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Anyone works / worked on civvy yachts?

Has anyone? - I'm considering it (one of many options).

Knew a lad a while back who said it was great, even the deckhand job.

Checking the websites, they are all on about "STCW'95" being the minimum training.

So any ideas? Is it worth paying for the course?

I've got a civvy nursing degree and worked on the Britannia in Edinburgh (crap for deployments, never went anywhere) and I've got hazy memories of drinking lager and shagging ugly women whilst wearing flares - so I'm pretty sure I was in the Navy for a while.


War Hero
I only know of this second hand, from an ex Chief Tiffy who now spends his life working on yachts around the world. I saw him a few days ago. He made a flying visit home for ANZAC day after a surfing holiday in Costa Rica, before he goes back to work in Nice.

I don't know how you get into it but its good work if you can get it!
The only yacht I have worked on is my own, but yes you can certainly get by with such work. As far as I have seen most people look for in reality more than one skill, and whilst there are good jobs working on the real flash yachts you will need to be known on the circuit and considered good to get one of those. You will almost certainly have to start working for little more than board and lodging, there are too many wannabees doing this sort of thing especially in gap years. Stick at it and pick up additioanl skills and qualifications and get a good name and you could be working for the likes of Abromovich in a few years time, but as far as I have seen hard work and loyaly are needed just to keep your job. Adrift once and that's it.
The more additional qualifications you can arm yourself with the better, this is a very competitive field, so extra skills such as being a qualified diver, first aider, righger/slinger, welder, etc etc will all help.
I looked into this area for a while, but decided it wasn't for me. There are jobs out there, but you will have to start at the bottom.
For many it is a lifestyle choice so pocket money and all found is all they want so the starting wages are low. Key skills would most likely be deckhand and helmsman/watchkeeper, diesel maintainance, electronics, and stewarding. Most cooks seem to be female and the skippers partner in at least the smaller boats.

Good luck


War Hero
There is loads of opportunities out there for working on the Super Yachts.

Like someone said the more tickets you get the better chance of getting a job.

There's good money in it too.

My main clients are Super Yachts.

They currently building 700 super yachts around the world this year and they will need crewing. MY Steel is coming to the end of her build in Pendennis Ship Yard.
Good friend of mine has just been offered a job as Engineer on MY GAS GAS, an Italian 34 Metre Yacht.
As a Y3 Engineer he has been offered 250Euros per day, plus all expenses on top PLUS you get a cut of charter money too :)


I left about 7 years ago and went into the Merchant Navy. I had my first experience of Super Yachts about 4 months ago, so I'm no expert, but I have a few pointers....
First off, the recession, Credit Crunch, or whatever it's called this week, will obviously affect the numbers of boats & crews. However, not all bad news, there is such a shortage at the mo that there's some slack to be taken up before they stop recruiting.
Second point, any Matelot would be well qualified/experienced. Most of the safety courses have done at Raliegh/Pheonix etc. already have STCW certification, sometimes you need to ask for the cert. to be given it.
The (badly named) 'STCW Course' is really basic, a lot more noddy than EVERY matelot has done, probably even more basic than the stuff deploying Crabs do!
If in any doubt contact Percy at the 'Hoylake Sailing School' (Google it or click the link, ) and he can sort out what you need to do on an individual basis.
He's a top bloke and helped me out with MN and Yacht stuff.
The job is ideally suited to all breeds of Matelot, Dabbers, WE, ME, OPs, Logs, (even WAFUs - as some have helos), they are apparently really short of all types of engineers.
It can be hard work, so don't expect all sun, sea and sex, and you DO NOT get a cut of the charter fee, however, some guests tip (very) heavily (But only on Charter Boats - some don't charter).
The very best advice is get yourself as many quals & PJT as you can esp. outside your trade, yachts crews are only small so a Decky may have to help out in the engine room etc.
They do need people who can get along, you have few (if any) rights so they can sack you if your face doesn't fit or they just don't like you... So if you're already an unpopular moaning tw*t, the yachting industry probably isn't the best place for you.
One big thing is the level of experience in the industry is pretty low, so if you come in guns blazing, some under-qualified git might get rid of you as you know a damn sight more than him... honest! I had to bite my lip on so many occasions (unfortunately a skill I only learnt after leaving the Mob!)
On board, the food is good, the cabins are shared (apart from the Officers), messing is all in. Leave is about what you get in the Mob, it's not MN standard until you get to Captian/Cheif Engineer - and sometimes not even then.
Becoming an Officer is straight forward, many will already be qualified, agian I'll refer you to Percy on that one. The Officer/Rating 'divide' is almost non-existant (There's always a few knobs who make me pause before going back and removing the 'almost', but you know what I mean), The main gap is cash based.
Money is good but not great until you get up the ladder. Most are paid in Euros or Dollars, so your real UK wage fluctuates with the currency.
I know I've rambled a bit, but I hope that this was of some help?
Any qu's just give us a shout.
Gatz said:
, and you DO NOT get a cut of the charter fee, however, some guests tip (very) heavily (But only on Charter Boats - some don't charter)..

Must depend on the owner then, because my friend DOES.


War Hero
Lamri said:
Gatz said:
, and you DO NOT get a cut of the charter fee, however, some guests tip (very) heavily (But only on Charter Boats - some don't charter)..

Must depend on the owner then, because my friend DOES.

Most of the yachts I deal with the charter yachts get tipped around 10% of what it costs to charter for a week.

I've never heard of any getting a cut of the charter fee but that's not to say it doesn't happen. I guess it depends on who the owner is/ boat management company is.


War Hero
I went to an interview today with a flotilla charter company based in the Med. Its a fantastic lifestyle, but the money is piss poor. Its one way of getting into the industry.

Not that I'll be bothering though!


Spent the best part of a decade in the privating yachting industry working on yachts from 87' to 197' both charter and private and both stink pots and blow boats.

Firstly, it's bloody hard work. If you can't take being treated as staff, being treated like shit as green crew, having fingers clicked at you and keeping your mouth shut then don't bother even looking at the industry as a career. For every 100 that apply, 80 won't get offered a job, 10 will only last a season and 10 will go on to do 8+ years.

Money is very good, all found and tax free. There are legal ways around the tax they would like to apply to your wages in this country, get a good accountant.

Ex RN? I only met one ex RN officer, he was a Captain and a prick. The other ex RN I met were grumpy engineers and very good at their jobs. Great stories told across the mess table and they couldn't cope with dizzy stewardesses. Favourite trick of one ex RN chap was to insist on a stewardess to "help" him as he unblocked yet another head. "Helping" to clean the grey water tank was another favourite. Silly bints fell for it everytime.

Get your STCW95 before you do anything, your RN qualifications not engineer related frankly mean nothing, you'd be starting again from the bottom but if you've got the character then it's worth doing for the lifestyle when the Boss is off and you've got down time.

Drugs are rife.....any hint of drugs onboard a yacht, don't go anywhere near the yacht or the crew. Not worth it. It's a very small industry and you'd be guilty just by association.

It's the last bastion of racism, sexism and male chauvinism. As a girl if you are fat or ugly...forget it and as a bloke you'd best be tall and good looking otherwise unless you're an engineer or chef....don't bother. As for employment rights..... you don't really have any. These things are slowly being changed but it depends upon the flag of the vessel.


Elite Yacht Crew International
Crew Network
Crew Unlimited
Camper and Nicholson

I had the best time of my life so far working on yachts and I wouldn't change a thing. If you can do it then it is an amazing way to live and earn money but it's not for everyone.

I've never heard of 10% tip. 15 - 18% of the charter fee on top as a tip is normal and shared out equally. Once got 31% which wasn't too bad going for a weeks work :thumright:

Edited due to a very sharp pair of eyes not belonging to me!
gentlesoul said:
PS Never heard of a percentage of the charter fee being give to the crew but then again I've never heard of 10% tip either.

Ok, but then you wrote this:

gentlesoul said:
15 - 18% of the charter fee on top as a tip is normal and shared out equally. Once got 31% which wasn't too bad going for a weeks work :thumright:



Lamri said:
gentlesoul said:
PS Never heard of a percentage of the charter fee being give to the crew but then again I've never heard of 10% tip either.

Ok, but then you wrote this:

gentlesoul said:
15 - 18% of the charter fee on top as a tip is normal and shared out equally. Once got 31% which wasn't too bad going for a weeks work :thumright:


Too tired, thanks Lamri. Will ammend so that it makes sense!


sat on a superyacht i work on right now, having just got this current job two months ago, so was at the sharp end finding stuff recently

at the moment the economy is having a MASSIVE effect on jobs, had a good few mates who had good experience etc who went home jobless after spending a lot of money and time in crewhouses in Fort Lauderdale.

to get a deckhand job (assuming your a bloke) you are basically
a) in your 20s
b) clean cut, good appearance - sadly they wont take mingers even blokes
c) STCW95 as a minimum - bullshit course if you have any experience, highly recommend IYT in lauderdale to take it at - take it in the US or the Med rather than UK - far cheaper and leads into better contacts

lots of chat about loads of jobs loads of boats etc but a lot of new builds are being stalled, a LOT of boats are for sale and a LOT of boats are being mothballed with minimal crew

in addition teh crew agencies have seen something like 60% more applicants, and have placed a HUGE percentage less people than previously.

most boats now have the full crew (the cycle works about Sept-Dec latest in Lauderdale Florida) so getting a job now would be bloody lucky with no experience

in terms of the life....

Maxi_77, sorry but gotta contradict you, expect VERY decent pay - approx 3k dollars starting, but for that you will not pay any tax, have full room and board - including a top rated chef to make your grub (our chef was trained at the 7th top restaraunt in the world - remember the billionaires want to eat well!!)

if you get on a boat above 160ft you will be a Chamois technician as a deckie, basically all you will do is clean. When the owner is on expect 15 hour days.

stuff ranges hugely from boat to boat - our owner is a joker and only comes on to spearfish/freedive, so we eat freshly caught fish every night and is chilled, boat is more about sport than flash. Obviously we spend a LOT of time keeping her looking good though! We are doing Central America, friends boats doing similar expedition/adventure stuff are doing Alaska, Antratica, all the random places

other boats are more about hte Carribbean/Med - this is the majority - these boats tend to be stricter, more like the mob, and more about piss ups and massive expanses of teak and stainless steel to keep clean

basically - getting an AEC or other engineering cert would be a great way to go if you have experience in that field, the nursing stuff would probably help but not hugely as a billionaire doesnt want you poking around his insides when he can jump on a private jet and go to his 2k a minute doctor!

long term thinking - captains earn NO TAX a thousand dollars a foot....nice


charter fee stuff is true - mate of mine made 52k dollars in 6 months in tips alone

work your butt off on the charter boats for that money though - demanding twats etc, i like having an owner with whom you build a good relationship and shoves you the odd hundred dollars every couple days, and have a better lifestyle

the boys are calling me for the run ashore to the rather top notch (think columbian and brazilian chicks) friendly house, must dash!
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