The ultimate guide to becoming superyacht crew
Written by Luke Wheeler
Last updated: 05/02/2020
There are a plethora of reasons why more and more people are packing their bags and moving to a career at sea aboard a luxury yacht. After all, few jobs exist where you can be offered expense-free living on top of desirable, often tax-free salaries, voyages around the world to exotic locations, new people to meet around every corner, and hoards of unique experiences and stories to be picked up along the way!
A career at sea is a fantastic way to explore a unique lifestyle for a few years whilst saving plenty of cash for later life. But, of course, there aren’t quite enough superyachts out there yet for everyone to get that coveted crew job; so how do you give yourself the best possible chance of securing yourself that dream job aboard a superyacht?
Here we cover the essential steps and need-to-know information to give yourself the best possible chance of becoming superyacht crew.
Make sure you can work on a superyacht
It might sound slightly condescending, but, as with many other unique industries, not everyone is quite cut out for this line of work. As luxurious as it can be made to sound, there's a lot of hard, stressful, physically and mentally demanding work to be done in this field.
You’re often dealing with very wealthy, powerful owners and UHNWIs (ultra-high net worth individuals) and their families, as well as serving their likely rich-and-powerful guests. The hours – particularly when guests are on board – are typically very long. At the same time, you’re sleeping in shared cabins, away from home for extended periods of time, and personal privacy becomes a rarity – and you have to be able to handle it whilst maintaining the highest of spirits.
Then, there are the formalities: Have you got the correct visas? Correct training? Any tattoos? Are you a smoker? These are all important factors that could impact your chances of securing a position on board.
In could you work on a superyacht? we list eight questions to ask yourself to make sure a superyacht career is for you.
Understand the different roles aboard and how you would fit in to them
The term ‘yacht crew’ refers to at least a dozen-or-so different roles on a superyacht; some are more hospitality-focused, such as a steward or stewardess, while others more skill-based, such as an engineer.
Whilst you may be planning to enter the industry as a deckhand or junior stew and work your way up, it’s important to understand the roles, duties, and responsibilities of all crew on board. Check out our guide on yacht crew positions and contracts for a complete rundown of what each role entails, as well as the average salary and main responsibilities for each.
Get trained up!
The marine industry is awash with crew training providers and a range of courses and certifications – some of which are mandatory, such as the ENG1 and STCW, while others will simply help you obtain a more desirable skillset. Find out which training you will need to undertake in our article, The right crew training for the right crew member.
Remember, having additional skills, languages and a busy personal life listed on your CV is a huge help in making you stand out from the sea of other applicants, so consider which, if any, additional courses you may complete to help you in obtaining and succeeding in your chosen role before you actively start looking for work.
Get yourself out there!
Getting the mandatory crew training is a great start in your yacht job search, but is your crew CV as good as it could be? Are you looking for work at the right time and in the right place? Are you sufficiently prepared for your interviews? How does a superyacht crew job interview even play out? It’s important to consider all these things before hitting the dock.
It's logical to start with your crew CV. As with many things in the superyacht industry, there are some key differences between a CV in the corporate world and the marine/superyacht world, so we’ve written our own guide tailored towards writing a CV for work in the superyacht industry.
To find work, it's recommended to move to the yachting hubs and hiring ports of the world, and networking in the local yachtie hangouts to get yourself noticed. Different yachting hotspots have their peak periods, and we discuss it in depth in our How to choose the right hiring port article. Only experienced senior crew are likely to ever be flown out for interviews; so unless that's your forte, you’ll need to make sure you're on the ground in your chosen port, and as accessible as possible to potential interviewers.
Your yachting career will likely begin with daywork: Single, one-off jobs for a bit of cash and a nugget of valuable experience. You might even get called back. Emily Warburton-Adams from Bravo's Below Deck has a fantastic guide to daywork on her website.
It’s time to nail the interview!
Job interviews aren’t the most enjoyable experiences to go through regardless of what industry you’re entering. But, when you’ve gone to the effort of relocating yourself to search for crew work, and you’ve paid good money for multiple training courses and medical certifications, falling at the last hurdle hits even harder.
As a first-time yachtie, expecting a job offer for every interview you attend is probably unrealistic, but with some simple guidelines and advice, you can ensure you’re as well prepared as you possibly can be. Much like crew CVs, crew job interviews can be a little different in the superyacht industry. We go more in-depth on this topic in our How to succeed in a yacht job interview article, where you’ll learn what’s typically expected of yacht crew candidates at interview, amongst essential tips for the big day.
There are easier jobs to find in the world than a superyacht crew role – we all know that – but the amazing stories and experiences we hear from past and present crew are a testament to how those who put the hard work in really do reap the rewards.
You can take a look at our crew agents listings here on Yachtingpages.com, for agencies that can greatly assist in your search for a career in yachting, or browse crew training companies for courses you'll need to get into the industry.
We wish all prospective crew the very best of luck in their job search!
Get started in your superyacht career; search for crew agents or crew training companies on Yachtingpages.com, or join us on our social media channels for more yachting tips and advice.