Careers in the superyacht industry

A superyacht is defined as any leisure yacht over 24 metres (79 feet) in length. There are many hundreds of superyachts sailing the seas and oceans today – motor or sail, and they employ thousands of crew members from around the world. 

Owning or chartering a multi-million-pound superyacht is an exclusive hobby, but behind the glamorous, façade, there is a whole team of skilled workers keeping everything ship-shape. The number of superyachts being built is increasing each year, and there is now a shortage of skilled workers to crew them. Working on a superyacht is certainly not a holiday, but the rewards can be generous and it’s a great way to see the world in style.

Read on to find out all you need to know about what careers are available, the training and certification you will need and more.

Superyacht UK 2019 AGM St Katharine Dock London

Training and qualifications

Anyone wishing to work on a superyacht must anticipate the need to take relevant training, certification and qualifications. In many cases there are mandatory courses to take, in others being able to demonstrate formally learned skills will give you an advantage.
 

We outline likely requirements in the job descriptions below, or follow the link here to learn about key areas of superyacht training and certification that you can consider.

Captain

The Captain of any yacht (large or small) has one primary duty, which is the safe manning and operation of the yacht. This includes taking full responsibility for the crew, the tenders  and toys, and the guests. Every crew member falls under the ultimate command of the Captain.

Captain on superyacht bridge
Superyacht chief engineer at his station

Chief Engineer

The Chief Engineer is in charge of the engineering department and is responsible for its safe and efficient operation. He or she reports directly to the Captain. As well as managing the Engineers, Electricians and ETOs (Electronic Technical Officers), the Chief Engineer has overall responsibility for the engineering department.

First & Second Officer

All superyachts generally have a First Officer on board, but larger yachts would employ a Second Officer as well. The roles are quite similar, but specific duties are likely to vary from one yacht to another.

Superyacht first officer at outside bridge

Chief Steward/Stewardess

A Chief Steward or Stewardess is most likely an experienced crew member who has progressed to this higher-ranking role. They are in charge of the interior of the yacht and manages and recruits the interior staff (such as Stewards and Housekeepers). They report directly to the Captain.

Chief Stewardess on a superyacht
Superyacht chef

Chef

On a superyacht, regardless of the size, the food is one thing that a charter guest or an owner will always remember. The Chef plays an incredibly important role and is one of the key figures on board.

Engineer/Assistant Engineer

The main function of the Engineer is to maintain the mechanical and electrical operations of the yacht.  This position will entail very large, complicated jobs, and it can, at the same time, incorporate something as small as fixing a remote control for guests, or fixing a toilet.

Superyacht engineer
Superyacht Technical Officer

Technical Officer/Electrician

Electronic Technical Officers (ETOs) and/or Electricians are generally employed on larger superyachts where the Engineering department comprises around four or five crew. In some instances one person may fulfil both roles, or there may be different individuals for each. If there is no ETO or Electrician on board, their responsibilities would fall to the Engineer. ETOs and Electricians usually report to the Chief Engineer.

Steward / Stewardess

The most important aspect of the Steward/ess role is his/her attention to detail.  This type of position requires the ability to think ahead, provide a service before the guest makes the request and to anticipate events before they happen. Most importantly, you must exhibit the ability to discreetly serve guests in a luxury 6-star manner.

Superyacht stewardess
Superyacht second chef

Second Chef/Sous Chef

On larger yachts, you will often find a Second Cook/Sous Chef who works along side a Chef.  This person will normally bear all responsibilities in cooking for the crew, side work for meal preparation, and assisting the Chef in any variety of ways.  A new-to-industry individual who aspires to be a professional yacht chef will greatly benefit from holding an assistant position.

Bosun

The Bosun, sometimes known as the Leading Hand or Senior Deckhand, is likely to be an experienced Deckhand who is able to take on extra responsibilities. The Bosun is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the yacht immaculately and is in charge of the Deckhands.

Superyacht bosun
Superyacht deckhand

Deckhand

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 five or more deckhands working.