A deckhand is the entry level for almost all professional crew
jobs on superyachts. The deckhand position will encompass many
responsibilities, but most importantly, he/she will maintain the
exterior of the yacht and keep it in pristine condition at all
times. You could be the only deckhand on board, but on larger
superyachts there may be as many as 5 or more deckhands
Your day will typically start very early and end very late. You
will be involved in a number of tasks, including:
- Fibreglass restoration
- Line handling
- General exterior maintenance
- Driving tenders and/or toys
- Escorting guests when they use the toys
- Diving (if qualified)
- Helping interior staff serve meals or clean
- Occasional assistance with the Chef in the
The deckhand is also normally responsible for the general day to
day operation and maintenance of jet-skis and other toys and
The deckhand’s role is incredibly varied and gives an excellent
opportunity to learn about the general operations on board a
Required Skills and Experience:
Deckhands do not have to have boating qualifications but having
them is an asset. General seafaring skills are expected. Deckhands
should ideally have some knowledge and experience of navigation,
boat handling, engines and radio equipment.
Any skills or experience in any of the above mentioned tasks
would be a distinct advantage over other candidates.
If you’ve never worked on a yacht before, it doesn’t mean that
you are unsuitable for consideration. Captains have, in the
past, hired crew with a variety of backgrounds such as hospitality
and hotels, cruise lines, recent graduates, mechanics, engineers,
tour leaders, divers and anyone who can prove they have the
willingness to learn and the right work ethic.
Qualifications and certification are not normally needed to
become a deckhand – experience is generally more important, but RYA
qualifications such as Day Skipper, Power Boat Level 2 and VHF/SRC
Radio Operators Certificate or IYT Tender Driving Licence may be
beneficial. As an alternative the MCA approved Yacht Rating Course
is acceptable. As you progress you will be expected to achieve the
MCA Yacht Rating Certificate.
You may be required to hold the MCA STCW Basic Safety
certification, and if you wish to progress from the deckhand role
this certification is likely to be required for higher
At entry-level a deckhand could expect to earn between £1,250
and £1,750 per month. An experienced deckhand could expect up to
around £1,750 or £2,000 per month.
A Deckhand is an excellent place to start your career on board a
superyacht as it gives you a good grounding in day-to-day
A Deckhand may choose to continue working in a deck role, and
progress to the position of Bosun. Alternatively he/she may prefer
to move into the Engineering department as an Engineer, or get into
the Service department as a Steward/ess.
Experience as a Deckhand on board a superyacht would be valuable
in a whole host of other crew positions. For example in the Leisure
sector holiday companies employ both engineering and stewarding
crew for their flotillas.