Yacht Crew Jobs: A Day in the Life of a Deckhand

Whether on watch or on shore leave, yacht crew jobs on a luxury vessel never allow for a dull moment. Throughout the peak season, you’re guaranteed to be busy: occupied from the moment the sun rises until calmness descends with the strike of midnight (and possibly beyond!). Valuable time off will be spent exploring exotic locations, making lifelong friends, and wondering what’s next on the exhilarating itinerary. No two days are the same at sea – and nor would you want them to be, such is the thrill of what tomorrow may bring.

YPI CREW spoke to Sam, a Deckhand on board a 44.00m luxury yacht, to find out what a typical day in a deckhand yacht job may entail. The vessel on which he works is privately owned and guests do not visit the yacht in the winter season.

Low Season – October to May

7:00 am: In the off-season, Sam enjoys a crew cabin to himself, as fewer crewmembers work on the yacht. He gets up at 7:00 am, washes and gets dressed in 30 minutes.

7:30 am: Normally, the whole crew gathers in the crew mess to eat breakfast. There is no chef on board during the off-season and crewmembers help themselves to whatever they’d like to eat – cereal, fruit or toast.

8:00 am: Done with breakfast, the crew gathers to receive a briefing from the yacht’s captain. They go over what needs to be done that day and how it should be completed. The first person on deck always raises the yacht’s flag as the first task of the day; it’s a ritualistic kind of tradition on some yachts.

8:20 am: There are no day workers during the off-season, so Sam gets to work on the day’s agenda alone. Typically, he might be tasked with washing down the entire yacht over a two day period – a weekly chore. By 8:20 am, he’s unpacked all cleaning apparatus, including hose pipes, chamois and blades. For the next 1 hour and 40 minutes, Sam will clean the yacht from the top down, washing and drying in sections for the cleanest possible finish.

10:00 am: Morning tea. Everybody takes a break for 15 minutes and convenes in the crew mess for light refreshments, prepared by the stewardess.

10:15 am: Sam returns to the sun deck and continues to clean. The yacht is moored in the Port of Monaco throughout the low season, so the view is fantastic!

12:00 pm: The crew gathers for lunch in the crew mess; food is prepared by the stewardess again. She might make a small buffet for each person to pick and choose what she/he would like to eat. Fortunately, there are no fussy eaters on board!

12:30 pm: Cleaning and detailing.

3:00 pm: The crew breaks again for afternoon tea.

3:15 pm: If he’s finished the cleaning and detailing, Sam concludes the day’s work by polishing the yacht’s glass and metal.

4:30 pm: Most of the crew finish for the day at 4:00 pm. Sam will retire to the crew mess where he’ll unwind until dinner. He’ll surf the internet, interact with colleagues, read, call home, or just watch television.

6:00 pm: The crew eats together in the crew mess. Dinner is usually prepared by the crewmember who is on watch on that particular day. Set by the captain, a rota specifies which crewmember has watch duty on which day. There must be someone on the yacht at all times.

Sunset: The last task of the day involves lowering the flag.

If he is not on watch, Sam spends his evenings exploring Monaco. There is a strong community of yacht crewmembers around Port Hercule, so he has met many new people from all walks of life.

High Season – May to October

During the high season, the yacht on which Sam works will normally be cruising the Mediterranean, accommodating the yacht’s owner and his guests. As is stipulated in the yacht job description, service is provided by the crew 24/7, according to the owner’s requirements. As such, shifts are long and the work is demanding in the peak season. Many of Sam’s tasks are the same as in the low season, but his priorities centre upon the yacht’s guests.

6:00 am: Sam wakes promptly, completes his morning routine, and is on deck by 7:00 am, ready to prepare the yacht for a busy day.

7:00 am: After raising the flag, Sam and the other deckhands prepare all outside spaces for use by the guests, starting with the dining deck. They’ll remove covers, mop up condensation, arrange cushions, lay out towels, detail and touch up the surfaces, polish glass, and dress tables. Throughout the morning, Sam and the other deck mates will be on hand to clear up after the guests and ensure that everything on deck is in perfect condition.

10:00 am: Deckhands take a short break while guests are dining – it’s important to maintain their privacy. Food may be prepared by the chef.

10:15 am: After the tea break, Sam will help the engineer with any small tasks that need doing, such as cleaning the tenders. If the guests would like to access the land, Sam will prepare a tender, loading it with necessary items, such as bikes, towels, and other equipment.

10:30 am: Sam might drop guests to shore in a tender, before returning to the yacht to clear up and continue to detail the surfaces.

12:00 pm: Before collecting the owner and his guests from the shore, Sam will eat lunch with the rest of the crew in the crew mess. The chef would have prepared food for everybody.

12:30 pm: Sam will finish lunch and take the tender to pick up the yacht’s guests.

1:00 pm: As the party enjoys lunch, Sam will do a round of the yacht, ensuring that each deck is looking tidy.

2:00 pm: Swimming might be on the agenda for the afternoon. Sam will prepare the yacht’s water toys and tender, packing towels and refreshments for an afternoon on and in the water. One deckhand will accompany guests in the water and another will follow in the tender for safety. One deckhand will always remain on the yacht to serve remaining guests.

6:00 pm: The crew will take it in turns to eat dinner in the crew mess from 6:00 pm, ensuring that guests want for nothing in their absence.

7:00 pm: The guests dine. Sam tidies away the swimming platform, as he knows it will not be used again that night. He does another round of the yacht to ensure that everything is tidy. The flag is lowered at sunset.

7:30 pm: Sam enjoys a break of 90 minutes, in which he’ll relax in the crew mess and prepare for the evening. If the owner is not on board in the high season, Sam and other members of the crew will enjoy shore leave from 7:30 pm until 10 pm. There will always be one deck hand on board.

9:30 pm: If not on shore leave, Sam will tidy and cover all outdoor spaces, ready for the next day, before retiring to the crew mess.

11:00 pm: Lights out (providing the guests are all in bed!).

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