Eight Steps To Finding a Job On A Super Yacht

We always tell our candidates, finding your first job in the yachting industry is by far the most difficult. Securing a job on a superyacht is the ultimate goal. Working on a yacht can be unique, lucrative, and potentially a long term career path, but breaking into the field can seem very intimidating and competition is fierce, so what can you do to ensure you follow the correct process and stand out from the crowd?

Step 1. Choose your SuperYacht Career Path

If you aren’t sure where to begin, it’s important to know what sort of yacht jobs are out there, and also what you can do to increase your chances of placement on a yacht crew. There are plenty of yacht jobs available for a wide range of abilities, and with determination, knowledge, you can prepare yourself for your long term goals in this career.

A high quality yacht crew is always in demand and there are many different positions to fill on a superyacht. The number and type of positions can vary depending on the size of the superyacht.

Crew Positions Onboard a SuperYacht include:

  • Captain

  • First Officer

  • Second Officer

  • Bosun 

  • Deckhand

  • Chief Engineer 

  • Second Engineer

  • Third Engineer

  • ETO

  • Purser

  • Chief Stewardess

  • Second Stewardess

  • Head Of Interior

  • Head Of Housekeeping

  • Stewardess

  • Laundry

  • Head Chef

  • Chef

  • Sous Chef

Ask yourself which position on a superyacht would suit your character and skill set best. Experience is highly valued in a crew member, so if you are lacking in relevant prior experience, you could be at a disadvantage. However, if you are serious about working on a superyacht, there are a few tips on how to get a job on a superyacht. Make sure to check out our article on how to prepare your SuperYacht CV and make it stand out from the crowd. 

Step 2. Get Certified

There will be several training courses and certification options available from many sources, and once you have considered your long term goals for a yacht crew position, that will determine which courses and certifications are required.

The absolute minimum requirements to obtain your first job on a superyacht are to be STCW 2010 Certified. STCW 2010 stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, standards that were set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  The STCW 2010 consists of 5 basic training courses that will cover Personal Survival Techniques (PST), Basic Fire Fighting, Elementary First Aid & CPR and Personal Safety & Social Responsibility (PSSR) and Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD).

You must also have your ENG1 Medical Certificate, the MLC states that every seafarer must have a valid medical certificate. ENG1 is a relatively quick and unobtrusive examination set by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to minimize or prevent potential hazards at sea. MCA approved Doctors will establish whether or not you have any medical conditions that might cause you to be unable to perform certain duties at sea.

Here at Get Onboard we can assist you with a range of career packages- whether you are looking to train as a deckhand, stewardess, chef or junior engineer- we’ve got you covered.

Pop us an email to find out about our available course dates.

Step 3. Register With A Crew Agency

Once you have your basic training and qualifications specific for how to get a job on a superyacht under your belt, you may find it beneficial to register with a yacht crew placement agency. This is a very common way for newcomers to land their first job on a superyacht. There are many crew agencies out there, so deciding which agency will be the best fit for you will be at your own discretion. The general procedure is to either sign up on their registration page, or email the crew placement agency providing them with your CV and other related documents. There may be a quick interview before it is official, but once you are registered, the search for crew jobs begin.

Social Media is also a great way to get started, joining and posting in superyacht related groups, and making sure you are out there looking for either day work to get your foot in, or through contacts you already have in the industry.

Our “Beginners Guide to Yachting” Ebook lists the best possible crew agencies you can register with, as well the Facebook groups you can join to assist your search for first time employement.

Step 4. Network

It’s a really social industry. You are going to meet hundreds of people from all over the world and be immersed into new cultural experiences. Go with an open mind and a no-judgement attitude. This might be your first ‘me leaving the country. Other cultures and traditions may be so different from your own – from the way they eat, the things they say, and the language/accent barriers. You are going to experience very unusual interactions, some might be frustrating and others amazing! Be ready to take it all in and see this as part of the adventure. “Networking” is one of the key words in this yachting game. From when you first land at your new destination, you will need to have a friendly, go-getter attitude. 

Step 5. Choose Your Ideal SuperYacht Job

There are four departments onboard. 

Interior (Steward/ess)

Deck (Deckhands and sports insturctors)

Galley (Head and crew chef)


Working on yachts can be tough and physically demanding. If you are not manually lifting something or scrubbing decks, then you are spending long hours preparing for and serving the guests. You will, more than likely, go from cleaning toilets and bilge tanks to sweeping and polishing the top deck. Don’t be surprised when you’re given the “worst” jobs during your first season – we’ve all been there. Remember- you’re the newbie on-board! When the guests depart and you are treated with a day off, that is your me time “have a jol.” And trust us – these will be the best nights of your life! 

Book a consultation with us to discuss the courses required for each department and to find the right career path to fit you.

Step 6. Try Dockwalking

You will hear this term oBen and is your key to landing your first permanent job on a yacht. Dock walking is the process of finding work on a yacht, which may be just day work (explained later) or a permanent position. 

Step 7. Find The Best Location to Start your Yachting Career

There are a few prime destinations you can choose to travel to. We will break down these options as well as the different yachting seasons. 

Europe Antibes, France is a small coastal town in the French Riviera, about 40 minutes by train from Nice International Airport.

Palma de Mallorca, Spain is a small island just off the Spanish Coast and about an hour flight from Barcelona.

USA Fort Lauderdale, Florida or Laudy, as the seasoned yachties call it. The yachts will often stop over here for maintenance and repairs, this after being in the Mediterranean for a few months. West Palm, Florida is about 40 minutes by train from Fort Lauderdale. Rybovich Marina, which is the marina in West Palm, is a very popular port for shipyards and maintenance 

Step 8. Nail The Job Interview

Recruitment agencies are a direct point of contact between you and your future job. Use your interview with them as practice for an interview with a Captain. 

Your dream job is out there – doing your part to prepare yourself with proper training and knowledge can only work in your favour. You are already half way there!

Good Luck and we would love to hear how it all works out. Should you have any questions or need any advice please feel free to email us. We can’t wait for you to GET ONBOARD

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There are two basic yacht training requirements that you need to complete in order the legally be eligible to work at sea. This includes the STCW’10 basic training course the ENG 1 medical the Proficiency in Designated Security Duties. These are compulsory courses and must be completed no matter which job or position you are applying for.
STCW stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping. The STCW’2010, previously referred to as STCW’95, is a compulsory requirement for any seafarer in order to be eligible for employment at sea. The STCW 2010 has replaced STCW 95 and is the new code that all seafarers working on board commercial vessels must adhere to. If you are planning on joining the superyacht industry to look for a yacht job as a stewardess, deckhand, engineer or chef, you will need to complete this STCW course. The course runs every week from our academy in Cape Town and takes 11 days to complete.
The ENG1 Medical is a basic medical certificate and is as essential as your STCW’10. It is a mandatory requirement to prove you are fit to work as a yacht crew member at sea. Only MCA-approved doctors can perform an ENG 1 medical exam. The exam takes around 1 hour to complete, and should you pass you will leave with your certificate immediately. Our facilities enable you to complete your ENG1 medical at the same premises as your STCW’10 for your ultimate convenience.
The yachting industry is predominantly a career focused on hospitality. While various skill sets may assist you in finding a job, they are not enough to fully prepare you for a job on board. You will still need to complete the correct Maritime Training to be fully equipped for a job as a Super Yacht Crew member. The following skills/ experience are beneficial: – Hospitality training, including waiters, bar tenders, event staff, hotel training, cruise liners – Au pair, nanny and child care, tutoring, child entertainment – Beauty therapists: nail technicians, hairstylists, beauty therapists – Trade skills including: carpentry, varnishing, building, plumbing, tiling, engineering – Watersports: scuba diving, wakeboarding, sailboarding, waterskiing – For Chefs: A natural ability and training/experience as a Restaurant, Estate, Hotel Chef – Personality traits: Social skills, cultured, good work ethic, good manners, well presented, self— confident, a positive attitude.
There are usually four departments onboard a super yacht including the deck department, engineering, interior and galley.
Completing your deckhand courses prior to looking for your first job, demonstrates to your employers that you are dedicated crew member that understands what is required in order to be successful as an entry level crew member in the super yacht industry. Our industry leading standard of training ensures all our candidates enter the super yacht industry. The primary duties of a deckhand are shared between the maintenance of the yacht exterior and looking after the guests. Maintenance tasks include painting, filling and fairing as well as 1- and 2-part varnishing jobs, plus all other cleaning, polishing and scrubbing duties. Guest related tasks vary from tender driving, beach set ups, water sports, jet skis, anchoring or manoeuvring of the yacht. In addition the STCW training course, any of the following courses would be considered advantageous:
  • Yachtmaster/Coastal Skipper Theory
  • Yachtmaster/Coastal Practical
  • Specialist Super Yacht Training Course (Deck Hand Training Course)
  • RYA Power Boat Level II
  • RYA Personal Watercraft Course
  • RYA Competent Crew Certificate
  • RYA Day Skipper Theory and Practical Certificates
  • RYA Radar
  • VHF Radio Operator’s License
The primary task of a Steward or Stewardess onboard is to maintain the interior or the luxury yacht to the highest standard. You will also be required to cater to the needs of yacht owners or charter guests. Service, housekeeping and laundry form the three main departments of the stewardess responsibilities. Food hygiene and safe food preparation are also a major component of working as a stewardess on a super yacht. Our stewardess training certification is run in Cape Town, South Africa. This is an entry level training course, designed for any crew member that is looking to pursue a career as as stewardess. Combining both practical and theoretical course modules, you will spend time working with actual products used onboard as well as familiarise yourself with processes for when guests are onboard. In addition the STCW training course, any of the following courses would be considered advantageous:
  • Stewardess Course
  • ENG1
  • Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD)
  • MCA Food Safety Level 2
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2
Simple. Just email info@get-onboard.com explaining which course you are interested in. We will provide you with a list of available dates and our booking form. Simply return to us with your proof of payment and you place of the course is reserved.
Once you are qualified, what are the next steps to finding your first job onboard? Yacht CV’s are very different to landbased CV’s and are essential when looking for a job on a yacht.
Our courses have been created in order to best prepare our students with the correct qualification, and industry specific knowledge that would be expected of junior crew in the yachting industry. The founders of Get Onboard superyacht Academy spent over 12 years as a senior ranked crew members and so offer our candidates with the most up to date information to best prepare you for the industry. Without your STCW and ENG1 you are not legally able to work at sea, so until you have completed those requirements, finding employment will be impossible. While the other courses are not compulsory, as industry experts we feel it is in our students best interest to educate themselves as much as possible before entering the super yacht industry. We do our best to offer our students the best possible advice on courses that would be most beneficial to their career goals as well as their pockets.
Here at Get Onboard Superyacht Academy, we pride ourselves on offering our students practical and honest advice. That’s why you will never find us trying to sell your courses that won’t be specifically relevant to your department. Landing your first job while you are still in South Africa is almost impossible. The reason for this is because just like you would interview for a land based position face to face.
Day work is a great way of networking, building contacts in the industry, and most importantly finding you first super yacht job. Day work refers to when you do not have a formal contract in place with a yacht, but you help out onboard for anything from a day to several weeks. Day working is a great way for you to get a sense of different roles onboard and whether the industry is right for you. Often the Captain or senior crew member will use day work as a trial or “audition” to see who is the best fit for the crew and is the most efficient worker so it is an excellent tool to use when searching for your first job.
There are two main yachting hubs, the Mediterranean, particularly Antibes in France or Palma de Mallorca in Spain, and Fort Lauderdale or Miami in Florida. We explain the different seasons and best time of year to visit each areas in our article Best Locations To Get a Yacht Job for Time of Year.
The standard entry level salary for a junior stewardess or deckhand ranges between €2000-€2500 or $2300-$2800 per month. This amount is generally tax free, although the onus is on each crew member to check with their home county about tax obligations. Certain countries are tax exempt provided you spend more than 6 months out of the county. Check out our dedicated article on this here. We have covered all of this and much much more in our easily downloadable yachting industry guide eBook. We go into detail of where you should start your career and at which time of year. We offer yachting CV templates, a packing list, course list, accommodation and visa information. We break down the various yacht crew departments so that you can see where might be the best fit for you. We explain what dock walking is, how to get day work, salary expectations and most importantly how to secure that first job.
Working on a yacht is not all fun and games; it means spending great lengths of time away from friends and family, putting in extra-long hours as needed and living in a shared, confined space.
For many, the benefits of a yacht job outweigh the negatives. These include travelling the world, the opportunity to make and save a lot of money, making new friends for life and gaining important skills that will transfer over to many other industries.
Yachting is for anyone who loves to go out of their way to please. However, it is open to all sorts of personalities – every boat is different. Take a look at our page on what makes a great superyacht crew for more information.
The minimum age to work on a yacht is 18 years old. While there is a chance of finding work straight after school, we suggest getting some work experience before departing South Africa.
Get Onboard has partnered with some centrally located accommodation providers as well as premium backpackers. If you require accommodation for the duration of your training, just be sure to mention it in an email and we will forward the options.
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