How To Work On A Luxury Yacht

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.

Yacht Job Positions 

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

(There are many more positions available on cruise ships. If you’re interested in working on a cruise ship, there’s no better resource than Wandering Earl’s, How To Work On A Cruise Ship.)

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

Let Me Know What You Think!

  1. Alexia says

    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

  2. Cam says

    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?

  3. Mackenzie says

    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!

    • says

      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.

  4. Luke says

    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 :)

    • says

      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

  5. Bianka says

    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 :)

    • says

      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.

  6. Gayantha says

    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. ( ( i’m not looking bis salary ) thank you ..
    facebook name: gayantha anu
    skype name : gayantha.anu.

  7. Martin says

    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.

  8. thesingleworld says

    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!

  9. maria luisa i. dela cuesta says

    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.

  10. Eric J says


    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,

    • says

      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

  11. Marilyn says


    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?

  12. says

    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!

  13. says

    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!

  14. says

    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 :)

  15. says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  16. Marilét says

    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 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!

    • Edward Dennis says

      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 – 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!

  17. says

    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!

    • says

      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?

  18. says

    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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