Who am I and why am I qualified to help you?
My name is Liz, I am a USCG Licensed captain and I have spent a fair amount of time searching for and securing various jobs in this field for myself. I have also helped some of my readers and several friends secure their dream jobs on boats. I finally decided to organize the information that I’ve given out over the years into comprehensive guides to finding yacht work according to skill level and experience.
What makes this guide “no bullshit”?
- I am giving unbiased information simply to help you out. When I was looking for my first yachting job I found most of the info online to be very confusing and misleading. I also found it strange that the info provided was attached to websites for companies who had a vested interest in making you sign up for their services. My goal is to make it as easy and straightforward as possible – to give you the info you’re looking for without any of the bullshit that usually goes along with it.
- Regardless of what you’ve been told, you can get a job on a yacht at any stage in life. You do not have to be an 18-year-old gymnast to do this type of work. If you have a passion for it, pursue it!
- You can even find a job on a boat without any previous experience – don’t believe me? Here’s an interview I did with a captain who went from zero experience to a badass captain in just five years – (though all experience on the water will certainly help you out).
- I want you to find the perfect job for you, I don’t have any ulterior motives – if you think that I can help you personally, please contact me!
What Kind of Jobs are Available?
There are many different types of jobs and the job you secure will depend largely on your experience and the type of vessel you choose to work on. This guide is focused mostly on sailing yachts, but the advice applies to motor yachts just the same.
- Steward – This is the umbrella under which I will categorize all interior tasks aside from cooking. Depending on the size of the yacht, you may be the only steward or you may be one of 25. The “stew” (as they are called in the industry) is responsible for cleaning, polishing and caring for the interior of the boat. Additionally the stew must take care of the guests needs. If you have experience in the service industry, becoming a steward may be the right move for you.
- Training Requirements: STCW 95, Additional Steward Courses (depending on yacht).
- Salary Range $1,500/mo – $8,000+/mo depending on ship size and experience.
- Senior Staff after: 5+ Years
- Chef – In charge of cooking all meals onboard for both guests and crew. In charge of provisioning the boat for long voyages, planning meals and meeting nutritional requirements. A background in cooking is almost always required.
- Training Requirements: STCW 95, additional Culinary Courses (depending on yacht).
- Salary Range: $3,000/mo – $10,000+/mo depending on ship size and experience.
- Senior Staff after: 3-5 years
- Deckhand/Mate – Crew opting to work above deck fall under this umbrella for the simplification of this guide. New crew will start as deckhands and be promoted to mates. Duties include maintenance of top decks, polishing of stainless steel, waxing, window washing, line handling and all maintenance above decks. Mates will stand in for captains when needed and must have a basic understanding of engineering. If you have a background in sailing or an interest in becoming a captain, this is the best place to start. If you are pursing this path, this guide is specifically aimed at you!
- Training Requirements: STCW 95, (Captain’s License or Yachtmaster Offshore may be required depending on the vessel)
- Salary Range: $2,500/mo – $7,000+/mo depending on ship size and experience.
- Senior Staff after: 3-5 years
- Engineer – This is a very specific career field – one that requires specific licensing. I’m not qualified to talk about it because I honestly don’t know enough. If you are interested in learning more about becoming an engineer on a yacht, please click here for more info.
- Salary Range: $3,000/mo – $14,000+/mo depending on ship size, experience and licensing.
- Senior Staff after: 10 years
- Captain – The captain has the ultimate responsibility over the safety of passengers, crew and the vessel. The captain is in charge of navigating, personnel management and overseeing all aspects of projects onboard. The captain must have excellent boat handling skills. This position has the most responsibility and requires a calm, charismatic personality. If you are pursuing this path you will likely start as a deckhand and work your way up.
- Training Requirements: STCW 95, + USCG License and/or Yachtmaster Offshore License depending on Country.
- Salary Range: $4,000/mo – $15,000+/mo depending on ship size, experience and licensing.
- Senior Staff after: 5+ years.
What’s your skill level?
- Beginner – I have never stepped foot on a boat, or have very little experience. Between 0 – 15 days of sea time.
- Intermediate – I am comfortable on boats but I could definitely use some more practice. Between 15 – 360 days of sea time.
- Advanced – I have a lot of experience on boats. I either learned to sail at a young age or have taken it up seriously in later years. I have been paid as crew, I have sailed in major races, etc. 360+ days at sea.