Yacht Crewing 101 - Getting Started!

Have you ever looked longingly at those huge luxury yachts in ports like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale in Florida and wished you could sail away to anywhere on the next one that pulls up anchor? If the answer to that question is yes, then you are already half-way to becoming a yacht crew member. Most crew members say that the Number 1 quality yacht owners and operators look for in their onboard staff members is a love for yachts and the ocean. But there's more to working on a yacht than you might think.

Here's the basic information you need to help you make a decision about whether yacht crewing is right for you.

Who Makes the Best Crew Members?

First you might be wondering if working on a yacht will work for you and your lifestyle. Here are some points to keep in mind that can answer that question.

  • There is no guarantee of full-time employment. If you're looking for year-round employment with regular hours, then think carefully before becoming a yacht crew member. Most jobs are temporary - six weeks here, two weeks there - and you may find yourself with down time (and bills to pay) between jobs. There are some exceptions, especially if you work for a commercially-owned yacht rather than a privately-owned one, but even then there are seasonal "ups" and "downs" in work hours.crewing answers graphic
  • The pay can be great- or not. Entry level crew members typically receive the lowest pay, but you can work your way up. Captains, team leaders, and similar crew members can make between $2,000 and $4,000 per month or higher. If you're working abroad your salary may not be subject to U.S. taxes, plus you won't have rent, groceries, and other bills to pay, so the salary can go father.
  • Your bosses can be demanding. If you work on a privately owned yacht, then you'll be working directly for the yacht owner. Of course yacht owners can be great to work for, or horrific - just like any other boss. It's true, however, that most yacht owners expect great service. They want the yacht to be spotless and the food great - all while being served with a smile.
  • The hours can be long. While you are cruising you can find yourself working from 6:00 AM to midnight in order to meet your passengers' needs. Sometimes you may not have much of a break throughout the day.
  • The work can be never-ending, and requires physical labor. You need to be physically fit and prepared to work on your feet for long periods of time. You may have to scrub toilets, as well as the exterior of the yacht. It's not glamorous work, even though some of the benefits can be.

If after learning that the work can be sporadic, often low paying, and involves a lot of physical labor and long hours you still like the idea of working on a yacht, then yacht crewing is definitely right for you. And you won't be alone. What crew members love most about yachting is the ability to travel to some of the world's most beautiful locations, the camaraderie of working as part of a team, and the joy of being out on the open ocean. They find that the positives far outweigh the negatives.

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Life Onboard a Yacht

So you already know that you'll work long hours and perform mostly physical labor. But there's still a lot more you want to know about what it's like to work on a yacht. First, it's likely you will share a cabin with another crew member. The good news is that on most yachts, while your cabin may be small, it is usually in good condition and better than the average motel room. Your food should be good, too.

Most of the time you will get some time off to enjoy the fabulous locations you're visiting. You can also get to know people from all over the world.

There are some rules you should keep in mind as well. Here are some of the most common rules you'll encounter as a yacht crew member.

  • Drugs and alcohol are not permitted onboard. When you are off duty and no passengers are on the yacht you may be able to indulge in an alcoholic beverage or two, but that depends on the yacht and its owner.
  • No smoking onboard.
  • No guns or weapons are allowed onboard.
  • You must know and follow all safety regulations.
  • You must be clean and well groomed, and have a service-oriented attitude.
  • What happens onboard stays onboard. Your guests' and/or owners' privacy is paramount.
  • Go above and beyond the call of duty. Not only does this keep you working, but it gives you higher tips as well.

There are many more details about working as a yacht crew member. That's why you'll find many articles on this site that will give you more in-depth information on subjects such as the different kinds of yachts, how to get a job, where to find a job, job descriptions, training, and much more. It's all the information you need to find that ideal job as a yacht crew member, so your dream of sailing away can come true.


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