If you're deciding which path to take, here are a few examples of what a day in the life might look with guests onboard, for your average deckhand and stewardess!
The busy season for yacht crew will fall at different times of the year depending on whether you’re in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, or another location.
However, the main factor for a high season job is the expectation of round-the-clock service for the guests onboard.
This is the time of year when yacht crew work hardest, with long shifts and variable work to make sure everything is perfect for the guests.
When guests are onboard, a deckhand will have regular maintenance duties but will also help the guests with water sports and shore activities.
6:00 am - Typically, a deckhand will rise around 6 am, have a quick breakfast, then get out on deck to start morning tasks.
If they are first up, they will raise the flag. Then the deckhand will prepare the yacht's outside space for the guests by drying all surfaces, setting out towels, and making sure that everything is shipshape.
8:00 am - The deckhand might then begin washing and drying the yacht. Washing the entire yacht might be a several day job, but the work can be done in stages to avoid interrupting the guests.
10:00 am - Deckhands rotate through taking a short coffee (and second breakfast) break.
11:00 am - By mid-morning deckhands are setting up for excursions and loading the tender (small boat) with water sports items, towels, and drinks.
12:00 pm - Crew lunch! Deck crew take a short break for lunch. The chef prepares all crew meals, and while they’re usually not as fancy as guest meals, the crew can expect plenty of good, healthy food.
1:00 pm - After lunch, it's time to pick up guests or help while the guests eat their own midday meal.
3:00 pm - After guest lunch, it’s time for another activity - maybe swimming and snorkeling. The deckhand prepares the water toys or the tender along with towels and snacks.
For safety purposes, one deckhand usually stays in the water with the guests, snorkeling or diving, another will stay on the tender and a third will stay on the yacht to take care of guests who’ve stayed onboard.
These activities can take most of the afternoon.
6:00 pm - Crew dinner time. Crew eats in shifts, while some prepare for the guest meal and make sure that guests are attended at all times.
7:00 pm - Later, while the guests are having dinner, the deck crew make sure all water toys are properly cleaned and stowed.
8:00 pm - At sunset, the flag is lowered.
9:00 pm - After dinner - time to relax in the crew mess or cabin if not on evening duty.
10:00 pm - Just before bed, the deckhand on duty will do a final circuit of the outdoor areas, covering surfaces and preparing for the next day. Then, it’s off to bed by around 10 pm, unless the deckhand is on duty to support guests who are still up!
A stewardess or interior crew member will face the same expectations as a deckhand -- long hours, 24/7 support to guest needs and to provide the highest level of service.
Here’s what a stewardess might encounter during a day with guests onboard.
6:00 am - The "early" stewardess rises and prepares for the day ahead. This includes preparing the table for breakfast and morning tea or coffee and making everything tidy and beautiful.
8:00 am - First thing, the stewardess will also meet with or review notes from the Chief Stewardess, to understand the plan for the day.
9:00 am - Once the guests rise and start to have breakfast, one or several stewardesses will work on cleaning the guest cabins. Usually, there will be at least one stewardess on laundry duty. The interior crew work all day making sure the yacht remains tidy and pristine.
The stewardesses are also responsible for crew laundry, making sure evening uniforms are ready before sunset, and day uniforms are cleaned in proper rotation.
10:00 am - The chief stew and captain advise of any plans for the day's meal times, activities, and shore excursions. The stewardess will assist in preparing guests and equipment for any of these activities. The chief stewardess would also make reservations with any onshore service providers.
12:00 pm - Set up the crew mess for crew lunch. A small break if possible, then clean up after.
1:00 pm - Guest lunch. One fun and creative part of the job for a steward/ess is table decoration.
At each meal, the stewardess creates a different and sometimes elaborate table decoration, often coordinating with the chef on the menu.
6:00 pm - All crew change from day uniform to evening formal wear. Crew dinner.
7:00 pm - As the guests move toward dinner and evening activities, the stewardess will prepare the guest cabins for the evening, cleaning and turning down the beds. They may place a chocolate on the pillow or create a special fold with the towels.
8:00 pm - Guest dinner. Stewardesses will serve the guest dinner and clean after in the galley.
10:00 pm - One stewardess will remain on late night duty until all guests have gone to bed.
12:00 am - If the guests have any requests for breakfast or next day activities, the late stewardess will leave a message for the early stewardess. Then, it’s off to bed for a few hours rest before starting the rotation again!
The hours and workload for a typical day with guests onboard may sound like a lot of work, and it certainly can be!
It does pay off though, with all the perks yacht crew receive. Like a day off in a tropical paradise when the guests have left!
Crew also often feel a great sense of satisfaction knowing they are performing like a tight team, providing an amazing and memorable experience for the yacht's guests.
Plus, if you're working on a charter yacht, you have that possibility of a big tip at the end of your trip to help keep you motivated!
Before you start to worry about working long days year-round, remember that for a significant part of the year, yacht crew also work on boats when there are no guests on board.
This is the time when a lot of extended maintenance and deep cleaning is completed. Crew will typically work a regular, 8-5 type schedule with weekends off during these periods.
The time with no guests onboard gives crew the opportunity to enjoy a more relaxed environment and more time off-duty to explore where the boat is docked.
What do you think of the work schedule when guests are onboard? Is this something you could easily manage and still enjoy the work? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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