Here is a guide to the types of jobs found on board yachts for both the Exterior and Interior departments. Get information on job descriptions, skills and experience required to be hired, as well as the expected salary for the position. From entry level yacht jobs (ie. deckhand or steward) to a career path in the yachting industry, understand how each crew member contributes to the efficient operation of a yacht.
Yacht Crew: Deck Department
Other Titles: Master; Second Master; Second Captain
Job Description: The Captain is responsible for the safety of the passengers, crew and the vessel. The Captain oversees the navigation of the vessel, legal and regulatory compliance, budgeting and accounting, vessel maintenance, training, hiring and disciplinary action. The Captain must also achieve the owner’s objectives and answer to the yacht owner for all decisions that are made. Depending on the size of the yacht and number of crew will determine how much the Captain delegates versus the tasks completed by the Captain. Some large yachts may have a Second Captain as second in command.
Experience and Skills Required: The Captain must have a wealth of maritime experience and training including excellent engineering knowledge and knowledge of all safety and environmental regulations. Typically a Captain has worked through the other officer ranks on a superyacht. A Captain on a vessel larger than 3,000 GRT, needs the STCW Master Unlimited licence along with all its necessary courses. Additional skills required include management and accounting skills.
Average Salary: $4,000 to $8,000 per month (Captain of a vessel 60 to 100 feet.) $7,000 to $15,000 per month (Captain of a vessel 100 to 160 feet.) $12,000+ per month (Captain of a vessel 160 feet and up.)
Other Job Titles: Chief Officer, Chief Mate
Job Description: The First Officer assists the Captain with navigational planning, administrative duties, crew discipline and safety. The First Officer is responsible for the vessel’s navigation and sets the navigational watch schedule. The 1st Officer manages the Bosun and deckhands, overseeing the maintenance of deck equipment and inventory. The 1st Officer also supervises the water sports equipment (aka: toys). The 1st officer may also be the designated security, safety, or medical officer.
Experience and Skills Required: The First Officer must have qualifications and licences that conform to International Maritime Organization (IMO) and STCW. The standard requirement is Chief Mate (Yacht) 3,000 gt A-II/2 or higher with previous Officer of the Watch experience. Applicants of smaller yachts may have certificates such as RYA Yachtmaster Offshore or Yachtmaster Ocean. Additional certification such as Dive Master or Fishing Specialist, are also an asset.
Average Salary: $5,000 to $8,000 per month (120 feet to 180 feet.) $7,000 to $12,000+ per month (180+ feet)
Other Titles: Officer of the Watch
Job Description: Yachts larger than 140 feet employ a Second Officer in addition to the First Officer. The 2nd Officer understudies the 1st Officer. He is a navigational watch keeper and assists the First Officer with administrative and safety duties. The 2nd Officer leads the deckhands in deck maintenance duties. The 2nd Officer may also be designated security, safety, or medical officer duties.
Experience and Skills Required: The Second Officer must have qualifications and licences that conform to International Maritime Organization (IMO) and STCW. The standard requirement is Officer of the Watch (Yacht) 3,000 gt A-II/1 or higher. Previous yacht experience is preferred. Additional certification such as Dive Master or Fishing Specialist, are also an asset.
Average Salary: $5,000 to $6,000 per month (140 feet to 180 feet.) $5,500 to $8,000+ per month (180+ feet.)
Other Titles: Lead Deckhand, Senior Deckhand
Job Description: Under the direction of the First Officer, the Bosun supervises the deckhands in the deck cleanliness and maintenance of the vessel. The Bosun develops, executes and assists in planned maintenance and repair of the exterior of the vessel. This includes painting, varnishing, repairing, caulking, and fibreglass repair. The Bosun monitors the condition of the ship’s fire and safety equipment and is responsible for maintenance of the toys and tenders. The Bosun is a watchkeeper, security officer, and tender driver when needed.
Experience and Skills Required: The Bosun should be in possession of the Yachtmaster Offshore (or higher) or the OOW certification which includes GMDSS. The Bosun should have knowledge of maintenance products and knowledge of all equipment onboard. The Bosun should have knowledge of the water sports equipment and some engineering knowledge. Minimum three years experience as a yacht deckhand is required. Additional certification is an advantage.
Average Salary: $3,000 to $4,500 per month (100 feet to 180 feet.) $4,000+ per month (180+ feet)
Other Titles: Junior Deckhand
Job Description: This entry level position is expected to undertake a variety of tasks. These include cleaning, polishing, waxing, painting, varnishing, sanding, fibreglass repair, carpentry, line handling, exterior maintenance, driving tenders (if qualified), setting up toys, diving (if qualified), helping clean cabins, helping prep meals, helping serve meals, and helping clean engines. On smaller vessels, there may be one deckhand versus larger yachts may have five or more deckhands supervised by a Bosun.
Experience and Skills Required: Although no previous yachting experience is required, general seafaring skills are expected. Deckhands should have basic knowledge in navigation, boat handling, engines and radio equipment. Additional skills such as painting, woodworking, fibreglass experience are an asset. Additional certifications such as diving qualifications and fishing skills, Tender Driving Licence, and the Radio Operators Certificate (ROC) are also beneficial.
Average Salary: $2,000 to $4,000 per month (60 feet to 120 feet.) $2,500 to $3,500 per month (120 feet to 180 feet.) $2,500 to $4,000+ per month (180+ feet)
Yacht Crew: Engine Department
Job Description: The Chief Engineer is responsible for the safe operation of engine room operations. The Chief is also responsible for the maintenance of the vessel’s engines, generators, hydraulics, outboard engines, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC systems including refrigeration and air conditioning, fuel polishing, water makers, computers, entertainment systems and other interior equipment. The Chief Engineer plans and executes the vessel’s preventative maintenance. On a small yacht he may be the only engineer onboard, while larger yachts he may supervise a team of engineers to perform the maintenance.
Experience and Skills Required: The Chief Engineer must have extensive maritime experience and training including knowledge of all safety and environmental regulations. Depending on the size of yacht will determine the minimum qualifications required. At the very least, Chief Engineer Certificate of Competency (Y4) A-III/3 is limited to vessels less than 200gt and less than 1,500kw in size. The highest qualification for a Chief Engineer is the Chief Engineer Unlimited A-III/2.
Average Salary: $5,000 to $10,000 per month (120 feet to 180 feet.) $7,500 to $15,000+ per month (180+ feet)
2nd Engineer (Licensed)
Other Title: Junior Engineer Licensed, Second Unlimited, OOW Engineer (AEC)
Job Description: The 2nd Engineer assists the Chief Engineer in the safe operation of the engine room. The 2nd Engineer performs maintenance on the vessel’s engines, generators, hydraulics, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC systems including refrigeration and air conditioning, fuel polishing, outboard engines, water makers, computers, and entertainment systems.
Experience and Skills Required: Depending on the qualifications will determine the engineer’s average salary. An Engineer with only the Assistant Engineer Unlimited A-III/1 (AEC) certificate makes less than an Engineer with a Chief Y3 Licence. In general, an engineer must possess expert knowledge of mechanical, electrical, electronic and other on board equipment.
Average Salary: Junior Engineer (Licensed with AEC) $3,000 to $4,500+ per month. 2nd Engineer (Chief Y2 to Y3) $6,000 to $8,000/m (160 feet to 190 feet.) 2nd Engineer (Chief Y2 to Y3) $7,000 to $9,000+ per month (190+ feet)
Junior Engineer (Unlicensed)
Other Title: Engine Crew; OOW Engineer
Job Description: As directed by the licensed 2nd Engineer, the unlicensed Junior Engineer performs tasks such as cleaning, painting and maintenance of the technical spaces, bilges and equipment. Other duties may include maintenance on the vessel’s engines, generators, hydraulics, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC systems including refrigeration and air conditioning, fuel polishing, outboard engines, water makers, computers, and entertainment systems. Team player duties include line handling and water sports equipment.
Experience and Skills Required: An unlicensed Junior Engineer needs only the Yacht Rating Certificate. Alternatively, an OOW Engineer needs the Marine Engine Operator License (MEOL) to be qualified as an officer of the watch. A Junior Engineer or OOW Engineer needs knowledge of general systems on board (diesel, refrigeration, air conditioning, plumbing, electronics and outboards). Additional certification is an asset.
Average Salary: $3,000 to $4,500+ per month (160 feet to 300 feet)
Electronic Technical Officer (ETO)
Other Job Titles: Electronic Engineer; Electrical Engineer, Audio Visual and IT Engineer
Job Description: Electronic Technical Officers and Electricians are employed on larger yachts (160+ feet). The ETO reports to the Chief Engineer and is responsible for the maintenance of all electronics, computers, internet, televisions, entertainment systems, satellites, radios and communications equipment for efficient operation.
Experience and Skills Required: An ETO or electrician may have experience as an engineer on a yacht with a specialty in electrical and electronics. The STCW Engineering certification may be a requirement depending on the yacht. Land based experience in electrical, electronics, or IT server maintenance may also be acceptable.
Average Salary: $3,000 to $8,000+ per month (Depending on Experience and Qualifications)
Yacht Crew: Interior Department
Other Title: Interior Manager
Job Description: On yachts larger than 160 feet, a Purser is employed as the person responsible for the overall operations and guest relations of the interior department including housekeeping, bartending, table setting and silver service. The Purser oversees all interior purchasing, provisioning, human resources, and the accounting for the entire yacht. The Purser works with the Chef on menus and wine pairing. The Purser acts as a concierge for the guests with their knowledge of restaurants and activities in the yacht’s cruising area.
Experience and Skills Required: Requirements for a Purser include all the PYA GUEST Level 3 courses such as the Interior Yacht Management program. Typically, the Purser has previous yacht experience as a Chief Stewardess.
Average Salary: $6,000 to $9,000 per month (160 feet to 250+feet)
Other Job Titles: Head of Housekeeping
Job Description: The Chief Steward is responsible for the overall cleanliness of the interior of the vessel. Duties include setting the schedules for guest service and cleaning, and supervising stewards in their duties. The Chief Steward organizes with Chef for guest meal service. The Chief Steward is also responsible for inventory and interior accounting. On smaller vessels the Chief Steward is in charge of interior operations, whereas larger vessels the Chief Steward reports to the Purser.
Experience and Skills Required: Requirements for a Chief Steward include all the PYA GUEST Level 3 courses such as the Interior Yacht Management program. Typically, the Chief Steward has extensive experience as a Steward. Other skills required are the ability to delegate, attention to detail and excellent communication skills.
Average Salary: $3,000 to $6,500 per month (100 feet to 140 feet.) $5,000 to $9,000 per month (140 feet to 200+ feet)
Job Description: Typically on yachts over 140 feet, a Butler is employed to make sure the guests are having all their needs met. The Butler is responsible for providing impeccable service to guests. The Butler may assist with party planning.
Experience and Skills Required: Previous experience as a butler is preferred as is yacht experience. Additional certification in the PYA GUEST courses is beneficial.
Average Salary: $5,000 to $8,000 per month (140 feet to 250+ feet)
Other Job Titles: 2nd Steward; Junior Steward; Laundry Steward; Solo Stew
Job Description: The Steward or Stewardess is responsible for cabin preparation, detailing interior, bartending, Silver Service (food and drink service) and laundry. More specifically this means cleaning and polishing bathrooms (heads) and bedrooms, bed-making, ironing and folding linens, table-setting, polishing cutlery, and flower arranging. As an entry level position, duties may also include deckhand tasks.
Experience and Skills Required: As an entry level position, there are no mandatory certificates needed (apart from the Basic STCW 95 course). Although, the more experience and training that a candidate has, the better chances of getting hired. Food and beverage experience and hotel experience are an asset. Any or all of the PYA G.U.E.S.T. introductory level courses are beneficial. Additional skills such as massage or beautician will also increase hiring opportunities.
Average Salary: $2,500 to $4,000 per month DOE (100 feet to 160 feet.) $2,500 to $5,500 per month DOE (160+ feet)
Other Titles: Executive Chef
Job Description: The Chef is responsible for all food prepared on the vessel. The Chef plans meals for an entire itinerary and prepares them with a high degree of presentation. The Chef is responsible for provisioning, ordering, purchasing (negotiating with worldwide suppliers) and storing food items. The Chef may work solo or alongside a Sous Chef, depending on the size of the vessel. The Chef must maintain immaculate cleanliness and hygiene in the galley and a Chef must be well organized. Smaller vessels may expect the Chef to participate in other duties, too.
Experience and Skills Required: Although smaller vessels may hire non-culinary trained persons for a position as a Chef, only culinary trained Chefs with years of experience can expect to land a Chef’s job on a megayacht. A Chef should have experience in worldwide provisioning and budgeting skills and should have nutritional and dietary knowledge. Previous yachting experience as a Sous Chef is preferred.
Average Salary: $4,500 to $8,000 per month (100 feet to 160 feet) $6,000 to $12,000 per month (160+ feet)
Other Title: Second Chef; Crew Chef; Stew-Chef; Stew-Cook; Cook
Job Description: On vessels larger than 140 feet, a Sous Chef is employed to assist the Chef with meal preparation and cooking for the crew. On smaller yachts a ‘Stew-Chef’ encompasses both the cooking and Steward’s duties.
Experience and Skills Required: Experience in a hotel or restaurant or previous yachting experience is preferred. Knowledge of food safety, storage, and nutrition is required. Although not mandatory, a Sous Chef should have a recognized qualification such as Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery.
Average Salary: $4,000 to $6,000+ per month (140+ feet) $3,000 to $5,000 per month (60 feet to 160 feet)