How To Work On A Luxury Yacht

by The Runaway Guide on July 31, 2011

concept yacht of the futureThere are few jobs as ideal for the long-term budget backpacker or runaway than working aboard a private luxury yacht. If you are lucky enough to become a crewmember aboard one of these glamorous behemoths, you can expect an adventure like no other. However, finding work aboard a private yacht is no easy endeavor and your work schedule can at times be rigorous to say the least.

In the following guide you will find everything you need to know in order to runaway and travel the world aboard a private luxury yacht.

 

Job Positions & Required Experience

crew of a luxury yacht

The four primary positions aboard are private yacht are, deckhand, Maid, Cook, and Engineer. All of which require some degree of prior experience.

For aspiring deckhands, strong boating skills are essential. They include, the ability to drive a tender or small motorboat, wood varnishing and painting skills, and proficient swimming and sailing skills. Holding a tender boat license or a captain’s license is a plus.

If you are seeking a position as a maid, being a woman will definitely increase your chances. Though there are some male maids, it is not common. It is advantageous to have experience as a maid in a reputable hotel or within any hospitality service.

In order to apply as a cook, you must be an experienced and accomplished professional. Most yacht owners are billionaires and as such expect only the finest dinning experiences. If you aren’t 5 star, you might as well forget about it.

Lastly, in order to become an engineer, it is necessary to hold an advanced degree or equivalent experience in marine engineering.  In addition, one must be skilled in electrical engineering as well as plumbing.

Click Part 2 to learn How to Get the Job

Pages: 1 2 3 4

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Anson August 29, 2014 at 1:29 am

Hi, is it hard for a female moreover an Asian female to be employ as a deckhand or stewardess? I’m 25 from Malaysia and really interesting to get into this field, working on a yacht. Will height or look be a problem? Im a little short look a little boyish thou.

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The Runaway Guide August 31, 2014 at 11:29 am

I don’t think that will be a problem at all :) You should go for it!

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Jessica July 27, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Hi my name is Jes. I’m 35 and I really feel like if I don’t do somthing like this soon I’m going to regret it. I live it tampa fl. I’m currently a medical assistant but I have owned my own cleaning company. I’m pretty OCD when it comes to cleaning. So what do you think I should do?

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The Runaway Guide July 30, 2014 at 4:51 am

Hey Jes, I think you should go with your gut and go for it. Ft. Lauderdale is the place for finding boat work. You could also fly to Lake Atitlan for about 50$ on spirit air and figure out a new path down there :)

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carmen alicia agudelo July 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm

hi, im 34 years old, and i interesting to work hard and earn money. can u send me some information… txks.

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The Runaway Guide July 30, 2014 at 4:35 am

If you have a question, I’d be happy to answer it.

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Leandro rocha July 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Hello .my name is Leandro I am from southamerica , I lived in Liverpool- England , I work as recruitment consultant for the last 10 years , I worked with kids as well , I got clear records, I speak perfect spanish and English , I got British passport and Uruguayan passport , I want to stop working in recruitment and do something different , please contact me, Thanks leandro

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The Runaway Guide July 30, 2014 at 4:28 am

Hey Leonardo, thats great! I think you should totally go for it. If you have a question I’m happy to answer.

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Mary Miller June 15, 2014 at 3:45 am

I am interested in a job probably as a maid. I am however 59years old and about to retire from a catering business which I’ve had for over 20 years. I would love the experience of seeing the world and nothing better than by water. My main question is am I to old?

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The Runaway Guide June 27, 2014 at 3:58 am

Definitely not too old! I think lots of captains actually prefer to hire older people to reduce the drama that inevitably rises when a bunch of people like in such close quarters. Give it a shot for sure!

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Marinko May 21, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Why does everyone ask the same questions? If you cant even work out, how to register on crewnetwork.com, or how to send an application, how do you want to get a job in this industry…

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The Runaway Guide May 25, 2014 at 1:24 am

hahaha, agreed! I feel like this guide is pretty thorough, if only people would read it first.

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Ryan April 10, 2014 at 9:46 am

Hi

I am a young well groomed 23 year old who has an STCW 95, Passport, Medical, Police Clearance etc. And i am searching for an offshore entry level post as a Able Seaman/ Ordinary Seaman/ Deckhand. If you can provide me with any info or if you have a post available. Can you please contact me on my email or call 0729367550. Thanks for your time. I tried absolutley everything and still I cant find a post. Please help. God bless.

R J Lekay.

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The Runaway Guide April 11, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Hey RJ, I wish I owned a yacht but I don’t. You should try the Crew Network as I explained in the guide.

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Darcy kovach April 6, 2014 at 8:27 am

Its time for me to work on a yacht,I have worked on a cruise ship in my pasted , and it was great,where can I send my resume.

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The Runaway Guide April 15, 2014 at 12:51 pm

You can sign up with the Crew Network. They have a data base of yachts and will help connect you with a captain.

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Jorey March 25, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Hello! I really like to work on yacht, but im still working in container ship as a 3rd Engr.. I dont know if there job description is the same! Any chance to get the same position when i transfer to a yacht industry!? Many thanks…!!!

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The Runaway Guide March 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

Hey Jorey,
You’ll have to check out the the kinds of marine engineering qualifications they require but it seems likely. Good luck! -Leif

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Gyorgy February 21, 2014 at 9:08 am

Hello , very nice guide . I am travelling for some time right now , only by hitchhike , and I started from home , with some clothes , a piece of bread and 66 eurocents.I volunteered and worked everywhere where I could , I didnt had the opportunity to think about working on a yacht , but now Im looking forward to it. I am in the Netherlands right now , and I am lefter , so my next destination is probably south of France , I know I can make it there with no money , since I travelled already thousand of km with no budget. I will try it for sure , any other ideas my friend , its almost March , what is possible in this period ? Have a nice day , and safe travel and a happy life !

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The Runaway Guide February 27, 2014 at 3:32 am

Hey Gyorgy,
Thanks! Great story, sounds like you’re having a hell of an adventure. You could still go down to Antibes/Palma for day work. You could also try and find ski resort work in the french alps. Knew a few people doing that. Good luck and stay warm!

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Gyorgy February 27, 2014 at 3:45 am

Thanks very much for the reply.Its always nice waking up next to the river in a squat , in a sunny day , starting the day positive.My next destination after NL is Belgium but dont know for how long time , find some work at a farm , then maybe somewhere deeper in france in somekind of stable with horses work , and I will be right on time to the yachts. Good luck to you too !

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Gyorgy February 27, 2014 at 3:47 am

Also , there is high chance , that big supermarkets in europe go bankrupt , and then they will have like 70-90 % discount for everything , if you have a chance like I did , buy what you can take with you ! I buyed stuff worth 1000 euros and payed 100 … you can sell it on the way ! ;) never fails

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The Runaway Guide March 11, 2014 at 7:23 am

I never got that lucky but that sounds like a great deal if you’re in the right place at the right time.

The Runaway Guide March 11, 2014 at 7:23 am

That sounds great. Keep us updated on your travels. You’re living the dream. Good luck to you as well!

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Alexia January 14, 2014 at 1:02 am

Wow your crazy!! Cant believe you left home so young with nothing in your pocket. How did you do it?? I just graduated high school and I’m 18 now and all I want to do is travel. If you could give me some advice that would be great. Thank you

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The Runaway Guide January 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Haha, thanks Alexia, I was lucky and learned to be street smart. Check out my latest article, http://www.runawayguide.com/runaway-options/8-ways-to-run-away-travel-the-world/

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Cam January 5, 2014 at 10:48 am

I am giving yachting some serious thought and just had a few questions. Will I need to get a MMD or Z Card on top of the STCW 95? If i do get a job out of Ft. Lauderdale, will I be paid in US dollars or is it just up to the owner of the yacht?

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The Runaway Guide January 13, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Hey Cam, as far as I know all you need is the STCW 95. Payment really depends on the boat. Generally it’s in Euros though.

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Mackenzie February 27, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Hey there!
I am a 24 year old American female planning on traveling to Thailand in June and staying for an extended amount of time (to teach english). It’s always been my dream to crew a yacht from Thailand down through Malaysia and Indonesia and ending up in Australia. Do you know what the yacht market is like in Phuket or Koh Samui, Thailand? Any idea of how difficult it is to find crew work leaving from there??
Thanks a lot! Your posts are very informative and have gotten me excited about the possibilities!

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The Runaway Guide March 3, 2013 at 9:39 am

Hey Mackenzie,
That sounds awesome.
I’m not too knowledgable on this but from what I can tell, there aren’t too many private western based yachts in Thailand. If I were you I would check yacht networking sites to see if you can find a boat. I think it can be done but it could take quite a while.

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Luke January 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm

G’day
I’m a 22 yr old from Australia and been looking into working on luxury yachts as a great way to make good money and a chance to see the world, only ever worked in hospitality and thinking of getting my STCW 95 certificate… just wanted to get an idea of what i should be in for working on a yacht? whats my chances of getting a job? And where and how would i go about getting work? also what kinda pay is it? If you could get back to me with some answer an abit of help would greatly appreciate it. Thanks :)

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The Runaway Guide January 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Hey Luke,
The STCW95 is a must. The cheapest place to do it is Ft. Lauderdale if you can make it over here. THere is a good bit of competition, but if you’re persistent and network well, you can def get a job. The work can be rough at times especially when you’re at sea but when you’re at port it’s simple enough. The pay is good. Starting for a deckhand is around 2000 to 2500 euro a month with no overhead/food costs.Let me know if you need anymore help. Good luck, Leif

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Bianka January 3, 2013 at 8:19 am

Let´s say i have worked as a maid in a hotel,i speak english and bit spanish and i want to work as a maid on yacht.first step is to take STCW 95 course right?when i have it i can go to any port and ask for work?And another thing-those billionaires might not be very kind.isn´t it better to work on a big crusie ship?What do you think?Thank you :)

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The Runaway Guide January 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Yup, that sounds like a good plan. Yes, there is a lot of competition. You really have to network a lot but with you’re experience and language skills, it sounds like you have a pretty good shot.

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Gayantha December 27, 2012 at 2:17 am

hello….. :D (Y) … i’m form sri lanka. 21 years old.
i’m looking marine job, • Completed Diploma Course In Marine Engine Technology In Ocean
University. (www.ocu.lk). ( i’m not looking bis salary ) thank you ..
facebook name: gayantha anu
skype name : gayantha.anu.
Email: gayanthaanu@yahoo.com

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The Runaway Guide December 30, 2012 at 11:13 am

Hi,
I wish I had a yacht but I don’t.
If you are looking for a job, you ought to sign up with the crew network.
Good luck,
Leif

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Martin December 7, 2012 at 8:54 am

Hi, i wanna work on yacht too, what i must do ? i dont end any high school, im 18 years old but i really wanna work on yacht, i can do all on yacht, what i must do ? Do u have any website with jobs offers or what ? You have my email so contact with me please.

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The Runaway Guide December 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Hey Martin,
I don’t have any contacts but you should definitely sign up with a website called crew network.

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thesingleworld November 15, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I met a group of fun guys in Montenegro who work on a Mega yacht and were in need of a stewardess. I’ve been back home working behind a desk and feel like Im going crazy! I haven’t stopped thinking of those guys and keep in contact with the French one who says I ca work on his yacht. After mulling over it & finding this article Im sold. I plan on packing up and going to Ft. Lauderdale by March to take my STCW 95 & Silver Service. This just gave me the inspiration and push I needed!

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The Runaway Guide December 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Hey hey! That’s awesome! I’m really glad! I’m thinking I might do the same for a short bit. I will let you know if I do. Good luck! -Leif

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maria luisa i. dela cuesta April 6, 2012 at 2:37 am

hello. it is nice to know all your yatch experiences, i wish i can get a job in europe just like you i am a seawoman too for 7 years but in passenger i wnat to experience in private yatch. thank you.

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Eric J March 3, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Hello!

I am considering the STCW95 course but just wanted to know the chances of getting work afterwards?? I guess it’s not guranteed or is word-of-mouth? I come from a politics background and have no sailing experience, but speak fluent Spanish and other (non-med) languages…

Many thanks,
Eric

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The Runaway Guide March 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Hey Eric,
For the price of the certificate, around 1300$, you really have to commit. The chance is really up to you and your luck. Word of mouth and just talking to lots of people in the industry is the best way to go about it. Good luck, -Leif

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Marilyn February 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Hi,

I’m a French lady living in Cape Town and a few people I know are going on the yachts. I’d like to start out myself, but I’m not sure what my chances are of working in either France or the Caribbean, which one is best to start out in?

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The Runaway Guide February 22, 2012 at 3:16 am

It really depends on the season. But if you can find a cheap flight to florida, I would go there. Living costs and the stcw95 certificate is less. Good luck!

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Ian Robinson January 18, 2012 at 6:51 am

Wow. Another blow me away post Leif.

It’s so awesome that you actually give people the spot to slum while waiting to get in front of the yatch captains. Truth be told, when my time in South Africa was winding up I was going to head up to Europe to bum it back to the states via a yatch… but I decided to head back to Australia and work a cattle station.

Cattle station adventures are pretty legendary. I’d love to hear you write about that! Have you thought of doing a year down there?

Thanks again for the post!

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The Runaway Guide February 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Cattle station sounds awesome, thanks for the idea!

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Bret @ Green Global Travel January 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Hey, just discovered your blog through Nomadic Samuel’s post and found this a really fascinating piece. I’ve never read a story anywhere about what it takes to work on a private yacht, but I did meet a girl at a recent party (she was cooking crepes) who talked about having worked as an assistant chef on a private yacht, saying it was the best way to see the world for free. Sounds like an amazing adventure!

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For 91 Days Travel Blog December 16, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Wouldn’t really want to work on a Yacht (even though it would be very interesting) but we considered to do 91 Days on a Boat for our blog.

But if we have rough times ahead hand me over the application to work on one of those luxurious yachts :)

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The Runaway Guide March 20, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Sounds good, will do! Let me know.

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Luxury Hotels September 30, 2011 at 6:09 am

Great story, I just can imagine a 16 years old running away from home all the way to Europe… What an adventure it has to be…:) I’m not sure if recommending that to other kids is wise though.

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The Runaway Guide October 1, 2011 at 2:19 am

Yea, it was definitely intense, but I learned a lot you know. Well, this site is mainly for backpackers and “runaways.” I do get a few kids who contact me who are actually considering running away and I try to consul them as best as I can. And running away is generally the last advice i will give. Because I know what it’s like, I know how dangerous it can be and how difficult.

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James Shannon September 9, 2011 at 5:07 am

As a tour boat sriver/guide in Canada, this article intrigues me … thanks for opening up this possibility to my mind! :)

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James Shannon September 9, 2011 at 5:07 am

sriver = driver btw :P

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The Runaway Guide September 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm

my pleasure, definitely go for it

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Marilét September 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Hello!I am a 23year old south african girl,and have to make the decision,of either working in south africa next year or spreading my wings and working over seas!I got so excited after reading about the yachts!I am a qualified hairdresser,and have a B.com Intrapreneurial degree. I did lifesaving for 14 years,so I love water!I have a passion to work with people,I worked at numerous big national and international events ,consisting of organising functions and events,hostessing,managing and welcoming guests!I don’t have experience as a maid,but I am hard working,dedicated,motivated and optimistic about life!and love a challenge and enjoy learning new things and always willing to learn!do you think I will make the right decision to try and get a job on a yacht!I would love and appreciate if you could give me some guidance or advice!thank you so much!

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Edward Dennis January 1, 2012 at 5:13 am

Hi, I am an experienced marine engineer from the UK looking to team up with a stewardess for employment on a yacht in March/April 2012 in Europe. If they have to hire both of us, we have more chance of getting a job. You will need to be prepared to carry out a 5/6 day basic training course in Palma, Spain or Antibes, France including firefighting. If you are interested please email me – edwardddennisuk@hotmail.com I have 10 yacht related qualifications and am a marine engineer by trade qualification, we are rare in the industry and sought after and it would put you a cut above the rest of the inexperienced stewardesses and help me if we teamed up. Separate cabins obviously!

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Christine August 31, 2011 at 11:12 am

Waitressed in Nice for a while and thus came across plenty of yacht workers in Antibes! Although it sounds like fun, I have heard so many horror stories of working on yachts–basically, not being treated very well by the owners! Definitely a job with ups and downs…but at least you get a tan and you get to be in glorious locations!

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The Runaway Guide September 1, 2011 at 4:57 am

Thats awesome! Nice is great. I spent most of my time in Nice locked in a strange youth prison/group home. I was sleeping on the beach in Antibes about to go to work when I cops picked me up and brought me there.

I heard a few stories about terrible french captains and owners as well. All depends on your luck I guess.
Where are you now Christine? What is your favorite city in France?

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Micamyx|Senyorita August 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I would love to try working in a yacht, but i can’t swim :|

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The Runaway Guide August 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I can teach you!

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Nomadic Samuel August 1, 2011 at 10:03 am

What a cool article! Having the chance to earn decent money while having your room and board provided is a HUGE advantage saving for travel. When I’ve taught in Korea my salary wasn’t amazing but the perks (free apartment, lunches, low taxes, etc) allowed me to pocket 75% or higher each month towards my travel fund. Sometimes it’s not how much you earn but how much you can save that really makes the difference IMO.

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The Runaway Guide August 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Thanks dude, you should def try it. Sounds like teaching english in Korea is good money too. You ever think about Japan?

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