The Full List of Yacht Crew & Staff

Super Yacht

Published on November 22, 2016

Working on board a super yacht is a fascinating career.  Life at sea, whilst demanding can be an extremely lucrative and exciting career path. But do you know the full list of yacht crew and staff? And what it takes to work on a yacht?

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: 

Deck Crew

Super YachtYacht Captain – Is a highly experienced and professional skipper.  To captain a superyacht you would need to have experience managing luxury yachts over 24m in length. And you should 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 onboard 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!

Super Yacht 2Deckhand – 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 superyachts 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 superyacht is considered to be a mid-level purchase in the superyacht 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 superyachts, the Chief Steward will report to the purser.  Due to the amount of admin required a strong background of accounts and bookkeeping 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 onboard large yachts are 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 onboard is perfect.

Super Yacht 33rd Steward/ess – Third in command to the Chief Stew and Second Stew.  All duties expected by the Steward role.

Steward/ess – A role found onboard every yacht or superyacht, 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.  Superyachts 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.

Super Yacht 4Hairdresser – 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 onboard, 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 troubleshoot 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.

Super YachtFitter – 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 onboard the ship.


Pilot – For the larger vessels, commercial and cruise yachts, access to the vessel is often by air (helicopter or seaplane).  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.

Shore Based

Admin – As the title suggests this team will manage the administration, HR and paperwork of the yacht.  Working closely with the purser onboard 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 onboard 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.

Contract Workers

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 they all work to ensure that the yacht is maintained. 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.

How Polo & Tweed Can Help

Did you find this full list of yacht crew & staff helpful? And would you like to work on a yacht? Get in touch with us! 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.


  1. Edward Sarmiento says:

    I would to work as Head Housekeeper if given the opportunity.

    With my past experience working at the branded Cruise Lines such as Holland America Lines and Costa Crociere. I believe I can be of premium service to the Yacht jobs.

  2. Rex O Sabido says:

    Dear sir,mam i would like to apply in your company for a fitter i have been experience in working a ship my previous company is tanker vessel car carrier bulk and container im 10 years in working an also i have been experience in shipryard experience in mechanical fitter in overhauling engine i have also divers license in padi.advance

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Hi Rex, thank you for your comment, you sound very experienced! We would love you to register with us – simply click here and fill out a new profile! Good luck with all your new job applications.

  3. Marvin Lim says:

    Good day Mam/Sir, my name is Marvin Lim from Philippines. I just want to ask what position is suited for my experience. Im from cruiseship as a assistant waiter for three contract. Thank you in advance

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Hello Marvin, thank you for your question. There are lots of great options for you to consider in your career progression. You can work your way up in the cruise or yachting industry, or you could switch to land based roles – remember the more training you have, the more hireable you will become! Good luck with your next steps, and feel free to get in touch with us directly anytime you need career support. 🙂

  4. Lacey Barnes says:

    Good Morning All
    I am Chef LaceyTe Barnes, of Brooklyn, NY
    Currently a personal chef in Madison WI. I have 15+ years of raw culinary experience (personal. sports arenas, hotels, country clubs). I would love to work on a yacht. What advice can you, share with me? What do I need, in regards to certifications or trading I will need before applying, with you or somewhere?
    Also, is the work on yachts, seasonal? Can I travel?

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Hello Lacey, Thank you for your comment. To work on a yacht you should have these qualifications. You should also consider additional training such as silver service, housekeeping and yacht management. Yacht work is both seasonal and all year round depending on the yacht you work on. Travel is a huge part of the role! Good luck with your training and career progression and if we can help with training you – please don’t hesitate to get in touch! 🙂

  5. Andrea says:

    I have worked Marketing and PR in NYC. I was wondering if there are roles for people in yachting for someone with my background? I am currently in Ca. Thank you!

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Absolutely! The yachting industry is filled with many job roles for people with different skill sets. Best thing to do is start to get the qualifications needed to apply for work at sea. Good luck!

  6. gary says:

    My name is gary 38. I am a marine systems engineer with 15 years experience. I have experience working on Yachts but never as crew. I have no formal Yacht qualification.
    Question: Am i to old and if not what is the quickest way to become a Crew member/engineer?
    thank you gary

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Hi Gary – You are not old at all! It’s never too late to pursue a new career. The quickest route to start working on yachts is to ensure you have all the specific health and safety and yacht qualifications, and then with your engineering background you can simply start applying for jobs. I hope that helps!

  7. Mark says:

    Hello, I would like to know what happens if there are more crew members than beds, for example, if the owner brings in his own trainer, nanny or wanted extra workers on the boat? What happens then? Thank you.

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Hi Mark, Depending on the size of the vessel, there may be health and safety aspects in place to stop overnight stays that exceed the number of people allowed on board. If however the number has not been exceeded then there would be available beds, or fold up beds for the additional staff to sleep on. Sometimes the staff may sleep in rotation so that the beds can all be used. It really depends on a number of factors and the size of the boat. 🙂

  8. nik greenson says:

    Stanford trained 45 year old experienced ER/Critical care physician. Lots of coastal sailing experience. Worked for a year as a commercial and research diver in the gulf of Maine. Any ideas for finding a crew position would be appreciated.

    Thank you

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