What is a private yacht, and how does it differ from other yachts? How do I land one of these elusive jobs on a private yacht? One that pays well and goes to the most beautiful locations? What experience do I need and are formal qualifications required?
These are just a few of the questions you might be asking if the option of working on luxury yachts has crossed your path. Yachties get these (and more) questions asked all the time on their return from their latest jobs from friends and family – especially if they had posted one or two amazing photos (perched in beautiful turquoise waters) of their time working on board!
A career on board luxury, private and superyachts can be extremely rewarding, and we all need to get started somewhere. This is the guide that will help you attain that dream!
Private Yachts vs Luxury Yachts vs Superyachts
The main differentiation between luxury yachts is size. Private yachts, that are not regular sailing yachts (crewed by less than 6), are typically fancy, luxury yachts, but not all luxury yachts are superyachts. A superyacht is typically a large luxury yacht of over 24 metres in length that can be powered by motor or sail. Superyacht ownership is usually reserved for the ultra wealthy.
A superyacht will almost always require an experienced captain (and crew) to take it out on the water. Superyachts are often available for charter with a staff that caters to guests at a high standard of comfort. They may be designed to emphasize comfort, speed, or expedition capability.
Getting a Job on a Private, Luxury Yacht
The yachting industry is inundated with people that would like to crew. Typically Captains work with crew that impressed them previously, so making a great first impression (and continuing to do so) is critical if you want to continue working in the industry. But, sometimes crew take leave from work, leave the industry or are on rotation. Or perhaps the Captain is merely looking for a different type of, or new blood in some of the crew positions. This is your chance to shine and get your first job on a luxury yacht!
One can’t just apply to work on a yacht. There are certain baseline qualifications you need, and some job experience that will come in handy when your yacht CV is amongst a pile of new applicants and you have to stand-out just to land the interview!
Experience & Qualifications
If you’ve never crewed a yacht before, there are some land based jobs that can help you stand out from the other applicants.
But all applicants need basic skills and qualifications including: two items that are compulsory. Any person working on boats must hold an up-to-date seafarer medical certificate, and must have completed the STCW (Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers).
ENG1 – is a medical examination set by the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) to assess whether individuals are fit to work on a seagoing vessel and perform duties at sea. You can typically obtain the certificate from MCA Approved Doctor (AD) and this certificate is also mandatory before you’re allowed to complete your STCW course.
STCW 2010 – The STCW 2010 is a compulsory requirement for any seafarer in order to be eligible for employment at sea. Course modules include Marine Fire Fighting, Sea Survival, Elementary First Aid, Personal Safety, Social Responsibilities and Competence in Security Awareness. Typical duration of the course is 10 days and costs around R6,500.