A guide to crew finance in the superyacht industry
Written by Simon Osborne
From junior deckhand or stewardess, right through to chief engineer or captain, working on a superyacht can be hugely advantageous in terms of finance. People choose to work on superyachts for a number of different reasons, but the key theme across the industry is that superyacht crew earn a good income whilst paying little or no tax for the majority of their time aboard.
Yacht crew have little to no living expenses, paying no bills, rent or medical expenses, this added to the face that toiletries and meals are readily-supplied aboard, puts superyacht crew in a strong financial position. Whatever your reason for working on board a superyacht, the chances are you will be saving a substantial amount of money.
Read on to find out typical salaries in the superyacht industry, how they are calculated, as well as general advice for crew on financing yourself in the superyacht industry.
Depending on your job and level of seniority, the salary will vary. Whichever level you are at, crew salaries will also depend on multiple factors including:
- Qualifications and past experience
- Cruising route and location of the vessel
- Annual paid leave and end of season bonuses
- Some yachts may work by rotation where time off can add up to three to six months a year
- Travel expenses
- Medical insurance cover
- Incentives for service and performance
- Charter incentives
The vessel should also provide transport for crew (including to and from the yacht), food and drink, uniforms and other possible expenses. Private yachts tend to offer a higher base salary due to there being no income from charter guests.
Salary tables (in euros)
Below are some salary tables which give a guideline as to the salary of superyacht crew in a variety of positions, per month. (Please note the table is only a guideline and salaries can vary depending on the factors listed above).
|Captain||3,500 - 6,500||5 - 8,000||8 - 11,000||11 - 13,000||13,000+|
|First Mate||2,500 - 3,500||3 - 5,000||4 - 5,500||5 - 7,000||8,000+|
|Second mate||2,500 - 3,500||3 - 4,000||4 - 5,000||5 - 6,000||7,000+|
|Bosun||2,500 - 3,500||3 - 4,000||4 - 4,500||4 - 5,000||6,000+|
|Deckhand||1,500 - 2,500||2 - 3,000||2 - 3,000||2 - 3,500||2 - 4,000|
|Jr. deckhand||1,500 - 2,500||1,500 - 2,500||1,500 - 2,500||1,500 - 2,500||1,500 - 3,000|
|Chief engineer||3,500 - 4,000||4 - 5,500||5 - 9,000||7 - 10,000||10,000+|
|Second engineer||3 - 4,000||3,500 - 4,500||4,500 - 6,000||5 - 7,000||8,000+|
|Unlicensed engineer||3 - 4,000||4 - 5,000||5 - 6,000||6 - 7,000||9,000+|
|Unlicensed 2nd/3rd engineer||2,800 - 3,000||3 - 3,500||3 - 4,000||4 - 5,000||5 - 6,000|
|Chef||3 - 4,500||4 - 5,500||5 - 7,000||6,000+||8,000+|
|Sous chef||2 - 3,000||2,500 - 3,500||3 - 4,500||4 - 5,000||4 - 5,500|
|Crew chef||2 - 3,000||2 - 3,500||2 - 3,500||2 - 3,500||2 - 4,000|
|Chief stew||2 - 4,000||3 - 4,500||4 - 5,000||4 - 6,000||7,000+|
|Stew||2 - 3,000||2 - 3,000||2,500 - 3,500||3 - 4,500||3 - 4,500|
|Junior stew||1,500 - 2,500||1,500 - 2,500||1,500 - 3,000||1,500 - 3,000||1,500 - 3,000|
|Purser||3 - 3,500||3 - 4,000||4 - 4,500||5 - 5,500||6,000+|
The yacht should also provide health insurance and accident insurance. Unless stated otherwise, all crew are responsible for their personal income tax. All crew should investigate rules and regulations and seek official advice and remain current with their national requirements.
Advice and tips for crew
Being in such a unique position, yacht crew are able to take advantage of a range of financial services, as well as ensuring they save money by following these simple steps.
Ensure you know exactly what your tax situation is. Many crew think they know everything about their tax, but are wrong; it’s important to find out exactly what is required of you and you can even get professional help from companies who can compile and submit your annual tax returns for you.
An important factor to consider is residency. Leaving your home country to work and becoming a non-resident should enable you to legally avoid taxes. However, becoming a non-resident is not always easy. To truly be a non-resident you will have to cut all ties with your home country, including things like mobile phones and properties. Professional companies are able to help with these more complicated matters.
Power of attorney
Very useful for superyacht crew; this allows someone to pay bills and take care of your banking and other financial tasks on your behalf.
Working offshore means there are many options for investment plans. However, advice can often be misguided, with many companies out there to get as much of your money as possible. It’s important to research and use recommended financial advisers who have a track record of assisting crew and other industry professionals through the investment process.
By working in agreement with an independent financial adviser who has experience with yacht crew finances you will be able to work out a savings plan based on your income, personal situation and eventual aims.
Banks and offshore accounts
Issues with banks are all too common for superyacht crew, who can often get charged and suffer from high exchange rates or debit card problems. An offshore bank account should be one of the first things you look into when taking on a superyacht job. With an offshore account you won’t be tied to one currency, you will be able to bank in multiple currencies, which will be especially useful if you are paid in one currency and use various currencies in different ports.