Just as with any other job, your appearance and cleanliness are important while you’re working. In addition, there are special health considerations that are important for you to deal with before embarking on that first cruise. In this section, we provide you with tips and information that you need to know about your health, hygiene, and appearance.
Because working on a yacht can sometimes seem more like a vacation than a job, you may be tempted to be more relaxed or casual about your hygiene and appearance. Do not fall into that trap. You wouldn’t go to an office job without showering and wearing the proper attire, and the same respect and courtesy are expected on a yacht. Whether you work for a private owner or a company, you represent the yacht (and by association, the owner) when you are on duty, and so you are expected to be clean, neat, and tidy in appearance. You will be given two to three uniforms, including jackets and foul weather gear, and you will need to keep them clean, pressed, and ready for use. When passengers are onboard, you will wear the dress uniform, which usually includes khaki shorts and a polo shirt. Stewardesses’ uniforms may include a skirt rather than shorts. There are a number of companies or yacht owners that expect each crew member to wear the epaulettes on their shoulders that indicate their rank. However, this part of the uniform is usually not as rigorously enforced as it used to be.
On some yachts, there may be one or two people designated to do all the laundry onboard, including the crew’s laundry, but in most instances you will have access to the laundry equipment and you will be expected to do it yourself.
Water can be limited on yachts, so when you shower, you may be allowed only to turn the water on to get wet and then turn it off again while you lather up and scrub, followed by a quick rinse. If you are accustomed to long showers this may take some getting used to. If water is really limited, the crew might be asked to take a sea bath. Sea baths are a jump in the sea where washing and soaping occurs in the water (preferably with biodegradable soap) and a quick rinse of fresh water when back aboard. If you are working on a mega yacht this shouldn’t be an issue.
During the summer months, it is customary to work barefoot while onboard. In fact, all crew members and passengers may be required to remove their shoes while onboard during this time. This isn’t just for relaxation and fun. It is to keep the yacht and all of its exterior and interior floor surfaces as clean as possible. So you should make sure that your feet are presentable at all times.
Overall, you should look as neat as possible while you are on duty, and make an effort to keep yourself clean and well groomed.
There is literally no room for slobs or sloppy habits on a yacht, especially if you are working on a charter yacht and the crew are living in very tight quarters. Crew members should be clean, hygienic, and courteous of others that are living in the same space. If you have a tendency to throw your clothes on the floor or leave your hair in the shower then get rid of those habits before you take a job on a yacht. You will be living with these crew members for several weeks, and so making an effort to make the environment as pleasant as possible for everyone can go a long way to ensuring a good working relationship.
The heads (toilets) on yachts are infamous for malfunctioning, so make sure you and any guests aboard are aware of the proper procedures for using them.