How to stay fit on board a yacht

A common question among yacht crew is; “How can I keep up my work out routine or stay in shape on board?” Often working long hours, living within cramped crew spaces and with a lack of fitness equipment, it’s true that it can be difficult to maintain a good exercise programme while at sea.

However, although you’re limited by the confines of the crew quarters aboard the yacht, there are a number of fitness opportunities for yacht crew, and various steps that can be taken to stay fit and healthy. So, read on for Yachting Pages’ tips on how you can stay in shape whilst at sea.

Running on a treadmill

Making use of equipment on board

Keep fit with electronics

Impressive superyachts offer state-of-the-art electronic equipment to help you in your work out, with some having a wealth of computers, TV screens and more to help you to keep up your fitness routine. For example, make use of the Nintendo Wii Fit, or try out any dance games found on the games consoles, such as Dance Revolution or Just Dance. Alternatively, keep with you a DVD or two to put in the system and have any kind of work out you desire, depending on the DVD chosen.

A sailing yacht

Working on a sailing yacht can often require much more physical work than that assigned aboard a motor or explorer yacht. Many crew therefore find that when working with all the sailing and rigging equipment, when asked to change the sails, etc. it really helps to maintain fitness levels.

Water sports

Most, if not all superyachts will have a selection of on board water sports equipment, and while it’s true that the equipment is usually reserved for owners and guests, if you get any chance to test the equipment, or the captain’s feeling generous, then go ahead! You can even hire equipment for your days off if you’re berthed in the marina - usually for a relatively cheap price. Kayaking, rowing, swimming, diving and boarding are among the many options that you may have.

When docked

Depending on where you are docked, marinas will often have a variety of facilities and are used to accommodating crew. As well as water sports equipment hire, they can offer bike hire, and state-of-the-art gyms and swimming pools, which should have all the equipment you need to maintain your fitness programme.

Gyms on board

Weights in a gym

Crew and guest gyms

Some superyachts might have a gym especially for the crew, or at least some kind of gym equipment that crew can use. You may also find that the captain will allow you to access the guest gym during crossings and extended periods of time when guests/owners are not on board.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to use the gym on board, you will find a plethora of luxury equipment tailored to the space available. Superyacht gyms can feature all the equipment you might find in a regular gym, and can be of a decent size. You may well find treadmills, rowing machines, bikes, cross trainers, a large selection of free weights and resistance machines, depending on the owner’s preferences.

Gyms are becoming a key part of superyachts and some are located perfectly on the higher decks with a fantastic view while you’re on the treadmill.

TRX (Total Resistance eXercise)

TRX is a full-body strength workout that utilises a person's own body weight instead of relying on machines or dumbbells. Comparable to a simple version of reformer Pilates or antigravity yoga, TRX offers a total-body workout, centred on your core and relying on your body weight. This is a good option for yachties as equipment is easily stored and can help deliver a full body workout.

Using the space/equipment available

Still, if you have no access to equipment, no access to DVDs or water sports, no TRX equipment, never fear; there are still simple routines you can do to keep up your exercise programme.


Squats are a great exercise to incorporate into your regime because they allow for many variations to work certain muscles. To get more out of your work out, try squatting to the side or adding weights to help work other muscles and increase strength.

Woman doing press ups

Push ups

Push-ups are a great way to stay fit on board. You could use a mess table, or try traditional push ups on the floor, adding variations to exercise and build strength for your upper body. If a standard push up is too much for you, lowering your knees is another modification you can take.


Burpees are good for working a range of muscles and training your core. Stand tall with your feet together, drop your hands to the floor, jump back to push-up position, raise hips, jump forward with your feet and finally, jump up so now you’re back in the starting position.

Other crew exercises could include:

  • Planks
  • Lunges
  • Sit ups/crunches


You’ve probably heard this before, but stretching is important, particularly on board. You don’t want to do yourself an injury in the middle of the ocean and not be able to carry out your job properly. Stretching also enables your muscles to work effectively and increases blood flow to the muscle.


A popular pastime with many yachties, Yoga and Pilates offer a more relaxed way to keep in shape on board. Though it can sometimes be hard to keep your balance when the yacht is moving, these exercises don’t require any equipment (except maybe a mat) and don’t require much space, so are very popular with yacht crew.

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