The definitive guide to yacht crew positions

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Travelling the world, exploring some of the most luxurious destinations in the world, a tax-free salary, and no two days ever the same, no wonder jobs on a yacht are in high demand.  If you want to work on a yacht, or are perhaps seeking to advance your yacht career, then check out our definitive guide to the most common yacht crew positions and yacht job descriptions.

A guide to yacht crew positions

Captain

The captain is the top yacht crew position and has overall responsibility for the safety of the yacht, its smooth day-to-day operations, as well as administration, HR and accounts. The captain is also a key liaison point for guests and owners ensuring all their needs are met. As the top yacht crew position, every crew member falls under the ultimate command of the captain, with the captain answering directly to the yacht owner. The smaller the yacht, the more hands-on the captain will be, and the more administrative duties they will carry out themselves. A captain will have significant seafaring experience, especially those who take command of some of the world’s most luxurious superyachts.

Officer of the watch

This yacht crew position is second-in-command to the captain. The officer of the watch’s main responsibility is navigation, as well as having responsibility for the day-to-day running of the deck and overseeing maintenance projects. Depending on the size of the yacht, an officer of the watch will manage a team of deck hands. In order to get a job as an officer of the watch, applicants will need a number of years’ seafaring experience, in addition to the required seafaring qualifications.

Chief Engineer

The chief engineer is responsible for the mechanics and electrical of the yacht and is responsible for the yacht’s efficient operation, ensuring all planned maintenance takes place to the highest of standards. They will also not only be responsible for the yacht’s mechanical and electrical operations, but also for maintaining any tenders and toys, as well as all the ships appliances, from the air-conditioning and heating systems to kitchen refrigerators. This yacht crew position reports directly to the captain. On larger yachts, the chief engineer will have responsibility for a team of engineers, all tasked with keeping all mechanical aspects of the yacht in tip top condition.

Chief Stew/Stewardess

The chief stew or stewardess is in charge of the upkeep of the yacht’s interior and on larger yachts will be in charge of a team of stews/stewardesses. A senior yacht crew position, a chief stew/stewardess has oversight of numerous aspects including managing the interior team, organising guest activities and events, accounting and managing budgets, interior crew recruitment, training and management, arranging meal service, flower and table decorations, and ensuring the interior of the yacht is maintained to impeccable standards.

Chef

A chef onboard some of the world’s most luxurious yachts will be a professionally trained culinary expert, able to cater to a wide range of dietary requirements and tastes. A yacht chef will not only be responsible for preparing all meals for the owner and their guests, but also for the crew. They will also be in charge of provisioning. This yacht crew position is demanding work and will require someone with significant culinary experience. Depending on the size of the yacht, the chef may work on their own, or have the assistance of a junior chef.

Spa manager

As the world’s most luxurious yachts have embraced the trend for wellness, the demand for spa managers has increased. This yacht crew position is responsible for the smooth day-to-day operations of a yacht’s spa. They will ensure that owners and their guests receive a first-class spa experience. A spa manager will also be responsible for keeping up with the latest treatment trends and tailoring the spa’s treatment menu to the yacht’s location. On larger yachts a spa manager will manage a team of spa therapists and will be responsible for hiring, training, and mentoring.

Spa therapist

Spa therapists will be responsible for delivering a wide range of treatments to a five-star standard onboard a yacht’s spa, as well as ensuring the spa is impeccably maintained. On smaller yachts, or when the spa isn’t in use, a spa therapist will also be required to help with housekeeping duties.

Stew/stewardess

An entry-level yacht crew position, a stew/stewardess is responsible for maintaining the yacht’s interior as well as providing the highest level of hospitality to owners and their guests. Key responsibilities will include laundry, general housekeeping duties, silver service, cabin preparation and flower arranging. All stews/stewardesses will report directly to the chief stew/stewardess.

Deckhand

Also an entry-level yacht job, a deckhand is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the yacht, answering directly to the officer of the watch, or on larger yachts, a senior deckhand or bosun. This yacht crew position includes daily cleaning and maintenance tasks. Deckhands will also drive the tenders, assist with mooring, anchoring, and may also act as security.

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