How to Work on a Yacht: A Comprehensive Guide to Launching Your Yachting Career


sailing Yacht

Working on a yacht offers a unique opportunity to combine adventure, travel, and a rewarding career. Whether you dream of navigating the open waters or providing impeccable service to discerning guests, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to embark on a successful journey of How to work on a yacht.

From gaining relevant skills to securing employment and thriving in the yachting industry, this guide covers it all.

Yacht Job Benefits

Working on a yacht provides numerous advantages, including financial rewards, travel and adventure opportunities, personal and professional growth, and a unique work-life balance. Financially, yacht jobs offer competitive salaries, tax benefits, and cost savings through free accommodation and meals.

The travel aspect allows you to explore exotic destinations, enjoy variety and flexibility, and experience unique moments. Yacht jobs also contribute to personal and professional growth by developing skills, fostering a multicultural environment, and facilitating professional networking.

Additionally, the intimate work environment, work-life balance, and focus on health and wellness make the yacht lifestyle highly appealing. Overall, a yacht job combines luxury, adventure, and personal development into an exceptional career choice.

How Much Can You Make Working on a Yacht?

Yacht crew salary

The earning potential in yacht jobs varies based on factors such as the yacht’s size, your role and experience, and the location. Captains on superyachts can earn $70,000 to over $200,000 per year, while deck crew members typically make $30,000 to $60,000 annually.

Engineering crew salaries range from $40,000 to $80,000 and interior crew members earn $25,000 to $100,000 or more per year. Chefs can earn $40,000 to $150,000 or higher annually.

These figures are approximate and additional benefits like tips and bonuses are often provided.

How to Work on a Yacht

Typical Yacht Crew Jobs

  • Captain: The captain is responsible for the overall operation and safety of the yacht. They manage the crew, navigate the vessel, ensure compliance with regulations, oversee guest satisfaction, and handle any emergencies that may arise.


  • First Officer: The first officer, also known as the chief mate, supports the captain in managing the yacht’s operations. They assist with navigation, safety procedures, crew management, and maintenance. They may also handle guest relations and administrative tasks.


  • Chief Engineer: The chief engineer oversees the yacht’s mechanical and electrical systems. They are responsible for maintenance, repairs, and ensuring the smooth operation of the engine room, generators, HVAC systems, and other technical equipment on board.


  • Deckhand: Deckhands are responsible for the general maintenance and upkeep of the exterior areas of the yacht. They assist with docking and anchoring, operate tenders and water toys, maintain the cleanliness of the decks, and provide support to the officers and guests.


  • Steward/Stewardess: Stewards or stewardesses work in the interior department and are responsible for providing exceptional guest service. Their duties include housekeeping, setting up guest cabins, serving meals and drinks, assisting with activities, and ensuring a comfortable and luxurious experience for guests.


  • Chef: The chef is responsible for planning and preparing meals on board the yacht. They cater to the preferences and dietary requirements of the guests, create menus, source ingredients, and maintain the galley’s cleanliness. A yacht chef is skilled in various cuisines and can handle different dietary restrictions.


  • Chief Steward/Stewardess: The chief steward or stewardess leads the interior department and supervises the other stewards/stewardesses. They coordinate guest services, manage inventories and provisioning, oversee housekeeping, and ensure the smooth operation of the interior department.


  • Bosun: The bosun is the lead deckhand responsible for supervising and coordinating the deck crew’s activities. They assist with maintenance, operate and maintain deck equipment, oversee water sports activities, and support the officers in their duties.


  • Second Engineer: The second engineer assists the chief engineer in maintaining the yacht’s technical systems. They perform routine maintenance, troubleshoot issues, and ensure the smooth operation of machinery and equipment.


  • Sous Chef: In larger yachts with extensive culinary operations, a sous chef may be present. The sous chef assists the head chef in meal preparation, manages the galley, supervises the kitchen crew, and helps ensure the smooth flow of culinary operations.

How to Work on a Yact : A Typical Day

Working on yachts offers a dynamic and ever-changing work environment that varies from day to day. While the specific tasks and routines may differ depending on the crew position and the yacht’s itinerary, here is a glimpse into a typical day working on a yacht:

Early Morning:

  • Rise and shine: Yacht crew members usually start their day early, waking up before guests to prepare for the day ahead.
  • Personal preparation: Get dressed in the appropriate uniform and ensure a neat and professional appearance.
  • Morning briefing: Gather with the crew for a morning briefing led by the captain or department heads. This includes discussing the day’s schedule, tasks, guest preferences, and any special requirements.


Deck Duties:

  • Preparing the yacht: Deck crew members begin by ensuring the exterior of the yacht is clean and in pristine condition. This may involve washing and polishing the decks, organizing water toys, and preparing tenders for guest activities.
  • Navigation and safety: Assist the captain and first officer in navigation tasks, such as plotting the course, monitoring weather conditions, and performing safety checks on equipment and life-saving appliances.

Interior Duties:

  • Housekeeping: Stewards and stewardesses start the day by tidying up guest cabins, making beds, and ensuring cleanliness throughout the yacht. This includes restocking supplies, arranging fresh flowers, and maintaining a welcoming environment for guests.
  • Breakfast service: Assist in preparing and serving breakfast for the guests, ensuring their preferences and dietary requirements are met. This may involve setting up the dining area, serving coffee and tea, and presenting a delectable breakfast spread.

Ongoing Tasks:

  • Guest service: Throughout the day, crew members are responsible for providing attentive and personalized service to the guests. This includes attending to their requests, serving meals and beverages, arranging activities, and ensuring their comfort and satisfaction.
  • Maintenance and cleaning: Continuous maintenance tasks take place to keep the yacht in top condition. This can involve routine inspections, cleaning communal areas, polishing silverware, and handling laundry services.
  • Water activities: Deck crew members assist with water sports activities, such as setting up equipment, guiding guests during snorkeling or diving excursions, and ensuring safety measures are in place.

Meal Preparation and Service:

  • Lunch and dinner preparations: Chefs and sous chefs work in the galley to create mouthwatering meals for guests. This involves planning menus, sourcing ingredients, and preparing dishes according to guest preferences and dietary requirements.
  • Fine dining experience: During meal times, crew members collaborate to set an elegant table, serve courses, and provide exceptional dining experiences for guests. They strive to create a memorable and enjoyable ambiance, ensuring that every detail is attended to.

Evening Routine:

  • Turn-down service: Stewards and stewardesses prepare guest cabins for the night by turning down beds, providing fresh linens, and creating a cozy atmosphere.
  • After-dinner service: Assist with clearing the dining area, washing dishes, and organizing the galley for the next day’s meal preparations.
  • Personal time: After completing their duties, crew members may have some personal time to relax, socialize with colleagues, or enjoy the amenities of the yacht.

It’s important to note that the daily routine on a yacht can vary based on factors such as guest preferences, yacht size, and the specific itinerary. Additionally, crew members may rotate shifts or have different responsibilities depending on their positions. Flexibility and adaptability are essential qualities for successfully working on a yacht, as each day brings new challenges and opportunities for growth in this exciting and rewarding career.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Started Working on a Yacht?

To embark on a career working on a yacht, you will require a few essential items. Firstly, you’ll need to secure a plane ticket to one of the major international hubs.

Additionally, it is advisable to have enough funds to sustain yourself for a period of 2-3 months while you search for your initial job opportunity. This includes covering expenses for food and accommodation during this time. Moreover, allocating approximately $1000 – $1200 for yacht training courses will enhance your qualifications and increase your chances of securing a desirable position in the industry.

Yacht Training Courses

STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping): The STCW course is a mandatory requirement for all yacht crew members. It covers essential maritime safety and security topics, including personal survival techniques, firefighting, first aid, and basic safety training.

RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Courses: The RYA offers a range of courses that cater to different yacht crew positions and skills. These courses include RYA Powerboat Level 2, RYA Competent Crew, RYA Day Skipper, RYA Yachtmaster Coastal, and RYA Yachtmaster Offshore. They focus on areas such as navigation, boat handling, seamanship, and safety at sea.

PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Courses: For those interested in working in water sports or as a dive instructor on a yacht, PADI courses provide scuba diving training and certifications. Courses range from beginner levels, such as Open Water Diver, to advanced levels like Divemaster and Instructor Development Course (IDC).

MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) Certifications: The MCA offers various certifications that are highly regarded in the yachting industry. These include the MCA Master Yachts 200gt, Officer of the Watch (OOW), and Chief Mate certifications. These certifications require qualifying sea time, exams, and completion of specific training modules.

GUEST (Guidelines for Unified Excellence in Service Training): The GUEST program focuses on the hospitality and service aspects of working on a yacht. It covers areas such as silver service, table setting, etiquette, wine and cocktail knowledge, and interior housekeeping.

ENG1 Medical Examination: The ENG1 medical examination is required for all yacht crew members to ensure they meet the medical fitness standards for working at sea. It assesses overall health and fitness, including vision, hearing, cardiovascular health, and mental well-being.

Where to Find Yacht Jobs?

Yacht Crew Agencies: Yacht crew agencies specialize in matching crew members with yacht job opportunities. They have extensive networks and connections within the industry. Registering with reputable crew agencies can provide access to a wide range of job listings and increase your chances of finding suitable positions.

Online Job Portals: There are several online platforms dedicated to listing yacht job opportunities. Websites such as Yotspot, Crewseekers, and Dockwalk offer job listings specifically tailored to the yachting industry. These platforms allow you to create a profile, search for available positions, and directly apply to job postings.

Yacht Shows and Events: Yacht shows and industry events provide excellent opportunities to connect with yacht owners, captains, and crew recruiters. Attend events such as the Monaco Yacht Show, Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, or the Palma Superyacht Show. These events often feature job fairs, crew networking sessions, and opportunities to meet industry professionals face-to-face.

Personal Networking: Networking within the yachting community can be a valuable resource for finding job opportunities. Reach out to experienced crew members, attend crew gatherings, join online forums or social media groups dedicated to yacht crews, and build relationships with industry professionals. Often, job opportunities are shared through word-of-mouth within the yachting community.

Crew Training Schools: Some crew training schools also provide job placement assistance as part of their services. Enrolling in such schools can not only enhance your skills and qualifications but also provide access to their network of yacht industry contacts.

Yacht Crew Websites and Forums: Explore online forums and websites dedicated to yacht crews, such as Crewbay and TheCrewNetwork. These platforms offer job listings, crew forums for networking, and resources to support your job search.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Work on a Yacht

Q1: Do I need previous experience to work on a yacht?

A: While previous experience can be beneficial, there are entry-level positions available for those with no prior experience. Starting as a deckhand or steward/stewardess allows you to learn on the job and gain valuable experience.

Q2: What qualifications do I need to work on a yacht?

A: The qualifications required vary depending on the position and the size of the yacht. Basic certifications like STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping) are usually mandatory. Additional qualifications may include first aid training, sailing certifications, or specialized skills for specific roles.

Q3: How can I find job opportunities on yachts?

A: There are several avenues to find yacht job opportunities. Utilize yacht crew agencies, and online job portals, attend industry events, network within the yachting community, and consider volunteer or internship programs. It’s important to have a well-prepared CV/resume and cover letter.

Q4: What is the hiring process for yacht jobs?

A: The hiring process typically involves submitting your application, including a CV/resume and cover letter. If shortlisted, you may be invited for an interview, either in person or via video conference. Successful candidates may be offered a trial period or contract, which can vary in duration depending on the position and yacht.

Q5: How much can I earn working on a yacht?

A: Salaries vary based on factors such as the size of the yacht, position, experience, and the cruising location. Entry-level positions can start around $2,000 to $3,000 per month, while senior positions like captain or engineer can earn significantly more, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 or more per month.

Q6: What are the typical duties and responsibilities on a yacht?

A: Duties and responsibilities depend on the crew’s position. Deckhands assist with navigation, maintenance, and water sports activities. Stewards/stewardesses handle guest services, housekeeping, and meal service. Other roles include engineer, chef, captain, and first officer, each with their specific responsibilities.

Q7: Are there age restrictions for working on a yacht?

A: There are no strict age restrictions, but it’s important to be physically fit and able to handle the demands of working at sea. Certain positions may have age preferences based on experience and certifications required.

Q8: How long are the contracts for working on a yacht?

A: Contracts typically range from a few months to a year, depending on the yacht’s itinerary and the specific position. Some crew members prefer seasonal contracts, while others work on a rotational basis, alternating between work and time off.

Q9: Are there opportunities for career advancement in the yachting industry?

A: Yes, the yachting industry offers opportunities for career advancement. With experience and additional qualifications, crew members can progress to higher positions such as first officer, captain, and engineer, or pursue specialized roles like yacht chef or dive instructor.

Q10: What are the living arrangements like on a yacht?

A: Living arrangements vary depending on the size and layout of the yacht. Crew members typically have their designated cabins, shared crew areas, and communal spaces. The size and luxury of the yacht often determine the level of privacy and comfort available to the crew.