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All crew, whether green or experienced, will need an ENG1 Seafarer Medical Certificate and STCW Basic Safety Training qualification.
It’s also worth getting a Powerboat Level II qualification, particularly if you work or plan to work on deck. This will allow you to drive a tender up to 10 meters. On smaller yachts, it’s advisable interior and engineering crew take this course too.
Anyone handling or serving food, so service stewardesses included, will need a Level II Food Health & Safety qualification. It’s important this is by a provider recognised by the MCA.
While not mandatory, those looking to join the engine room in a junior position should complete the Approved Engine Course 1 (AEC1). Most Captains or Chief Engineers would not take someone on without it, unless they are an experienced crew member from another department.
Working in the superyacht sector can be hugely rewarding but is extremely tiring and can involve working long hours. With this in mind, the sector is suited to positive, enthusiastic, hard working and flexible individuals. You must have a great work ethic, be a team player and fantastic attention to detail.
You’ll be away from family and friends for a long period of time, which can be lonely, so you must be able to get on and live with others in close quarters.
High-end service and hospitality experience is desirable for anyone looking to work as a steward or stewardess and any trade (e.g. carpentry, electrician) or water sports experience is a good start for deckhands. If you’re looking to get a job in the engine room, then you may have to start on deck, but if you have a good level of experience in any kind of engineering, mechanical, IT or electrical industry, then you may be able to start as a junior.
Additional experience as a beautician, nurse, paramedic, masseuse, hairdresser, carpenter, PT, yoga /pilates and water sports instructor can set you apart.
The first place to start is on the yachting sector job board, Yotspot. Take a look through the current live jobs and requirements to get a feel for what types of roles might be best suited to you. Set up a profile and upload your CV.
Register with as many crew agencies as you can. While Quay Crew make every effort to provide a much higher level of service than our competitors when we represent you to clients, we are not able to represent every single candidate who registers with us for various reasons. So maximise your visibility and chances of getting exposure to as many roles as possible by signing up with everyone.
When you progress through your yachting career, you can build a relationship with the agencies you want to represent you.
Network – either with people you know already working in the industry or signing up to Facebook groups and forums.
Finally, when you are confident you have enough money behind you to support you for a while, consider dockwalking. This involves basing yourself near a marina and simply cold-calling superyachts in the marina asking if they have any work.
It’s very hit and miss and all about timing, but you can get a decent day rate for day work helping with wash downs, detailing and teak scrubbing, for example.
If you are planning to dockwalk and can fund yourself for a while, base yourself in the South of France or Spain – Majorca or Barcelona primarily.
If you’re an experienced crewmember looking for your next role, then being in Europe or the US is preferable right now for easy access to yachts, less visa and travel challenges.
Yes. This will maximise your chances of getting a job and a good agency will also help you get your CV up to scratch.
Additional training can be beneficial but is not essential. In most cases, a yacht would prefer relatable experience, and if you’re green, this may come from a variety of land-based jobs.
There are hundreds of courses now of offer for aspiring superyacht crew, from silver service training for stewardesses and ropework courses for deckhands to diesel engine maintenance for budding engineers.
Completing courses does not guarantee you a first, second or even third job and it may therefore be better to wait until you get your onboard to utilise any training budgets and do those that are more useful for your particular role on a specific yacht.
Yes. Pretty much no superyacht will take on crew who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 / Coronavirus.
The problem with a B1/B2 visa is that you can’t get one unless you are employed because your employer has to sponsor it. This can be a real barrier to entry for green crew but the good news is that all superyachts are aware of this and will expect a delay to start dates if they are open to or looking specifically for green crew.
You can currently get one within a couple of weeks of getting an Embassy appointment – which is the hard part!
This is also something to be mindful of if you have been out of work for a while or taken a sabbatical. Make sure your visa is still in date and if it’s about to run out, consider staying put on your current yacht for renewal before you start looking for another role.
If you’re waiting to get your first superyacht job, then be prepared to wait six months to a year. And accept that you might never get a job.
Good candidates with experience can be swept up extremely quickly in the current market, but to put yourself in the best position, try to be available at extremely short notice.
If you have a great secondary skill, some boats will wait for the right person.
There are superyacht vacancies all year round, especially for existing crew and the sector is not as seasonal as it was before. But if you’re looking for your first role, it can be busier in March/April/May and November/December time.
Crewmembers who are part of a couple and want to work together onboard a superyacht will find opportunities are limited. We only get around one per month, at most! Although we are finding more yachts are open to the idea because of the candidate shortage, the problem is that there aren’t often two suitable roles available at the same time.
It’s more likely on smaller yachts where, for example, a Captain and Chief Stew can share a cabin, freeing up space for another member. Couples’ roles are often lower paid too, because people are willing to sacrifice elements of their package to be able to work together.
Salaries can vary hugely from yacht to yacht, but as a rough guide, junior crew can expect to be paid €2,500 per month upwards, progressing to €4-5,000 as a Bosun, €5,000+ as a Chief Officer or Chief Stew and €7,000+ as a Chief Engineer.
Captains earn anything from around €10,000 per month to over €25,000!
You may have other benefits like extended leave, training budgets, bonuses, use of yacht facilities, healthcare etc.
The minimum you are entitled to is 38 days. Whilst onboard, you could be working 7 days a week during peak periods and other times getting weekends or some days in the week off. It really will depend where in the world and cruising itinerary you are.
Usually, the longer you are in yachting, the more leave you get. It could increase to 60 days or working 5 months and taking one month off then three on one off, four on two off and so forth.
At the other end of the scale, usually reserved for Captains and Heads of Departments, you could get time for time rotation, which is the same amount of weeks on followed by the same amount of weeks off, for example 10:10.
A recent survey of over 100 Captains revealed that one third of superyachts are mainly charter. As the name suggests, Private Yachts are used mostly by owners and non-paying guests (friends and family) whereas Charter Yachts are hired by others.
The roles are pretty much standard across the board, but busy Charter Yachts might be harder work and much busier, with guests on non-stop during peak seasons. This might be the same for Private Yachts though, depending on the owner’s usage.
Crew on Private Yachts tend to get better salaries and overall packages, but Charter crew can earn thousands in tips each season – the average being €16,600 in one year. This will depend on how often the yacht is chartered.