How to Work on a Yacht.

How to Work on a Yacht

Written by Diane Byrne
January 10, 2023

Last Updated on January 10, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

Working on a yacht is honest and good work; it also comes with many amazing perks:

  • A one-of-a-kind workspace
  • The ability to make industry connections
  • Opportunities to move up

Ultimately, how to work on a yacht involves tremendous dedication, along with a little luck. We can set you on the right path here and now.

Browse for yachts for rent on Boatsetter

Yachts in a Marina.

1. Do your homework

Just as you had required reading while in school, work on a yacht requires understanding a lot of information about deck duties. A few books and websites can (pardon the pun) steer you in the right direction.

The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess and its companion website are both by Julie Perry, a stewardess-turned-yacht-marketing consultant. Also check out crew-centric magazines like Dockwalk and newspapers like The Triton, along with their related websites.

2. Get your CV in order

A CV—curriculum vitae—is your resume and should summarize all relevant experience plus transferrable skills. Perry says if you grew up waterskiing or boating, be sure to mention how long you’ve been doing it. Transferrable skills, meanwhile, range from house painting to woodworking and even being a nanny to waiting tables.

Work on a yacht can and does involve maintenance skills and hospitality skills. “You really need to sell yourself on paper, or you won’t stand out,” she says!

3. Go where the yachts are

Fort Lauderdale is the Yachting Capital of the World due to the large yachts that frequent its waters and yachting businesses headquartered there. Fort Lauderdale is also the number-one location for proper training (more on that below) and housing while you job hunt.

Working on a Yacht.

4. Find a trainer

How to work on a yacht begins and ends with training. Everyone, whether you want to be a deckhand, a chef, or a steward/stewardess, needs STCW training at a minimum. STCW (Standards of Training and Certification of Watchkeeping) is internationally required for every seafarer, in fact.

Briefly, it certifies that you have a basic understanding of safety hazards at sea and can respond properly in emergencies. Bluewater and Savvy Maritime Academy are two well-respected training providers in Fort Lauderdale. Additionally, you need an ENG1 medical certificate, proving you’re fit to work at sea.

Obtain this before enrolling in training in case a medical condition could preclude you from working onboard. Find doctors who provide the exams and certificates on, a valuable resource for captains, crew, and the industry.

5. Go beyond the basics

“It’s going to make such a difference in your understanding of the industry and your confidence level,” Perry says, plus increase your chances of landing a job. She adds that most yachts and crew-placement agencies require a certificate of proficiency in security, for example.

If you want to be a deckhand, she continues, consider obtaining a tender-driving certificate. Stewards and stewardesses often enroll in wine and bartending courses, meanwhile.

Yacht Crew.

6. Save money for costs

Perry strongly advises having $6,000 to $7,000 to cover at least two months’ worth of expenses in Fort Lauderdale. These include not just housing (which you can find on but also training, transportation, and meals.

A five-day STCW basic course costs over $1,000, and an additional one-day proficiency in security course is $300.

7. Networking is key

Once you get your STCW, “it’s networking, networking, networking,” Perry says. Online bulletin boards like post new opportunities daily—which can go quickly, so check and register early. Another source,, lets you register, upload your CV, and record a video, then interview via their portal.

Training schools often lend a hand with job hunting, too. Old-fashioned dockwalking—literally walking the marinas—can land you a job as well, as can frequenting places where crewmembers hang out at night.

8. Know the rules

How work on a yacht involves adhering to strict rules about not just safety but also privacy. The larger the yacht, the more the owners and guests prioritize discretion. “If you think you’re going to be a social-media influencer while traveling around on a 200-footer in St. Tropez, forget about it,” Perry warns. Some yachts don’t permit posting pictures or details about the yacht and their movements on social media.

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