Have you watched Below Deck, scrolled on social media and saw a mega rich guy on his boat or you were like me and walked past all the yachts in Monaco port and thought to yourself “how the f**k can I work on that thing”. Here is a guide on how to become a deckhand on a superyacht, the links throughout will take you to extra information, discounts and tips to help get you even further.

Have you got what it takes to be a deckhand?

Here are a few points on what is required of a deckie:

It’s a physically demanding and hands on job

A deck teams’ main duty is to keep the yacht clean; this is done by washing it down weekly, polishing stainless and paint, scrubbing the teak and general maintenance of the entire exterior..

Long hours

During periods of guest preparation and while guests are on board crew can work up to +14 hours per day, with no days off.

Maintenance and shipyard work

When the yacht has finished a season, there will be a maintenance period on the dock or in a ship yard, deck crew duties can include rust removal and painting, varnishing, sika repairs, tank washing, teak sanding, oil outdoor furniture, inventories and reorganisation of all deck equipment and water toys, washing cushions and cushion covers, and meretriciously detailing all areas of the exterior and deck areas.

You will not see family or friends for long periods of time

The minimum leave a crew is entitled to is 38 days per year, which does not give a lot of time to head home. It is now becoming more common now that crew are on some form of rotation, such as 3 months on 1 month off, which adds up to 90 days leave.

Crew live and socialise as well as work together

On top of working and living together, crew will go out and explore, go for meals and do activities together off the boat. So you are essentially together 24 hours a day.

Sleeping in a single bed

Cabins are generally shared with one other person, but there are instances when there are more than two crew to one cabin. It is a small and limited space which you will have to clean on a weekly basis and be considerate of your cabin mate/s.

This is a fast-paced industry

Yachties, generally, live by the saying “work hard, play hard”. Working on a yacht is fast paced with high standards and in these situations, tempers can rise quickly, so you need to know how to handle yourself and others appropriately.

Why you should be a deckie

After considering the above, you might be thinking why?

Places you visit

Working on a yacht will give you opportunities to travel the world while getting paid.

The people

You will form lifelong friendships and relationships with people from different countries around the world. These friendships open other opportunities to your life that would not be possible if you had not joined a yacht.

Working in the sun on deck

Its always better outside on deck, the music is playing, banter between the deckies, getting the job done together. In the fun environment you work, you are also learning life skills

Guest interaction and activities

A deck member almost always gets to escort the guests during all sorts of activities, whether it be hiking, fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, jet ski safaris, water sports, spearfishing, beach days, visiting the swimming pigs in the Bahamas or just exploring the places the yacht visits.

Minimal expenses

Living and working on a yacht means you do not have to pay for rent, food, toiletries, medical insurance and other items. Expenses can be minimised right down to a couple of subscriptions, mobile and exploring the town you are docked in. This also includes flights home, where 99% of boats will pay a minimum of one return flight per year to each crew. If you wish to progress through the ranks, some yachts have a course payment structure so that you can advance your careers.

The salary

Starting out, a deckhand will be on about 3000 euros per month, with some vessels offering bonuses and then there’s the charter boats where tips can be earnt on top of salary. These tips can range from a couple of thousand to well over 30,000 euros per season.

Deckhand on a yacht during a crossing of the ocean

What qualifications are needed to be a Deckhand

There are two mandatory certificates required to work on a yacht:

  1. Seafarers Medical also known as an ENG1.
  2. STCW 95 – Basic Training.

But, just having these two will not secure you a job on a superyacht.

Additional qualifications to be a Deckhand

There are a few additional courses that can be considered and will help your cv standout.

  1. Proficiency in Designated Security Duties – an online course needed by 90% of the yachts
  2. RYA Power Boat Level 2 – for driving the million-dollar tenders.
  3. RYA Personal Watercraft License – to ride jet skis.
  4. RYA Personal Watercraft Instructor – to teach guests to ride the jet skis.
  5. Cyber Security Awareness – An online course that is becoming more of a requirement.
  6. RYA Yachtmaster Offshore – Once you have a little experience on a yacht, this license is for lead deckhands and bosuns.

If you have any skills, experiences, interests or hobbies that could work well within this role make sure these are added to the cv.

See CVs for more tips and help on your resume.

Links to information within Yachties of Australia

These links are all within the Yachties of Australia website, they give clear instructions, advice and help for you to search for your first position onboard a superyacht.

Where To Start – A run down on which town to begin your search.

Schengen Visa – Information on European visa requirements for Australians.

B1B2 Visa – Information on American visa requirements for Australians.

Where To Stay – Crew house and accommodation recommendations for crew in America and Europe.

How To Find Work – Different methods to finding a job on a superyacht.

International Sim Card – Staying connected with this global sim card.


If you are thinking about becoming a deckhand and have any other questions, reach out to Yachties of Australia on the Contact page and we will be happy to help.