Yachting Terms Cheat Sheet For Yachting Newbies


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Getting to grips with yachting terms can be quite inundating if you’ve never had any contact with boats or yachts and are generally new to the yachting world.

There will be quite a few terms you will learn during your journey, but there are some basics you’re expected to know before setting foot on deck.

Parts of the Yacht

  • Aft deck: deck located at the rear of the boat

  • Stern/Aft: back of the boat

  • Bow: front of the boat

  • Port: left side of a yacht

  • Starboard: right side of a yacht

  • Sun deck: the usually upper deck of a ship that is exposed to the most sun

  • Bridge/Wheelhouse: the bridge of a ship is the room or platform from which the ship can be commanded

  • Lazarette: A storage space in a boat’s stern area

  • Passerelle: The passageway you walk on from the dock to the yacht. Often incorrectly called a gangplank.

Rooms On Board

  • Crew quarters: where the crew sleep

  • Galley: kitchen

  • Head: bathroom/toilet

  • Saloon/Salon: living room

  • Staterooms/Cabins: guest bedrooms

Additional Terms

  • Aloft: Above deck in the rigging or mast.

  • Berth: typically is what your bed is called, and sometimes cabins are also referred to as ‘berths”, hower

  • To Berth: is also when you’re referring to parking the boat. “To berth” means to moor or dock a ship. The parking spot itself also happens to be called a berth. Confused yet?

  • Bearing: Direction to an object from your current position.

  • Buoy: (normally pronounced “boowie”, but sometimes “boy”). An anchored floating object that serves as a navigation aid or hazard warning. 

  • Dinghy: A small boat that a yacht carries or tows. Used for transfers to and from shore, and short day cruises and, if powerful enough, water sports. Also typically called a tender on larger yachts.

  • Fenders: inflatable bumper usually placed between yacht and dock to prevent damage

  • Helm: steering wheel

  • Heel: To temporarily tip or lean to one side. This most often happens when changing directions.

  • Knots per hour: a measure of speed equal to one nautical mile (6076 feet) per hour

  • Line: rope used aboard a vessel

  • LOA (Length Over All): the length of the yacht from bow to stern in feet or meters

  • M/Y: commonly used in yachting to indicate a Motor Yacht

  • S/Y: commonly used in yachting to indicate a Sailing Yacht

  • Under Way: when the yacht is in motion

  • Watch: A division of crew into shifts

  • Weigh: To raise the anchor

The amount of terms you have to get used to may seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll very soon get to grips with them!

If you have questions about yachting and, or yacht life aboard a luxury yacht, get in touch with us to book a private consulting session or consider buying our Ultimate Guide to Yacht Life that will give you a great intro and all the basics to start a career on a luxury yacht.

Yachting Terms Cheat Sheet For Yachting Newbies

DOWNLOAD OUR E-BOOK

The Get Onboard Luxury Yacht Deck Handbook & Crew Training Guide has been specifically created for those starting out in the yachting industry. In this e-book you will get all the information you need on how to land your first job, visa requirements, how to get qualified, CV tips and downloadable templates right through to a checklist for packing your bags. We know how overwhelming this can be and, so that’s why we’re here to help you Get Onboard with our insiders guide to get thatyacht job.

FAQ

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. Read more about our yachting CV tips here 

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.