How To Get a Job On a Superyacht - The Ultimate Guide

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
How To Get a Job On a Superyacht - The Ultimate Guide - Article Image

How To Land A Job On A Yacht?

What is a Superyacht? How to get a job on a superyacht? How much money can I make working on a yacht? What qualifications do I need? Can I work on a yacht with no prior experience?

These are a few questions you may ask yourself when starting out your yachting career. Yacht crew working in the yachting industry also get asked the same question, over and over again. Family, friends and people you meet are interested to know what you do and some may have never heard of a superyacht before, but once you have explained the work and travel that comes with being yacht crew, 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 next time you or anyone else has a question about superyacht jobs, you can find all the answers here.

Working on a superyacht can be a unique, lucrative, and potentially long-term career, but it can also 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 yachting 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 ultra 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 yacht 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 working on a superyacht, the demand for skilled yacht crew is set to rise in direct correlation with yacht sales.

Superyacht Cloudbreak

The beautiful Motor Yacht Explorer Cloudbreak, photo from Boat International

Some superyachts are commissioned and built to the owner’s unique specifications, others undergo refits or upgrades of existing yachts. 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, of course, 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 that is due to be completed, 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 these facts have made an impression and you are even more interested on how to get a job on a superyacht, keep on reading!

Superyacht Fan has the latest superyacht design innovations, list of the world's most beautiful builds or if you're simply wanting to find out which of the world's billionaires owns a yacht.

How Do Superyachts Operate?

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 yacht 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 6 to 18. Over the 60 metre mark and we see a sharp increase in the number of crew.

Motor Yacht Vs Sail Yacht

Motor Yacht vs Sail Yacht Job

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 yacht 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 work space, with crew accommodation it is 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. It is a common preference that yacht crew looking to work on a sail yacht has sailing experience or is genuinely interested in sailing. 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

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, many captains believe the experience of working within close quarters with other sail crew helps to build the sort of can-do attitude and team spirit they’re looking for. Most superyacht crew with a season or two of experience 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 working on a superyacht.

Living Conditions

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 the crew mess which is a space where superyacht crew can relax with TVs, unlimited snacks, etc. If you're lucky, some of the larger superyachts even have dedicated crew gyms or from time to time are allowed to use the main gym off charter.

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, tidy and being quiet when your cabin-mate is resting. 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.

Food

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 love!

Yacht Crew

A yacht job is like no other, you’re surrounded by your fellow yachties 24/7 and seven days a week. They’re your work colleagues, your bunkmates, your friends, your family away from home, and this often leads to some of the strongest, most fun, and long-lasting relationships you’ll ever have. This is why crew dynamic onboard is also something to consider when you are looking to get a job on a superyacht.

Work Hours

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 of the most beautiful locations in the world.

Perks of Working on a Superyacht

In what other jobs 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 onboard for your own use when there are no guests. Depending on the yachts itinerary, you also get to explore some of the worlds beautiful destinations.

 Superyacht Destination Greece

 A Day in the Life

Although the daily schedule is often regimented, there is no typical day onboard a superyacht. The work and the workload will change depending on the season and whether there are guests or not, but there is always maintenance work to be done and the yacht must be kept in excellent conditions all throughout. This means that a large part of daily life is going to revolve around cleaning and polishing.

The new crew will be given uniforms on their first day, you can expect to be given a tour of the yacht to get familiarised and to be amazed by the opulence they see. Just 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 onboard. Some of which 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, 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 quickly by getting hands on.

You may be in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean surrounded by guests in a party mood, but you’re going to need your bed after a hard day’s work!

Expense Free Living

You are supplied with uniforms so you have no clothing expenses, you have a crew cabin so you have no monthly accommodation bill, superyacht chefs cook for the crew onboard and have drawers of unlimited stash of goodies, if you're lucky sometimes you have a gym to use onboard so no memberships to worry about and the list goes on. Life at sea is virtually expense-free.

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 and creating life long friendships.

Private vs Charter

What is the difference between the two superyachts? 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.

As with motor vs 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 other additional 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 to 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 aspect. 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. It is a lot more private and personal.

Depending on the size of the superyacht, it’s common for crew members to be responsible for more than one job, but crew onboard cruise ships tend to have one specific job, and very often any socialising opportunities are limited to that one department.

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.

Are You Ready to Quit Your Corporate Job and Work on a Superyacht?

Maybe it’s time for a career change, a fresh start working onboard a luxury superyacht. Imagine waking up on a Monday morning in a country you’ve never been before, travelling the world to the most remote, luxurious and dream-like locations on the planet!

The base salaries start at $36,000 per annum, tax-free. Perks such as full medical insurance, flights to and from the vessel paid for and have almost no expenditure on food, drink and accommodation.

Do your research and scour the internet finding all the information you can about the yachting industry; join yacht related Facebook groups, start reading yachting blogs providing tips and advice such as Dockwalk, Superyacht News, Superyacht Times and even our own list of tips and advice at SuperYacht Crew Agency's Blog.

How Do I Even Get Started to Working on a Superyacht?

1. Money - Decide if you have enough savings to tide you over until you get your first job onboard a superyacht.

2. Preparation - Sell some of your useless things, rent your apartment out or even start day working in the superyacht hubs of the world.

You know what they say, ‘the best investment you can make is in yourself and it’s always worth it!’

3. Get yourself qualified - This can be done long before you step out of your comfort zone and quit your job. The minimum qualifications for entry-level positions on yachts are your STCW’s and ENG1 Medical Certificate.

4. Timing and location - Timing is everything, there’s a good time to give yourself the best chance of finding a job as yacht crew. Knowing the best location and times to get a great head start are knowing your yachting hubs and their seasons.

5. Reach out to Yacht Crew Agencies or other yachties – Have a chat with a couple of yachties or network through social media, the yachting industry has a very helpful community online.

There are good and bad crew agencies so make sure you use reliable ones. A good standard to set is to see whether the agencies are MLC Certified, like we are at SuperYacht Crew Agency.

The MLC Certificate of Compliance states, "All seafarers shall have access to an efficient, adequate and accountable system for finding employment onboard a ship WITHOUT CHARGE to the seafarer". Should you find any crew agencies charging a fee for their service, run the other way!

Now you have a solid game plan, bite the bullet and quit your typical corporate job and start a new and exciting career!

Yacht Crew Positions

The superyacht industry is booming, so let’s take a look at the yachting career opportunities within it. Yacht crew work 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 common 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.

Crew positions on board a superyacht:

  • Captain
  • First Officer
  • Second Officer
  • Bosun
  • Deckhand
  • Chief Engineer
  • Second Engineer
  • Third Engineer
  • ETO (Electrical Technical Officer)
  • Purser
  • Chief Stewardess
  • Second Stewardess
  • Head of Interior
  • Head of Housekeeping
  • Stewardess
  • Laundry
  • Head Chef
  • Chef
  • Sous Chef

Yacht Crew Positions

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.

Yacht Crew Positions

Captain

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, accounting, shipyard and project management, recruitment of crew 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 and more. 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 $7,000 to $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 are 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 tenders and toys such as jet skis, etc.

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 $6,000 to $12,000+ per month and a Second Officer between $5,500 to $8,000+ per month.

Bosun

The Bosun, may also be known as the Senior or Lead Deckhand, is responsible for supervising the Deck department (all other Deckhands onboard). 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 $4,500 to $6,000+ per month.

Deckhand

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 an entry-level Deckhand position is between $3,000 to $3,500+ per month. Experienced Deckhands can earn $3,500 to $4,500+ per month

Chief Engineer

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 $7,000 to $20,000+ per month depending on the size of the vessel. A licensed Second Engineer can earn between $6,000 to $12,000. A Junior Engineer with minimum industry qualifications can expect to earn between $4,000 to $7,000+ per month.

ETO

The main responsibility of the ETO is to maintain 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 crew 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 $5,000 to $10,000+ 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 SuperYacht Crew Agency to find the right job for you.

Purser

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 fulfills 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 administration 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, 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 $6,000 to $12,000+ per month.

Chief Stewardess

The term 'Stewardess' is being used here as statistically there are more females than males within the interior department, but that being said, there are a handful of Chief Stewards within the yachting industry as well. 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 arrangements, cabin preparation, and more. With the Chief Stewardess taking responsibility for overseeing the tasks completed by the entire interior department and reporting directly to the Captain. Extra responsibilities include arranging guest trips, transport and obtaining the appropriate currency for each location.

Skills required: The Chief Stewardess needs to have exceptionally high standards and an a keen 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 $4,500 to $9,000+ per month.

Stewardess

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 $2,700 to $3,200 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 $3,300 to $5,500 per month.

Head Chef

The Yacht Chef is responsible for the galley and the preparation of meals for everyone onboard. On larger yachts, both a Head Chef and a Second/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, 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 onboard 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 Yacht Chef currently earns between $6,000 to $12,000+ per month depending on experience and the size of the vessel. A Sous Chef can expect a salary range of $4,000 to $6,500+ per month, and a Crew Cook will earn on average between $3,500 to $6,000+ per month. Experience as a Crew Cook and/or Sous Chef can be a useful step on the career ladder towards becoming a Head Chef.

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.

Which yacht crew position is right for me?

The superyacht crew position 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 roles.

Superyacht Crew Departments

 

What is a Yachtie?

According to the Urban Dictionary,

Definition of a YACHTIE: A person who travels around the world at sea under someone else's expense. Sees all high-end fantasy destinations, while maintaining the interior or exterior of a yacht/mega yacht.

According to Dictionary.com,

An informal term for:

  • A Yachtsman or Yachtswoman
  • Sailing Enthusiast

In the Superaychting industry, a “Yachtie” is a person whose occupation is to maintain and navigate a Superyacht/Luxury Yacht.

Pronounced: [Yot-tee] 

What Qualifications Do I Need to Work on a Superyacht?

STCW 2010

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.

ENG1

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. currently, a maximum charge of £80 applies, valid for up to two years 

Visas

You must have an up-to-date passport with page space available for any visas required.

USA (B1/B2 Visa) – currently £120 ($160), valid for up to six months. 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 planning to cruise to US waters. This multi-entry non-immigration visa is valid for between 1 to 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. – currently £53 (€60), valid for up to 90 days within a six-month period.

The minimum requirements on how to get a job on a superyacht are to acquire the STCW 2010 (Standards for Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping) Basic Safety Training. The STCW 2010 is a set of international regulations to ensure the highest standards of seafarer competencies are maintained on all superyachts worldwide.

STCW Training

The STCW 2010 consists of five basic safety training courses and is compulsory for all yacht crew. The STCW 10 Basic Safety Training is the minimum yacht course certificate, and on top of thatthere are plenty of additional yacht training courses and certification options to consider. Depending on which superyacht career route you are looking to take, whether it be a Deckhand, a Stewardess, an Engineer or a yacht Captain, this will determine which superyacht training courses are essential specifically to each superyacht crew.

The cost of completing all five STCW 10 Basic Safety Training is currently between £700 and £1000 in the UK, with yacht qualifications valid for five years. Each STCW superyacht training courses can be taken separately, but many yacht crew training centres offer package deals for intensive courses, and costs may vary from country to country.

What is the STCW 2010 Course?

1. STCW 2010 Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities

Half day course costing £80 to £100.

2. STCW 2010 Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention

Two-day course costing £480 to £500.

3. STCW 2010 Elementary First Aid

One day course costing £100 to £120.

4. STCW 2010 Personal Survival Techniques

One day course costing £100 to £120.

5. STCW 2010 Proficiency in Security Awareness

Half day course costing £80 to £100.

STCW 2010 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 STCW 2010 is the updated version of the STCW 95. The STCW Convention and Code 1978 has been amended by the 2010 Manila Amendments which contain new training requirements for all seafarers.

The minimum requirements apply to all yacht crew positions, but each yacht job lists essential yachting qualifications along with any other desirable training depending on each position. For example, yacht Engineers need to have a minimum engineering certificate of either the AEC (Approved Engineer Course) or MEOL (Marine Engine Operators Licence) certification as a minimum or a Certificate of Competence (CoC) at Yacht 4 (Y4) or above. For all chefs within the galley department will need a minimum of the Food Safety and Hygiene certificate - anyone with a culinary background or qualification is sometimes an advantage or a minimum requirement depending on each superyacht.

Update: Engineering "Yacht" qualifications are in the process of being changed over to a Small Vessel Engineer certification for more information check out our complete guide on how to become an engineer on a superyacht

There are countless superyacht training academies around the world, all offering a wide range of superyacht crew training courses for every department. Ensure you are taking your superyacht training and courses that are internationally recognised within the yachting industry.

Requirements to Get a Yacht Job

How to get a Job on a Superyacht

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 roles, 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 working on a yacht, there are certain “must haves” to gain before you can be offered your first job.

It goes without saying that the best places to look for yacht crew jobs are the places where superyachts go.

Here are SuperYacht Crew Agency's Top 5 Superyacht Hubs:

1. Port de Palma, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

2. Port Vell, Barcelona, Spain

3. IYCA Port Vauban, Antibes, France

4. Rybovich, West Palm Beach, Florida

5. 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 day's dock walking and networking with other superyacht crew.

Crew Accommodation and Housing

Crew houses are essentially hostel-style accommodation, offering crew a bed and bed linen, a furnished living area with a TV, 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 and advice.

Other options are to share private rented accommodation such as a flat or apartment with other yacht crew, 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.

Seasons

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.

Boat Shows

Another great way to get a job on a superyacht 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 when looking for work on a yacht:

1. Cannes Yachting Festival – Europe’s leading in-water boat show, held in mid-September each year.

2. Monaco Yacht Show – an exhibition of one-off superyachts, held in late September each year.

3. 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.

4. Antigua Charter Yacht Show – an industry-only event that takes place in early December each year.

5. 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.

Dock Walking

Dock Walking

As the name suggests, dock walking 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, dock walking 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.

Tips

  • 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!
  • Dock walking 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 dock walking 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.
Complete dock walking tips for new yacht crew.

Networking

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 which direction you are looking to start your yachting career and your current skills that are transferable to working on superyachts. They gather your information, get to know you and put you forward for suitable jobs you may potentially be a good fit for. 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, socialise at local pubs and restaurants yachties tend to go to. The more people you know in the industry, the more you boost your chances of having your name put forward for work on a yacht. 

Superyacht CV

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 yacht job 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.

Best Superyacht CV

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

Job boards can be found directly on yacht crew agencies websites and Facebook groups. This is an integral part of looking for your first yacht job especially if you are not in one of the superyacht hubs of the world - actively searching for yacht jobs online, contacting the yachts and sending your CV through will get you one step closer to landing your first superyacht job.

Here are a few of our favourite superyacht Facebook groups:

Have a look at our Links page for more helpful links regarding superyacht courses and academies, yachting industry news, superyacht organisations and more.

Yacht Job Interview

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 job on a yacht 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.

What to avoid during an Interview:

1. Don’t leave your phone on.

2. Don’t ask about salary, holidays, and flights right away.

3. Don’t criticize previous employers.

4. Don’t ramble.

Superyacht Crew Agencies

Yacht crew agencies play an essential role in the superyacht industry. Once you have your STCW basic training under your belt, registering with a yacht crew agency is one of the most common ways to land your first job on a superyacht. The majority of yacht captains will turn to a reliable yacht crew agency as their first port of call when looking for yacht crew for the season ahead.

Registering is a straightforward process of signing up on the crew agencies website, or even better to directly email your CV and documents.

The minimum requirements to work on a superyacht are:

  • Your most recently updated CV
  • A copy of your (valid) passport
  • Valid visas (if applicable, e.g. B1B2, Schengen)
  • Up-to-date written references
  • A valid ENG1 medical certificate or equivalent
  • Valid and updated STCW 2010 certification

Most yacht crew agencies will conduct brief interviews to get to know the candidates. Once you’re signed up, your search for a superyacht 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 superyacht crew agency website.

As yacht crew, the objective of signing up with a yacht crew agency is to secure a yacht job, whether your first superyacht job or your 5th.

As a yacht captain, the objective is to find the best superyacht crew to fill the available jobs onboard.

As a yacht crew agency, the objective is to bring the best match together.

Yacht crew should never be asked to pay a yacht crew agency fee, and yacht captains/owners should feel the fee they pay for the crew member 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 yacht crew agencies to do the groundwork for them and present them with only the best matches for the job. In the superyacht industry, it’s all about quality, not quantity.

A quick google search for Superyacht Crew Agency with return 378,000 results for yacht crew agencies....

The Best Superyacht Crew Agency

Look who shows up in the number one spot! Don't take our word and try it for yourself 😀

With this in mind, the right yacht 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 yacht crew agencies 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 superyacht jobs.

Yacht Crew Tesomonial

You get the occasional rogue superyacht crew agencies operating through Facebook and elsewhere, so beware. Never send details to a yacht crew agency that is not MLC certified, and never pay yacht crew agencies to find work for you.

The 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. Working on a yacht 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?

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?

Long hours – A superyacht crew job is not a 9-5 with weekends off Job. Are you prepared to work hard?

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?

Superyacht Crew Agency get asked many questions, some of which are:

1. How old do I need to be to work on a superyacht?

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.

2. If my CV is suitable, when may I be given details of a job to consider?

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.

3. How long will it take to get a job?

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 Yacht Crew 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. 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!

Give your job search a boost and take one step closer to getting your first superyacht job:

1. Register and create your Superyacht Profile

2. Stay updated on our Facebook Page

3. Join our private Facebook Group: SuperYacht Crew Agency Jobs

4. Check out our active list of yacht jobs at our Superyacht Job Board

5. Check out our Instagram and Twitter page

Share the Knowledge:

If you ever find yourself being asked the question by other yachties again,

'How do I get a job on a Superyacht?'

Feel free to share the knowledge with our How To Get a Job On a Superyacht; The Ultimate Guide!

We would love to hear how it all works out for you; should you have any questions, or feel like we have missed something in our post or simply need additional advice, please don't hesitate to email us.

Back