Working on a superyacht: An unique experience

Working on a superyacht: An unique experience

Crew members such as chefs from are required to hold two certifications, the STCW certificate and ENG1. The ENG1 certificate is a medical certification that certifies your fitness to work at sea. The MCA-approved doctor conducts the exam.


You may be a captain of a superyacht if you are a natural leader with excellent people skills, and a strong sense of responsibility towards the safety of passengers, crew, and the vessel. You will be responsible for managing the yacht, its crew, enforcing standards of service, scheduling activities both inside and outside, and ensuring that all guests have a great time.

The chief steward oversees all inside services aboard the boat. This includes food service, cabin prep and other amenities for the guests to have a five star cruise experience. They also schedule, train and manage junior staff. They also set service standards.

On smaller yachts, crew members often wear multiple hats. They also have jobs that overlap. A helmsman may work in engineering while the boat is empty, and then switch over to inside crew once guests are aboard. It’s crucial to understand how the vessel operates and to be able to switch between roles.

The Purser is also the yacht’s finance manager and is responsible for all financial issues onboard including accounting, purchasing and payroll. He or she is also responsible for the guest reservations, events and other yacht business management. This role may be divided into multiple positions on larger vessels.

First Mate

The first mate acts as the right hand to the captain, and takes charge in the absence of the captain. He or she shares navigation and bridge watches with the Captain and manages the deck crew. They also are the senior decision maker on crew hiring and oversees repairs, maintenance and budgets.

The bosun, a former deckhand, is an experienced leader who supervises all exterior activities of the yacht, including cleaning and washing down, operating the yacht’s toys and tenders, and spending time on the water with guests to ensure everyone enjoys the yacht amenities. The bosun will be the main point of contact for the charter guests, and it is important to have a good relationship with them.

Service Stews assist the Chief Stew or Second Stew in preparing and serving meals to charter guests. These are often full-time jobs on larger yachts. However, on smaller yachts the Stew/Cooks rotate with each other. Junior Stews are entry level positions and perform general cleaning, guest and staff laundry, and help with meal service during their off-duty hours.

Engineers are caretakers of the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems on board the yacht. They perform routine preventative maintenance as well as repairs and overhauls. They also handle emergency repairs and oversee safety procedures for the yacht, such as firefighting at sea and rescue at Sea.


The Bosun is responsible for the management of the deck crew. They also act as a go-between between the officers and deck ratings. They are usually the first to board the ship in the morning, and the last to leave at night. They are in charge of daily deck operations and exterior maintenance. In addition, they are the first to be called upon when guests want to take the yacht’s toys out for a spin and they are the main tender driver on the boat.

A bosun needs to have a strong work ethic and be willing to get their hands dirty. They need to have good product knowledge for exterior maintenance and be able to delegate tasks appropriately to the junior deck crew. Bosuns must also be able to communicate well and manage the crew during emergency situations.

A bosun works a 13-hour day, with a break of three hours at one point. The main rest is eight hours. They are required to remain on call at any time the yacht is sailing, or in port. They must be flexible, and understand that work schedules may change due to the charter guests’ itinerary, or scheduled maintenance. In the event of an emergency they must help the officer evacuate and deal with the situation. They are also required to be on the lookout for any security issues.


Deckhands are an entry-level position in the superyacht industry. It is a good way to start a yachting career. Deckhands work under the Bosun to execute maintenance projects and keep the exterior of the boat clean.

They will also be involved in the launching and operating of dinghies, tenders and watersports equipment. Other duties include anchor watching, mooring procedures, and general navigational watches while the yacht is in motion. They may also be asked to help in other departments, such as the interior and galley, while on charter.

A hardworking and dedicated deckhand can work their way through the ranks to become a Bosun, or even Captain in due time. However, this requires a lot of passion, hard work, and proper courses and qualifications.


Stewards are a key member of the crew aboard large yachts. They provide the most important guest service. They oversee cleaning and polishing duties, housekeeping and interior maintenance and are in daily contact with guests on board. These are usually highly-travelled customers with high expectations. For stews, it is important to have good communication skills. They should also be able to work under pressure and on a flexible schedule.

Chief Stewardess has the highest ranking position in the interior department. Their responsibilities depend on the size of vessel. They may manage a group of Stewards, or be the sole one onboard. Smaller yachts tend to require a more flexible approach to staffing with a mixture of roles that cross traditional divisions, such as a ‘Service Steward’ who is the focus of all guest service during meal times.

Deckhands are also responsible for a wide range responsibilities. These include launching and operating the yachts toys, tenders, and managing the passerelle. Deckhands are responsible for cleaning the exterior of the yacht daily and helping other departments if needed. Deckhands are often promoted to First Mates, and other more senior positions within the interior department. This can involve a lot of training and is not for everyone but offers the opportunity to see a lot of the world while earning excellent money.

Head/Executive Chef

A chef on a superyacht prepares meals and works closely with the suppliers to select the finest ingredients. A good yacht chef will be able to prepare dishes according to the tastes of each guest. He or she is also responsible for the cleanliness of the galley and must be able to work well under pressure in stressful situations.

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