WORK ON A YACHT CREW ADVICE
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between a private and a charter yacht?
A private yacht belongs to an individual who will use the yacht with his friends and family. A charter yacht also has an owner but in addition it will be rented out to third parties for a determined amount of time.
What are the working hours on board a yacht?
The MLC (maritime and labour convention) 2006 stipulates the limits on hours of work or rest shall be as follows:
Maximum hours of work shall not exceed:
14 hours in any 24 hour period
72 hours in any seven day period
Minimum hours of rest shall not be less then:
10 hours in any 24 hour period
77 hours in any seven day period
However, during a busy season you should expect to have to work unusual and long hours if required as yachts operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How much does yacht crew earn?
Many elements need to be taken into consideration with regard to yacht crew salaries and not just the size of the yacht. The type of yacht (motor or sail), its usage (private, charter or both) and its cruising schedule will influence the salary offered. Additionally, key elements of the candidate’s profile must also be reviewed, what is their previous experience, how long have they been in a particular role, have they recently acquired a new qualification, and do they have a specialised skill set that will influence the salary negotiation?
For a more detailed salary breakdown have a look at our latest Yacht Crew Salary Report which collates salary information from thousands of crew and provides transparency to the yachting industry. The report comprehensively outlines the average salary range for each yacht crew position, from Deckhands to Captains, benchmarking industry standards and providing a point of reference for employers and crew alike.
I have tattoos — will this affect me getting a job?
Some yachts have a grooming and appearance code and a policy of “no visible tattoos” — this means nothing visible when wearing a crew uniform (polo shirt and shorts or skirt). It is best to discuss this with your recruiter who will advise you on which yachts this might be a problem.
Who pays for the documents that I need to be able to travel to join a yacht?
The standard A1.4 Recruitment and Placement, paragraph 5 of the MLC 2006 states that (b) no fees or other charges are to be borne directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, by the seafarer other than the cost of the seafarer obtaining a national statutory medical certificate such as an ENG1, the national seafarer’s book and a passport, not including the cost of visas, which shall be borne with the shipowner.
Can I find work with my partner?
While couple’s positions do exist, they are not very common so we always recommend focusing on finding single positions. Be sure to tell your recruiter that you are ideally looking for a couple’s positions so they can put you forward for it if one should come up. But remember that these are not as common so don’t risk missing out on some great positions you could find if you open yourself up to single positions.
Also, note that couple’s positions are generally offered on more senior levels.
I am a newcomer, what personal belongings should I take with me on board?
Crew cabins are small and you will be sharing with one person of the same sex. Space is at a premium so best to travel light. You will be provided with crew uniforms, crew shoes and all toiletries so all you will need are a few civilian clothes for your off time. Laundry is taken care of by the stewardesses. Products such as the Kindle are great for yacht crew. Gone are the days of bulky books taking up valuable space!
Will I live on board the yacht the whole time?
Generally speaking, as long as you are employed by the yacht, you will live on board it. Depending on the yacht, it's program, and your position, you might have the option to live off the yacht and come on board during the work hours.
How will I get food while working on board a yacht?
All the food will be provided for you onboard and meals will be cooked by the yacht Chef.
What should I be wearing for interviews?
Look around you and look at what employed yacht crew wear during the day and copy that style. This will position you one step ahead of your competition. There are a few uniform shops in Antibes where you can buy everything you need. Generally speaking the professional yacht crew attire is a polo shirt or a shirt, white, blue or beige and plain shorts, skirts (not too short in length) or pants with boating shoes. Dangly and ornate jewellery is not appropriate.
Do I need to speak other languages apart from English? Do I for instance need to speak French to look for work in Antibes?
The quick answer is no; English is the language of the seas and the working language on board yachts. Of course, being able to speak other languages is a bonus and can make life easier and enhance your experience. It can also help dealing with some guests on board the yacht and with local suppliers. Antibes and the South of France is the heart of the Mediterranean yachting industry and most suppliers who are serious players in the yachting industry will speak English.
There is a very large English-speaking community in the South of France, many yacht crew and captains live here with their families.
I am a newcomer to the industry: How long will it take until I get a job?
Breaking into the yachting industry can be challenging. Some people find work within a few of days or couple of weeks, while others will need more time.
The best way to break into the industry is to make sure you have done your research. Find out about the yachting seasons and best times to look for work, get your certificates and CV in order and register with reputable crew agencies, reach out to friends you may have in the industry, or ring an agency or training school for advice.
Always have a positive mindset, it can sometimes get a little discouraging to some junior crew when they see their friends or housemates getting daywork etc. and they aren’t. But never give up. This industry is about perseverance, hard work and determination.
How long are contracts for?
It all depends; some yacht crew jobs are seasonal jobs, typically these contracts run from April to end of September for the Mediterranean season and from October to March for the Caribbean season. Seasonal jobs are most of the time for junior stewardesses and deckhands. Some yachts below 40 meters with only a one season program may also only hire a chef for that period.
Generally speaking captains, officers, engineers, senior interior crew are employed on a permanent long term contract.
Please note, commercial yachts also known as charter yachts will provide you with a SEA (seafarers employment agreement) which is the correct term replacing the word “contract”. Commercial yachts should give you the opportunity to examine and seek advice on the agreement before signing and joining the yacht. For further information about SEA refer to the MLC 2006 Title 2 Regulation 2.1 Seafarer’s employment agreements. Private yachts are not required to issue a SEA.
Where will the yacht travel?
Essentially, the yacht will travel wherever the owners want it to go. Some yachts might have established programs and cruising grounds that they tend to stick to year after year but that is always open to change.
Generally speaking, the yacht will have the area they cruise during the season and then a port they will spend time in the off-season to maintain the yacht during the period it’s not used. Some yachts also do dual-season, which means they might spend the summer cruising the Mediterranean and winter in the Caribbean.
Is there a minimum age to work on yachts?
Yes, there is. The minimum age is 16. No person below the minimum age shall be employed. Also, night work under the age of 18 is prohibited. “Night” shall cover a period of at least nine hours starting no later then Midnight and ending no earlier then 5am. This is in accordance to the MLC 2006 Standard A1.1 Minimum age. Please note that you can start the online registration procedure with YPI CREW before the age of 18, but we will wait until you turn 18 years old to place you on a yacht.
Is YPI CREW listed on the French national register of seafarer recruitment and placement services?
Yes, YPI CREW is listed on the French national register of seafarer recruitment and placement services under number GM1/50. The list can be consulted here.
How many holiday days am I entitled to?
The minimum is 2.5 calendar days per month of employment. On medium to larger yachts, however, it is a common practice for senior crew to work on rotations.
How do I know the Yachting industry is for me?
The yachting industry is very rewarding, but it is not for everyone. Once you start working onboard, you sign up not just for the job, but also for the unique lifestyle which comes with it. As an entry-level crew member you will be expected to work very hard, be a dedicated team player, the common goal being to ensure the guests have the best holiday.
You need be able to live in tight spaces with other crew members and have little privacy and time on your own. Plus, you must be totally service-oriented to ensure that each guest is happy.
If you have what it takes to lead such a lifestyle 24-7 and perform well at a yachting job, then the sky is the limit and you will be able to have a long and successful career afloat in a field of your choice.
Can my family contact me through YPI CREW if they cannot reach me on the yacht you have placed me on?
In case of emergency, if your family is not able to reach you on the yacht through regular means of communication (telephone and email), your family can email us or call us.
We will forward the email onto you and follow up with a call to make sure the email has reached you. If we have received a phone call for you from your family with an urgent message, we will email you and also follow up with a phone call.
Should we have placed you on yacht through a yacht management company, we will also contact the yacht management company and forward the message.
Your family can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org and +33 4 92 90 46 10 during office hours. The email address email@example.com is monitored outside office hours and the mobile number to reach us outside office hours, for emergencies is +33 6 12 04 65 08. This is the number of Laurence Lewis, the President of YPI CREW.
Please note that the above should only be used in case of emergency, if your family have failed to contact you directly. It is your responsibility to ensure that your family has your up-to-date email and telephone numbers on board the yacht you work on and YPI CREW will not be held responsible for failed or delayed communication. YPI CREW will not charge you for the above.
Are you ready to find your new ideal job on board a yacht?
Become a member of YPI CREW and connect with our recruiters so they can guide you through your job search.
Each of our recruiters is specialised in crew placement for a particular department and they will do their best to get you an interview on board a yacht. They will also advise you on how to best present your experience and skills and prepare for a yacht job interview.