With the increasing number of yachts, both large and small, there is also an increasing number of jobs available, as well as different types of jobs. Depending on the size of the yacht, as well as who owns it, you may find that there is a bigger variety of jobs available on a yacht than you thought.

In general, though there are three primary categories of yacht crew jobs:

  1. Deckhands, engineers, first mate, captain;

  2. Housekeeping/stewards; and

  3. Chefs, cooks.

Here are a few more details about the jobs in each of these categories. You can read more in-depth descriptions and information about each position on other pages of this site.

Yacht Captain

A lot of people have romantic notions about being a captain. The truth it, it is one of the hardest and most responsible jobs you could work and you must usually log a lot of hours on the sea and as a first mate before you can land it. The captain is ultimately responsible for the safety and well-being of the crew, passengers, and the ship itself and he or she performs a lot of work on a daily basis.

Here is a small sampling of some of the typical duties a captain performs:

  • Plans ship's route and itinerary

  • Develops the budget and makes sure expenditures adhere to it

  • Interviews and hires crew members

  • Supervises crew members

  • Settles disputes among crew members

  • Negotiates with harbor officials at all ports

  • Ensures that the ship is clean and well-maintained

  • Ensures the safety of everyone onboard

There are many other duties the captain is expected to perform, but this gives you a good overall picture of the position. The most important thing you should know about the job of captain is that he or she is always looked to for leadership and decision-making and he or she should have extensive knowledge when it comes to yachting and sea travel. 

Yacht Mate

There are three levels of mate or officer, first mate or officer, second mate or officer, and third mate or officer. Each has its own set of requirements that you will need to fulfill. These are defined by the U.S. Coast Guard or Maritime Coast Guard Agency of the U.K. Once you've worked your way up to the level of mate, you perform work directly for the captain and supervise other crew members.

Here are some of the basic responsibilities of all levels of mates on a yacht:

  • Supervise deck and engineering crew members.

  • Create and execute required drills for crew members.

  • Ensure that all equipment onboard the ship is being properly maintained and is in working order.

  • Provide training to passengers on the equipment that they will use while onboard.

  • Stand in for the captain, performing all of the captain's duties, as needed.

  • Act as host to the passengers and answer their questions.

  • Supervise docking and anchoring operations

Yacht Engineer

The yacht engineer's primary goal is to keep the yacht's engine working efficiently. This means conducting scheduled maintenance and keeping track of its performance on a daily basis. There are other routine tasks the engineer may need to complete, including

  • Training other engineers onboard

  • Supervising other engineers

  • Training other crew members about engine room and wheelhouse safety

  • Repairing and maintaining navigational and other equipment

  • Prepare maintenance schedules for all equipment

  • Track and record fuel usage

  • Ensure that the engine and ship meet pollution control requirements

There are several additional duties that the yacht engineer may be required to perform. In some ships, the engineer will also need to fix any equipment that may malfunction, including the refrigerator and dishwasher or even the hair dryers of the crew. 

Yacht Chef

The yacht chef may not perform the variety of duties as the captain or other workers, but the chef will have a direct impact on how successful the experience will be for everyone onboard.

Here are some of the duties the chef may be asked to perform:

  • Plans the menus for three meals a day while the ship is in use.

  • Prepares food and supply list and budget, making sure budget fits the one set by the captain

  • Ensures that all food will fit in the galley and stay fresh while at sea

  • Supervises other cooks

  • Cooks all meals for everyone on board- crew and passengers

There are other duties that the chef may have to perform, but these are the ones most often required.


One of the most visible jobs in the yachting industry is the steward or stewardess. This employee really acts as the host for the yacht's passengers, whether they are the owners or people chartering the yacht. Depending on the size of the yacht and its crew, stewards may perform a great deal of the inside work of the yacht.

Here is a small sampling of some of the typical duties a steward/stewardess performs:

  • Make up beds in the morning, turn them down at night

  • Wash sheets, towels, and other laundry

  • Work with captain and other crew members to plan each day at sea, such as when meals will be served, etc.

  • Arrange flowers

  • Greet passengers and be available to answer questions

  • Clean all interior rooms, including floors

  • Serve food and beverages

As mentioned, depending on the size of the yacht, this is often just the tip of the iceberg of what the steward/stewardess is expected to do.



 Deckhands can perform a variety of duties, depending on the size of the yacht. In general, though, the deckhands are primarily responsible for the exterior of the yacht.

Here are some of the tasks the deckhand may be responsible to perform, especially on larger yachts:

  • Maintain the exterior of the ship, which means thoroughly cleaning it, polishing it, and performing touch ups on the varnish and paint as needed.

  • Keeping all of the "toys" on the ship maintained and clean, including dinghies, wave runners, deck chairs, etc.

  • Assist the first mate or boson with tasks such as repairing ropes and cables and rigging towing lines.

  • Standing steering watches.

  • Assisting with passengers, such as helping with their luggage.