How To Become A Yacht Stewardess & Have a Career of Fun
Updated on January 6th, 2020
Over the years I have worked in many jobs to keep my travels funded. But by far the best job has been when I worked as a stewardess on yachts. For the avid traveller, there is no better job. If you are sick of working a 9-5, you want to get paid (well) to travel the world and are ready to make incredible friendships, then read on to find out how to become a yacht stewardess.
While there are numerous benefits to this job it can also be a lot of hard work. If you’re not completely sure what yachting is, this post will explain just that and give you 10 easy to follow steps to becoming a yacht stewardess.
This job will absolutely change your life and I’m excited to help you get started. I’ve been off yachts for a couple of years now and I miss it every day. I am still trying to devise a plan to get back on them sometime soon.
Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information on my disclaimer click here.
1. Firstly, what does a yacht stewardess do?
“It’s like working on a cruise ship right?” I hear this time and time again – It’s nothing like working on a cruise ship. Cruise ships have 1000’s of crew and 1000’s of passengers. A superyacht although sometimes as big as a cruise ship only has a handful of guests and crew. Our job as a stewardess is to give impeccable, personalised service to our passengers.
Depending on the size of the yacht there are usually under 30 crew members. For example, a 50m yacht normally wouldn’t sleep more than 12 guests and only has 10-12 crew. It is essentially a floating 5-star hotel for the worlds richest people, celebrities and their guests. As a yacht stewardess, you need to predetermine everything the guests will require before you head out to sea and ensure they have the best time possible.
Because of the limited number of crew members, you’ll need to be filling multiple roles. When there are guests on board you could be working 14 hour days or longer. A yacht stewardess will be in charge of three main areas: housekeeping, service and laundry. You also need to look after the crew areas and set up and pack down for crew meals.
One thing I like to tell people about yachting is, “There is no job description”. You will need to be available 24 hours a day and ready for anything the guest requests. While this seems absolutely crazy the benefits make it all worthwhile. Read an interview with yacht stewardess Melissa Ryan on why she loves being a yachtie. When there are no guests on, regular working hours are 9-5 Monday to Friday with weekends off.
Main responsibilities of a stewardess
- Provide 5-star service ensuring complete satisfaction of guests
- Foresee any items, food and drinks they could want while out at sea
- Set up and provide bar service, knowledge of cocktails and wines
- Perform different styles of meal service depending on guests requirements. From silver service, synchronised to buffet and anything in between.
- Create daily table centrepieces
- Create and maintain floral arrangements
- Host cocktail parties and other events on board
- Provide housekeeping and laundry service for guests and crew
- Be available at all hours of the day and night
- Take turns at watchkeeping and staying on board
- Ensuring the supplies, wines and decor is properly inventoried
- Shopping for crew provisions including toiletries and staff mess foods.
The benefits of being a yacht stewardess
Ok! Where do I start? There’s no more daily commute. Next time you’re stuck in peak hour traffic, think back to this. Roll out of bed after having arrived during the night to a new remote Caribbean island and be at work. Pretty great!
Next, you get to live with all of your friends. You’ll never get bored on a yacht, that’s for sure. When you knock off work for the day grab your buddies and head off exploring that new island. If you’re in the Mediterranean (Med) visit the ancient Greek ruins or pop into a French cafe for a croissant. Maybe you’re in the South Pacific. I hope you like water sports. There’s plenty of time for that.
Working on a yacht will look great on your CV. You learn invaluable new skills and gain life experience while you’re at it.
You make great money. Yep, you read that right. Not only do you get to enjoy these amazing benefits, but you also get paid well to do it. Depending on where you are from this could even be tax-free. Most starting wages are upwards of 2500€/month plus in some cases tips.
It’s exciting! You never know where you’ll be next month, you’re always meeting new people, you get days off in some of the world’s most incredible locations and you will witness the most unreal sunrises and sunsets.
How much does a yacht stewardess make
Check out this table to see the current yacht stewardess salary. All wages are per month in Euros. These are the ranges taken from the Annual Dockwalk Survey of 2019.
|Junior & Experienced stew||2,000 – 3,500||2,200 – 4,200||2,200 – 6000|
|Chief stew||3,500 – 4000||5,000 – 8,000||5,000 – 10,000|
2. Pack up your belongings
Have you decided being a yacht stewardess is for you? Congratulations, then this post is for you! The first step is packing up your belongings. You’re moving on to a boat, so pack as light as possible. Depending on where you go to get your first job (more on this in the next steps) you can pack accordingly.
in the Caribbean, it’s unlikely you’ll be needing heavy winter gear. A light jacket and pair of jeans will be sufficient. If you’re heading to the Med warmer clothes will be useful. Don’t take big bulky sports gear or you might be sharing a bed with them. If possible take a bag which can fold up as opposed to a hard suitcase. On some boats this is mandatory.
3. Quit your job
Yep, do it! *Cheers* “Yacht stewardess life come at me”.
4. Arrive at a yachting hub
Now for the fun part. Where do you go to get a job as a yacht stewardess? Being a new crew member you want to maximise your chances of finding a job. How do you that? Yachting has two main seasons – Summer and Winter. At the end of each season, there is usually a lot of crew turnaround. During that time captains and owners need to do mass hiring twice a year. The Northern Hemisphere summer season sees most boats go to the Mediterranean or the North East of the USA. The winter season is predominantly in the Caribbean.
As mentioned above if possible you will want to arrive into the yachting hub at these peak seasons. For the winter Caribbean season, you need to be in Fort Lauderdale, USA by October/November. For the summer Mediterranean season get to Antibes, France or Palma De Mallorca in April/May.
There are crew houses designed especially for people like you. People who want to become a yacht stewardess, a deckhand, a chef and people who already are but looking for their next job. These crew houses understand the volatility of the industry and that you may be there for one week or two months. Stay in a crew house to alleviate paying bonds and monthly contracts plus meet cool people and unofficially start networking (more on that later).
5. Find a training school to do your courses
Now you can’t just jump on a boat. There are a couple of basic safety training courses required before you are legally allowed to work as a yacht stewardess at sea. The first course is Standards of Training and Certification of Watchkeeping known as the STCW 95 or STCW basic safety. You will also need to get your Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD). In the yachting hubs mentioned above, there are multiple training schools to choose from. One reputable company located in both Europe and the US is Bluewater Yachting.
While you can do these courses around the world (potentially at home). I recommend doing them where you intend to find work. Yachting is all about networking and being in a class with 20 other students instantly connects you with other like-minded individuals. Some I might add could even be a chief stewardess doing her refresher and potentially looking to hire. Hint hint…
What does the STCW 95 and PDSD involve?
The STCW 95 is your basic minimum safety training required to work on a superyacht. There are four components which take five to six days to complete.
1. Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (Basic Firefighting)
2. Personal Survival Techniques (PST)
3. Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR)
4. First Aid / CPR (Basic First Aid)
5. Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA)
This entry-level course is open to anyone and costs around $900 USD or 1200€ to enrol. While this sounds expensive, you’ll be making your money back in no time. This course is a lot of fun. It’s very practical and the firefighting component gave me so much respect for our firefighters. It’s hot and hard work!
The PDSD course is for all seafarers who have designated duties under the ship’s security plan. In the superyacht industry, almost all crew members have designated duties – meaning you need to do this course too.
This one day course costs $300 USD or 280€. You will learn about different security threats to yachts both in dock and at sea, how to recognise them, the use of proper security equipment and how to maintain your ships security plan.
6. Complete your ENG1
The ENG1 is your ships medical certificate. This is irreplaceable with other medicals no matter how thorough they are. You need to have a document stating you passed your ENG1 to join the yachting industry. There are only a few doctors around the world who conduct this examination so it’s wise to book ahead. Places like Fort Lauderdale can have one month waiting periods during peak season.
7. Write a yacht stewardess CV
Writing a yacht stewardess CV is a lot different from writing a CV for a regular job. Captains receive hundreds of applicants during peak hiring periods. With many of these people having zero experience onboard a yacht, you need to know how to make yours stand out.
How to make your CV stand out?
Start off by adding some colour, not just a heading here and there. I mean big bold blocks of colour. Put in shapes of block colours and overlay with your text. Change up the format.
Oh, another resume that looks the same… boring. Next. Oh wow! Whats this column on the left about? It’s describing the person and their skills. Hmmm, I’ll keep reading.
While maybe this isn’t exactly how a captain thinks it may as well be. Choose a colour scheme and make it look fun. Just make sure it’s still professional and you can read everything. Make sure you include a picture of yourself and a detailed about me section stating your availability and current location. Add some interests and hobbies, because remember you’re applying for a place in someone’s home as well as a job as a yacht stewardess.
Get that CV out there
Once you have a great CV outlining why you will be the best yacht stewardess you’ll need to get that CV out there. There are a few ways to do this. Firstly you can sign up for a crew agency. These agencies take on the new and old crew and work with the yacht captains and owners to find the most suitable person for the role. This is a free service. Never sign up to an agent who is charging a fee.
Another way to get your resume seen is through networking. Networking sounds daunting but really it’s just about being a nice, happy person and getting out socialising. Before the season starts basically everyone who has anything to do with yachts wants to throw a party to advertise their brand. In short as a wannabe yacht stewardess you get free entry into these lux parties, usually a bunch of free drinks to go with it and now you’re networking. Get out there talk to strangers and make connections. You never know who you’re talking to and if they need an additional crew member.
There are also numerous online job boards. You can submit your resume directly to some of these or read advertisements from people looking for a yacht stewardess.
8. Nail your interview
As a result of your CV being out there, you’ll be getting all these calls asking for you to come in for an interview. They want you to be one of their yacht stewardess’s! To begin with, you need to dress the part. Make sure you’re hair is up and neat and you have light minimal makeup on. Wear a polo shirt with either a skirt, skort or shorts that is a respectable length in a navy, black or beige. Most interviews are conducted on the yacht in person, so I wore flip flops to all of mine. This is because once you reach the boat it is yacht etiquette to take your shoes off before boarding.
Tip – I know a lot of chief stews who look at nails, therefore make sure your nails are well manicured.
A usual interview will start with a tour of the yacht. The person interviewing you will then make sure you understand everything there is to know about the role, the schedule of the boat and about the current crew and their daily habits. While not all interviews are super laid back, as a new crew member, they know you do not have experience on boats. What they want to know is if you will be able to gel with the current crew. Will you be someone they can share a small amount of living space with. Will you be someone who can learn new skills and pick up this new lifestyle. Most importantly, be yourself, be happy and have fun.
9. Become comfortable sharing small spaces
If you want to work as a yacht stewardess, you need to learn to share a cabin with someone. Your cabin is most likely a quarter of the size of your current bedroom if not less and add to that it’s shared. Welcome to crew living! This is why you need to pack light. All of your belongings will need to fit in a wardrobe much smaller than what you are used to.
Things to remember when sharing a small space whether it’s your cabin or the crew mess (living area). Be respectful of others belongings – if it doesn’t belong to you, don’t touch it. Clean up after yourself. There’s nothing worse than living with someone who is a grot. Be courteous. Your crewmates are working weird hours, don’t be the reason they can’t sleep.
10. Enjoy your new life at sea!
Finally and most importantly enjoy your new life at sea! Being a yacht stewardess is such a special career and there is nothing which compares to it. Savour the unique experiences which will present, see the world while getting paid, make lifelong friends, learn new skills and enjoy being rocked to sleep by the rolling waves.
How long does it take to become a yacht stewardess?
Actually not long. The required courses and ENG1 can be done in a week. The longest part is the preparation of packing, heading to a yachting hub and then searching for a job. Most people I know found a job within a couple of weeks to 2 months. However, this will vary depending on the time of year you seek work.
Do you want further step by step instructions to becoming a superyacht stewardess?
Does this sound like something you would like to do? If yes, then let me introduce you to my book Superyacht Crew. Over the past four years, Melissa Ryan and I have worked onboard yachts in various positions. While you can absolutely follow the steps listed above, but if you would like more detailed help entering the industry than this is the book for you. Each year more people make the switch to working aboard superyachts. If you are serious about making this career yours then act now.
Superyacht Crew: How to Start Your Career in the Superyacht Industry is full of information and secrets we learned from our combined years of yachting. This comprehensive guide has helped numerous friends and family members make this dream a reality. Now we want to help you! Get step by step instructions no matter where you are in your job search. Gain insider knowledge, use our yacht stewardess CV examples and find learn to ask the right questions in your
My favourite part of the book is the detailed reference guide. We know the best crew houses, crew agencies and training schools. We either used them personally or have friends who did. Don’t waste time finding misleading information online, use our tried and tested companies to start your career. Do you want to know which doctors do the ENG1? We have listed where you can find qualified ENG 1 doctors around the world.
Make sure you join our facebook group for new yachties and ask us any questions you have.
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I hope this post has answered your questions about how to become a yacht stewardess. If there is anything else you would like to ask please pop it in the comments below and I will get back to you.