Being a stew is one of the most important superyacht jobs when it comes to providing a 5-star experience for guests. Yacht stews are expected to keep the boat clean and tidy, do laundry, assist in inventory and supplies, arrange flowers and carry out other housekeeping duties, as well as helping with silver service and bartending duties. As rewarding as yacht stew jobs may be, they also involve long hours and plenty of responsibility. That's why we've put together these five hacks to make your yacht stew duties easier.
1. Develop a cleaning routine and keep a supply of toothpicks
While the interior of yacht might look spotless to most observers, to a trained eye, superficial cleaning just won't cut it. Yacht stews are required to carry out 'detailing' – an intense clean that encompasses a thorough wash-down, disinfection and steam clean of every single surface. This includes getting into every tiny nook, corner and crevice such as door hinges and air conditioning vents. To make this time-consuming task more efficient, we suggest developing a routine that will eventually become an automatic habit.
Always start from the top down at the deckheads and go down the walls removing dust particles with a soft nylon lint brush. Those doing yacht stew jobs will become familiar with using toothbrushes, tweezers, toothpicks and cotton buds to clean hard-to-reach places (that aren't on a human body! ). For example, a toothbrush can be used to clean around bathroom taps before polishing them to a shine or a cotton bud can clean up make-up packaging so that it looks brand new.
2. Keep a microfibre cloth in your pocket at all times
Not so much as a tiny smudge should be left on a mirror or glass surface. A good way of checking for watermarks you may have missed is to turn off all the lights and use the torch on your phone. Keep microfibre rags in your pocket to wipe away every fingerprint from any surface. Vinegar is also an essential item for shifting everything from watermarks to limescale, just make sure that you don't use it on marble.
3. Keep your flowers as pretty as a picture and as fresh as a daisy
Freshly cut flowers add colour and personality to a yacht, but they can be tricky to keep looking their best. Although you can keep flowers cool by night, what about during those long sunny and dehydrating days? A top hack that stews have used for years is to cut the stems at an angle to help them absorb as much water as possible and place ice cubes in the vase. Make sure you change the water every two days and cut a little more off the stem with a knife.
Another lesser-known yacht floristry hack is to add a few drops of vodka or mouthwash to the water to ward off flower-killing bacteria. How about a mixer to go with the vodka? Adding fizzy pop to the water will also prolong the life of precious petals, otherwise you can add a teaspoon of sugar. Place your flower arrangement away from drafts (including fans) and direct sunlight. Drafts will loosen petals and direct sunlight will cause them to wilt.
4. Arm yourself with club soda and paper towels for stains
Any stew will tell you that doing laundry will take up a lot of time on board. Items to clean include crew uniforms, sheets, different sets of towels, seat covers, napkins, tablecloths and galley rags.
Stain removal is a vital skill in any yacht stewardess job, particularly with the prevalence of red wine and cocktails on board. When it comes to carpets, the sooner red stains are tackled, the better. To ensure the permanent removal of a red wine stain, start by using a white towel to blot – not scrub – the stain and then add some club soda or cold water to dilute the stain until it's no longer transferring to the paper towel. Leave the paper towel on top of the stain under the weight of something heavy and change the paper frequently to help it fade.
Candle wax can be a problem on yachts, whether it's melted into a tablecloth or rug. Start by scraping off the excess wax, then place four sheets of kitchen paper on the remaining wax and iron with a medium-hot iron.
5. Look after your tired feet
Superyacht jobs require being on your feet for long periods of time so if footwear is allowed, wearing comfortable shoes is essential. Standing in one place for extended periods, such as when you're ironing and washing dishes can be uncomfortable and painful. Anti-fatigue mats can alleviate potential aches in the laundry and galley. Other tools in your arsenal against foot and leg pain include arnica cream, epsom salts and elevating your legs on some rolled up towels or a spare pillow while you sleep.