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Exploring Lucrative Career Opportunities Working on Yachts

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Welcome to the 2 blogs in our Yachting Industry series. Our last blog was on the Allure of working in the Yachting Industry. It covered why you seriously consider the yachting industry as a career path. This blog will cover what exact career options you have in the yachting industry, expected pay, and a little on how you can start working in the industry.

Table of Contents:


Besides the guests and owner, the Captain is the most important person on the Yacht. The Captain is responsible for ensuring the vessel's safe voyage, managing the crew, and the overall operations on board. Most importantly the captain is responsible for the safety of everyone onboard and is liable if anything goes wrong. This gives the captain absolute power over all activities and operations on board.

To become a captain, one must have a lot of experience working on yachts, leadership skills, and the necessary certifications and licenses. Captains often have years if not decades of experience in the industry usually having started as a Deckhand and working their way up the ranks to Captain. This gives the captain the know-how of all the positions and intimate knowledge of how they run.

Deck Department (Exterior department)

The deck department comprises several positions that work as one to maintain the yacht's exterior, ensuring its pristine condition and guest readiness. These roles include:

First Officer

The first officer also referred to as the Officer Of the Watch is the number 2 on the vessel. The first officer assists the captain often acting as his diplomat to the heads of all the departments. He/she helps the captain in navigation, supervises the deck crew, and oversees that the safety protocols and ship maintenance are up to date.


The bosun sits under the first officer and is the head of his department. He/ She directly manages the deckhands, The bosun's main responsibility is to ensure the exterior of the yacht is immaculate and guest-ready.

This means they are responsible for the overall maintenance of the Vessels exterior the water sports equipment and the yacht tenders. The Bosun is sometimes called the lead Deckhand (depending on vessel size). Every responsibility involving the yacht's exterior is under his domain.


A Deckhand's responsibilities are:

  • Regular wash-downs of the yacht

  • Deck scrubbing

  • Stainless polishing

  • Cleaning of deck lockers and bilges

  • Performing general maintenance duties such as sanding, painting, varnishing, etc.

  • Assisting with docking operations and anchoring

  • Assisting guests as required during water sports

  • Driving state-of-the-art yacht tenders

essentially everything that has to do with the exterior of the boat; they take care of the anchoring, docking, generalship security, and maintenance of the yacht's exterior and its cleanliness. Deckhands are also responsible for the outside watersports equipment, and the yachts tenders. They make sure everything is ready for the guests when they want to use the yacht's amenities.

Engineering Department

The engineering department is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the yacht's mechanical and electrical systems. Positions within this department include:

Chief Engineer

The chief engineer oversees the entire engineering department, and the chief engineer ensures the proper function of the yacht's engine, electrical systems, plumbing systems, and so on. The chief engineer is the head of the department and oversees the responsibilities of their subordinates that are met and up to standard. They are the behind-the-scenes of the behind the scenes. In terms of technical skill and certifications, the engineers are second only to the captain.

Second Engineer

The second Engineer like the captain is the assistant of the Chief engineer essentially. The second engineer handles routine maintenance, repairs, and monitoring of the yacht's technical systems. Depending on the size of the vessel and or how complicated the ship's systems are there is even a third engineer or fourth depending on the size of the vessel.

Interior Department

The interior department is debatably the most generally stressful department on the yacht. This is due to the amount of time they spend cleaning and dealing with the guests and owners. The Interior Department is responsible for maintaining impeccable standards of service, hospitality, and guest experiences on board. They are the lead actors in the show if you will, with the most screen time with the performance of the whole act depending on them and their performance. The roles within this department include:

Chief Steward/Stewardess

The chief steward/stewardess supervises the interior team, they are the head honcho and the most experienced of the Stewardesses. They coordinate guest services, manage inventories, and ensure a high level of guest satisfaction. The chief steward has a big part in the responsibility for the guests' experience; this is why their position can be very stressful. The guest’s experience is the number one priority on the boat, and being in charge means that all eyes are on them for the most part. If something is in their department then like all department heads they are to blame.


Stewards/stewardesses are the ones responsible for maintaining guest cabins, serving meals, and providing excellent customer service. This is a big part of the yachting experience and the incredible amount of detail orientation that's required for these roles is staggering. Stewardesses are masters at all things presentations from table setting, to ornate decorations, all the way to bed making, they are true pros.


Yacht chefs are culinary experts, and as you would imagine have complete dominion over all things food. The 5-star meals are tailored to guests' preferences and dietary requirements, allergies and always with a focus on fine dining. The chef’s position is a unique one as they don’t answer to anyone but the captain and depending on the size of the vessel always have subordinates. When they do the sous chef sometimes called the Crew Chef holds the same responsibility as a regular sous chef assisting the head chef in meal preparations and cooking the crew's meals.

Other Positions

Yachts may also have additional positions depending on their size and purpose, including:


The purser manages the administrative and financial aspects of the yacht, including budgets, payroll, and guest accounts. This role will typically be taken upon by the chief steward, Captain, or even an outside Yacht Management Company depending on the size of the vessel, and ownership structure.


Really big yachts sometimes employ medical professionals to ensure the health and well-being of guests and crew members. Most of the time what will happen is a yacht will hire someone who has more advanced medical training than the typical first aid that's done with the STCW 2010 and have them work another position like a deckhand or steward. Then when something happens they will take over the issue. Captains often hold these certifications since they are generally responsible for the crew and guests.

Beauty Therapist/Spa Manager

Yachts with onboard spa facilities may require professionals to provide beauty treatments, massages, and wellness services. Yachts will typically hire day workers with the necessary qualifications for charters or when the owners are on board, for these services. Or like for the nurse position will higher stewardesses or Deckhands with this formal training?

Watersports Instructor:

This position almost always is a Deckhand with a watersports management certification that just oversees water-based activities such as diving, snorkeling, jet skiing, and other recreational pursuits. These Watersports instructors (Deckhands) will have their Dive Masters, watersports management certification, jet ski licenses, and some form of windsurfing or kitesurfing experience.

ETO (Electro-Technical Officer):

ETOs specialize in handling the complex electrical and electronic systems on board, including communication equipment, lighting, and entertainment systems. This responsibility is also something that depending on the size of the boat or complications in the yacht's systems will be handed over to an existing position like an Engineer. Most engineers who have their Y3 or Y4 certifications will take this over.


Just a reminder this is a very generalized overview of the positions. This is what the typical yacht will look like. But every yacht and every crew is different this is all dependent on the size of the vessel and whether the Yacht runs charters or not. next week our blog will cover what industry pay looks like in the Yachting Industry.

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