Thanks to my job as a yacht stewardess, I’ve been able to live in and explore some of the most beautiful and remote spots in the world. Some of those places can only be reached by water and only a small percentage of the population will ever get to see them. But, none of this comes easy. Working in the yacht industry takes hard work and dedication but comes with some massive payoffs.
If you're interested in other travel jobs in hospitality, look into becoming an overland tour guide. As a guide, you'll take groups of travelers across continents via land travel for months on end. Another option to travel by sea is to work on a cruise ship.
Requirements to Get Hired as a Yacht Stewardess
- STCW10 (Basic Safety Training)
- ENG1 Medical
- Hospitality Experience (Good to have but not necessarily a deal breaker)
I worked on the private islands in the Whitsundays Queensland Australia for over 4 years. I started out as personal trainer on the fitness club then cross trained into front office reservations, housekeeping, and food and beverage. I’ve also done hostess work on luxury boat transfers.
All of this accumulates to 11 years in the industry and a keen insight to what boats are looking for in their crew.
The job possibilities on a superyacht are diverse. Since a boat is it’s own independent entity, they need everyone from laundry to engineers, deck crew to yacht stewardesses, personal trainers to chefs and just about anything in between. Depending on the size of the yacht, you could be expected to balance many roles or do one specific thing each day. Generally, a bigger yacht will have the budget to hire more specialized crew, where a small yacht will be searching for a few jack of all trades.
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In addition to the requirements, when I hire, I look for some specific qualities in candidates:
- You must be a hard worker
- No bullshit attitude and no drama
- Ready to take on tasks you may not want to be doing
- Be a good listener
- Have an incredible eye for detail
- Be respectful of others. Remember you all work, eat and play together day in and day out
- Be willing to be at sea and away from family and friends for weeks and maybe months at a time
- Be committed. No one likes a crew member who doesn't contribute 100%
- Bonus: Have experience in high-end hotel operations or hospitality
In interviews, you have every right to ask as many questions as you want. It doesn’t just have to be right for the employer but for you too! Don't be afraid.
Steps to get hired as a "Green Stew" on a mega yacht
To reduce the information overload, I’ll focus on yacht stewardess roles, specifically for newcomers to the industry.
Currently I’m a chief stewardess on a private mega yacht. Meaning I’m in charge of everything that happens in the realm of service and housekeeping. Working on a yacht also means living on a yacht so another part of my job is keeping my team energized and working well together throughout the season.
Everyone who is new in the industry is known as a “green stew.” Most of the people I hire are at least 20 years old but I’ve known people as young as 18 to get hired. So long as you have you STCW10 and ENG1 Medical, any other type of training is not mandatory.
If I’m looking for a green stew she just has to have the right attitude and a great work ethic and we will train her to fit her role.
Steps to get hired (details below):
- Make sure you have the qualifications (STCW10 & ENG1 Medical)
- Make a Yachting CV
- Add any additional certificates you can
- Be willing to interview in person
Step 1. Check Off the Qualifications
The most important pre-req to getting hired on a yacht is having all of the right qualifications. There's really no wiggle room here as it'd be illegal for us to employ a staff that isn't well-versed in safety measures at sea or have the physical health deemed necessary to work at times far away from any medical staff.
Keep in mind, there is a very small amount of doctors in the world that are able to provide the ENG1 Medical exam. This is the list of doctors worldwide who are capable of giving you this health check.
I recommend first taking care of this health check and then chasing your STCW10. You'll have a lot more options as to where you can complete this basic safety training, namely at popular port towns. It might be more expensive here but it will be helpful to start job hunting while you're taking this course.
Step 2. Perfect Your Yachting CV
A Yachting CV is like any normal CV however very professional and short and sweet. Your CV must be only 1 page so it’s important to use that space wisely.
This is the format you'll want to use:
- Start with a personal paragraph, like a cover letter but much, much shorter.
- Highlight your personal information, local contact information and even things like visible tattoos and piercings.
- You must include a headshot. It’s best if the picture is high quality, you wear a collared shirt, your hair is out of your face and you have minimal makeup on. It’s best that the captain or chief stew can imagine what you’ll look like on their boat easily.
The yacht world is very professional and has a keen eye to detail, so your CV should represent that.
Step 3. Add Any Additional Certificates or Trainings
There are so many additional certificates you can add on your CV to make yourself extra competitive but again, these are more important for a management role or if you’re aiming to work in something specific, like the spa.
Once you arrive to the port town and start your job hunt, you'll realize there are a lot of special courses you can take to make yourself stand out, like a mixology course. I only recommend doing this if you're having a really tough time getting hired or you don't have much more hospitality experience to back you up.
Step 4. Interview In-Person
A majority of green stews will need to interview for jobs in person. It’s best to be able to visit your potential new workplace so you both can get a feel for everything. This will also help you to even get interviews as a common way to get hired to "walk the docks." This simply means printing out a handful of CVs and going yacht to yacht dropping them off.
I have been offered many jobs via Skype interviews and have been flown from the other side of the globe but this is mainly because I have years of experience backing me up.
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The Yachting Seasons
Based on location, the season can change. A yachting season is when it's the most popular time to sail that area. This is based primarily on weather and the sea. There are of course exceptions to this rule but in general, if you follow the seasons, you'll have the best shot at getting hired.
In Europe & the Mediterranean
The yacht season is May-September but hiring can start in April. A big hub for job hunting is Antibes, France. It’s possible to even get your requirements done here while you start learning first hand about the industry, although it can be more costly than other places.
In the U.S.
The Northeast follows the same season as Europe & the Med. The season here will run May-Sept. This can be a great opportunity for U.S nationals and those with relevant visas. A hub for hiring here is Newport, Rhode Island.
In the Caribbean
If you’re looking to get started later in the year, you can head down to Florida to get a job for the Caribbean season. This season is around October-April. Most people head to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami for job opportunities.
If you don’t have a U.S visa or passport, it might be best to get hired in Europe and hop on a boat doing a crossing (Med to Atlantic Ocean) between seasons. If you’re a great member of the team, they’ll help get your visas sorted.
In the South Pacific
It’s also possible to get hired in the South Pacific also but it’s not as common. It’s best to look for crew positions in Fiji in August-October. But if you find yourself in a big harbor town, ask around. You could be pleasantly surprised!
Although there are opportunities across the globe, getting a job on a super yacht is very competitive. It’s a great lifestyle for the right person and a lot of people are looking to join the industry.
Perks to Working as a Yacht Stewardess
There are amazing perks to working on a yacht once you find a stewardess job. If this is your dream job, or even just something you want to try out, go for it!
All meals, accommodation, and toiletries are provided for you. Most of the time you will live and work within the confines of the yacht. Most crews are lovely so just be yourself and make some wonderful friends.
Plus, you’ll get to travel to some incredible places. All boats are different with their time off though, so how much time you’ll get off to enjoy the scenery depends.
Because everyone is together 24/7, people can get stir crazy.
Always speak up if you feel something isn't right but at the same time don’t bitch. It gets you nowhere and ruins a good team. If you have a problem speak up! Don't bottle it up and become miserable.
Your captain and chief stew should always be supportive of you. But at the same time, you should always be respectful and mindful of them and the rest of the crew at all times. Respect the entire boat and other peoples working environments. If you want to work your way up the ranks you need to put in the hard yards and trust me it will pay off.
The yacht life isn’t for everyone but for the right person, it’s amazing.
A lot of people in the industry work hard for half a year, save up and spend the other half resting and enjoying a nice, long vacation wherever in the world they prefer. It's a great job for someone looking to be able to afford 6 months of travel just from 6 months of work!
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