get started today: Register online, Sign up for our private Facebook group and give your job search a boost.
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