Working on a superyacht and traveling the world with free room and board may seem like a luxurious job, but that is far from the truth for most people. Whether employed as a captain or a deckhand, every crew member works long hours from dawn to dusk with no overtime pay, keeping the ship running and in immaculate condition while catering to the clients’ every whim.

However, for hardworking and patient individuals, a superyacht job can provide an income ranging from decent to quite lucrative, and can potentially develop into a lifelong career.

Entry-level Jobs

Most people in the industry begin at the entry level as a deckhand, steward/ess or sous chef. These jobs are pretty accessible, as they normally do not require any certifications or prior experience working on a superyacht. The responsibility of a deckhand is to keep the outside of the ship clean on a daily basis, along with performing all on-deck operations, such as handling fenders and ropes. A rookie deckhand can expect to make approximately $2,500 a month his first year, while more experienced deckhands may make double that amount or more.

Stewards and stewardesses handle all the internal housekeeping and food and beverage service, while serving as the first line of communication between the customers and crew. Depending on experience, this position brings in a salary of $2,500 to $5,000 per month. Superyachts longer than 150 feet often have a sous chef. While no formal culinary education is required, a potential sous chef must demonstrate a substantial ability to cook and to work well with the executive chef. Sous chefs can make anywhere from $3,000 to more than $6,000 a month, depending on the size of the ship and the cook’s culinary expertise.

Positions Requiring Experience

After providing exceptional service for at least two to three years, stewards and stewardesses may receive a promotion to chief steward/ess. In this management position, the chief steward/ess is ultimately responsible for making sure the interior remains in pristine condition, as well as overseeing the happiness of the customers, meeting their needs quickly and keeping them up to date on necessary information.

As with the other superyacht jobs, pay is determined by experience and the size of the boat. People new to this position usually start at around $3,000 per month, but over time can earn up to $9,000 a month.

The chief purser controls the ship's finances. She makes sure the yacht is adequately provisioned with food and beverages, linens, towels, cleaning supplies, uniforms and anything else that may be needed on the voyage. In addition, the chief purser performs many administrative and accounting duties for the captain.

To land this job, most companies require applicants to have worked at least five years as a chief steward/ess. People in this position can eventually make up to a maximum of $9,000 a month, but this is only three-quarters of the maximum pay a chief officer can expect to earn. Second in command to the captain, the chief officer has an array of responsibilities, including taking regular bridge watches, managing the crew on deck, and handling the yacht’s navigation and passage planning.

Jobs Requiring Professional Certification

Most beginning to intermediate positions on a superyacht are trained on the job. However, positions such as the executive chef, chief engineer and captain require additional licenses and certifications, as well as a wealth of experience.

To be considered for executive chef, a person needs roughly four years of work experience, along with professional training at a culinary institute. An executive chef’s salary ranges from $6,000 to more than $12,000 per month, depending largely on experience and the size of the ship.

Both the chief engineer and captain must have a minimum of five years of experience in their respective fields to work on superyachts 170 feet and below in length. Ships larger than that require the chief engineer and captain to each have 10 years of experience and be licensed. The chief engineer must have a minimum of an MCA Y1 – Y2 level license, and the captain must keep his captain’s licenses and certificates updated.

The chief engineer is responsible for making sure that all technical aspects and components of the ship are operating smoothly, while the captain holds the ultimate authority over the vessel and the safety of its passengers. For superyachts below 170 feet in length, the chief engineer's salary ranges from $6,000 to $12,000 per month, while the captain makes from $7,000 to $15,000 per month. Above 170 feet, the chief engineer’s salary range is $9,000 to over $17,000 per month, while the captain can earn anywhere from $12,000 to above $25,000 a month.

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