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Somewhat unsurprisingly, the operation and implementation of tasks aboard a superyacht is a full-time job for more than just one crew member. The superyacht industry, therefore, offers a wide range of roles on board, catering to individuals with a range of skill sets and career preferences.
The number and range of roles on a typical superyacht will vary depending on its size and set up. For those who know which role to pursue, the next step will be enrolling with crew agents and crew training schools, while for those who don’t know where they may fit on board, keep reading.
We cover the most common positions, with a list of typical responsibilities and an expected salary range for permanent crew working on yachts between 35 and 100 metres LOA (data taken from YPI Crew's Yachting Salaries tool).
Arguably the most well-known and respected job role aboard any yacht – large or small – is that of the captain. The captain has two primary objectives on board: The safe manning and operation of the vessel, and the care of guests and crew.
The main responsibilities of a superyacht captain may include:
Depending on the size of the vessel and experience of the applicant, a captain can expect an average salary of anywhere between €6,000 and €20,000 per month. You can find out more about a captain's salary in our dedicated article.
All superyachts generally have a first officer or chief mate, who is essentially ready to take over the yacht should anything happen to the captain. On larger yachts, there may also be a second officer.
Job roles therefore vary depending on the set up of the department. The first officer is second in command to the captain and manages all the deck crew, including the second officer, bosuns and deckhands. He or she is also responsible for:
A second officer may hold navigational responsibilities, keeping charts and publications up to date. The job may also involve monitoring radio equipment and bridge watches, and he or she may be appointed as the designated safety or medical officer.
A first officer or chief mate may expect a salary of between €4,000 and €8,900 per month, depending on the level of responsibility. In comparison, a second officer may start on a salary of €2,500 per month and a sole mate on a monthly salary of €3,500.
The bosun, sometimes known as the leading hand or senior deckhand, is likely to be an experienced deckhand, working his/her way up the career ladder. The bosun is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the yacht and is in charge of supervising the deckhands. The bosun is responsible for:
In return, a bosun may expect a salary of between €3,000 and €4,500 per month.
A deckhand is just one of the entry-level positions available on board a superyacht. Primarily, he/she will work with the other deckhands to maintain the exterior of the yacht, keeping it in pristine condition. Deckhand responsibilities include:
As an entry-level position with few additional qualifications required, a deckhand may expect a salary of between €1,250 and €2,500 per month.
A first or chief engineer is in charge of the engineering department on board, and is responsible for its safe and efficient operation. Reporting directly to the captain, he/she will manage the vessel’s engineers, electrical technical officers (ETO’s) and electricians, as well as:
First or chief officers can generally expect an average salary of between €4,700 and €9,900 per month. A second engineer may expect a salary starting at around €1,500 per month.
A purser is a senior crew member who manages several areas of the superyacht, ranging from crew recruitment and financial matters, to interior management and provisioning, depending on the crew on board. Pursers are typically found on larger yachts, as the role can otherwise contain a large amount of crossover with the responsibilities of the chief stewardess or housekeeper.
Where required, the purser becomes the chief of finances and keeping the accounts and financial affairs of the yacht in order.
Responsibilities of a purser include:
A chief steward/ess is likely to have progressed to this role through learned experience aboard a superyacht. They are in charge of the operation of the yacht interior and its staff, reporting directly to the captain. Attention-to-detail and outstanding yet discreet guest service are vital to this role.
The main responsibilities of a chief steward/ess include:
As a chief steward/ess, you could expect to earn a salary of between €3,500 and €7,000 per month, while more junior stewardesses could take home anything from €1,400 to €4,000 per month, depending on the scope of their responsibilities on board.
The food is one of the many things a guest will always remember about his/her time aboard a superyacht. As expected, the chef plays an incredibly important role on board, sourcing, purchasing, transporting, preparing and presenting food on the table.
Depending on the size of the yacht, a chef may work alone, or may manage a sous chef and/or crew cook or galley hand, while at all times keeping the galley in pristine condition. He/she must be able to prepare a wide range of dishes, from the basic to the exotic, sometimes with scarce supplies. The main responsibilities of a yacht chef include:
The expected salary of a yacht chef can range from €4,500 to upwards of €9,000 per month, depending on the size of yacht , the experience of the individual and amount of supporting galley staff working aboard. A second/sous chef of a mid-size yacht (60m) might expect a median salary of around €3,650 per month.
Typically, yacht crew contracts will be offered on a seasonal basis (three to six months), a temporary basis (changeable periods), or a permanent basis of one year or more. Day work is also available – great for those seeking daily payment and on-board experience.
The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) sets out the interests of yacht crew welfare, providing minimum requirements for crew accommodation, welfare and employment. It demands that all crewmembers working aboard commercial charter yachts should be hired on the basis of a Seafarers Employment Agreement (SEA).
A crew contract should set out, in more detail, the name and contact details of the yacht’s owning company or agency, plus a description of the vessel. It should also include details of:
A sample crew contract, crew confidentiality agreement and job descriptions can be found in this document from MGH Publishing.
In the unfortunate event that you are fired or dismissed, the MLC demands that a document (or reference) should be provided. This must not contain any statement to the quality of work given or salary taken. It must contain sufficient information to facilitate finding further work, or satisfy sea-service requirements for skills upgrading or promotion. An aggrieved owner cannot withhold it.
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