Cabins are like prisons

Credit: Ajai Shukla via Wikimedia Commons

With yachts as big as 150 feet long, you’d think they’d be plenty of room for the crew. This isn’t the case, with some deck workers describing their cabin life as akin to “living in a prison”. Bunking up with your colleagues is a sure way to get to know them – shacking up for weeks or months at a time. Sometimes, even the captain has to share a cabin.

They earn most of their money from tips


Most yachties have a respectable base salary with no living costs, with monthly salaries ranging from $2,000 to $4,000. The real money, however, comes from the tips. Cash tips usually range from around 5% to 15% of the total charter cost, depending on how well the crew perform. The more satisfied the guests are, the bigger the tip.

Working days are 12 – 18 hours long


Chief stews will often start before the guests wake, and remain working until long after the guests are asleep. Typical working days are long and filled with endless tasks and responsibilities. With minimal break times, the hours you put in on a yacht are intense – it’s certainly not a job for the faint of heart.

Staff can go months without setting foot on land


Many yachties claim that the hardest part of the job is being away from your friends and family for months at a time. Cast out at sea, only docking to pick up or drop off charter guests, ship workers say that boat life can be extremely lonely and isolating.

It’s hard work


Needless to say, life onboard a yacht is hard. Staff are responsible for everything; from cleaning crew and guest quarters and doing laundry for everyone onboard to fulfilling food services three times a day. Not to mention satisfying the ever-changing needs of literal billionaires – phew! It’s a nonstop, fast-paced job.

Work is easier when guests aren’t on board


Some charter guests or yacht owners treat the staff like family, others treat yachties like their personal servants. Whatever the case may be, most yachties agree that life is easier when guests are onshore. They can fulfill their duties, like cleaning the deck, turning the bedrooms and scrubbing the hull, without endless demands and interruptions.

The captain makes all the difference


While yachties are employed by yacht owners, the captain of the vessel is the real big boss. The captain has the final say on everything and anything, and their leadership style can make or break morale on board. A micromanaging captain can lead to unmotivated staff, while a lax leader can lead to abysmal guest service.

It takes a village to run a yacht


Superyachts require talented and experienced staff. Larger vessels can have a crew count of 15, including five-star chefs, a worldly captain, attentive stewardesses, burly deckhands, and experienced engineers. On an ideal yacht, everyone chips in and helps one another – even if it doesn’t fall under their specific responsibilities. But it’s not always smooth sailing…

Guests can have wild requests


Charter guests have extremely high expectations. They’re paying top dollar for their holiday experience, after all, so they expect a flawless trip. Working as a yachtie, you’re expected to always fulfil guests’ needs, never refusing a request. From onboard weddings to firework displays, deck workers have to think on their feet to meet clients’ erratic demands.

Your crew become your family


Working side by side for weeks, or sometimes even months, at a time, the crew becomes one big family. Eating, sleeping, and working together – staff get to know each other extremely quickly. Some yachties become more involved with each other than the captain would like, leading to steamy boat romances while sailing the seven seas.