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yacht crew crunching numbers

If you’re currently enjoying life as yacht crew but have been pondering the idea, and even opportunities, to move to a similar role on land, there’s a lot to think about.

And as someone who has made this transition myself (into a private household role), one of the biggest considerations is how it will impact you financially.

Usually, life onboard comes with an attractive and often tax-free salary, little time to spend it and food and accommodation provided while you are working.

Although not always seen as perks, you’ll soon come to realise you may have taken these things for granted once your feet are firmly on the ground.

It’s therefore important to crunch the numbers ahead of time. This doesn’t just mean understanding the salaries available, but the other associated costs of being permanently land-based, including the lifestyle trade off!

Money, money, money

Let’s be realistic – it’s unlikely that you are going to enjoy the same level of income within your first land-based role compared to what you previously had onboard. On top of that, you’ll have taxes to pay in pretty much every country you decide to settle in.  

Something I would strongly recommend is researching the tax implications before you accept any job and actually crunch the numbers. For example, a £50,000 annual salary will more likely translate to something like:

You can almost guarantee to kiss goodbye to tips and bonuses of any significance too, and even if you are lucky enough to get them, they will be taxed too.

You’ll also have expenses that you didn’t have to think about whilst onboard. Monthly rent or mortgage payments, travel expenses, toiletry shopping to name just a few, and don’t get me started on the cost of a weekly food shop now!

Again, using London as an example, you will spend a minimum of £1,000 a month for a decent double room in a nice area, with en-suites being more like £1,200-£1,500. Then monthly travelcards for Zones 1-2 is £156. Suddenly you are down to £1,500-£2,000 before any other costs.

There are excellent salaries to be earned, particularly if you stay in the maritime and private staffing sectors, but the truth is they won’t match your onboard disposable income and you have to accept that.

With this in mind, planning and saving now, which might mean swapping your designer sunglasses addiction with a monthly savings tracker, is the best piece of advice I can give.

Living and lifestyle

As well as crunching the numbers financially, you need to look at the time element, and by this, I mean the hours you will be working and the time you will have off.

In many yacht crew roles, you may have had at least 60 days off a year and some of you as much as 182 days. In both scenarios, you will probably have worked long hours and most likely worked weekends too while onboard.

Having said that, a lot of you will have had the opportunity to travel extensively, if only viewing stunning landscapes from afar!

This is where land-based roles usually offer a very positive trade-off. You may be earning less, but when it comes down to trading your time for money, you might actually find the salaries aren’t all that dissimilar.

Equally, you’ll probably have evenings and weekends off which can provide a more solid routine, which leads nicely onto lifestyle.

I have loved moving land-based, putting down roots and having the opportunity to build a great base for myself with my own home. At the end of the day, it is all about your own priorities and what is important to you.

Being land-based means you won’t be sharing the same space as the same small group of people 24/7. You won’t be constantly travelling either if you don’t want to. You have to decide whether this is what you want or not, so an important question to ask yourself is…


What is your motivation for returning to shore? Are you looking to pursue a specific career? Further your career in the yachting or luxury private staffing sector in some way? Are you moving for more work-life balance? Do you want to be closer to home and family? Maybe even start your own family? Or is it something else entirely?

Only once you have the answers to these questions will you be able to find the right balance and what works for you.

A potential compromise

One sector to consider is private households. As written in one of my previous blogs, there are many transitional skills that yacht crew possess that owners of private households and estates value highly. There are also many similarities to yachting.

Firstly, the salaries can be very attractive. Secondly, there can be a variety of work structures and leave packages on offer so I do believe there is something out there for everyone depending on your reasons for moving to land. And thirdly, you may even come across some ‘live-in’ roles so those monthly outgoings will be even lower.

Just like yachts, every household can be different too. Some estates might run with a busy schedule meaning it could feel like being on charter 24/7 but also have amazing career opportunities, whilst other positions might offer excellent work/life balance such as a part-time housekeeper role. You could even find some ‘travelling’ roles too.

For less service-based yacht crew, there are a number of land-based roles within the sector as well, and this is where our maritime desk can help you find roles like Compliance Officers, Yacht Managers and Project Management. They are more likely to follow a standard employment structure but are perfect for career continuity.

To summarise, moving land-based can be an amazing career move and offer many benefits that yachting can’t. The opportunity to be closer to home, if you choose a role nearby, the possibility to live with a partner, visit your family weekly, go to that west-end show you only found out about hours before finishing work – the sudden possibility of more spontaneity was definitely something I loved!

But do you research and crunch the numbers to make sure your transition will be a positive one.

Yacht crew moving shoreside – crunching the numbers

About the author

Jasmin Gosling

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