Work on Super yachts: Advice on everything you need to know


Superyacht at night

I spent 4 years working on luxury superyachts (or megayachts or gigayachts) and every time someone I know is thinking about it I end up having the same conversation with them. I’ve decided to stop doing that and put everything that I’d normally say into this post. This is everything you need to know about working on superyachts, all in one place.


I’m not an expert in this and everything here is my opinion or a gross generalization of the industry. It may not be the same in all cases. I expect you to use more than one source and I expect you to understand my bias’ in the industry. I had extensive racing experience before I left and worked up from the deck to an engineers role on private sailing yachts. I’ve put a very brief summary of my relevant experience at the bottom.

I WILL NOT ANSWER EMAILS ABOUT THIS POST. This is everything that I know. If you want to ask something, contact these guys at or leave a comment below.   (If you’re looking for a job, have them help with your CV!)


Working on superyachts is awesome and is loads of fun. No doubt about it. But it’s also lots of hard work, long hours lots of stress small living quarters and not much time off. (See the “Industry of Extreme’s section”) having said that, it is great to do while you are young and is an awesome way to travel while earning cash… (Although some do make a life of it)

Do remember that it’s not so easy to just jump on a boat for a couple of months with no experience earn some cash and then leave. There are tons of kids just like you who also want to get that job. A little bit of experience goes a long way and without it it’s very hit and miss. Your first job could take you 4 months to get. Prepare for that – it’s far better to be pleasantly surprised.

Where to go

Superyachts follow the seasons. In winter (November to May) they go South to the Caribbean,  Bahamas and Florida. In Florida want to base yourself in Fort Lauderdale (venture to Miami and West Palm as well), from there you’ll catch trips to the Bahamas, and in the Caribbean you want to head to St Maartin or Antigua.

St Martin in the Caribbean

St Martin in the Caribbean

In the summer, the yachts head North. Either up the US coast to Boston, Maine and Newport (Newport is the place you want to be) or across the Atlantic to the Med. The season normally starts in Palma de Mallorca (best place to go at the start and end of the season) and then moves on to France or Italy. Mid-season you want to be based around Antibes, this is because there is a good support network and it’s a short train ride to Monaco, Nice and Cannes. (It’s often better to jump on the train to look for work outside of Antibes!)

*Note: many yachts do world tours and go to many more places. These are only the best starting spots where the boats get work done – i.e. they need help.


As a saffa travelling on a SA passport, I’m going to throw this one in here. Visa’s are a bitch and not having them will often cost you a job. The first thing to do is contact SAMSA and get a seamans book. This will replace vias’s in some countries. #winning

Otherwise for the US you want a B1/B2 visa and you’ll need Schengen or French / Dutch Atillies visa’s depending on where you’re going. One thing to note is that by international law, the yacht is an extension of the land that it is registered in – regardless of what waters you are in. If it’s an American flagged vessel you’ll need other visa’s that allow you to work in America. To avoid tax, make sure that you’re never in 1 country for more than 183 days. Many yachts are registered in Bikini or Malta as they are tax havens.


The only thing you really have to get is an STCW 95. The rest may differ depending on what area you’re wanting to go into (see “Crew Positions” below) As a deckhand, a tender course is handy, as an engineer your AEC or MEOL and as a stew or chef do something in that line.

REMEMBER: Pretty much nothing that you’ve done on land is going to be relevant and it counts for VERY little. (That goes for engineering too) Similarly, most of what you do on yachts will mean nothing in the real world.

Sail vs Power

There are 2 different types of boats you can work on. Owners / guests of sail yachts are generally more relaxed and are there for the journey or experience of sailing. They’re normally more laid back and friendly. As crew you get a lot more slack, can generally use the equipment when the owner is not there and you’ll interact with the guests in a less formal way. (Things like the chef making sandwiches for lunch as the boats heeling while you sail, come to mind.)

With motoryachts, the owner / guest is there for the destination. They want to be treated like kings all the time. They generally don’t interact with the crew and the level of service (read: stress) is a lot higher. It is far more like a floating hotel where everything just has to work. You do get bigger cabins though!

NOTE: Some large sail yachts (over 150 feet) act more like motor yachts than sail yachts. This is especially true for builds like Perini Navi.

Private vs Charter

SY Meteor racing in St Barths

As with power vs sail, there is a similar difference between private and charter yachts. Private owners generally pay a little less, but your quality of life is far greater. They let you use the stuff when they’re not there, they’ll give you plenty of perks and try to keep you around if they like you. (Otherwise it’s like having different servants at your holiday house every time you go – not that I’ve experienced this myself…) They’re more laid back and may interact with the crew more.

Charter guests are paying about $150k – $350k per week. That food better be awesome and those cabins perfect. Not to mention the TV and aircon being exactly right every time… They’re a lot less forgiving, work you much longer hours, but can leave you massive tips at the end of a stay. ($1000 per person per week is the norm – about 10% of the charter fee.) You work like a bitch but get paid like a king. It’s pretty stressful.

Crew and positions

There are 4 main streams of personel. Deck, Engineering, Interior and Chef. The crew size will normally be about 1 per 20ft (sail) or 1 per 15ft (motor). So, a 180ft sailing yacht would have: Captain, First Mate, Boson, Deckhand, Engineer, 2nd Engineer/deckhand, Chief Stew, 2nd Stew and Chef. More or less.

Boys generally start on deck, girls interior. Yes there is a bias for pretty girls (Millionaires like pretty girls around them) so get over it. It’s not that blatant, but it does exist. A trick for boys is to offer to help out in the engine room. It means that you’ll clean the inside instead of the outside, but you get out of the sun and can get paid more.

 Your first job

When you’re starting out, send your CV to a bunch of crew agents in the place you are going to. (Yes you have to be there in person to get the job.) Check in with them at least every 3 days in person and ask if they’ve found you a job – this keeps you top of mind and top of the pile. Make sure your CV is only one page. You honestly don’t have enough relevant experience to fill more and it reflects badly.

Every morning at 7:00am you get up, get dressed and you “walk the docks”. (Wear a white t-shirt with kaki / navy shorts and slip-slops) What this entails is you asking every single boat in the marina if they have day work. Most will say no. It sucks, but you get used to it.  If you don’t find something, go to a nearby town or marin

a and try again there. Basically, they’ll hire you if they need an extra hand for a day (or week) and you’ll be doing the shittiest of the jobs. You can expect to get about $100 – $150 and lunch for the day.

Your first job is most likely going to come from someone you’ve dayworked for or through a referral from one of them. Make sure you record the yachts you work on in your CV and ask for references whenever you can.

ADVICE: An easy going attitude, not too hungover or grumpy, a big smile and a willingness to do anything they give you goes a VERY long way!

If it’s not working leave. It doesn’t get better. Ever. There is also no such thing as notice period – unless you’re ending on a good note. The general rule for relationships is that you don’t screw the crew. I’ve never seen this end well. It’s OK to join the boat as a couple, but to start a relationship when there are 5 other people living it with you is too much for everyone. Someone always leaves.

Life on board (Added)

There are 3 modes of work on board. Firstly, when you have guests onboard. You’re up form 7:00am till 11:00 (can vary) and spend all your time cleaning and running around after guests and their wishes.

The second mode is delivery. This is when you are moving the yacht to another location and is normally done once the guests leave or to move to another country / place. It normally requires you to be on watch (like 2 hours on with 6 off) where you have to fill out the logs and monitor the trip.

Lastly, you have yard periods. This is where there are no guests onboard and you get to do all the big jobs and maintenance that you need. Often done in a place that has good  support services and often take on dayworkers to help you get ready for your next trip. Work is 8:00 – 5:00 with partying on some evenings and on weekends.

Whats Awesome

Playing with the toys in the Bahamas

The money. The travelling and seeing the most amazing places in the world. Living in the prime locations on the international scene. A month in Monaco, anyone? Days off in these locations rock. Saving money – if you’re wise. No tax. The parties are INSANE! Ocasional heli ride or trip in private Gulfstream 550, but only if you’re lucky.

What Sucks

The space. No seriously, you’re living with someone else in a room the size of a double bed. You have one cupboard, one shelf and a bed that touches both shoulders and tapers at your feet. All your possessions must fit in a suitcase. Living on top of people. You have no idea how confined spaces can rub people the wrong way and there is no cure for cabin fever except to get the f@#% out. Missing your friends and regular Wednesday night poker. Weddings, birthdays, fathers day and pretty much anything else you miss involving your family. It sucks big time. 🙁

The Industry of Extremes

I find it very common for people who hear that you work on a superyacht to reply with the, “Wow, that must be the best job in the world!” response. But is it really?

What most people don’t understand is that the pro’s and con’s of being a yacht crew is to live constantly in extremes. On the one hand you have the pro’s like living in the most exotic locations, getting paid (often in foreign currency) tax free, constantly moving and meeting new people, having no living expenses – besides drinking – to mention just a few. But at the same time many of these can be looked at from the other side of the coin.

Getting paid tax free means that you use offshore banking and will get pretty heavily taxed if you ever want to take that money home to buy a house for example. The reason that the boat covers all your living expenses is due to the fact that on many busy charter boats, you may never get the opportunity to go ashore and do shopping on a regular basis and often have no permanent means of transport to do it. The meeting new people part is awesome, but whenever you meet new friends one of you inevitably will have to move on within a couple of weeks. This makes it very hard for relationships with members of the opposite sex as you either only see each other every couple of months or you live onboard together in the same space as about 7 other people. Another bonus is that you have a largely international group of friends that you will bump into around the world. One of the reasons for the high pay compared to regular jobs is the sacrifices that you have to make in living and personal space, although there is also a lot of freedom having everything you own fit into a suitcase and backpack!

Yes, it is great when you get a couple of thousand dollar tip and 4 days off in the French Riviera, just remember that you had to put in 3 gruelling weeks of 18hr days of charter to get there. Too many people are very naïve about what it actually takes to live in the industry and therefore are not prepared for the sacrifices they need to make. But having said all this if you can put up with the con’s – which most young adventurous people can easily handle – you are in for a fantastic time filled with high adventure, good memories and hopefully a house or 2 by the end. At the end of the day it is all about balance and the constant juggling of the extremes.

In Closing…

Yachting can be loads of fun and a great way to save. The most important advice that I can give anyone wanting to start out on yachts is: “Don’t be more trouble than you’re worth.” When you’re starting out, you are very easily replaceable. You’re living right on top of people and getting in their space. Getting along with others and not ever being involved in fights, arguments and politics can make you indispensable – it’s more important than what you know or how hard you work. Don’t be a dick and good luck.

My time on yachts: [Added]

I’ve been racing dinghy’s and small yachts since I was 10. In Jan 2005 I dropped out of my 3rd year doing engineering at UCT and left to sail the Cape to Bahia race on a Benneteau 47′. I stayed on the yacht and went up to the Caribbean, stepping off in Antigua. After 4 months of intermitted daywork I got a job as a deckhand on a 137ft ketch. Within 2 weeks they offered to train me up as an engineer. A 6 month yard period at West Palm followed and a trip to the Bahamas for Xmas.

After that trip the whole crew left as the owner didn’t want to move the boat and I went back to Antigua. I got a job as a Deckie / 2nd engineer on a 140ft ketch and sailed to Palma. After the crossing I left, and joined another 92ft sloop in Egypt as mate / engineer. 6 months of hell with a russian owner and I left again to join my last boat, a 170ft schooner as deckhand. Moved into a 3 month rotation with the chief engineer after a couple of months and stayed onboard for another 2 years.

In 4 years I went to over 100 countries, done 7 ocean crossings and logged 48 000nm – twice the distance around the equator. I miss it like you’d miss university – It was awesome, but I’m glad I’m not there anymore.

The Crew Coach

Great advice for your yachting CV


Please do not email me any questions. Leave them in the comments below… Alternatively, I highly recommend that you get in touch with The Crew Coach as they have great advice and I’d strongly recommend having them help put together a killer CV or check out their FREE program for Newbie crew. Good Luck.



You might also like: What I learnt from Billionaires and Oh, the places you’ll go!

319 thoughts on “Work on Super yachts: Advice on everything you need to know

  1. Thanks for posting this, i would like to get into the yachting industry for a few years so that i can see the world -im a keen sailor myself. just one question: do you have to go to places like the carribean to find work on bigger yachts, or can you start off in South Africa?

  2. Hi Roger. I have no doubt that it must be a really amazing experience working on yachts, but I always just wonder where to from there? What are your options once you say, hit the age of 30, and want a more stable job?

  3. @vera: It’s not that easy and is one of the reasons I got out in the first place. Normally you’g move into some support industry as a supplier or crew agent. Alternatively you can save like a maniac and retire at 35 with 3 houses and live off the rent – something that is entirely possible if you put your mind to it. There are other options, but it depends vastly on you and what your other skills are.

  4. Thanks Roger. It’s something I always wonder about when I hear friends of mine leaving to go work on yachts. Saving must also be a bit of a challenge when all you want to do is party on your days off! And, if you say, are working in the Caribbean for 4 years, would it be easier for you to obtain a proper working visa for say the Bahamas,should you decide to change careers? Thanks for the quick reply!

  5. Great piece Roger, I’m going to start selling trees to yacht crew. This way they can put it in the wheelhouse and never get sick again.

  6. I worked on big merchant ships and mid size private and charter motor yachts, and I was in the Navy too, and I know perfectly what Roger says here or at least I think so 🙂 To all newbies I want to say Don’t do it, there are only 2 positive things in the yachting – money and great destinations. But money can be earn ashore as well, just study hard and become computer specialists, civil engineers, doctors and other well respected occupations ( lawyers and economists are not among them IMO 🙂 ). Do you, girls, want to be all your life servants as stewardesses, masseuse or chefs? Do you think you can have family and babies on board? Visting new and exiting places could be done the other way too, see how many people go on vacation the normal way. And these guys can really enjoy their stay there, no need to stay on watch or duty or just to man a boat and then pretend that you’re in Monaco, for example. If you want to be there for the sailing and thrill – buy your own small sail boat and start cruising, this is the real sailing. Once you’re a crew member even on the coolest and most luxurious yacht you become virtually a slave and have no rights to do the things your way – when to arrive and depart, where to drop anchor and when, to go here or there…do you see fun here??? Study hard, work hard, try to do your own business and things as you wish and most importantly – be your own Master.
    I might sound a little bit silly and confused, but this is how I feel the things. That’s why I decided to build my own very small sailing trimaran and start sailing as I understand it.

  7. Great post! Very clear and well thought out. Full of the same advice I give people after being in the industry for 4 years. I working this way gets a little easier with time because you know which jobs to take and how to maintain a sliver of yourself while working so much.

  8. @Amanda : thanks, glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    @spoiltsailor : that’s a pretty harsh critique. If it was really that bad why did you stay so long? I do agree that as with any career you need to have your head screwed on and be planning ahead. It’s awesome that you’ve built you own tri, but even that is not a life for many people…

  9. Great post Roger….I get so sick of answering newbies questions (for 12 years)! I typed up a ‘fact sheet’ for them! (and I wrote on the bottom….’No more questions please, we did all this without the internet, laptops, iMaps, etc’)

    You wrote “yes, they are biased, Millionaires like pretty girls around them”…i think this is a real point to stress. Not just the pretty girls, handsome fit guys also, great social interaction skills, well mannered and a good education or at least a good level of intelligence and worldly knowledge. Basically, if you are not very interesting and you have always struggled with social skills, you are going to struggle to get onto yachts….harsh but true!

    I just spent 6 months in a crew agency dealing with 19 year olds that have NEVER worked before, have never lived away from home before, have never been independent before, have no customer service interaction experience whatsoever…. I think it is so important to get some life experience prior to trying your hand on yachts – maybe in some kind of watersports or hotel, which may benefit you, or even a voluntary program for a year.

  10. Maybe it’s harsh, but this is how it was and is with me. I am still there though, but not so long I reckon. I suggest you may add something more in your post – about the satellite communications (there is free 24 hours Internet on most yachts) plus TV with most of the programs you can watch at home. Cabins are small, but equipped with a TV and audio system, maybe a DVD as well, depends on the boat though. And tell the guys how the contracts are – most of the yachts run on 11 months on / 1 month off contract. Engineers are better, especially on bigger boats they are 3 by 3 or 2 by 2, I mean 3 months off/ 3 months on, etc. And bigger boats are better paid, plus motor boats are better paid compared to the sail ones, though not always 🙂 Tell them about the insuarance and dental, plus add the need of ENG1 as an entry level requirement. And everyone should be aware that the fun is fastly disapperaing from the yachts, new regulations with consequent Coast guard and authorities inspections are coming pretty soon and all the crew on yachts over 500 GRT will have to have heaps of certificates and so on, thus investing loads of money for courses and papers which can be used only at sea. And you can put some more about this – if one stays longer with an owner and boat one gets the privilege to be paid and reimbursed for this courses. And don’t be misleaded by urban legends about heavy tips and more tips – there are not so many yachts any more making loads of money. Most of the rich folks out there already got their own shiny vessel and don’t charter other boats as before.
    As for myself – I was pretty stupid when I started my career as a Deck Officer as there was noone to guide me, and now the only thing I can do is to sail. Basically I am useless when I am at home as nobody gives a s**t about Celestial navigation, to mention one. But I like the sea, I like the wind in my face and most importantly – I enjoy the freedom of sailing, the pleasure of catching a fish, the thrill of making a landfall, so on and so on… I like to be a sailor, not to work like a sailor! When you work somewhere is called a job, not fun, and I like to have more fun than work 🙂 As i usually say – on my own boat the contract is 1 month on / 11 months off, not like the pros on the big monsters 🙂 !
    Sorry for my English, I am from a 4th world country where English is not native.

  11. Brilliant, thank you so much! Simon sent me here and I’m so glad he did as I would have stuck to looking for jobs here in Cape Town. So please let me know if I’m on the right track:

    I’m similarly supposed to be in my last year of a BSc at UCT but am out of funding. I was considering the yachts or cruise liner before my degree but decided to try study first in the end. Now it looks like it’s time to give it a shot, but too many options and I don’t have the cash for the initial investment of R24 500 that Ocean Academy suggests I pay for all the basic courses. I also have watering and cocktail Bartending experience so thought of trying that route on the cruise liners.

    Would my best bet be to save the R4500 for my STCW 95, as well as get any visas I can and enough for my flight, do my STCW 95 in Cape Town and then fly to one of the port cities and walk the docks? No idea what visas to get or what contacts I could find here in Cape Town that could help with a job, but I’m extremely hard working, willing to sacrifice whatever I need to, and a great people’s person, so should this plan be on the right track?

  12. @Stefan, I’m not going to tell you what to do. You’re going to have to make your own decision – I don’t want that responsibility. 😛 Having said that, I’d highly recommend finishing your degree. I dropped out of mine and after travelling the last thing I would have wanted to do is to come back and finish a degree. Other than that I can only tell you the facts, the choices are all yours…

  13. Fair enough… 😉 Just checking that I’m not missing something crucial! 🙂 Thanks for the help, will figure out the Visa stuff

  14. Great read! Thanks Roger! Lots of info and food for thought 🙂 You’ve definitely had your share of travelling and sacrificing!

  15. @SeaSpoiled – I could not agree more. I would much rather get my career going and then spend my money traveling to where I want to go without having to wait on people hand and foot!

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  17. Hey Roger, thanks for the awesome post!

    I’m actually saving up right now to do my superyacht deckhand crew course by working as this boring desk job person and i was just wondering if it’s ok to go up alone to whatever country you plan on getting a job and which would you say is the best location to start off at? i plan doing my courses next Jan/Feb 2014 so anytime after that i plan on leaving! thanks a lot 🙂

  18. @Kaylen – Have a look at the ‘Where to Go’ section as it covers where you should go and when. I’d say that it’s probably best to go do it alone, as it’s even harder to find a job as a couple or with 2 people. So most likely as soon as you start working you’ll be split up anyway.

    If you’re thinking of taking a partner beware as relationships are very hard on yachts and normally end badly. (It can work if you are both more experienced and join the boat as a couple, but otherwise I’d say it’s a train wreck.)

    Note that everyone is alone and out of their comfort zones – in the same boat if you will – so it’s actually pretty easy to make friends. There are always people to have fun with and everyone is very welcoming.

    Glad you enjoyed it.

  19. Hi Roger,

    thanks for this great bulletin about the yacht industry. What is the maximum age to enter this business as deckhand? What age would be to old? I’m 27 and think about a change.

  20. @JoeKult – there is no maximum age. Just remember that most of the guys you’re going up against are much younger – and that can be a good thing or a bad thing. The younger crew are generally known as being more party animals where as a young bosun might not be comfortable being your boss. There is no one size fits all. I’d say, swing the ‘responsible’ angle and see if it gives you an edge.

  21. hi Roger, im a fellow saffa, my boyfriend and I are looking into working on a yacht early next year. we are currently living and working in Grand Cayman. What do you suggest would be the next move for us? how do you apply for a seamans book? and are we able to get a job together as he is a chef and i am a massage therapist?

    thanks and sorry for the zillion questions!

  22. @Madeleine – With regards to where to go, I’d read the section above – I can’t help more than that. A seamans book you have to apply for at SAMSA (needs to be done in SA when you’re next back). He’d easily find a job as a chef, you not so much. You’d be better off aiming at being a stewardess. Looking for work as a couple os always tricky, you’ve just got to find the right boat.

    Oh, and no worries about the zillion questions – they help others who have the same ones.

  23. Roger, excellent article and some good feedback. I am currently serving in The RN as a Chief Electrical engineer and looking to get an insight into the job and the pay, work pattern etc of a Y3/Y2 engineer. I am seriously thinking about this line of work as I am wanting a job with travel and decent pay. Being a chief submariner living accommodation and time away is no issue as you can imagine. Could you advise or point me in directions for getting more info or possibly chatting with Someone in a similar position?


  24. @James, I’m afraid that I’ve been out of the industry for about 3 years so can’t really point you in the right direction. If I were you I’d get in touch with some crew agents (there are some engineering specific ones) and ask them. Good Luck!

  25. Hi Roger,
    No maximum age ! I am curious about that. How old was the older man you have worked with all those years ?

  26. Hey nice blog, I to am in SA and looking at doing this next year. One question Ive been finding lots of websites where you can place your CV and look for jobs and apply online, do these work? I understand you said you have to be there in person but then again you worked in the industry many years ago. Could this have changed or am I wrong? eg

    Thanks Duncan

  27. @Rene I’ve worked with 55 year old dayworkers and crew members, some experienced some not. There are very few hard rules in the biz. It’s a lot harder if you’re older, but not impossible… and you can always get lucky.

    @Duncan: From my experience it is always better to be there in person. Not to say that you shouldn’t use online – I’d use every possible angle, but you up your chances if you’re there in person. (also saves them a cost of a flight and visa issues when hiring you)

  28. Hi Roger, Thanks for the post! Do you have any recommendations on which crew agents to send CVs to or Yachts you could recommend? Currently based in California and willing to go just about anywhere!

  29. Hi Roger,

    I have two other questions.
    First: You’ve been talking about buying a house or two. How long does a person need to be in that business and safe up to reach that amout (how much are theses houses u are talking about 🙂 )??? Different places different prices.
    Second: How high is the tax a person has to pay when transfering money from offshore to home country for example.

    Cheers in advane

  30. Hi Roger,
    This was such a helpful post – thanks so much for all the great info! I am currently living in the US, 18 and just graduated from high school, but will be attending university in Australia. Since the seasons are different, I will not be starting school until February, leaving me with a good chunk of time off. Do you think I would be able to get a job for around 6 months as a stewardess on a super yacht? I don’t have any prior experience on super yachts, but do have quite a bit with customer service.

    Thanks so much for all the help!


  31. @alison : nope, afraid not. I’d just Google it and start calling – you can’t get in with too many.

    @JoeKult : Prices of houses vary completely depending on location. In Sa, they’re pretty cheap comparatively (exchange rates help) os i’f you’re looking for an awesome place to try I’d recommend Cape Town. 😛 Taxes also vary greatly – ask your bank and shop around.

    @HannahRose : You can try, but you should likely aim for some temporary work for a couple of months. The market is flooded with newbies so don’t expect too much and enjoy the ride!

  32. Hi Roger

    Thanks for the post! Super helpful! I’m heading over to Ft Lauderdale.

    I just have 2 questions:
    I know it can take a while to get your first job. I was just wondering if you find enough day work to support yourself? Or if you have to go over with enough cash to last a few months?

    Second, I’ve heard they are quite strict with regards to dock walking. Did you experience any problems with police or security?

    Thanks a lot!!!

  33. @andrew, you should be able to find day work if you’re in one of the key spots – but you can’t really bank on it. As far as security, I didn’t have any problems (although I did jump a fence in Antigua and slip in behind someone in Florida…) I’ve heard that they’ve been getting stricter though so it might be an issue in some places.

  34. thanks Roger!
    Insightful post and gash you must get tired answering the same questions over and over but sure it all comes around so keep at it-it is much appreciated!!!
    Im back in SA now…been overseas,gave a lot of time to the hospitality industry to put me through studies,life,fun etc etc,learned a lot as you do..come back home and have started my own biz which is great but would be much more secure if I had some capital to throw towards it.Am 30 going through a seperation after 12yrs bladiblablabla and would like to buy my own house or at the very least-be able to put down a substantial dep on a bond etc etc…i considered doing this in London years ago…know its graft-and a lot of it…tight quarters and comes with no guarentees. Im sure its what you make of it(like anything)My boet has actually also been considering and suggested i think about it too..was wondering if there are any oppertunities available in boat fitting(he’s trained in cabinet making)i advised him on putting feelers out in the States or even Oz-any ideas???
    the question I guess I’d put out there for myself would be on the safety issues ie. making sure I secure a safe situation,any tips on knowing how to find reputable charters etc…the rest i guess will follow once i put it out there..

    thanks again for the shared experience 😉
    kindly, katie

  35. @Katie, wow. Not really sure what you’re asking here… As far as your boet goes, definitely add carpentry to you CV. Every yacht has interior wood and teak decks, so a carpenter is a very hand skill for a deckhand.
    It’s all pretty well regulated, so as far as being ‘safe’ I don’t think that will be a problem. You just kinda have to use your common sense. A crew agent would give you a better idea of where to find a good charter…

  36. Thanks Roger,haha-just reread through my comment and it was a bit of a ramble-apologies..but you answered what I wanted to know,thank you for the advice,yip-common sense goes a long way..(;

  37. Pingback: How to Earn Money While Traveling the World - Travel Tips & Hacks Blog

  38. Heyyy great info here! Just wanted to ask..
    I have completed 2 ski seasons working in chalet hotels, do you think this would help towards getting a job as a stewardess? Also I live in the UK, so do you think antibes is a good place to go and start to look for a job? Thankss 🙂

  39. @Louise: Thanks, and yes, ski seasons are generally a good thing – any hotel service is really – as ski seasons are very similar to yachting. I had a friend who did the Canadian ski season and the Europe yacht season. Where you live is irrelevant to where you should go. Have a look at the ‘where to go’ section above as it’s totally dependent on the time you year. Good luck.

  40. Hi Roger,

    Can you shed some more light on the visa situation? I am from New Zealand and was working in France and Antigua as permanent crew on a British registered boat, was this due to the UK work visa I have? I know I have schengen visa exemptions for every 90 out of 180 days. But was wondering what I may need (If anything) to get a job on a European or American registered boat? I was under the impression that as boats on international waters, I could work on yachts as i pleased. Any links or info you can provide would be very helpful!


  41. Hi,
    I have 4 years experience working on a cruise ships, but no experience on yachts. I send my CV and reference to one e-mail, Captain who was offering job for stew. I got answer back that they need me in 1 week, with great salary . I feel very insecure. First of all why me? I don’t have yacht experience. Second, I need to go to France,in a country that I don’t know and I feel very insecure. I don’t want to suspicious but I want to be sure I am not going to end up some where else with no money and place to go.

    Please help me!

  42. Hi Roger,

    I am in my final year of Mechanical Engineering and will be finishing my degree in June next year. I was wondering if having a BSc in engineering gives one any advantage in gaining an engineering job in the yachting industry? Would it be likely for me to be able to walk into a job as a 2nd engineer for instance? Would you suggest I do the engineering courses before I head over anywhere?

    Cheers Matt

  43. @Luke: I’m really not a visa expert – certainly not for NZ… The only thing I know is that the yacht is technically part of the land that it is registered in, regardless where you are in the world. (Thats why many of them are registered in Marshall islands, Cayman Islands, Malta, Isle of Man, etc, which are tax / visa havens.) So as far as visa’s go you have to find out how your passport works with that.

    @Dragana: You’ll need to make the decision on wether you feel safe – I can’t really help you with that. It’s not uncommon for them to choose you, finding someone with experience is hard and the 1 week notice is also pretty common. Try find out why the previous crew left, how busy the itinerary is and what the crew life is like. That should give you a bit of guidance.

    @MattyG: Having the degree will definitely help in doing the job, but unfortunately it’s not going to replace having yacht engineering courses. I’d recommend that you get at least an AEC and possibly an MEOL – as you need a marine engineers ticket to be able to work as an engineer. (otherwise insurance won’t cover you if something goes wrong.) Having that experience will move you pretty quickly through it though and if you have the basic paperwork a yacht is likely to pay for further courses if they like you.

  44. Hi Roger I have one more year left in High school Im looking at going to miami to work on the yachts you say its better to be there in person to look for a job but if you apply online wouldnt the visa be much easier to get because if they accepted you , you have a job then ?? Then its easier to not lie about going on vacation but actually wanting to find a job what would you prefer ?

  45. @France’ : The problem with getting a visa is that you need to give reasons for being there in the first place. They’re not going to give you a holiday visa if you’re ‘working’ on yachts (even though this is technically legit) and you need a letter from a Captain of a yacht to get the B1/B2 tourist visa that lets you work on yachts and travel. Its a chicken and egg problem. If you can find a captain to sign a letter for you to saying you’ll be in the States you can get the visa before you go. There are a couple of catemaran shipyards that leave form Cape Town to Florida every couple of weeks. it’s also a great way to get sea miles. 🙂 (Try Robertson & Cane, Sunsail, Gunboat or Leopard.)

  46. thanks a lot for your posting ,,,i,m indonesian seafarer,, i have 3 years experiences in cruise industries,now i,d really like to work on the yacht industries,,i wish some suggestion for you about how to find the jobs on the yacht , thank you,,,

  47. @jeff_fernando Afraid I can’t really help you there, but if you have a look online for “Superyacht crew agents” you should find someone useful…

  48. Hi Roger, this was extremely informative and interesting to read, thank you!
    I am currently doing my first season as a stewardess in the med on a 70m private motor yacht and am hoping to head over to the Caribbean. When do you think the best time to head over there would be? Is mid to late November too late?Iid like to go back to SA for a while after this season to see family. I do however have an EU passport and after some googleing it seems that id be able to go to both Antigua and St Martin without a Visa. Last of all, you say you went to Antigua when you got a job, would you recommend that location over St Martin for a girl with one seasons experience?
    any advice would be invaluable.

  49. It’s nice to think you don’t have to pay tax but legally you have to pay taxes to your country of residency. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen is people thinking that this is a tax free life and when they go back to their home country they have to pay back taxes for all the years they were gone. Put aside the necessary amount or if you want to do the legal thing, report all your earnings to your home country. You’ll be happy you did. Nothing worse than getting a $100 000 dollar tax bill for 5 years’ work.

  50. Hi Roger.
    In June 2013 I applied for a bartenders job on the luxury cruise liner in Germany. A sailing school recommended me this job so I thought this would finally be my chance. I have my STCW 95 and ENG1 sorted also my passport. I studied sailing and I am a qualified Yacht master Offshore. Anyway, I applied for the job as a bartender because I love working with people. I received the next week an email which stated I got the job! The work contract was attached to the email, like many many many pages, it said my commence will start on the 1st of July etc everything was there. Nothing looked dodgy at all. I took it to my sailing school where I studied and they even congratulated me. The Germany ambassadors company emailed me to get my visa in order, I filled in everything and I send it back to them and also to the cruise line company. A week later my visa got accepted. I left my job, started doing shopping, you know – preparing – as on my job contract it said I will start on the first of July. A week after my visa got accepted, I received another email – I must pay about R5 000 for a clearance card to get off at every port, immediately I knew, No way, this is SCAM. I didn’t pay that though but I couldn’t belief it.. I am now on a International Bar tending course and I am also doing the barista course. I’m thinking to go work on the super yachts after this as a bartender 🙂 I know – long story to get to a point, but there are people that doesn’t know much about the boating industry and I just wanted to share my story with them. People please be careful. YOU DONT PAY ANYTHING TO GO WORK ON CRUISE LINERS. 🙂 thanks for reading my story guys..

  51. Hi Roger, thanks for the info..I’ve been contemplating work on super yachts for a good year now. I would really love to give it a go but still unsure of the right steps to it best to organise visas before you go? i travelled USA a few years ago and still have friends there, would this be a good enough reason for me to get a B1/B2 visa if i say I’m planning on travelling around, in and out of the US? I’m turning 30 this november which is the cut off age for most work visas so that concerns me as well.. Also, I’m a qualified hair and make up artist, do u think that would make it easier to get work on a super yacht? any info would be appreciated, thanks

  52. Hi Roger, thank you so much for this post. I am due to be going in my 3rd of 4 years at University part-time in October. I am 24, I have worked at least two jobs since I was 12 and as my degree is part-time I have to pay for it all myself. The situation is I do not have enough money to pay my university fees this year, my family can’t help me and I have debt from before university which I want to pay off. I wanted to check with you for the Stcw 95, eng 1 is max £1100, what are your tips and advice as regards to heading out for a course in October I have heard blue water is great? I have previously worked on a 6 star cruise ship for 4 months in 2010 and I have lots of customer service experience. I have got 1st both years at Uni and I am TEFL qualified for teaching abroad but long-term I need my degree for visa’s to teach. How easy and overall what advice can you give to me about putting off uni a year to try work on yachts and pay off debts, I have been told as a steward you can earn £2000-£3000 pcm?! Thank you Amber.

  53. Excellent article! I have been looking into yacht work as a way of funding my travelling. Providing I get a STCW 95 how good a chance would I have finding a deckhand job with divemaster experience and 6 months as a chef? Cheers!

  54. Just 1 Question I’m married and Me and My wife are planing to go to yachts, previous experience was cruise Lines around 5yrs her depart. is Bar Manager
    Mine is Head W8er….

    How do We/can We fit in???

  55. Hi Roger

    I’m a guy who loves sailing (hopefully going to Rio in Jan!), and I’m currently studying third year B.Soc.Sci at UCT, but I am not an engineer, nor am I inclined that way. Simply put, I’m a humanities guy, with a wide range of interests. When I have completed my studies I want to go travel and work on big yachts for a couple of years (to pay off my student loans), but is there a place for a guy like me, who doesn’t have any engineering skills? I’m not a stranger to labor, as I have done lots of volunteer work and have done waitering for 12 hour days etc.

    Firstly, are there any particular skills i should train up in to make myself more employable?

    Secondly, would you recommend any certification, besides the STCW95, which would help, and you think is worth the money in terms of the payoff?

    Thanks for the article and the responses


  56. This is amazing…thankyou so much for this post and sharing your experiences.
    Im really hoping to get into massage and yoga combined with stewarding…..any advice or thoughts???

    Thanks again x

  57. Hey All, There are a lot of questions here that I’ve answered in the post. (Re: when to go where, courses to do, etc.) I really don’t have much to add beyond that…

    Generally speaking, if you don’t have experience as an engineer, captain or chef you’re most likely going to be a deckhand or a stew. If you’re wanting to do any courses beyond the STCW 95 for deck look at Powerboat 1, firefighting, first aid, Scuba or Divemaster is handy or otherwise skills like carpentry. For Stews do a Silver Service or equivalent. The only job that isn’t really relevant is Bartending, as this is mostly done by the stews. (you can have male stews)

    On the Tax issue, as a South African who was not registered for tax before I left and was being paid from an offshore bank account into another offshore bank account and never spending more than 183 days (6 months) in the same country you don’t have to pay tax. (This might have changed since.) Every country is different – if you’re American you have to pay tax from anywhere in the world regardless.

    Other than that I have little to add as I’ve been out of the industry for a while. Have a look online for more specific info around what the latest salaries and required skills are. Please don’t only go on this article. 😛

    Unfortunately I can’t respond to everyone’s specific questions – as most of the time I don’t know the answer and would only be guessing… You’re better off finding someone who does. This is just an anecdotal summary of my yachting experience.

    Thanks for all the love. Glad you are finding it useful. 🙂

  58. Thank you very much for your post. I’ve worked as a cruise ship photographer for 3.5 years then left and worked on land. I missed the ocean and I’m thinking of going back but on yachts instead. Reading your post looks like life onboard is pretty similar. I’m planning on becoming a steward but have no stewarding skills. But I can cook awesomely and I’ve done some housepainting. Could you tell me how big my chances are compared to newbies?

  59. @Tom, anything I tell you will be very anecdotal. Private yachts can completely vary from expedition vessels to 5 star floating hotels. Each one will have their own expectations for crew – and they differ completely. I’d try and position your skill set for the type of yacht you want to get on. You’ll only really know the feedback once you’re out there trying.

  60. Hey, great post, very informative, just had a question though, what is the likelihood of a couple getting a job on the same boat? Myself and my girlfriend have been together 5 years, and have always worked together as chef and front of house manager, in ski and summer resorts we’d love a job on a yachts, but would like to know if it is likely before we get our hopes up.
    Thanks in advance

  61. This was a great read. I have no experience in any of this and really want to get involved.

    My biggest thing right now is I’m currently in the Tampa Bay area in Florida. I can’t seem to find where to focus my attention to be able to get these jobs do you have any advice particularly for this area? Or who should I send my CV too?

  62. Howzit Roger, i know you mentioned that its best to be over there in person to find a job but is it possible once i’ve got all the courses needed to approach a agency in South Africa that would be able to find something for me

  63. Hi Roger

    Great site and very helpful to all who want to be crew. If anyone is looking for further information on crewing and what’s involved, the book Working on yachts and superyachts has just been updated for 2013 and some of your readers might find it helpful. It is available in paperback or kindle through Amazon and offers loads of info, not least of all on the MLC 2006 and how it affects crew.

    Take care


  64. @rogernort Thanks for the article. Great stuff. I am here in Cape Town and have completed my STCW, Competent Crew and PB 2 courses. I hear from a lot of people, especially the schools that keep on saying that it would be really difficult for me to get work without a Yachtmasters and/or offshore skipper. Now this will cost me a lot of extra money. A friend of mine in the industry told me to ignore that and focus on getting my sea miles behind my name. He said often captains will rather hire someone with a lot of sea miles rather than someone who just did a lot of courses.

    Another question is, do you know a good way to get deliveries from cape town to the Med or Caribbean/Miami? I am working through a company that does deliveries but I might wait for a long time to get on a boat. This is unpaid though, I can do it just for the miles. I was thinking of just keeping on asking around and even dock walking, I’ve also heard that dock walking in CT doesn’t really work. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks again for taking the time to keep on helping us newbies in this thread!

  65. Great post , helpfull! I have almost 5 years experience in the hospitality industry ,mostly waitress. That ‘s including a full contract in RCCL . Then I’ve move to Spain.. with the idea that I will found a job and I will stay here, cause for me 7 months without not even one day off it was too much!Well I found ! But I’m not feeling that may place is here. I’ve missing to travel around the world… so badly that’s why I decided to try in the yacht industry.( as a stewardess) Do u think that if I go to Nice or Monaco.. personally of course it’s a good idea to try to find a job? Or all these online sites and etc., they actually hiring someone that;s apply? I’m 23.
    thanks for the answer in advance 😉 🙂

  66. Great article Roger. I am about to finish my undergraduate degree and I am keen on going on the yachts. When should I plan on heading and where? Ofcourse I will need to take a few weeks to do my course before hand. Your advice will help big time cheers.

  67. @Philip I wouldn’t bother getting a yachtmaster. Rather do a Powerboat 1 so that you’ve got a paper to drive a tender. The yachtmaster isn’t going to help you much – your friend is right, get the miles.

    @Alex Yep that all sounds about right. Good Luck. (I was only 20 when I left SA!)

    @Matt: Where to go is covered in the article. Just remember that miles are more important than courses.

  68. @rogernort Thank you. I managed to get a spot on a delivery next week to the British Virgin Isles. Any advise on getting my US visa? A fiend of mine managed to arrange a 10 year B1/B2 visa first try. Any do’s and dont’s to get the visa?

  69. Hi Roger!
    I am from South Africa as well, im finishing matric this year but want to go and work on the yachts for a few years. I originally wanted to start off in the South of France but obtaining a Schengen visa won’t be that easy or so I’ve heard? Where would you recommend I start off? And what would I do as soon as I’ve arrived in the other country?

  70. @philip: Nice work. US visa’s aren’t that hard to get – besides all the paperwork! They normally give 5 or 10 yrs on a B1/B2.

    @Levi: Fore where to go, have a look at the article… The first thing to do when you get there is find a crew house where you can leave your stuff and connect with other yachties. Then start dock walking asap.

  71. Hi Roger great article thank you. Have you heard of They are very profesional and go into Extream detail with regards to the industry. They offer loads of valuable info at a really reasonable price. Kind of like having a big brother and sister in the industry. Good luck all this industry rocks!

  72. Very interesting to read, I have been looking at yachting only from the point of people rich enough to buy and charter them, never from the side of people who work on them!

  73. Hi Roger!

    Great post, so interesting to read! My brother currently works on super yachts whilst I have one more semester left at Law school! Every time I Skype him or get a photo from him partying it up in Malta or St Tropez i need to convince myself to finish my degree…. and not board the next flight to Europe!

    Im 22, from New Zealand and so keen to get on a yacht once i finish my Law degree in June 2014. I just had a quick question regarding what it takes for a girl to get employed on a boat? It is pretty much based on looks and having at least some sort of intelligence? haha

    Thanks! 🙂

  74. Hey Roger- thank you for info, have you come across any guys Personal Training on the yachts? If so will that make my life easier to find a job if I offer that as addition to a deckhand?

  75. Hi Roger

    What a great site
    I am faced with a decision and would like someone with your experience to assist if possible.
    I have got my yacht master and have been chartering Catamarans in the Caribbean for 3 years.
    It was myself (captain) and my partner running the boats and the charters.
    I am use to the long hours, the hard work, demanding guests, tendering them all over and the maintenance of the yachts.

    Anyway have split with my partner and looking to move into the super yacht industry for a change.
    I know I will probably start at the bottom and work my way up.
    I want to carrying on earning the dollar of course and save as much as possible
    I am 32 years old, which is why I am concerned to move and start again. I think I’m little more grounded of course and don’t just want to party etc….

    Do you think it’s a good move or should I just stay in the chartering industry.

    Many thanks

  76. I just have one question … I am 38 but healthy fit and look a lot younger or so evryone says, I have studied, worked, married, got divorced, had my own company and I really realy want to now just get out there and do this but everyone says they wont even look at my CV id they see my age? Is it true or do I have a chance? I am prepared to work hard, just finished my stewardess, powerboat 2 and tadio course but most peope say i will be wasting my time to fly over and walk the docks?

  77. I just had a question about how to become a bursar on a boat. I have a law and economics degree and would ideally like to use there skills on the boat. Is it hard to get this job?

  78. sir, I am Rohith Raj , presently i am in dubai ,UAE. I had completed my 3 yr Bsc.Nautical Science course successfully, and i am holding indian CDC , STCW 95, OTF and CTF certificates, i am looking forward to work in yachts, i had send my CV in almost all sites in online and also to most yacht related offices in dubai by personaly, still now i didnt got job, would you please suggest me some places where i can hope that i will be called for job..

    thank you……………..

  79. Hi roger Norton,,,I’m Sri ratnawati from Lombok , Lombok is small part island in Indonesia.Could you help me to work at yacht????I’m greatly need work there as SPA THERAPIST.I has had experience in the SPA for 10 years.I’m 29 years old.

  80. hi Roger! amazingly helpful piece! thanks a lot.
    I wonder if you could give me some advice. I have 4 weeks off (15March to 15April) andI wanted to use that time to get a feel of superyachts. (I know most jobs last 2-3 months but I’ve been told it’s possible to get away earlier) Would Palma be the best place to start, or you suggest other place (Antibes?) at that time? other thing is the whole visa hassle. If I’m from EEU so can live/work pretty much anywhere in EU do I actually need more visas for the spring season?
    All the best! 🙂

  81. Hi Roger, this is a great read and very helpful. Are there companies that advertise in the UK, or online that eliminates the risk of hanging around harbors just waiting for a random job to appear? To me, having done plenty of seasonal work, this is a big risk to take when taking money in to consideration.


  82. Roger, I am designing a marina in Florida for 180-foot vessels.I have found that there is not much information on marina design out there, specially for this size vessel. My project will have roofed yachts, so providing an adequate height is important. Also maneuvering. Any suggestions?

  83. Hi Roger,

    I am a 40 year old male with over 20 years experience in high end Hospitality based businesses. I am very fit and have no hesitation in working very long hours. I am recently divorced and I am looking to move my life into a different direction. I live in Australia and would appreciate any advice you could give me. Do you think at my age would count against me.

  84. I really enjoyed reading your article…extremely informative and you put it very bluntly and direct. I like that.

  85. Hi! Thank you for the great post! For a fap year id loke to work on the yachts! Who do i contact? And where do i start?


  86. Hi Roger. I am 27 years old and i am a qualified motor/diesel mechanic i have completed my STCW 95 and have a full unrestricted ENG1 I have applied, registered and sent more than a 100 emails. I dont know what els to do i am really struggling. PLEASE ur advice would be highly appreciated. Thanks

  87. hi, I have a question, well, I am divorcing my husband who works as a chef in some yatch, the reason was the pressure of distance and after many years I couldn’t handle the fact that he is 8 months of the year spending time with pretty women and drinking, dinning, partying, etc (after the fact he’s working, I know). I want to know your opinion on this. Well, he works on a boat that is 31 crew and people come and go all the time. I guess there are many stories about cheating&scandals. I just think is a lot of temptation going on, it’s so unnatural and that’s why I decided to end the relationship after many years. I would like to know how married people in this same situation learn to handle it. Thanks

  88. Hi Roger 🙂 I live in PE South Africa, looking for a place to do the Stew Course but there are so many not too sure where to begin. Where did you study?

  89. As a female with cruise line experience as a fitness trainer, what course would I need to do to even be looked at? Is basic safety a requirement (some water safety course or something of the sort)? I am saving to move to a port and do the walks !! Can you suggest most popular ports. in Us even Europe?

  90. Hi Roger,
    I love your post so true. I worked on cruise ships and private yachts for 25 years , I had the best days of my life working on board . Now working shore side it is boring and the land eggs, have no clue on how to work hard.

  91. Hi Roger

    Im a fellow saffa and have experience in the automotive engineering trade (motors)etc.

    Friends of mine are in the industry one a chief on a sail yacht and the other is a captain on a power yacht and have said having the engineering background is my foot in the door as a deckhand/engineer, is this true?

    and you said because of having international off shore accounts getting your money back to buy a house or 3 for example is hard and heavily taxed? is there a way around this? and if not how much tax are we talking about.

    Kind, Regards
    Greig Lloyd

  92. hayy im 22 year old from Bali, i have been work in sailing yacht SILOLONA, im looking to find job as a deck steward but i dont know how to get it, can anybody please help me?? or interest with me please send me email to

  93. Hi roger.

    I tried applying for yacht jobs for years but never get a reply. They always want experience, but how do you gain experience in the first place, if no one is willing to give you a try??

    I’ve been in the beauty industry for years and have also worked on cruise ships doing beauty too.

    Do you have any advise for me??

    Thanks many

  94. Best advice and support I’ve read on the yacht industry. I’m actually thinking of going to work on a yacht myself. I’m a trained chef with international experience as well. My fear is would I be paid well and how long are the “season’s” per say. I’d like to take 6 months off to go and work. Would something like that be possible?

  95. Wonderful advice and suggestions…
    Regarding visas, after obtaining a 90 day eu visa which is about to expire, and having found a job on a yacht based in Antibes, what is the best course to follow in order to renew/extend/manage my visa? The consulates have not been helpful. Still awaiting Seamans book.
    Any suggestions will be appreciated.

  96. Hey Roger

    Dude, great post! I just need you to expand on the Seamans book situation. Im about to do a whole range of courses. What are the advantages of a seamans book and can I get one if I have no experience on boats but am leaving for Fort Lauderdale just before season starts?

  97. @Graeme, thanks man. To get a seamans book you need to be signed up to a boat. (Any boat going anywhere) so if you are doing a bunch of courses see if you can’t get a letter form the skipper that you can use.

    @Everyone else, I’m a little out of the loop on visa’s and other industry specific stuff – I’ve been on land for about 5 years and am not up to date with my info anymore. What I’ve got here is what I learnt, there’s not much more that I can help unfortunately… and unfortunately I’m not putting myself in the position of being liable for how you use my advice… 🙂

  98. Hello Roger Norton. Very nice your post! I worked on cruise ships as a photographer, than, as a shopp staff. I was searching to work on yachts because it seems the she salary is better. But I have some questions: Wich position do you think I could apply to work on a super yacht?
    How long time of vacations? do they pay for your vacations? To embark on a yacht, do we need to pay the fly ticket and visas or they pay for that? Do you work straight with the company or with agencies?
    Wich are the facilites of work on a super yacht? As a cruise ship, I can use, for example, the passenger’ gym, to eat at the passengers’ buffet, to have a bigger cabin (I’m staff), and as I work on the shopping, we don’t open when we are sailed.
    Do we need to do medical exams before embark?
    Thanks for your attention.

  99. Hi Roger,

    Great info, thanx.

    I was wondering, and feel free not to answer, but what do you do now? What did you do after you left the yachting world? Are you still involved in the maratine industry?

    Also, while you were looking for perminent work and doing day work, where did you stay, did you have a flat share?

  100. Hey Sam, I’m currently involved in building tech startups – see for more info. With regards to where you stay when looking for work, most ports have ‘crew houses’ which are basically cheap transient BnB’s for yacht crews. They’re great for meeting people and finding work. Highly recommended to find them and stay there.

  101. Hey Roger,

    Thanks for the great article. I’m a 19 year old from New England in a bit of debt. I would love to start working and traveling on yachts, but I’m having trouble finding the right information on how to start. I understand the need for the STCW95 certification, but what else should I start doing? As a person with very little to no boating experience. What do I do? Thanks

  102. Great post! I am a chef and a sailor and I was looking into the possibility of getting on a yacht. It seems that most chefs are women however. Is that generally the case?

  103. Hi Roger, I am seriously considering a career in superyachting. I am currently 19 years and a studying mechanical engineering thinking about dropping out. I am a watersports instructor but do not hold any formal yachting are they essential? Also I can’t see myself doing more the 5 at sea. Is it an easy transition into good level jobs once you move on?

    thanks jamie

  104. Hello, sir !
    ‘ve done Marine Engineering and has 1 & half year experience onboard Tanker Ships.
    Can i get job as an Engineer in Super Yatch ?
    If…yes, then what will be the starting salary package.
    ‘m basically from india.

  105. We’re a group of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our
    community. Your site provided us with helpful info to work on. You’ve
    done a formidable activity and our entire community will be
    thankful to you.

  106. Hey Roger. Great article. thanks for the advice.
    Looking to go to the Caribbean this next season, when it comes to going over their what additional paper work should one have before going over their, ie visa, bank accounts, insurance, etc? who could one get speak to in SA?

  107. Hi Roger, I am 18 years old and will be finishing Matric this year and am very interested in working on these yachts. Is it possible to get a job when i am still pretty young and inexperienced or would you advise doing this after my studies? Thanks! Great blog

  108. Hi Roger,

    I’m an ex-Royal Navy Engineer, and I have: two separate craft apprenticeships (one mechanical, one electrical); a Foundation Degree in Marine Systems Engineering; a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering; and I’ve been working in a shipyard as a design engineer and manager for six years. I’d like to get into yachts; are my quals and experience sufficient to get me a good leg-up, in your opinion?

    Thanks for all your advice, great job.

  109. Thank you for shearing! Really interesting and useful to read, as I am considering to move out on the sea for a couple of years! What are the chances for become a good friend of the owner? 🙂

  110. I have been thinking for many years to work on a yacht I’m ready to get started.

  111. Wow Thank you sooo much… What a for a great article……… As a mum of an adventurous teenager who is off to leave the UK it’s been very insightful.

    He’s done his Super Yacht Deck Training, RYA Short Range Radio, RYA Power Boat Level 2 and all his STCW 95. From reading your blog we found out he needs an ENG 1 (now booked in) and his B1/B2 Visa… However it states on the application form for the Visa that he needs an address of where he’s going to stay!!!………. What do other people put for this? as he’s not got a position yet but he needs the Visa to get a position.. (All very odd!!) Can we use the address of Relatives?

  112. Hi!
    Great post, I’m currently serving in the US Coast Guard and have a ton of deck experience, am I still going to be required to take certain courses to apply for a Deck job? Do I need a mate license to apply for a mate job, or world my experience count?

  113. Hi Roger, thank you for writing this because I am planning on heading out there in march. One question I want to ask you, if I had to get a stcw, powerboat level 2 and ENG1 would that be enough to get a job as a deckhand? Also when you starting off how would you come to actually knowing what you are doing, for instance varnishing the decks and all that kind of stuff. It’s making me a bit worried that this may cause a problem for me? Because if I had to get a job even talking about day work I wouldn’t know where to start. Do they let you know what is happening and what to do etc… where would one find there’s agents aswell? Would they be o the docks somewhere or what? I am planning to leave soon but it’s small things like these which are freaking me out a bit.

  114. Hi Roger,

    Really great blog, thanks for all the info.
    I’m a South African myself and wanted to ask about the Seaman’s log book.
    I’m currently in Hong Kong so is this something I would be able to obtain here or is it something I have to apply for through an SA agency?

    Thanks in advance,

  115. Hi roger. This was the best read and information I have found on the net! I was hopeing you could help me with this next question as I can’t find the answer anywhere on the internet :(.

    I’m from Australia and looking at going and working on the yachts at the start of summer, I’m going to sit my stcw course soon. My boyfriend is 30 and wants to come. He cannot obtain a European visa as you have to be under 30 🙁 is there any way around this?

  116. Hi Roger. Great stories and advice. I am a mature (52yr old) Beauty Therapist looking for new adventure in my life and at the possibility of working on yachts. I wondered if you can give me some insight into the life of Therapists you have met while working in this area.

  117. Thanx roger for this awesome post. I worked on merchants ship.Can i get a chance to work on yachts as a deckhand.l am from india.

  118. how i can apply in yacht for job i am security guard from cruise ship now i want to work in yacht plzz give me advice

  119. plzz advice me about yacht work and how i can apply here i am security guard from the AIDA cruise liner now i am on holiday i want to try in yacht give me some tips friends you can mail me in my mail id

  120. hiii
    mr. roger
    i want to work on yacht i am security guard from the aida cruise liner i would like to work here please advice me

  121. Hi Roger.So this is the plan I do this course which ables me to work on super yachts..I work hard for a couple years and save with the intention of getting a mortgage somewhere,maybe open a small business.Now my only fear is that it doesn’t all go to plan and I’ve wasted my time and the experience or travelling and saving is a delusion? And I go back home when I’m 30 (25 now) and have to go back to my mums as I have no prospects or a career.Is it possible to save that much money (to invest for the future )and enjoy perks of stopping at port and exploring,partying etc.?

  122. Hello Roger,
    Please i thank you very much for your advise, please i would like to have my yacht engineer training, would you please recommend me to any cheap school that you know of in south Africa, iam currently in Est Africa,
    Thanks Roger.

  123. Hello
    Thankyou for the advice. I have been researching for a long time about yacht life and all things to do with working on a superyacht. In order to finish my school I have to do a practicle with placement for minimum 4 weeks in the time of June – July 2015. I currently reside in Germany so anywhere around Europe would be most suitable for me.
    The main question is: do you know of any practicle places on superyachts(paided or unpaided) where I could do junior work. The only problem is (I hope it is not a problem), in the time I would hopefully do the practicle, I would be 17 years of age. My experiance is quite varied in many things including first aid and manual labour.
    I would be very happy to get an answer back.

  124. Hi Roger.
    I just finished matric, I have my STCW 95 and I’m busy sorting out my Schengen Visa. I would really like to run an engineering course here in RSA (preferably near Pretoria region) any place you could recommend? And will it benefit me having enough hours in the engine room?

  125. Poor Roger has left the industry folks. Leave him alone and find your own way.

  126. Hi there.
    I would love to do this but there is something(s) preventing me from getting certain vacancies. I have a tattoo on my left forearm – not too big but definitely noticable and I have a tattoo on my inside right ankle – also not too big but noticable. Do the people who do placements frown upon this? I can cover them by wearing long sleeves and long pants, but if they were not covered would it be like almost insulting??

  127. Thank you Roger for such an informative post! Super! I am a fellow Ikeys and it’s always nice to hear how people have got on and their adventures. I’m living in Zimbabwe and things aren’t working out well economically so I’m headed for a life at sea for a few years. I’m hoping to be in Florida with all my courses done by October. To try be a stewardess would you recommend I do a stewardess course plus the stcw to improve my chances of getting a job? I have no prior sea experience- yikes.

  128. Hi Roger and Posters

    Thanks for the all the great info above .

    Im 34 years old and have been working in banking on the client side since i was 19 years old .
    I have the security of owning a property in London which i see as my nest egg .

    Basically my question is do you think 34 years old is far to old to enter this business ? I have a huge itch to see more of the world but work hard and continue to make money .

    All comments and advice are welcome

    thx for your time


  129. So interesting! Thanks for sharing some of the realities of this work. You’ve haven’t scared me off of the idea, but I’m glad that I’m better informed as I consider this for part of my future travels!

  130. Hi Roger

    I am cabin crew for a major British airline so in already have a B1/B2 visa. When I go out to Antibes for example, will I need to take every thing I need as if I will be not returning?
    Ie if I end up finding work after a month, is it then immediate? Or do you have training/time to get visa/etc etc

    Thank you!

  131. I am security officer on carnival cruise lines n i am looking for job on yatch i am working as security officer for more than two years and on airport for more than 5years please advise me thank you

  132. Hi there,
    Our daughter has been on a boat for 4 months. Everything you mentioned is true. My question is this, she and a deck hand have fallen in love. (knowing our daughter, this is not a joke or a fleeting moment) excuse the pun!
    It is very upsetting hearing stories of the captain and first stew, (who just happen to be a couple) screaming at them for falling in love. Our daughter and friend, have been humiliated and threatened to be fired. If they were not doing an excellent job because of their relationship, I might understand the issue.
    Is it legal to control peoples personal relationships on board. This sounds primitive and inhumane in my opinion.

  133. Hi Roger, what is the schedule like on a yacht in terms of time on and time off (leave/days in port)? Is it as you mentioned that you work for about 3 weeks and get a couple days off in which ever destination you stop at? Is that how it works for the whole season? Lastly, when the season finishes does that mean you are out of a job if the yacht doesn’t make the trip to America?

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  135. Hi roger
    Thanks for illuminating things a bit more for me, searching for info online has been difficult to say the least unless you are able to either buy their book or go to their school. Damn, i just need to know where to start, so thanks for the post in the spirit of just wanting to help others, cheers. Now, the other thing was in your blog you were going to talk about the various jobs i thought you said early in the transcript. I’m a trained chef and have been looking for a track to follow to make that happen on a yacht. I realize (and it would be arrogant as hell) to think because I’ve worked for Michelin chefs on land that i would be able to walk on board, so where would i start? Are their vessels that hire seconds or sous chefs possibly to get my experience in? Thanks in advance for everyone’s help and comments,

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  137. I am 18 have a British and American passport I speak Spanish I am a qualified swimming instructor and life guard and am PADI qualified I am willing to work hard doing anything and am a good team player what additional training should I get or where should I begin to get on a charter please

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  140. im very excited with the idea to work on a luxury boat, i have experince and actitud for this kind of job.

  141. im a 32 year old young lady im hard working i work well with others as i do by my self im a team player a lover of cricket played for 11yrs i always wanted to work on a boat i like meeting new faces and different people it my joy

  142. Hi, Roger. I was wondering, what is the age limit to be hired to work on a “Yacht Charter”? I’m 47 and interested in seeking a different job opportunity and experience. Is it to late for me to apply to work on a yacht cause of my age? Also do I need experience, because I’ve never worked on a yacht before.

  143. Roger this was some great info! What would you say about a husband and wife duo looking into making a go of this for a couple years? Is it allot harder to get hired as a couple? I have two years of experience nannying in France and he has been a bartender at the Eiffel tower for 5 years (he’s british) not sure if these experiences would help make us more desirable?

  144. hello sir
    myself rahul kakroo. am from india..
    i am seeking for job here..
    acutally am a fresher right now..and want to have a start..
    please can anyone help me..
    and i also want to know which visa shoul i make…
    and if anyone can help me for the job..please help

  145. I’m 32 and female – realistically is this too old to start? how many people my age and sex do you find start working on yachts? Thanks

  146. Hi,
    I was working on the cruise ships for 6 months sailing with a major cruise company embarking from Seattle and Fort Lauderdale ports, I have a US C1/D Visa that is valid until 2020, is this helpful when applying for jobs on Super yachts ?
    Im 24 Female, with experience in hospitality and working on cruise ships internationally.

  147. Hi there my name is Michelle Du Toit.. a 28 year old South American female who would love to contact the people to go work on a a private yacht? Please can you contact me with the information via email.

    Kind regards

  148. Dear I am searching for a job as a Kinezitherapist,Physiotherapist,Massage therapist.Or can you give me an advice where can I apply?I was working in Bahrain. Send me an email and I will send you my CV.I was working in our Government hospital.I speak English and Russian.I was working eleven years as a border police officer.I am married with two children.I want to work there.Send me an email and I will send you my CV.
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  149. Hi Roger, I am new to the industry, had my own vehicle testing equipment company for 23 years in SA selling & manufacturing equipment. I am doing a 7 week coastal skippers course in Cape Town starting next week & want to work in the Caribbean sailing small 46 ft yachts for a charter company. Once I am qualified I plan on going over to look for work, but have a company in mind that I am talking to & have friends already working there. Any advice or suggestions would be gladly appreciated !

  150. What a great informative well written blog, this really answers every question I’ve ever had about working on super-yachts, my partner’s son is heading off to Antibes on the 14th of April (9 days away) and now at least he knows what it’s all about…thank you

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  157. To Whom It May Concern:

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  160. I’m a passionate sailor, US Sailing certified Coastal Skipper, with one ocean crossing under my belt, along with over 100 day charters in the challenging San Francisco Bay. I’ve quit my job, rented my house, and ready to dedicated my future to yachting. BUT, I’m 47 years old. Is there hope? I would love to work on super yacht to get more miles under my belt – eventual goal of buying a boat and doing charters. I’m physically fit and have no ego about jobs…

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  164. Hi there I was wondering if you know anything about travelling on a Portuguese passport. I have just finished a season and wanting to do a crossing to the Caribbean do you know what are the requirements regarding visas or how do the EU people go about it when it comes to going throw some of the USA ports.

  165. hey guys was just wondering about a few things in relation to requirements when working on a super yacht.

    firstly I’m a 23 year old australian surfy looking guy. i have hair a little past my shoulders. Will this be a problem when trying to get a job. keeping in mind i tie it up all the time while working which looks respectable

    any feedback would be great! cheers

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  168. Hi Roger, thanks so much for this post.
    I myself don’t actually work on yachts, nor do I particularly have an urge. to.
    However, little over a year ago I met a guy and we’ve been together ever since. He is currently a bosun on a 50m superyacht. Completely and utterly in love, we believe we’ve found our ‘person’.
    He gave us six motnhs of work to stay at home with me, for us to spend some quality time together and all that. We’ve ran into somewhat of a ‘complication’… The boat he is staring on in a few days’ cabin crew arrangements are a bit different… He has been told he has to share the room with the chief stew. I would just like to know, as someone who has no idea how it must feel to live in suhc close courters with another person, especially not with another person of the opposite sex… Do you think there is room for this situation to become a problem within our relationship? Could this be a potential hazardous situation where he shares a room with another girl?
    Would really just appreciate your take on this as someone who does this for a living, and perhaps you went through something similar>

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  170. Amazing article! I currently work on cruise ships, not as a stewardess but I have my sea legs, I have my STCW training, all my visas and medical. Next summer I’m taking a trip down to Palma and I will take any wark I can get to gain experience. Just want to say thank you for writing this, really has given me more of an insight into how I’m going to get my experience and what is expected. Wish me luck 😀

  171. Hi there

    I was wondering if all yachts ask about criminal convictions? And if so do they actually check? I have a few charges from when I was that I’m afraid might hold me back if I have to devulge.

    Your advice is most welcome

  172. This sounds awesome! I didn’t know you could live on a boat and make money. It would be really nice to have the different seasons too! One minute, you would be helping guests, while the next you would be standing watch.

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  174. Hi, I have worked in a cargo ship as an ordinary seaman and i am having an experience of 7 months and now i am having interest to work in yacht please advice me what to do

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  176. Hi… I am trying to start this career too. I am doing the STCW 95 course and looking for my very first job in this field, can you send the website where i can leave my cv ( i clicked the link you put on top of the page but is not working anymore). Thanks

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  179. Hi Roger,
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    Thank you,

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  200. Hi Roger,
    I’m 33 years old – am I too old? I have extensive experience with commercial jetboating and would like to get into yachting(tender/chase boat) driving, will my age prevent me from doing this?

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  203. thnx ROGER i got some information cos i did my maritime course at I&J am just waiting fr my SAMSA and register for deckhand course as soon as possible .

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  207. Hiya!

    Whats the deal with tattoos!? I have one on my lower leg not too big…easy to cover with makeup

    Im a beauty therapist and have a client that left uni and went straight into her first yacht job. She didnt go to the places to network etc she had her interview over skype got accepted and they flew her to where she needed to go…so genuinely you dont need any experience?
    I do have 5* customer service from a hotel i worked at for 3 years

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  210. Hi Mandi,
    I am 50 years old, just sold my business in S.A., and would like to try this out for a year or 2. Am I too old, or aid able to get work ?

  211. Hi, I am a young fit, sporty 50-year old, who has just sold my business in SA, and wanting a change, and thought of trying this for a year or two…
    Am I wasting my time because of my age ??

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  213. I’ve been into sport sailing more than 10 years now and for me yachts are associated with hard work. However, during my studying practice I’ve worked on a passenger yacht for two months and was more than happy. Despite being actually at work I’ve been also at a very nice trip to Dubai and even had a chance to go to desert safari couple of times! If you have a chance, take this job on yacht – it may appear surprisingly pleasant.

  214. Hi rogers i have completed my general rating from india few months back and i need a guidance as i am thinking of doing deckhand course and finding a job on yacht . As i need to know i am 21 years and if i go on docks for finding a job are there any possibilties of finding one ? Like the docks of fort Lauderdale or any other ?

  215. Hi Roger
    Thank you so much for the great piece of writing, really enjoyed reading it. My girlfriend and I are also from SA(Durban) and planning to work on the yachts and thus trying to get the relevant documents together. Would you suggest we rid of most of our belongings before we leave? Also, what would your ultimate advice be for us apart from the above before we leave to go to FL.

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