What it takes to run a yacht…
Working on board a super yacht is a fascinating career. Life at sea, whilst demanding can be an extremely lucrative and exciting career path. Whilst it is more suited to the younger generations, the process and types of crew involved with running these magnificent vessels is impressive.
Of course, the types of staff required for each vessel vary depending on the size of yacht and the type of yacht. In the super yacht world, it is likely that a large number of the below crew will be involved for each yacht. Wow, the staff required to operate a yacht... Click To Tweet
Here is an overview of the crew involved in building, maintaining, and running these floating mansions:
Yacht Captain – Is a highly experienced and professional skipper. To captain a super yacht you would need to have experience managing luxury yachts over 24m in length and have extensive and proven career history.
As captain it is you are responsible for the crew, guests and vessel. Every crew member and even visiting guests fall under your command and you have the final say on all yacht decisions. Alongside your qualifications, expect to be paid a high salary in return for your professional service.
Captain/Engineer – A multi-faceted role, this combines the skills of captain with Engineer. A highly sought-after type of crew, they will straddle the skills for both captaining the boat and ensuring engineering issues are dealt with whilst at sea.
1st Officer – Sometimes known as Chief Officer or Chief Mate is second in command to the Captain and manages all the deck crew including the Bosun, Deckhand and any second or third officers. You would be required to undertake bridge duty and thus have a good range of qualifications and skills.
2nd Officer – Is the second ranking position to the 1st Officer. You would require a good level of qualifications and skills to achieve this position. A 2nd Officer may also be designated in additional areas such as security, medical, or safety, depending on background and specific skills.
3rd Officer – Is the third ranking position to the 2nd Officer. Qualifications and skills as per the other officer roles are required.
Chase Boat Captain – A chase boat is a vessel which does not live on the main yacht and often has their own crew. These can be towed, driven separately, or berthed in a convenient location.
Chase boats are becoming very popular due to restrictions in tender garage space. As the name would suggest this role refers to the captain who is in charge of the chase boat and subsequent crew.
O.O.W (Officer On Watch) – This is a deck officer in charge of keeping watch on the ships bridge and overseeing navigation whilst on duty. The OOW ensures the ship complies with all COLREGS and safety protocols. This position requires additional qualifications in order to help perform the said duties.
Bosun – Sometimes referred to as the Leading Hand or Senior Deckhand, the Bosun is an experienced deckhand most likely able to take on additional and extra responsibilities. They tend to be the main tender driver and take additional responsibilities in security. Like a deckhand, less qualifications are required, but flexibility and the ability to take direction and blend into the team environment is very important.
Lead Deckhand – As the name suggests, the Lead Deckhand will be in charge of the other deckhands. Generally, only found on board yachts where more than one deckhand is required, this is a position of responsibility. Ultimately the buck stops with the lead deckhand, so it takes a strong personality and adaptive approach to get the job done regardless of the day or hour!
Deckhand – A position known for hard work, a deckhand will be up early and go to bed late. They have a number of duties, but their overall job is to ensure that the yacht is in pristine condition. On larger super yachts you may have over 5 deckhands working. Qualifications do not need to be extensive, but positive attitude is vital!
Security Officer – Super yachts are valuable and expensive items, so a dedicated security officer is commonplace. Spending 60 million on a super yacht is considered to be a mid-level purchase in the super yacht world!
Security officers are often employed to take control of all aspects of security, from when the yacht is moored in the bay (and the crew depart for downtime) through to being moored on land. This position is suited to close protection and military background candidates with specific qualifications in security.
Commercial Shipping Master – This is a phrase referring to a Captain of a commercial shipping vessel. They are in essence the captain of the boat (see captain) but will typically be in charge of commercial operations rather than private or chartered yachts and super yachts.
Professional Race Crew – These are unique and exceptional individuals, with a strong background in shipping. Race crew members require a high level of qualification and ability to focus whilst leading the crew and vessel to compete in international competitions.
Purser – Is in charge of the interior and financial matters in accordance to the ship. Normally found on large yachts and super yachts, the Chief Steward will report to the purser. Due to the amount of admin required a strong background of accounts and book keeping is required.
Chief Steward/ess – Will be the most experienced member of the Steward team. They will often be in charge of recruiting and training less senior members of the team. The chief steward should have the ability to think ahead, plan for every possibility and focus on the finishing touches and detail required for the very highest standard of service. Yachting qualifications and a proven history of working on board large yachts is required for this position.
2nd Steward/ess – Second in command to the Chief Steward, the 2nd steward is in charge of all duties as requested by their superior. The 2nd steward ensures interiors, housekeeping, laundry and the presentation of the vessel is spotless. Their duties may include anything from childcare (if required) to pet care. They work closely with the crew to ensure that the guest and clients experience on board is perfect.
3rd Steward/ess – Third in command to the Chief Stew and Second Stew. All duties expected by the Steward role.
Steward/ess – A role found on board every yacht or super yacht, the steward is in charge of client experience. From housekeeping through to food and drink service, the steward helps with all aspects of running the yacht. Stewardesses are expected to work long hours and have a good, positive and flexible attitude.
Stew/Deck – This is a combined role between a Steward and Deck crew member. This role straddles both the interior and exterior of the yacht and is a popular choice when needing additional staff on board.
Solo Steward/ess – Typically found on much smaller vessels, the solo steward will be the only steward on board.
Head Chef – Is perhaps one of the most important roles on board. The right chef is the key to a successful crew and perfect guest experience.
A head chef must have a wide range of culinary experiences, and be able to take part in the service for the guests if required, including Silver Service, Buffet Service and Fish filleting at the table.
Sous Chef /2nd Chef– The assistant to the head chef, the sous chef will help the Head Chef with all cooking duties and also cook for the crew of the yacht. Often this role is combined with a steward position, but on the larger vessels this may be a self-contained role (see Cook/Stew).
Cook/Stew – This role combines cooking with steward duties. Assisting the head chef, and then performing standard Steward duties (see Steward).
Cook – This position is suited to an individual who is less experienced as a chef but enjoys cooking. This would be a candidate who is happy to cook for the crew and guests (if required),and will be often used during off duty hours (for example if the chef is sleeping). Generally, not an individual role (unless the yacht is very big), this is a good skill for any of the main crew to have on their CV.
Head of Housekeeping – Often this role is found in the larger vessels or commercial cruises, this person would be in charge of housekeeping and be a specialist in this subject. They would oversee the duties and work closely with the Chief Stew.
Laundry Personnel – This may be a crew member with additional skills in laundry, or on the bigger vessels this may be a dedicated role. This role is typically found more in commercial shipping where the cruise ships require a huge amount of laundry each day at sea.
Beauty/Spa therapist – This is a role specific with skills in line with beauty and holistic treatments. Super yachts will generally have an area for pampering and your role on the vessel is to satisfy the client’s needs. You would need to have traditional therapist qualifications, along with your yachting qualifications. It is often common to combine the role of 1st Officer/2nd Officer with a combination role.
Hairdresser – Unlike beauty and spa, there are less formal qualifications to be held as a Hairdresser and rather experience and confidence within this area is key. This can be a combined role with the beauty/spa therapist and indeed with main crew members on the vessel.
Masseuse – Involved in the beauty/spa area on board, the masseuse role is to relax and treat the guests at their leisure. From sports massage through to Swedish and reflexology, a range of massage techniques is preferred. Again, this role can be combined with the Beauty/Spa therapist (depending on the size of the yacht) and can also be combined with main crew duties.
Fitness Trainer – Roles specific for personal trainers or fitness coaches, these team members would work with the guests in the dedicated gym areas helping with fitness goals whilst at sea. These might be specific training programmes or general conditions. Again, this role might be a combined role with other crew duties.
Nurse – An important role, particularly if the yacht doesn’t have facilities for helicopter landing. Qualifications must be in line with medical guidelines, and the nurse or Doctor should have ability to cope with a wide range of illness and ailments. Up to date First Aid and yachting qualifications will also be expected. Again, this role can be combined with the main crew duties.
Chief Engineer – This member of the team is required to oversee and ensure that the electrical and engineering of the yacht is operating without issues. They should be flexible and willing to help fix not only important problems, but even be willing to help fix a broken toilet!
At sea the right part might not be immediately accessible, so an engineer should be able to trouble-shoot and think outside the box.
2nd Engineer – Second in command to the Engineer, the 2nd engineer assists and helps with all duties around the maintenance of the vessel.
3rd Engineer – Third in command to the Engineer.
ETO (Electrician Technical Officer) – Normally employed on larger vessels where the support is required. They report to the Chief Engineer.
Electrical Engineer – Again this role is similar to the ETO. Reporting to the Chief Engineer and holding qualifications in Electrical maintenance.
Fitter – Typically found on the very large yachts and commercial cruise ships. A fitter will be able to assist with fixing and dealing with broken parts of the fitted units on board the ship.
Pilot – For the larger vessels, commercial and cruise yachts, access to the vessel is often by air (helicopter or sea plane). The larger vessels may well have their own aviation permanently stationed on the yacht, and in turn a pilot is required to fly the appropriate aircrafts.
Admin – As the title suggests this team will manage the administration, HR and paperwork of the yacht. Working closely with the purser on board and with the owner of the vessel, ensuring that the specific operation of the yacht is always managed correctly.
Admin will be closely linked to the Captain, Purser and Chief Steward on the yacht and will involve a whole host of specialised skills from graphic designers through the tech, online support teams.
PA – This role is suited to a highly organised and efficient team member. Working closely with the admin team and the crew on board the yacht.
Villa Staff – As the name would suggest, this would encompass a wide range of shore-based staff to work within the villa’s typically frequented by the yacht. This could range from a Butler through to Nanny, Housekeeper, Chauffeurs etc.
Alongside the main crew of the yacht, there are contract workers who are brought in for yacht maintenance as and when this might be required. These roles are self-explanatory and all work to ensure that the yacht is maintained, and any repairs are done efficiently when the yacht is in port or moored for the day.
Roles include: Day Worker, Varnisher, Painter, Spray Painter, Carpenter, Shipwright, Metal Fabricator, Welder, Rigger, Laminator, Electrician, Electrician Expert, Sail Maker, Project Manager, Customer Service Staff and Catering Staff.
Polo & Tweed regularly source and place the finest yacht crew around the world. If you are interested in registering with us or are looking to recruit your new crew members, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.