Yacht Jobs: Structure, Management, and Crew Roles

Major Yacht Services Jobs

Every yacht needs a structure, management and staff. There are ranks similar to that of merchant marine, with heads of departments corresponding to yacht size and power.

The chief steward or stewardess manages the inside crew and sets service standards, scheduling junior staff for meal and cabin preparation. They also handle food safety, inventory and yacht administration.


A yacht captain is a leader of the crew and is responsible for the safety and security of all guests aboard. He or she is also tasked with providing guests with an exceptional vacation experience.

A good yacht captain will have first-class people skills, as well as an innate sense of responsibility and respect for the vessel and its owners. They should be able to develop a good working relationship with clients, management companies and shipyards.

It is recommended that those looking to become a yacht captain work in another role on a yacht as an engineer, second mate or deckhand to gain practical experience and make their way up the ranks. This is especially important on larger vessels over 500 gross tons as there is a crew management company involved who the yacht owner will be working with.

First Mate

The first mate is second in command and manages the deck department. They oversee maintenance programs and assist the Captain with navigation, passage planning and undertaking bridge watches. They may also be the designated security, safety or medical officer on board.

During a trip, the first mate is responsible for the proper loading and unloading of cargo. This is a vital role, as incorrectly arranged cargo can throw off the balance of the ship and cause it to capsize.

They must also be able to teach the crew new repair and maintenance skills. This job requires a profound understanding of all bridge, navigation and deck procedures as well as excellent management and strong leadership skills. They will often be required to have an unlimited STCW license.


A bosun is a senior deckhand responsible for managing the team of deckhands on a yacht. They are also in charge of exterior maintenance and will spend time on guest water toys such as jet skis, tubing, and wakeboarding to ensure guests are having fun and staying safe.

Strong customer service skills are a must for bosuns, as they directly interact with guests on a daily basis. They also need to have a mechanical aptitude and work closely with engineers to ensure that machinery is operating correctly.

Bosuns should also be familiar with the latest maritime regulations and standards, particularly those relating to safety. In addition, they need to have good communication and leadership skills to manage their team effectively. It’s also a good idea to network within the industry to stay abreast of current trends and opportunities.


Working as a Deckhand on a yacht is a great way to explore the industry and find out whether it’s for you. This role requires no specific qualifications, but if you have a willingness to learn and a good work ethic, Captains will consider you for their crew.

Your duties may include washing down the yacht, polishing, sanding and varnishing teak, painting, mooring procedures and helping on the water toys and tenders. It’s an entry level position but with hard work, you can advance to Bosun or Service roles.

A friendly yet professional demeanour is required, and a willingness to be flexible and adaptable in the face of changing circumstances. This is a very hands-on and rewarding career for the right person. It also gives you the opportunity to visit many of the world’s most beautiful destinations.


An Engineer oversees all mechanical and electrical systems on board, working alongside the Chief and 2nd engineers to train, oversee and provide guidance to the team. They are also responsible for planned maintenance and working with shore-side engineers to coordinate all repair and service work.

On a larger yacht, the Engineer can be considered a ‘jack of all trades’ – day to day duties include everything from unblocking toilets and trouble-shooting false alarms to repairing toys and ensuring that the satellite TV works. They are also expected to be proficient in all aspects of the ship’s operations and able to use software programs to assist with planning and scheduling repairs.

An Engineer can be hired on a permanent basis or on a rotational contract.

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