Being a deckhand or a stewardess on a superyacht is one of the most popular employment opportunities in the marine industry. Sure, the work can get brutal during peak season, but you get to experience the luxuries of a superyacht, explore destinations with the crew, and experience different cultures—all this while earning a hefty sum of 2000-3000 GBP a month, even for entry positions. Though the work and rewards may seem lucrative, the job isn’t just for anyone. So, how do you understand whether it is for you? By taking a peek into their daily lives, of course. Here’s a day in the life of a deckhand in two different scenarios.
A Day in the Life of a Deckhand
Everyone knows that deckhand work on a superyacht is one hectic job. Once you wake up and your job begins, you might end up working for 10-14 hours, non-stop. Sometimes even more. It is indeed a very demanding task. To be a deckhand, one has to equip themselves with all the latest STCW certifications and at least a Powerboat Level 2 license. Apart from that, one must understand the etiquette and formalities of such a five-star environment.
Deckhand jobs are fairly physically intense. But there are also benefits such as enjoying the sea, meeting people from all around the world, and of course, earning a hefty sum of money and tips. But, while the job may sound doable on paper, do you think you are prepared to take on the challenge? Let’s take a peek into a day in the life of a deckhand in this article.
A Day in the Life of a Deckhand in Off-season
Off-season means there would be no guests on a superyacht. This usually happens in the winter. In this case, a deckhand’s duties are fairly limited. Usually, they only work in the daytime and return home after the sun sets. As you can guess, deckhands have much more freedom even though their work can still be quite hectic.
In the off-season, your priorities mainly include keeping the yacht in tip-top condition. In this case, you would begin your day at around 9 or 10 am. If there are no guests, you will likely get to cleaning and maintaining the yacht. This includes cleaning and polishing the teak deck, hull, yacht toys, jacuzzis, and any superstructures on the yacht. Apart from that, checking inventory or repairing minorly damaged exteriors is also part of the job description.
Your job description for an off-season deckhand will mainly be that. But it is not always intense work either. Deckhands sometimes get to appreciate the experience of riding thrilling yacht toys. Although the purpose is mainly to test whether the toys are functional, it is an experience in itself.
Occasionally, the owner(s) may visit the yacht for various purposes. Only during such times, you may have extra duties or longer working hours.
A Day in the Life of a Deckhand during peak season
Deckhands during the season work relatively long hours regularly, clocking about 10 to 14 hours a day on average. We are not joking; deckhand priorities can really get super intense.
During the season, your top priorities are the consistent stream of guests that visit your superyacht and make sure their accommodation and experience remain a 5-star experience. In this scenario, you and your needs are secondary. For example, you might be having a lunch break. But if you hear that a guest needs something, you may have to drop it off to assist them immediately.
So, what does a day in the life of a deckhand during peak season look like?
Early Morning (Starting as early as 3 or 4 AM)
A deckhand during the season might be on a charted course or docked. You will have to get ready early, around 4-6 am depending on your duties. You barely would get time to get fresh, so utilise it wisely. Once you are ready, report for duty and take over your fellow deckhand’s duties. There will be a 5-minute session to catch up on your duties before you begin.
Guests are usually asleep or away in their quarters during this hour, so you would use this valuable time to carry out the cleaning and maintenance tasks.
Morning (From 8 AM onwards)
By 8-9 am, the guests would start waking up. Ideally, you are expected to finish all the primary maintenance and cleaning work by now. This includes superyacht decks, watersport areas, and jacuzzis if any. Imagine cleaning the deck while your guests are watching you as they eat their breakfast. Now, that would be too unprofessional.
Once the guests are up, you will have to tend to their requests until it is lunchtime for them. This mainly includes watersport activities or driving tenders for your guests so that they can visit the localities around the dock.
Or if the guests are visiting in the morning, then you have to make sure that the guests are on the list, that they feel welcome, and that no unwanted guests are sneaking in on the yacht. Make sure the boarding procedure is smooth.
Noon Respite (Usually around 12 PM)
Once it’s lunchtime, you may have your peace for about an hour. Or if a guest promptly needs something, then you might have to say goodbye to such times.
Regardless, this happens rarely and you should have enough time to recharge yourself and fill your hunger.
Afternoon (Past lunchtime)
Past lunchtime, it is time to tend to guests again. This again includes watersport activities, leisure activities, or tender trips. Apart from that, your job will also include other miscellaneous activities such as tending to guest requests, watchkeeping and security, or assisting other crew if they are overloaded with their tasks.
When it comes to watersports, you will be to assisting the guests with the equipment, helping them with activities, and ensuring their overall safety and enjoyment.
This can go on for as long as late evening. Apart from that, you may also be summoned for any emergencies, or periodic maintenance or watchkeeping.
Evening (Usually around 8 PM)
Depending on how long you have been working, you may be allowed to take time off from your duties and your fellow deckhands on the shift can take your place. You may have to tell them what kind of tasks need some tending or your progress on such tasks. If somebody does take your place, it’s a relief for you. Time to take your well-earned rest.
However, if things are overloaded on the yacht, you will have to assist on the deck. This is the hardest part of keeping up with a deckhand job. Despite working long hours, you may have to pitch in extra to assist others. Of course, while this does give you the overtime salary and extra tips in earning, it also has the potential to impact your physical and mental health as well. But regardless, you have to keep up with it.
While off-season deckhand work hours do not sound as brutal, on-season deckhand work is a very challenging task. However, it is also difficult to find an off-season deckhand position due to reasons. For example, the yacht owners do tend to keep their most trusted deckhand in charge of the yacht only. As a newcomer, it will be tremendously difficult for you to find a position like that. The most difficult part may not be keeping up your stamina for the tasks, but rather keeping yourself presentable all the time. As a deckhand of a multi-million dollar superyacht, you are expected to always appear professional and polite.
Deckhand work, while it sounds easy on paper, it really is not. You have to be flexible, presentable, and have a ‘yes, I can’ sort of personality to storm through the job responsibilities. If you still think this is the right job for you, you may consider applying for deckhand jobs.
We highly recommend you read these deckhand stories by some real deckhand to get a better idea.