What Is a Typical Yacht Crew Salary?

deckhand jobs and stewardess salary

Below we will go over a typical yacht crew salary, as well as other benefits and perks you can expect if you are a deckhand or stewardess on a yacht. When you work on a yacht, you have no living expenses, and you also get paid to travel to some of the most beautiful and remote destinations in the world... while working and earning your keep of course!

TYPICAL YACHT CREW SALARY, BENEFITS, AND PERKS

stewardess-salary

YACHT DECKHAND AND STEWARDESS SALARY

  1. Day Work Pay
    • Usually pays by the hour, often times it’s cash and tax free.  Expect between $12-$15 an hour or $120-$50 per day. Try to get as much day work experience as you can while job hunting.
  2. Part Time / Temp (Entry Level Yacht Jobs)
    • Usually pays by the day / week /  or month depending on the amount of time agreed upon.  It can range from $100-$200 per day, $700-$1,400 per week, or up to $3,000 per month- although entry level will likely be at the lower end of those estimates.
  3. Full Time Salary (Entry Level Yacht Jobs)
    • Ranging from $1,500.00- $2,500.00, maybe up to $3,000.00 per month.
    • As an entry level employee you aren’t going to start off with the best pay, but if you do a good job and stick with the same boat there’s a chance you will continue to earn more.
    • Also, don’t forget you have little to no living expenses when you’re living on board so you can factor that in as well.

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS AND PERKS

  1. Cash Tips
    • One of the biggest perks of working on a busy yacht is the potential to earn cash tips at the end of each trip.  These can be generous and tax free.
    • While tipping is not always guaranteed on a private yacht- it is certainly expected that the guests will dole out an additional 10-15 % of the total cost of the trip to be divided evenly amongst the crew on a charter yacht as a tip.  
    • Depending on the length and cost of the trip, + number of crew members on board, you could earn an extra 1-5 or even $10,000+ dollars!
  2. Vacation
    • Some boats will offer anywhere between 2-6 weeks of vacation, with a year long contract.Whether or not it’s paid for is up to the captain / owner and should be specified and agreed upon in your contract.
    • It’s more likely to get vacation on a long term private boat with a 6-12 month contract rather than a charter boat.
    • Charter boats tend to be more of a seasonal contract (3-6 months.)   When the contract is up, you are free to do whatever you please with your hard earned money.
    • Many boats will even pay for your airfare both ways to and from the boat if / when you leave for vacation.  
    • All boats are different, and these details should always be laid out in your contract before hand!
  3. Benefits:
    • Most boats provide you with all meals + groceries, and sometimes even a chef to cook it for you, usually in the form of a family style meal.
    • As a full time crew member, you live on board for free so you don’t have any bills such as rent, electricity, water, internet, cable, etc.
    • Many boats will pay for maritime classes, certifications, and licenses for you if you express interest and longevity.
    • Some boats even provide you with benefits such as health insurance,  401k, etc.
  • Opportunities
    • When rubbing elbows with the rich and famous there is no limit to the potential of opportunities that can be thrown your way.  If you make a good impression you may find yourself being invited to one of their villas for a dream vacation- all expenses paid.  You may take trips on their private jets, or receive a sweet job offer working for them as their personal assistant, nannying for their children, pet-sitting, who knows!?

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8 VARIATIONS OF YACHT CREW WORK DETAIL

The following 8 circumstances will determine what your daily duties and workload will be like. Everything  depends on whether the boat and crew are:

 

 

  • Preparing for a Trip / Provisioning

 

      • This means you are getting ready for a trip with guests coming on board.  The boat will most likely by traveling or “getting underway” soon. The duration of the trip could range from just a few hours, to a few months.  Provisioning means you and the crew are getting all of the necessary items, food, cleaning supplies, etc. that will be necessary.  Sometimes the boat will be in remote areas with few stores and resources so the boat may stock up on months worth of supplies.

 

  • On a Trip w/ Guests On Board

 

      • Now the guests have arrived, it’s showtime!  You will be working around the clock to provide them with 5 star service and make sure that floating palace is looking so fresh n’ so clean alllll day! This is typically the most stressful part of the job. As an entry level crew member you will probably be assisting the head stew and other deckies, with whatever they need.  Just smile and do what you’re told and try not to get in anyone's way.

 

  • Post Trip Turnover

 

      • Guests have all just left, (thank goodness!)  But now you have to work just as hard to get the boat back to pristine condition.  You and the crew will basically detail, or thoroughly clean, every square inch of the boat back to perfection, inside and out.  It will seem like no one has ever stepped foot on the boat before.

 

  • Getting Underway

 

    • Now the boat will turn into a different creature as you must stow (put away) everything and prepare for what could be a long voyage across rough waters.  You will prepare the boat by making sure everything is put away properly, all doors, hatches, and drawers are latched shut.  Cushions are put away, and all deck furniture is covered and tied up, etc.

 

  • Underway (No Guests on Board)

 

      • This can be very enjoyable or quite the opposite depending on many things.  If you’re prone to seasickness you may want to take motion sickness medicine although it can make you sleepy.
      • For long voyages each member of the crew will stand watch, and aid in driving the boat, keeping a lookout for other boats and debris, doing engine room checks, etc.
      • As a greenhorn you’ll be given minimum responsibility but you will still most likely be assisting with the watch which will have a schedule.  You may be on watch for 3 hours, and then have 6 hours off, or it could be 2/8, 4/7, any number of ratios depending on the length of the trip and size of the crew.
      • When you’re not standing watch you are probably free to do whatever you want, sleep if you can.

 

  • Coming into Port

 

      • This can be intense as you have a lot to do in a short amount of time, especially on deck.
      • As the boat approaches port, you must prepare by setting up the dock lines, blowing up and putting out fenders, unhooking the tender, and many other things. All of this is usually done within 10- 15 minutes before arriving.
      • Once pulling up you will help throw lines, position the fenders against the pilings, etc.
      • Once the boat is tied up at the dock, you will need to wash it thoroughly among other things.

 

  • Serving Watch (On Land)

 

      • This is one of my least favorite parts of the job.  Due to insurance reasons most bigger yachts require that a crew member is physically on board at all times.
      • Most crews will divide the time in 24 hour increments.  For example, if there are 7 crew, one person has to stand watch for one whole day, per week.
      • You may have Monday Watch meaning you are on board all day that day.
      • There are a series of tasks that go along with it such as:
        • Putting up and taking down the flag.
        • Checking lines and fenders.
        • Locking and unlocking doors in the am and pm.
        • Doing a walk through of the entire boat throughout the day to make sure nothing’s amiss (wetness, smells, etc.)
        • Turning lights on and off. etc.

 

  • Performing Routine Maintenance

 

    • There will be periods of time when the boat is just chillin’ and not preparing for an upcoming trip.  During this time there is still plenty of work to do!
    • This part of the job involves lots of cleaning, polishing, waxing, scrubbing,and re-organizing all parts of the boat.
    • As a greenhorn you will be given the most mundane of tasks that the other crew are over qualified and don’t feel like doing.
    • It’s all part of the fun, just listen to some good tunes and audiobooks and try to be the best polisher ever!

SUMMARY

In this section we’ve gone over:

  • The 4 different entry level jobs that are attainable for individuals who have no prior experience in the yachting industry.
  • We’ve broken down each position including:
    • Overview and descriptions of each position
    • Useful and necessary skills to cultivate
    • Examples of various duties and tasks you may have to perform on any given day.
    • 8 variations that determine what your work detail will be like.
    • Typical pay, salaries, and benefits for entry level jobs.
    • Types of jobs and contracts.
    • Types of boats

 

At this point you should have a pretty good idea about which positions appeal to you the most, and you can start envisioning yourself cruising around the world on a luxurious yacht overlooking a bluetiful harbor while...scrubbing the deck? Just remember to keep an open mind, experiment with different positions, do your best, and appreciate the experience no matter how grungy or mundane the work may seem.  Whether you’re polishing metal, making beds, or driving around on a dinghy- you’re getting paid to see the world in style.

 

Hopefully you’re still inspired to learn even more about yacht jobs and the yachting industry.  In the next section we will go over work eligibility and requirements so that you can figure out whether you are legally, physically, and mentally ABLE to work on a yacht.

BONUS: SUPER YACHT CREW SKILLS AND DRILLS

Stew:

  • Learn how to do laundry, treat stains, and iron clothes and linens like a champ!
  • Make your bed every day, as tight as you can- and don’t forget hospital corners!
  • Start setting the table, and make it look as pleasing to the eye as possible- using various decorations and flower arrangements.
  • Learn about the different table style settings based on the meal of the day and the style of the meal (American, European, classic, buffet, etc.)
  • Learn a couple quick and easy ways to fold dinner napkins and towels.

 

Deckhand:

  • Start walking around barefoot all day long. Also spend as much time outdoors and in the sun as possible.
  • Start working out regularly- lots of cardio as well as heavy lifting will help the most.  Hot yoga would be great too- adapt to being in the heat for long periods of time.
  • Learn how to tie the three most important knots:  bowline, cleat hitch, and a clove hitch. (https://asa.com/news/2013/04/03/sailing-knots/#)
  • Become a carwash connoisseur- wash, dry, wax and buff as many cars as you can.  Don’t forget to treat the windows and shine the metal too.

 

Chef / Cook:

  • Start planning a variety of gourmet meals, master them and make a portfolio of your best.
  • Get creative with your meal presentation, making every dish pop with colors and pizzazz.  
  • Also have some “go-to” easy to make crowd pleasers that you can bust out on the fly.
  • Force yourself to cook all day long.  Multiple meals, and multiple courses, for large groups.  As a chef you may be on your feet cooking non-stop for 16 + hours.
  • Learn how to diversify and adapt to various food allergies and eating preferences.  

 

The Yacht Job Handbook Digital Guide

In The Yacht Job Handbook, I'll walk you through the entire process of getting a job on a yacht.  I’m going to break down this process into a step-by-step formula that will serve as a roadmap to help fast-track your career so that you can start getting paid to live, work, and travel the world on a luxurious yacht.

 

The Yacht Job Handbook Quick Start Guide

This quick start guide will answer all of your questions about the yachting industry.  It will give you insight into what it's really like to work on a yacht, and how you can make it happen.  Inside this guide, you'll learn about entry-level yacht jobs, yacht crew job descriptions and tasks, yacht crew eligibility and requirements, and how to begin creating your plan of action.

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