How To Get Into Yachting

How to Get a Job On a Charter Yacht: A Step By Step Guide to Working In the Yachting Industry

Welcome to the glamorous world of yachting, where the sun-kissed horizon meets the endless expanse of the ocean. The yachting industry offers an exhilarating and rewarding career path for those with a sense of adventure and a love for the sea. However, to navigate the waters as a “yachtie”, both dedication and preparation are essential.

In this beginner’s guide to yachting, we’ll guide you through what it takes to embark on a journey into the yachting industry, covering everything from yachting job roles to qualifications and finding your first yacht job.

What Is It Like Working On A Super Yacht? The Unique World of Yachting Careers

Yachting isn’t just a job; it’s a lifestyle. Crew members live and work on board luxury yachts, where the vessel becomes their home and their fellow crew members become their family. These yachts whisk guests away to exotic destinations, and the crew works together not only to create an unforgettable atmosphere for every passenger, but to experience these destinations for themselves.

There are four main areas you can start out with working on a superyacht: deck, interior, engineering and in the galley, each playing a vital role in the yacht’s operation and maintenance. Duties primarily range from cleaning and maintaining the exterior of the boat and driving its jet skis, providing impeccable service to guests on board, maintaining the mechanical and electrical installations, or cooking up a Michelin starred meal.

How often will I have to work?

Your work schedule will depend on the advertised position, with some roles offering a rotational roster and others offering full time employment.

Whereas rotational rosters involve working a set period onboard (e.g., 2, 3, or 5 months) followed by a dedicated break (e.g., 1 or 2 months off). A permanent role involves an ongoing full time commitment and a limited amount of leave each year. Both rosters will involve either heavy back to back charters, quieter down time periods between seasons with weekends off or maintenance periods in dedicated yards.

No matter which path you choose, life onboard a yacht demands a dedicated work ethic. Daily work hours depend on the yacht’s operations, a normal day with no guests is 8 to 10 hours, when guests are on it can be up to 14+ hour days with everyone working together to ensure an unforgettable experience for your guests.

Where are charter yacht jobs located?

Starting out everyone will begin their career in one of the yachting hubs; Antibes in the South of France, Palma, a town on the island of Mallorca Spain or in Florida, either in West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale. These are the most popular hubs in the northern hemisphere where you can find crew agents, course providers, and hundreds of boats with even more crew to network with and potentially find your first job. From these ports, you’ll set sail across across the Mediterranean and Caribbean Ocean or further afield.

yacht crew attending to guests on board a super yacht in the Caribbean

Yacht Crew Positions: Exploring the Various Roles Onboard

Deckhand: The backbone of the exterior crew, deckhands are responsible for keeping the yacht sparkling clean and well-maintained. They tackle everything from washing decks, polishing rails and general maintenance to assisting with docking and launching tenders. Deckhands are also the go to for guests enjoying water sports & jet skis, ensuring a safe and fun experience. Their willingness to help extends beyond their department, often pitching in to support the interior crew after their day’s work is done.

Yacht Stewardess/Steward: Masters of onboard hospitality, yacht stewardesses and stewards craft impeccable guest experiences through cabin maintenance (laundry and making beds), dining service (including bartending), and personalised guest care. Beyond service, they act as yacht ambassadors, providing information, organising activities, and attending to every guest need with warmth and professionalism.

Bosun: The leader of the deck department, the bosun is the go-to person for all things exterior. They oversee the deck crew, assigning tasks and ensuring efficient and safe execution of everything from cleaning and maintenance to tender operations and water sports equipment management.

Captain: The captain stands at the helm of the yacht, wielding ultimate authority for its operation, safety, and navigation. Years of experience and maritime knowledge empower them to confidently lead the crew and meticulously plan and execute every aspect of the voyage. As the face of the yacht, they interact with guests, address concerns, and ensure the entire voyage surpasses expectations.

Engineering: The engineering department is the powerhouse of the yacht, keeping all its systems running smoothly. These highly skilled professionals are responsible for the yacht’s propulsion, navigation, and onboard utilities. From the complex engine room to intricate electrical systems, they ensure the yacht operates efficiently and safely.

Galley: The culinary heart of the yacht, the galley is where gourmet meals come to life. Manned by talented chefs, this department is responsible for crafting exceptional dining experiences for guests and crew alike. From planning diverse menus that cater to dietary preferences and restrictions to sourcing fresh ingredients and preparing every dish with precision and creativity, the galley team ensures that every meal is a highlight of the voyage.

Large yacht anchored near a mountain in the Caribbean

How much do you get paid working on a yacht in Australia?

In the world of yachting, the salary for working on a yacht varies widely based on factors like job role, experience, and yacht size. Entry level positions such as deckhands or stewardesses/stewards without any previous yachting experience typically start at around $4,300 to $5,200 AUD per month.

As yacht crew members gain experience and climb the ranks on board, their earning potential increases. Experienced Bosuns, Second Stewardess/Steward, Sous Chef with a few years experience and advanced skills may earn between $6,000 to $8,500 AUD per month. Closer to the top earners: Senior Officers, Chief Stewardess and Head Chef earn between $9,000 to +$14,000 per month and Captains and Chief Engineers can earn +$16,000 AUD per month.

In addition to base salaries, yacht staff typically receive tips and bonuses from charter guests or yacht owners which can significantly boost monthly income. Depending on the job role, various other benefits may also be available, such as medical and insurance, flight expenses, paid vacation, and training costs. Because the staff are required to live on board, additional perks such as uniforms, linens, meals, and sundries are also included.

Do yacht crew get paid when they aren’t even on the boat?

Yes, yacht crew typically continue to receive their salaries even when they are not on board the yacht. This is common in both permanent and rotational positions within the yachting industry.

For example, the top leave package of 2 months on 2 months off will equate to a full year’s pay for six months of work on board. These packages are normally reserved for the senior positions.

woman with white hat on board yacht with crew

Seafarer Medical Examination

All seafarers are required to pass a specific medical examination and obtain a maritime medical certificate before they join any seagoing vessel around the world. It is a short exam conducted by specific doctors that covers things such as hearing, vision, cardiovascular system, overall physical condition, respiratory system and any other medical concerns and takes about an hour depending on the doctor. Below you will find information on and the difference between the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) medical and the MCA (ENG1) medical.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (ASMA)
AMSA has two options for the seafarers medical certificate, domestic or international. Both these examinations are performed on behalf of AMSA by Sonic HealthPlus which have 40 locations around Australia and bookings can be made online.

Before booking and completing the examination you will have to read through and print out forms from the AMSA website, these will be different depending on domestic or international certificates. For international you will have to print and fill out AMSA form 232 – Medical Examination Report and AMSA form 303 – Certificate of Medical Fitness for International Certificates. Cost of the international exam vary depending on which clinic you attend but the initial exam at the Brisbane CBD clinic costs about $460.

AMSA states that you should allow up to three hours to complete the medical and administrative requirements for the issue of the certificate. You should also note that the international medical certificate may not be recognised by some companies within Australia, this can be determined and rectified during the interview process.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA – UK)
The ENG1 medical certificate is obtained by completing a mandatory medical examination set by the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the UK) and is the most common certificate found in the yachting industry as it is accepted by numerous flagged vessels. Much like the AMSA examination, this examination is performed by specifically qualified doctors which can be found in most countries, there is no previous requirements, all you have to do is book ahead of time and bring glasses or contacts if you wear them. This certificate is valid for two years and in most cases, depending on if you are employed, your yachts policies may include paying for the renewal.

The cost of an ENG1 medical examination can vary from country to country, in the UK it is currently about £115, in Palma, Mallorca it is about €175 and in the South of France about €130, though it can cost up to €200 in some cases.

In Australia there is now only one doctor that can issue an ENG1, this medical centre is in Melbourne:

Toorak Village Medical Centre
(03) 9826 8811
Level 1/459 Toorak Road, Toorak, Melbourne 

The medical centre will provide all the information of what is required before completing the exam, you will have to have your dentist sign off the dental section before they issue the ENG1 certificate. The current cost is $315 and does not include the dental examination. 

You will find online that there is a centre in Brisbane that state they do, but they no longer issue ENG1s.

Depending on where you would like to start in the yachting industry will determine which medical you should complete. If you are staying within Australia and working on Australian flagged vessels then you will only need the AMSA domestic certificate, which is the cheapest option, but if you are heading overseas then holding off until you arrive in Europe and having it completed there could be the better choice. 

If you have any questions or advice regarding the seafarers medical, please do not hesitate to contact me for further information. 

STCW Course

Before you can join your first multi-million-dollar superyacht and become a seafarer you first have to complete the SCTW Training course. This course teaches you the very basics of safety, security and sea survival while working on a vessel and is a mandatory requirement for all seafarers. It roughly takes a week to complete your SCTW certificate, duration varies depending on where it is completed, and it covers at least four of five different sections:

  • Personal Survival Techniques (PST)
  • Basic Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting
  • Elementary First Aid
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (PSSR)
  • A security module that either will be Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA) or Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD). 

The course is offered all around the world and is priced quite differently depending on where it is completed. There is also a lot of providers that are not approved meaning the certificates they issue are not valid on certain flagged vessels, so do your research on the course provider first. Below is a small list of training providers from major yachting hubs around the world that run approved courses to obtain your STCW certification.

  • Superyacht Crew Academy – Sydney –
  • Bluewater Yachting – Antibes and Palma
  • Professional Yachtmaster Training – Fort Lauderdale 
  • Zephyr Yachting – Antibes 
  • VIRSEC – Online (Proficiency in Security Duties only)

Things to note when completing these modules:

  1. Training providers only offer four of the five modules to crew or only offer the PSA certificate for security. This PSA certificate does not satisfy the yachts requirements for security training and you will have to complete the PDSD course. YOAus have partnered with VIRSEC to help you complete this course online at a discounted rate, see Proficiency in Designated Security Duties – VIRSEC for more details.
  2. Complete your Seafarers Medical before paying for the course. You may have a medical condition that you are unaware of that can restrict you from working at sea making it unnecessary to complete the course.
  3. If you wish to work in Australia and internationally then you will have to complete an AMSA approved course in Australia. Australia does not recognise unapproved or foreign courses. Visit their website HERE for approved centres.
  4. There are no pre-requisites other than being of age.
  5. The course will require you to be in a pool one of the days and dressed in firefighting equipment to put out small fires on another. The training provider will inform you of what clothing is required to bring for these activities.
  6. Basic fitness is recommended. 
  7. Have fun with it. 

Proficiency in Designated Security Duties Course (PDSD Course)

Yachties of Australia have partnered with one of the only regulatory approved, STCW ISPS recognised online training providers of the Proficiency in Designated Security Duties course, VIRSEC. They have tailored this course to the superyacht industry and VIRSEC, through Yachties of Australia, are giving a 5% discount to all students that book the course through the below link and use the promo code YOA-5 at the checkout page.

PDSD Online Course


Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD) is one certificate required to be held by all crew who have security duties onboard a yacht which complies with security regulations (the ISPS Code).

For yachties, some of these security duties and protocols include, but not limited to: 

  • Watchkeeping while in port and security duties associated with this
  • Stowaway searches of the vessel
  • Checking provisions and packages for suspicious items 
  • Checking and signing on and off visitors to the vessel

Crew are to assist in maintaining the security integrity of the vessel, and therefore safety of the crew, passengers, owners and the yacht itself and mitigating any general, criminal or terrorist-related security incidents. 

When new yachties complete their STCW Basic Safety Training, the security module generally offered as a section of the course is the Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA). Unknowingly, the PSA certificate does not meet the requirements of a yacht, and thus are required to obtain their PDSD certificate through an additional course. 

How long does the PDSD course take?

The course takes about 8 hours of training and is available to complete online.



Cyber Security Awareness Course – VIRSEC

Yachties of Australia have partnered with VIRSEC, an online training provider of the Cyber Security Awareness course. They have tailored this course to the superyacht industry and VIRSEC, through Yachties of Australia, are giving a 5% discount to all students that book the course through the below link and use the promo code YOA-5 at the checkout page.

Cyber Security Awareness CourseVIRSEC

Cyber Security Awareness is a newer online course that is not a mandatory requirement (at this point in time) for crew to complete. The regulations around cyber security and yachts only state that there must be a policy on a vessel and that crew are aware of said policy. In some instances, these policies state that a crew member has to complete the awareness course, and in the future, I see this becoming a mandatory course, just like the STCW basic training, as we go more digital every day. 

If you are one of those crew that joins a vessel requiring this Cyber Security Awareness course, VIRSEC offers it online. Taking only a few hours to complete and you are able to come and go as you please. 

The course covers the basics of:

  • General knowledge of cyber threats with real world cases
  • Steps to avoiding attacks
  • Spotting a threat or an attack in progress
  • Following a cyber security policy 

Though not mandatory, more and more attacks are happening to yachts, in some instances succeeding. There have been yachts that have paid false invoices for hundreds of thousands of dollars without checking the details first, other cases of hacking emails and getting sensitive information. So, it will only be a matter of time before this becomes a must have on the CV.  


Power Boat Level 2 – Deck Crew

The RYA Powerboat Level 2 ticket is a two-day entry-level course for deck crew. It is a course that will teach you to operate flashy yacht tenders under 10m that are found onboard and is a legal requirement in European waters. For deckhands it is especially important to complete and have on their CV as it will make you more employable and put you a little further ahead in your search.

The course can be completed at any RYA approved training provider, including in Australia. The price can vary from $750 USD in Florida to €460 in France but is cheapest in Australia at about $700.

The following training providers offer the course in Australia: 

Flying Fish Sailing – Middle Harbour Yacht Club, The Spit, Mosman, NSW. 

Sunshine Sailing Australia – Mooloolaba Marina, Bill Cutts Pavilion, Mooloolaba, QLD.

Eastsail – d’Albora Marinas, Darling Point, NSW.

Note: When booking, ask the above training schools if the course will also qualify you for the Australian boating license.

yacht tender driving in ocean from birds eye view

Wine and Spirit Courses

Yachties of Australia have partnered with two WSET course providers, Melbourne Wine School and The Wine Tip. They are both offering 5% discount on all courses, all you have to do is fill out the form at the bottom of the page and we will send you a unique promo code to use when booking the course.

Wine and cocktails are a large part for the interior and service crew when it comes to yachts. The guests will be drinking bottles of wine that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, or they could request a special cocktail with their favourite tequila that was bought specially for them. They like to entertain guests, have over the top parties and want the service crew to know exactly what they are doing and how to handle themselves. Knowledge in these areas is crucial for interior crew that are involved with service and completing a course in wine and/or spirits will be a huge help in finding a position and progressing in the industry. 

Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is a globally recognised organisation that provides education and internationally recognised qualifications in wine and spirits. Their courses range from introductory to diplomas and are offered by third-party providers, several throughout Australia, that have undergone an approval and monitoring process to ensure they meet the high standards. 

For new interior crew, the WSET Level 1 is the introductory course in wine or spirits that only requires a minimum of six hours study with a 45-minute multiple choice exam. Completing either wine, spirit or both courses will help with starting out in the industry and could give you that extra little bit of help finding that first job over the competition. 

If crew wish to take it a step further, WSET Level 2 in wine or spirits is a more in-depth course and you do not necessarily have to complete Level 1 first. Level 2 requires a minimum of 28 hours study time split over 16 hours with a course provider, 11 hours of personal study and revision and a one-hour exam. Completing this course will not only show your potential employer your willingness to learn and commitment to the position but the knowledge gained will help with your progression through the ranks in the industry.  

What you learn in these courses can be used not only during service on a yacht, but in other hospitality industries as these certificates are recognised globally. Additionally, the knowledge can also be used in your personal life when entertaining guests or for yourself and appreciating wine at another level. 

Training Providers

Melbourne Wine School, Melbourne

Melbourne Wine School is a small Collingwood based education and consulting business that offers a selection of approved WSET certified courses and tastings that aim to help both novices and industry veterans expand their knowledge. Their educators are passionate about the industry, education and their products, being qualified in WSET Level 4 Diploma in wine and spirits and WSET Level 3 in Sake. Melbourne Wine School have partnered with YOAus and wish to offer a 5% discount to anyone interested in completing any courses in Melbourne. 

The Wine Tip, Sydney

The Wine Tip is located down the road from Westfield shopping centre in Bondi Junction, Sydney. Director and owner, Paul Huet, earnt his Diploma of Wine and Spirits after seven years of tutelage in London and after numerous ventures in the hospitality industry opened The Wine Tip to fully live his passion of transmitting his love of wine through education. Paul is a certified WSET educator for both wine and spirits and is a CMS Certified Sommelier. The Wine Tip and YOAus have partnered to also offer a discounted rate of 5% to anyone wishing to complete a course in Sydney. 

WSET Course Enquiry Form

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Barista Course

Yachties of Australia have partnered with nationally recognised training providers in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney who are offering a 5% discount on all their barista courses which run most days of the week depending on your location. Fill out the form at the bottom of the page and we will send you instructions on where to book for your city and a unique code to use when you are paying. 

For aspiring interior crew and coffee lovers, another course that can be completed before departing Australia and heading overseas to join a yacht is the Nationally Recognised Barista Training course or Master Barista course. This 5-hour hands on course will give you the skills required to prepare coffee for guests of a superyacht and you will receive a Australian recognised statement of attainment in units SITHFAB005 – Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee and SITXFSA001 – Use Hygienic Practices for Food Safety which can be used within Australia as well. The course, before discount, is $199 so be sure to contact YOAus to get your promo code. 

What you will learn: 

  • How to use the coffee machine from scratch (No prior experience)
  • Coffee art
  • Milk texturing
  • Cleaning and maintaining the machine 
  • Free pouring and etching tricks
  • Hygienic practices and food safety


Barista Course Enquiry Form

  • Please include estimated date or day of the week you wish to complete the course.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Interior Courses – The Crew Academy

Yachties of Australia has formed a partnership with The Crew Academy. The Crew Academy is a course provider that offers both online and in-person courses for individuals starting their careers as yachties all the way to captains. As part of their collaboration, Yachties of Australia and The Crew Academy are providing a 5% discount on all courses exclusively for users of YOAus. To take advantage of this discount, interested crew are required to fill out the form provided below and a member of The Crew Academy will be in contact with details on booking the course or just mention YOAus to the team and the discount will be included. 

There are many different options around the world when it comes to interior courses, whether it be former ex-yachties putting together the training or an institute putting together a number of modules (some that have nothing to do with working in the interior department) to go with your basic training. These courses are not a mandatory requirement to work as a stewardess, and so, many are not audited or recognised by a governing body.

This is where The Crew Academy (TCA) stands out from the rest. TCA was established in 2009 with the primary focus of providing training specifically for yacht crew pursers and service training for interior crew members. However, in 2019, TCA made a shift towards incorporating more e-learning courses into their offerings. As a result, they now provide a comprehensive range of fully-accredited yacht courses under the IAMI GUEST accreditation, catering to crew members at all levels that work on foreign flagged yachts. These courses are accessible worldwide, allowing individuals to access training materials 24 hours a day at their convenience.


IAMI (International Association of Maritime Institutions) provide education for personnel involved with the Merchan Navy, Towing and Fishing Industries. They deliver courses that lead to statutory certification for deckhands, engineers, officers and captains. IAMI governs and audits GUEST (Guidelines for Excellence in Superyacht Training Program), which is the internationally recognised program that provides assured standards of exceptional training in luxury hospitality services, being recognised both in the maritime industry and related industries ashore.

Interior Courses

The online interior courses provide a wide range of opportunities for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a stew/stewardess. These courses cater to entry-level interior crew members who are seeking their first yacht job and aim to increase their chances of success by equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge required in the industry.

Led by an IAMI GUEST approved trainer, who herself is a former Chief Stewardess, these courses offer invaluable insights and expertise gained from over a decade of experience working on vessels ranging from 40m to 80m in size. With such extensive practical knowledge, the trainer is well-equipped to guide aspiring stew/stewardesses through the intricacies and demands of their roles.

The selection of courses below covers a diverse range of duties that stew/stewardesses typically perform onboard. They are directed to entry-level interior crew to improve their chances at finding their first yacht and will give a deeper understanding of what is expected of them in their future positions. Additionally, these courses cater to junior crew that wish to further develop their skills and seek formal training.

  • Food & Beverages Service (Additional advanced course available)
  • Housekeeping & Laundry (Additional advanced course available)
  • Floristry & Plant Maintenance
  • Advanced Cigar Service
  • Advanced Valet Services

Individually, the price of the courses ranges from £195 to £600 or they can be purchased in bundles at a discounted rate on top of the 5% discount on offer through Yachties of Australia.

If you have been in the industry for a few more years, check out The Crew Academy’s website for other courses or Life While Yachting > Senior Crew & Captain Courses – The Crew Academy for more information. 

Interior Course Enquiry

How to write a CV for yacht crew

Pile of yachting resumes laid out on a desk with pen and laptop

Every job requires a well presented and thought-out CV to give your potential employer a good understanding of who you are and any relevant experience from previous positions. Yachting is no different. In an industry that requires the smallest of details to be perfect, a small error in your CV can put your application to the bottom of the pile.

You are selling yourself to the vessel or agent and anything that stands out such as skills, experiences, interests or hobbies can put you ahead of the crowd. Your previous job, apprenticeship or what you have studied could also have transferable skills and jobs such as painter, carpenter, masseuse, chef/cook, mechanical engineer, labourer, videographer/photographer, water sports instructor, dive master, etc. will help you stand out. Yachts are always looking for that extra trade/skill that could be utilised on board, especially those with experience in the hospitality industry.

It is also a requirement to have a headshot photo on your CV, emphasising the importance of a recent and professional looking cv photo. There can be slight variations, but generally you wear a collared shirt or polo with a white or ocean background, the photo is of your shoulders up. Make sure its good quality, natural light, professional smile and not a selfie.

There are plenty of different websites and programs that help with creating your CV, and yacht agents have downloadable yacht cv templates on their websites for your use. Utilising a yacht cv template can significantly streamline the process, ensuring you include all the right information and sections tailored for yacht jobs. This preparation is crucial for making a strong first impression with your yacht resume, ultimately putting you a step closer to landing your dream job in the yachting industry. The hiring process in the yachting sector is competitive, and a well-crafted CV is your first opportunity to impress the hiring manager and stand out among applicants. Do your research, choose a format, make sure you include all the right information and sections and it will put you a step closer to getting your a job offer.

A couple of simple but important things to note for your CV and applying:
  • Send your CV as a PDF making sure the file name is your name and position, eg. “CV – J. Smith – Deckhand” or “S. Adams – Stewardess”
  • When applying via email, social media or online, make sure you introduce yourself, the position you are applying for, how you came about finding the advertisement or who passed on the position and a little information regarding yourself. 
  • When sending your certificates to an agent or potential employer, like your CV, send as a scanned clear PDF, not a photo, name each file with your name, what certificate it is and if it has an expiry add the date. Eg. “J. Smith – ENG1 – Exp 01.02.23” or “S. Adams – Food & Hygiene 2” or “PWC – J. Smith”  
  • Keep agents up to date as often as possible with any movement of location, changes, jobs applied for, becoming unavailable, new certificates or skills etc. It will keep your profile in the front of their mind for any potential positions. 
  • Tattoos are starting to be more accepted in the industry, but if you do have any, put it on your CV, and have photos ready to send of your visible ones if the vessel asks. 
  • Don’t lie in any part of your application, it will show itself in your probation period. 

When Is Charter Season For Yachts?

Timing is everything and being in the right place at the right time can be a big help when finding your first job. The typical season in the Mediterranean starts in May with the Cannes Film Festival and ends in September around the Monaco Yacht Show. The Caribbean seasons are generally a little shorter and starts November/December and ends in February/March. During these months yachts will only be looking for crew if someone has left the vessel. It is the months in between seasons where yachts have to fill positions of crew that have either quit at the end of the season, starting new contracts for the new season, need dayworkers (cash work) to complete a quick ship yard period or to cover crew while they are on holidays. This is when you need to be in one of these towns to take advantage of this crew turnover.

Considerations for Employment in America

Going to America to start or look for work does present a couple of issues. Firstly, you cannot work on an American flagged vessel. Next, foreign flagged yachts require its crew to have a B1B2 visa (see B1B2 Visa in Life Before Yachting for more info) and obtaining one before employment is very difficult so you will have to apply for a tourist visa or ESTA to enter America. You must also be aware that if immigration suspect you are searching for work on yachts, even if it’s on foreign vessels and you have a B1B2, that they can deny you entry into the country. Immigration can also turn up to random yachts to check for any crew that are dayworking and aren’t on the crew list. If you are not on the crew list then they can deport you back to Australia and either cancel your B1B2 or they can deny all future applications. The alternative to America for the Caribbean season is either Nassau in The Bahamas or you have Antigua and Saint Martin to choose from. These three options are less popular but can work just as well, they do have a couple of accommodation options for crew and do get busy before Christmas and after New Year.

When deciding when to travel and join the industry, a little bit of forward thinking and research of the different flights will save you lots of money which can be used to prolong your search for a vessel to join.

Birds eye view of super yacht surrounded by blue sea

How to find a job on a yacht

You’ve got your qualifications and have made your way over to one of the major yachting ports, but how do you get into yachting? Each year hundreds of people from around the world come to one of the yachting hubs hoping to secure a job on one of many super yachts. Finding your first vessel and position is basically a rite of passage, it can be difficult and you have to hustle, there’s even stories of people swimming to boats at anchor just to give their CV, but it is a lot of fun and you will make a load of friends along the way.

For those that are new to the industry and don’t have any extra skills that can be utilised you have to try and get as much experience as you can as fast as you can, this is done through day work. Day work is cash work that is offered by yachts when they need extra hands to get the boat ready for a guest trip, help finish yard period or to cover crew while they are on holidays. They need hard workers with a positive attitude that are willing to get dirty and go the extra mile. Always keep in mind that all the permanent crew will be watching, especially the heads of department, to see if you are a valuable worker as quite often these cash jobs can turn into permanent contracts.

Here are the different ways to go about finding work:

Crew Agents

There are many different recruitment agents that specialise in placing crew for yachts which play a crucial role in helping you present yourself professionally to potential employers, including captains and yacht owners. A yacht will approach one or more with a job spec and the agent will have a group of people hopefully ready to go or will do the leg work to search for the right person to present to that yacht. Your goal is to sign up, have your CV, certificates and any other relevant information up to date and uploaded on that agents site so that they can review and have you in a standby pile ready for a position as soon as possible.

If you are working with a crew agency, it is good to check in every few days and if your circumstances change, you find employment, gain experience, move location or any other relevant information that would be helpful to them, make sure to update your profile and the agent as soon as possible.


Word of mouth, friends of friends, or talking to a stranger down at the pub can all be very helpful when gaining employment. The industry is quite small and people do ask around when looking for crew, some boats only hiring people that the current crew have worked with in the past. So, getting out and ‘networking’ at the pub or at events can be beneficial long term. Personally, I always ask friends first when hiring crew and ask their opinion if they have worked with them in the past.

Social Media

There are numerous groups people can join on Facebook and Instagram (Such as Yachties of Australia) that have daily posts looking to fill positions either permanently, temporarily or for daywork, and also provide other helpful information. These groups are generally where green crew have a better opportunity to get employed as some yachts will not want to pay an agent to fill the position, but there are thousands of people in each of these groups with the same agenda so it can be hard.

Some of the groups are: Kiwi and Aussie Yacht Club, Antibes Yacht Crew, Fort Lauderdale Yacht Crew, Palma Yacht Crew, Australia Pacific Yacht Crew, Yacht Crew Recruitment, Yacht Crew Wanted.

Keep an eye out on these groups daily and set up notifications as this is one of the better ways to get daywork.

Crew Houses

Staying in certain crew houses have benefits also with finding employment. These crew houses are contacted by yachts searching for dayworkers as they know the owners of the crew house will help them out. The crew houses also post job ads themselves and give advice to their residents.


Dockwalking was the first and only way to get work on a yacht way back before any of the above was available. It is as simple as walking from yacht to yacht in a marina, trying to speak to a senior member of the crew such as the Chief Stewardess or Chief Officer and giving them a copy of your CV. You should be dressed casually but professionally, well presented and be able to have a quick chat outlining yourself and your skills. Make sure you have a number of copies of your CV with you to hand out, these can be printed off at your crew house or at a computer café in town.

This method of finding a job is slowly stopping as more marinas are prohibiting it and will have security at its entrances, it is also illegal in America. There are ways around these obstacles such as if you are dayworking on one vessel in the marina or ship yard, try and get to a couple of boats before or after work to drop your CV off and let them know when you will be finishing your current daywork.

The best thing you can do as a new yachtie is to do all of the above as often as possible, keeping that pressure on and hustling every day. If you do get daywork, a trial or a position – work your arse off and remember that there could be 20+ applicants within the hour to fill that position.

Can I work on a yacht with no experience?

Ultimately, yes it is possible to work on a yacht with no experience, providing you have completed the minimum requirement training courses and medical exam. Everyone starts somewhere, and using one of the methods above will largely increase your chance at getting a job on a yacht with no experience.

What Visas are required to work on yacht?


It is not required for Australians to get a special visa to work on a yacht in most countries overseas. Starting out you will most likely be headed to France or Spain to look for work, and when you arrive you will automatically be issued a Schengen visa by immigration.

This is a short stay visa with the following allowances and validity:

  • Allows its holder to circulate within European countries without boarder control.
  • It allows for you to stay a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period.
  • If you leave Europe before the 90 days is up it is paused until you return.

Once you join a vessel, the vessel should organise with immigration, through its agent, for you to be stamped out of Europe, putting your visa on pause so you do not use up the 90 days.

It is important you do not overstay the visa because if you are caught then the EU can ban you from entry in the future and deport you then and there, which basically means your yachting career is over in Europe for a few years.


B1B2 Application update: Australian crew have had their applications for B1B2 Visa’s approved without providing evidence of being employed by a vessel. Please note, these applications have been completed within Australia only and are not always guaranteed to be approved.

As Americans love to be different, yacht crew have to have a visa if you are flying there to join a vessel or if you are already employed and sailing into American waters. This visa is called the B1B2 visa and for Australians, it is valid for a maximum of five years.

The application starts with filling out the DS-160 form online, you will choose a country where you wish to complete the application and where you will be visiting the American Consulate. You are able to be in one country and complete the application for another as long as you can get to that corresponding consulate, but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live.

The application form itself can take a few hours as it has a number of questions with regards to personal information, criminal records, when and where you have been etc. Once the form is complete, you will have to pay for an appointment that is non-refundable and only then can you look at availability of appoints to visit the consulate for a face-to-face interview. Availability depends on the consulate and can be from a few days to a few months depending on location, season, and visa category.

When you attend the interview, they will require some documentation, US passport photos and a few things to prove you are employed by a vessel such as a letter of employment or SEA contract, and you will be questioned at the consulate. The difficulty of these questions depends on the person on the day. If you are approved, the consulate will hold onto your passport to process the visa, this can take one to two weeks and they will post it back to an address, so don’t plan on going anywhere that requires a passport for two weeks.

If your vessel does not require its crew to have a B1B2, you should still ask if you could use the vessels details to apply for a B1B2 at your own cost. This will help in any future employment once you have decided to move on.

Accommodation: Where you will stay during your search for a job

You have decided on where you would like to start your career, now you need a roof over your head. There are a few different options to choose from when it comes to accommodation and this decision can have a big impact on the start of your yachting career. 

The first and most popular option is a crew house. Set up much like a hostel, they offer dorm and private rooms for crew and rates are daily or weekly.  They offer all the amenities including kitchen and food storage, computer stations to update CVs and contact agents, internet, advice and knowledge of the industry, they are approached by boats looking for crew and are great places to meet other likeminded people from all around the world. These crew houses generally are fully booked depending on the time of year so you have to book in advance to secure a spot. 

The next option is short term rentals. Generally, everyone first stays in a crew house where they meet other yachties then decide to rent a place between themselves. This option works out to be cheaper depending on the number of people and the apartment you rent and can be a little quieter. These apartments can be found through word of mouth, Airbnb, and rental websites. Please keep in mind that people come and go often and you may have to fill a bed every few days as people join vessels or go home. 

Lastly are hostels, this option is limited in some towns such as Antibes but can be the better option in Palma where there aren’t as many crew houses. Hostel World provides all the information required should you decide that this is the best option. 

One other option is searching for accommodation in towns outside the main yachting hubs, maybe one or two train stops away. As these towns aren’t the main hubs where everyone stays you will be able to find cheaper accommodation but it will mean staying away from the centre of it all. 

Below are the main options for each yachting hub in France, Spain and Florida. As mentioned above securing a spot as early as possible in a crew house is important, so contact each of them to see what the availability is. 

Antibes, France:
  1. The Crewhouse 
  2. Crew Grapevine 
  3. Debbie’s Crew House 
  4. Amma’s Crew House
  5. Backpackers House Antibes 
Palma, Mallorca, Spain:
  1. The Boat House Palma 
  2. Monzly – Apartment rental
  3. Caimari Crew Accommodation – Apartment rental
  4. 10+ Hostels on Hostel World
Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
  1. Crew House Sirena 
  2. Anchored Crew House
  3. Yachty Rentals
  4. Crew Castle 
  5. Peter Pan Crew House 
West Palm Beach, Florida
  1. Cotton Crews 

International Sim Card – VeslSIM

Yachties of Australia have partnered with VeslSIM, a global roaming sim card provider that was created for yachties around the world. VeslSIM is offering a 25% discount on the first three billing cycles, all you have to do is follow the link and use the promo code below 

Promo code: YOAUS25

VeslSIM and Yachties of Australia

VeslSIM logo, link to website

Working in this industry requires a large amount of travel; you jump from country to country during the summer season, then cross one of the oceans to another continent to do the same for the winter season. Additionally, crew take holidays and fly to countries close by to explore even more of the world. Keeping connected via mobile is essential, and the options out there can be either difficult, require multiple sim card changes (and phone numbers), expensive, or confusing. The implementation of E-Sims has made life easier for us, but there are next to no SIMPLE and manageable options when it comes to sticking to one number that works all over the world.

VeslSIM, created by an ex-yachtie, has developed a solution and a number of different mobile roaming plans to suit the different needs of crew around the world, making it hassle free to move between countries and not have to worry about keeping connected. No longer do you need to swap sim cards when moving around, this is a one phone number plan that can be used in numerous countries around the world.

They offer different options for crew depending on their individual needs and their location, but the chosen plan can be changed month to month, upgrading or downgrading, if need be, while keeping the same number. There are also no lock-in contracts, you can cancel at any time, and you just sign up to a 30-day rolling plan.

Key features offered by VeslSIM:

  • E-sim and physical sim options
  • +200 roaming countries
  • Calls, data and SMS
  • Upgrade / Downgrade between plans
  • Multi-network in many countries
  • All plans 30 days rolling contract
  • Bring your own number (Qualifying countries only, inc Australia)
  • Talk direct to VeslSIM with WhatsApp
  • Manage your account online (App in development)