How Can Yacht Crew Transition Into Private Households?

Yacht Crew

Published on January 8, 2024

Many yacht crew reach a point where they consider their future at sea. Life at sea is not forever for all. Some need more space than a shared small crew cabin. Others may wish to start a family or be nearer to their own family. For many, they may wonder what to do next. The answer for quite a lot is to become shore-based as staff in private households. How can yacht crew transition into private households?

How to Begin

Leaving yachting is a big decision. Luckily the extremely high standards of working on a superyacht acquired skills can transfer directly into a private household. Some crew may have already dipped their toe in this whilst onboard. The yacht owners sometimes like crew members to help in houses to train staff,  cover for absences or help with a large party. They understand they have an excellent ability to preempt and problem-solve. This counts for a lot and in turn, means the principals can step back and allow them to do their job and take care of all needs and requirements. For those who have not yet been given the opportunity to work ashore then all is not lost, many recruitment agencies realise what an asset an ex-yachtie is in private households. 

Attention to Detail

Only the best will do, yet this won’t be an issue. Yacht crew are taught and trained to look out for wonky lamp shades, fingerprints on glass and smears on mirrors. Experts in attending to guest preferences, they know how important is it to focus on detail. Understanding the need for privacy and respect yet be ready to jump into action at all times. 

Understanding Hierarchy

There is a definite need for hierarchy on a yacht and most of the time it’s from the captain all the way down to a junior crew member. This chain of command is essential to the smooth running of the vessel. Houses can run similarly. Some roles cross over a little more. Such as butlers often can act as house managers. Housekeepers may often need to help with service or light cooking. As a crew member, this will not phase you as you have already been doing this. Teamwork is something you do with your eyes closed, another reason why yacht crew transition into private households.

Ability to Adapt and Be Flexible

Change happens, but you already know this. Time and time again you have known the schedule of the yacht owners. However, after many years at sea, you have come to realize that change happens. The good thing is, that this does not phase you at all. You have learnt to be flexible and adapt to change, all the crew have. 

What you thought may have been a weekend off coming up has transcended into owners and guests filling the boat and having a party. However, in a few days, the boat will be left with an empty boat that needs a complete turnaround in next to no time. The crew will get this done and when time permits they may get to rest in the sun for a short while. 

How are Superyachts and Houses Different?

All houses or villas will have different materials and surfaces, yachts are generally new and shiny. Some country estates are ancient, dripping in history. Many with antiques that need expert care and handling. The yacht crew will no doubt have a black book of contacts they can call if they require more help. 

You may have direct contact with the owner who will be known as the principal. There may be a family office also, however, the likelihood is that as a crew member, you have already had many dealings with family offices and understand the structure. 

Some houses can be run more informally, with some households without uniforms. There can be shift patterns for working hours and days. There may only be 1 or 2 members of staff.


Country estates in England during the winter season host shoots. As a staff member, there is a large amount of preparation for this. Although each week it becomes like a well-oiled machine and everyone does their part to get ready for this. It’s more of a case of learning requirements and the etiquette behind it. 

Looking after pets, whilst some yachts do have dogs onboard, many do not. This can be a wonderful addition to the housekeeper’s daily tasks. A walk on the estate with the dog, and getting fresh can make a nice change to being stuck detailing cabins with a small porthole or clearing out a bilge.

Take the Plunge

Making the transition to land from sea can seem daunting. However many houses have staff houses and the properties are used at certain times of the year. Leaving staff to manage their time accordingly allowing for a better work-life balance than at sea. This can be a career for life in the right setting. Yacht crews skills will be welcomed by all, their hardworking ethic and constant strive for perfection can make them indispensable staff members.

Brush up on silver service, it may not have been used for a while, but our online courses can be the perfect addition to your experience and skills. Register with us, we have lots of ex-yacht crew who have gained employment with us. Get ready to embark on a shore-based career in the world of luxury domestic service. Your dream job may be closer than you think and Polo & Tweed are here to help you achieve it. Get in touch with us today or visit our vacancies page for the latest roles.

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