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Yacht Crew Jobs: Where + How To Find Work Right Now

June 11, 2021

Find work on a yacht even with no experience.

So you binge-watched Below Deck during the pandemic and now you’re inspired to work on a yacht? Although there are some similarities, the reality show walks the line between the yachting world and the series. Yacht crew jobs are in abundance now, so it’s a perfect time to get started. If you work hard, value professionalism and hospitality, solve problems, and love to travel — a job in the yachting industry may be for you. Whether you’re interested in becoming a deckhand, stewardess, or chef — here’s where and how to find work on a superyacht right now.

How To Prepare For Your First Yacht Crew Job

Entering the yachting industry may require a bit of schooling, but nothing one can’t handle — yacht crew must pass a basic safety course called Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW). This course is required by all seafarers who are working on board commercial vessels. For a charter yacht, you’ll need to attain ENG1, a medical examination set by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. This shows that you’re healthy and able to perform tasks onboard.

While STCW is the basic course required for a private yacht, additional courses might set you apart from other applications as it shows commitment to a career in yachting. For instance, the Powerboat certification is important to have if you are a deckhand, but learning how to safely drive a tender would benefit anyone who works on a yacht. Other valuable courses such as hospitality, silver service, or mixology are a plus and will help crew better market themselves for various opportunities.

Many boats, especially charter yachts, seek crew with additional skills. In addition to gaining required certifications, potential yacht crew should also have a stand-out CV and portfolio of work. It’s advantageous to showcase your skills so that the person reviewing your application can understand how you may be able to apply those skills to work on the yacht.

For example, if you’re applying for a chef position, share photos or videos of your recipes, menus, kitchen experience, or food. If you’re applying for a stewardess role, gather photos of your table settings, flower arrangements, or past work experience in hospitality or event coordination. It always helps to have letters of recommendation. Show us what you got — Denison’s crew portal makes it easy to create a profile and an album of work.

Now’s The Time To Apply

It’s never been a better time to find work on a yacht. Denison’s Lead Crew Coordinator Jill Maderia explains that the most in-demand jobs right now are for captain, mate, stewardess, and chef positions. If you’ve never worked on a yacht but always thought it seemed like the coolest job in the world — now’s the time to go for it.

“It’s a great time for crew entering into the industry as there are boats opting to hire green crew and train them now,” said Jill.

Green crew means entry-level — to work on a yacht with no experience. Everyone who’s worked on a yacht has been a green crew member at one point (you gotta start somewhere). If you’re willing to learn and do the work, you can move up quickly. So why the abundance of crew jobs right now?

“Yacht crew is a very international profession and many have not been able to travel from their countries due to visa issues and travel restrictions. Many boats have remained in the U.S. during COVID and hired all of the local crew,” said Jill. “And, of course, life happens and some crew have entered into new relationships and are not looking to travel full time anymore. So all these factors lead to plenty of job openings for the crew at the moment.”

Tips To Landing A Yacht Crew Career

Do your research and read marine industry publications such as Dockwalk, The Triton News, or Superyacht News. Catching up on industry news is super helpful for those who have never worked in the yachting, marine, or hospitality industry.

Explore and find crew housing. You may have the skills and required certifications, but networking can also help you land a job. Yacht crews usually live in a house together, which leads to networking, ideas, and tips within the industry. A house may host a variety of crew — from green to experienced — who each have a story to tell or wisdom to share. You can find crew housing by speaking with your agent, who often knows which ones are reputable.

Dip your toes in day work. This is a great way to trial different size yachts, learn crew dynamics, and get a feel for the work before committing to a contract. While day work is usually a temporary gig, it can lead to long-term opportunities. The captain may see your potential and schedule an interview to see how you could fit with the boat full time.

Check in with your agents. The better your crew agent knows you, the easier it is for them to match you with a boat. Catch up with your crew agent and keep them informed when and if you’re looking for work.

Ready To Start Your Career In Yachting?

Denison has an excellent crew division that matches captains, deckhands, stews, chefs, and engineers with private yachts. After registering your application and portfolio on our website, Lead Crew Coordinator, Jill Maderia will vet your portfolio and be in touch. Her goal is to match the crew with the yacht (and vice versa) so it’s a cohesive fit for all. Contact Jill with questions, search for available jobs, or create a profile to start your career in the yachting industry.