Whilst living and working as a Deckhand on a superyacht, you will be lucky to find a dull moment. At the height of the season, you are guaranteed to be busy with tasks from the first glimpse of sunrise, through until the early hours sometimes, when things draw to a calm halt.
Although that may seem exhausting, valuable time off will be spent exploring exotic locations, making friends that last a lifetime, and contemplating what will be up next on the exciting itinerary. During your time at sea, no two days are the same – and quite frankly, you don’t want them to be, there is a certain thrill in not knowing what tomorrow may bring.
Although work and schedules vary greatly between yachts, below is an example of what you can expect from a typical day working onboard. This example is based on a private yacht, which is not used by guests during the winter season:
During the season, service is provided by the crew 24/7. As you can imagine, shifts are long and the work is demanding. Many of your tasks will be very similar to jobs during the winter season, but priorities will be centred around the yacht’s guests. There would also be varying shifts, so that all hours can be covered. As a day shift example:
Washed, clothed and on deck by 7:00 am, ready to prepare the yacht for an inevitably busy day.
Preparations begin on all outside areas that the guests will be using throughout the day. You may be removing covers, cleaning windows, decks and all surfaces, arranging cushions in communal areas, laying out towels, and polishing stainless. Over the duration of the morning, yourself and the other Deckhands will be there to tidy up after the guests outside and ensure that everything on deck is maintained in an excellent condition.
While guests are having breakfast, you might have the opportunity to take a short mid-morning break – radios at the ready however, you may find your breakfast disturbed if one of the guests decides they would like to go jet skiing, or take a swim.
Following your break, there could be talk of some guest movement ashore or to a nearby beach. If this is the case, you will need to prepare the tender by loading it with necessary items, including refreshments, towels, and other essentials.
Once the go ahead is given, you will be responsible (usually with one other) for ensuring that the guests are dropped off at their requested location. You could be asked to wait for them, maybe to accompany them, or if it is a beach, be on hand for any help or requests. Equally, the guests could ask to be left ashore, in which case you will return to the yacht to continue with the day duties.
Whilst the owner and guests are ashore, you have the opportunity to eat lunch, prepared by the Chef, with the other available crew in the crew mess.
Following lunch, you may get the call that the guests wish to return – it’s time to jump back into the tender and make sure that you know where to pick them up from!
As the guests have their lunch, you will do a quick round of the decks, ensuring that everywhere is looking spotless. If the yacht is underway during lunch, you may be required to help with lifting the anchor, or assist on the bridge if needed.
The afternoon can be a popular time for guest swimming or watersports. For the deck team, this involves preparing the yacht’s toys & tenders, packing towels and refreshments if needed for a fun filled afternoon in the water. Some guests may require assistance in the water, i.e. swimming alongside them, whilst others will need a tender driver if they wish to wakeboard or waterski. Safety is paramount, whilst ensuring that the guests are having a great time.
Deckhands will alternate times to have a break and have dinner. Break times and durations will vary yacht to yacht, as well as day to day depending on the schedule. They should however adhere to the hours of rest, even when this can be at times difficult due the yacht’s busy schedule.
The guests may dine any time in the evening, (this could be on board or ashore). Following crew dinner, the Deckhands will be responsible for tidying away the swim platform, followed by another swift round of the yacht, ensuring that everything is tidy, paying particular attention to outdoor dining areas if they are being used for guest dinner. The flag is then traditionally lowered at sunset.
Whilst guests are having dinner, the yacht may be underway again – the deck team prepare accordingly, and ensure a safe passage, with minimal disruption to the guest dinner. Post dinner, and once guests have left the dinner, the Deckhands attend to any marks on deck surrounding the table area, making sure everything is once again spotless.
If you are lucky, and the guests retire early, it will be lights out and into bed, ready to do it all again the next day! With the team working shifts, it means that others can be on hand if the guests have gone ashore, or are late to bed.
wilsonhalligan offers the latest jobs for superyachts and private estates. We work with all yacht departments, from deck to interior and engineering, and all household positions including Butlers, Private Chefs and more. Contact us today to have a chat.
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