Life as part of yacht crew certainly isn’t like any other so if you’re thinking about a career in the yachting industry, this is the blog post for you. From blissful morning coffees with a view to late night requests dragging you out of bed, yacht jobs certainly have their pros and cons. However all of this will give you an unforgettable experience like no other and is extremely rewarding. To really give insight into what its like to work as yacht crew, especially for anyone thinking about pursuing this job path, our industry experienced recruiters have shared their ‘day in the life’ stories from a range of yacht job roles including Galley Chef, Junior Stewardess and Yacht Engineer.
A day in the life of a Galley Chef by Nikki Anderson…
The day begins at 6.00 with a cup of coffee on the bow and a chance to plan menu ideas for the day in the peace and quiet before the craziness begins. I then prep the bread dough and leave to rise before jumping in the tender to go to the early morning markets for provisions.
Back on board I pop the bread in the oven and breakfast service begins. I prepare a continental buffet for our guests and cook hot dishes to order. The boss comes in to the galley to discuss the menus for the day and after a few adjustments, he gives his approval.
After a quick clean down and tidy up, I prepare a mid-morning snack of fruit and muffins for the crew and start on crew lunch. The chief stew comes in to chat about guest lunch and we decide which plates and cutlery will be used. Crew lunch is served and if I’m lucky I might get to sit down for 5 minutes but usually it is straight in to prep for the guests lunch. A local fisherman comes by with freshly caught lobster and the guests decide that they would like to have this for dinner so we bring them onboard.
The stewardess keeps me updated about the guest’s activities and timings for lunch and service goes smoothly, happy guests and lots of smiles. We clean up again and get organised. Depending on the program I can usually take an hours break after lunch but I’m back in the galley by 4 to start evening prep and crew dinner.
I prepare canapés for the guests evening cocktails and try and get as much done in advance as possible, mise en place, desserts etc. I also think about what I might need for the following day such as ice-creams and anything that has to be made in advance. Crew dinner is served at 6 and again the Chief Stew comes in to talk about dinner service and what we will need for the guests that evening.
The guests sit down to dinner and I go out to talk to them about this evening menu. Service goes well again thanks to our lovely stewardesses and the guests go out for drinks ashore.
The day is almost over and I can start to clean up the galley and shut everything down. I go over what I have done today and leave myself notes for anything that needs to be finished the next day. I finally get down to my cabin and jump in to bed, I am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow but I am awoken again at 2.30am by a stewardesses – the guests are back and they want snacks! If it’s something simple the stewardesses will usually prepare it for them but tonight they want something more substantial so off I go back to the galley. I crawl back in to bed around 3.30 and get a few more precious hours of sleep before I get up and repeat all over again! – Nikki
A day in the life of a Junior Stewardess/Personal Trainer/Masseuse, by Michelle Thornton
So my first job entailed three combined roles of on-board Personal Trainer, Masseuse and Junior Stewardess. With the Boss on-board my mornings began with meeting the Chief Stew to be given tasks for the day, general duties were carried out such as cleaning and re-stocking the crew mess or being sent to do the Housekeeping in the guest areas, all depending on the roster.
As personal trainer I was responsible for the Gym and incorporated this into my morning duties of cleaning and stocking the gym with fresh towels and water before the guests were to use it that day. Usually the Principle’s wife would request a training session mid-morning whilst it was still cool outside. I’d receive the instructions over the radio that Madame was ready and I’d rush down to my cabin to change and meet her on the aft deck with water and a towel in hand for her. We’d then go for a run, do some challenging stair climbs, tricep dips on a bench or go back to use the on-board gym. In the gym we would either do some boxing or use the weights. Usually an hour long and finishing with stretches I’d then return to change and join the interior crew as quickly as I could. Back to housekeeping and occasional service duties.
Woken up from my nap at break time because the Boss requires a Sports Massage, eek quick get ready, look presentable and get the Deck team to help fetch the massage table and set up wherever the Boss desires. Make sure the bed looks appealing and the music is set to relaxing. Greet the Boss and begin the massage, he fell asleep, good sign. Finish and pack up, return to my interior duties or finish my break with a quick dip in the sea or yoga on the foredeck.
The next month I’m on the top deck giving a guest a boxing session. We finish with silent meditation and I look around at my surroundings, the sun is setting and all I can see is calm water for miles ahead, a beautiful and peaceful moment.
Life as a crew member is a mixture of high’s and low’s, one minute you eat, sleep, clean, repeat. The next minute you’re jumping onto a jet ski for a cheeky evening of water sports because your Captain is fun and the Boss doesn’t mind whilst he is away. Or you’re hopping off in your breaks to discover a new restaurant in Croatia, Greece, Italy or Spain. Yes you’re in a bunk bed and your crew mates can drive you mad especially after 16hour days, get little breaks and difficult guests but hey you don’t pay for your food and it’s cooked for you by an amazing chef, plus the money is fab and it’s not the typical 9-5pm working industry.
A day in the life of Superyacht Engineer by Kevin Box
With over 20 years of experience in the Maritime industry I can honestly say that life as a super yacht engineer is significantly different to the days of working in the Navy. Both worlds are very different of course and both with varying challenges.
A typical day (off charter/refit) begins with an early start, a morning dose of caffeine and a chat as to what the plans are for the day. As I’ve learnt take every best-laid plan with a pinch of salt as in the super yacht world things change every second. After completing the morning walk around the machinery space, logging parameters on the maintenance system it’s time for breakfast around 9am. The days of greasy, unhealthy and poor quality fry-ups (Navy) are gone as instead it’s exotic fruit, fresh bread or croissants. As normal if you get to finish your breakfast it’s a luxury as contractors are always there at hand to spoil it or see you having to quickly finish the last mouthful!!
During the off charter period, attention to major maintenance always has a high level of priority. Whether it’s main propulsion maintenance, generator maintenance, air conditioning or electrical work preparations, the assistance is always required. Of course through all of this, every day is a learning experience and the chances of seeing something new is pretty much guaranteed. After a permit to work, commencing a machinery service or an electrical isolation/diagnosis, around 12.30 it’s time for lunch. The day whistles by and there is never enough time in the day. The chef onboard provides a super yacht lunch fit for a royal family that would comfortably put you into a food coma! The food is of a very high standard with the freshest of ingredients they can find and certainly sets you up for the afternoon.
13.30 sees you back at it, more contractor work and helping where required. Drills could be on the agenda late afternoon and in hot climates wearing your fire gear keeps you focused and gasping for a well-earned beer by the evening. The day finishes between 1700 and 1800, and if you have the energy a good work out session completes the day. Once again good food and a walk ashore for a beer is a great chill out after a hectic day. The life onboard a yacht is a great experience, highs and lows are like with any job but in a fantastic working environment in lovely weather always keeps you smiling. The yacht, the owner and the crew always make the experience a time in your life that you will always remember.