FAQs from aspiring superyacht crew
Written by Luke Wheeler
Last updated: 17/01/2018
Choosing to enter the world of working on superyachts is a big commitment; it involves a lot of sacrifice in the hope of some serious reward. Understandably, many aspiring superyacht crew have lots of questions about their potential new lifestyle.
In this FAQ article, we aim to answer some of the most commonly asked questions from those curious about entering the industry.
How much money will you earn as yacht crew?
Yacht crew salaries range depending on the role, but as an entry-level crew member likely entering a deckhand or stewardess position on a typical 50m superyacht, you can expect to receive around €1,800 to €2,000 per month. This is very often completely tax-free.
As for salaries on the higher end of the scale, captains of a similarly sized 50m yacht will earn around €8,000 to €12,000 per month. Of course, these captains have a lot of responsibility and are directly responsible for the entire operation of the yacht.
Then, there’s tips from charter, end-of-season bonuses, and your own unique skills that may be sought-after on the boat that could affect the salary you earn.
For more information on yachting salaries, you can take a look at our crew finance guide.
What are the working hours on a superyacht?
In one word: long. Whilst there are differences between working on a private yacht and working on a charter yacht, any time the yacht is in action, prepare for dawn-to-dusk work, and then some. If the guests are up, the crew are working.
It’s all hands on deck to ensure that the people paying for the yacht—enjoying the yacht—have the experience they have paid for, and that is expected across this industry.
There is no 9-5 as a member of a prestigious superyacht’s crew. Many will tell you the rewards are worth it, but you have got to be prepared for long days, long nights, and not a lot of time to yourself.
To learn more about finding work aboard a yacht, read our ultimate guide to becoming superyacht crew.
How long do yacht employment contracts typically last?
Generally speaking, captains, officers, engineers, and senior interior crew are employed on a permanent long-term contract.
Many yacht crew jobs are seasonal; typically these contracts run from April to the end of September for the Mediterranean season, and from October to March for the Caribbean season. Seasonal jobs are the most common for junior stewardesses and deckhands. Smaller superyachts—typically those at 40m or less—may only run a one-season program, and often only hire a chef for this period.
Charter yachts are deemed commercial vessels, and as such all potential crew on these yachts will be provided with an SEA (seafarers employment agreement) which is the proper term in the marine world for ‘employment contract’. Commercial yachts should give you the opportunity to examine and seek advice on the agreement before signing and joining the yacht. Private yachts do not need to issue SEAs.
For further information about SEAs, click here (opens PDF in new tab).
Can I find yacht crew work with my partner?
Yachting is seen as one of the best job and travel opportunities for adventure-seeking couples. Sometimes these couples are former single crew members who worked on a previous yacht together, and other times the couple are thirty-years-strong and fancy entering the industry together.
In this industry, working as a couple is very often regarded as a privilege that must be earned. Unfortunately for some, entry-level couple positions are almost non-existent. There are clear additional risks that come with hiring a couple as opposed to two individuals, and yacht owners and management companies want a smooth-running operation.
When couple-positions do crop up, it’s typically for senior positions only: captain and chief stewardess, for example. Even then, the jobs rarely crop up and scoring them is often heavily reliant on simply knowing the right people at the right time.
Do yacht crew need to speak multiple languages to stand a chance?
In short, no; English is the international language of the seas and almost all folks involved in this industry can speak English.
However, this isn’t to say that additional languages aren’t a significant advantage. Some yachts with regular foreign language-speaking clients will seek crew with the ability to speak a particular language. Being able to go for these types of opportunities will significantly reduce the potential candidate pool you’ll be up against, and your additional skill-set will likely be compensated well.
For more information about crewing on yachts, read more from our Crew Corner.