How Much Does a Deckhand Make on a Yacht? (Private and Charter?) (2023)


Recently, I was on holiday in South Africa. My wife and I went to a small little seaside town called Knysna. It was magnificent! It is really one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. One of the most exciting things we did there though, was enjoy a yacht trip. This yacht was massive!

The deckhand who worked on board was such a great guy. He had years of experience in his belt and it was awesome listening to all his adventures out at sea. This made me wonder how much money a deckhand would make on a yacht. And if there were any differences in salary between private and charter yachts. Keep reading to find out the answer.

Yacht deckhand salary ranges

How much does a deckhand make on a yacht? The average salary of deckhands on a yacht is $35,880 a year (around $18.40 an hour). Novice yacht deckhands can make about $20,378 a year. Experienced yacht deckhands can make up to $59,659 a year.

Yacht deckhand salaries can also depend on how large the yacht is and also in which area you are working. But on average, these are the figures that a deckhand makes in a year.

Guide to yacht deckhand salary and responsibilities

If you are interested in becoming a deckhand and you like the salary on offer, then keep reading!

(Video) How Much Money Do Yacht Crew Make AND I Reveal My Yacht Crew Salary For My Entire Super Yacht Career

For those looking for an exciting life out at sea, then becoming a deckhand could be for you. You also have the option of working on a private or charter yacht. If you work on a private yacht, you might end up making a bit more money though.

How Much Does a Deckhand Make on a Yacht? (Private and Charter?) (1)

It can be hard work being a deckhand, but the money you make can make it all worth it.

What does a deckhand do exactly?

Yacht deckhands have a really important job. He or she is responsible for all the maintenance onboard the vessel and is also responsible for assisting the captain in safely managing the yacht whilst out at sea. You will need to be an energetic, meticulous and responsible person to become a deckhand.

As a deckhand, you will also be in charge of maintaining the cleanliness of the exterior of the yacht. This also includes painting, stripping, waxing, varnishing, and cleaning of the engines.

Yacht deckhands will also need to also pitch in with the cleaning and maintenance of the interior of the yacht, as well as whatever “toys” might be onboard, such as jet skis.

It will also be your responsibility to assist the guests onboard. Therefore, being a deckhand is a lot of work. If you feel that you are up to the challenge, then being a deckhand could be for you, but you will need specific training if you want to take advantage of the larger yacht deckhand salary ranges on offer.

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What training should a deckhand have to earn a larger salary?

As a deckhand, you won’t actually need a sailing qualification, but it will always be an advantage. Those with qualifications are more likely to make more money and earn a higher salary.

Other important qualifications that you do need though is the STCW Basic Safety Training and ENG1. This is the basics that you will need to become an entry-level deckhand.

For those who would like to have a greater skill set these specific qualifications are always a must:

  • MCA Efficient Deckhand (EDH)
  • General GRP and carpentry repairs
  • VHF Radio
  • RYA Competent Crew
  • RYA Radar
  • MCA Proficiency in Designated Security Duties
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2
  • RYA Tender Operator
  • PWC Personal Watercraft Proficiency

You also give different types of deckhands:

  • Entry Level
  • Mid-level
  • Lead Deckhand
  • Bosun

The more experience you have, the higher up you will be, with a Bosun being the leader of the deck team. Bosuns can make more money as yacht deckhands, both in the private and charter sectors.

Many of the courses available are actually quite short. Some could take a week or even a day depending on which course you would like to do. The courses are also affordable (relatively speaking) – and will be worth the money if you want to achieve a higher yacht deckhand salary.

You would need to see who offers courses in your area to find out more.

(Video) Super Yacht Crew Salary

Where would a deckhand earn more money, on a private or charter yacht?

It seems that if you had to work on a private yacht you would make more money, in the sense that your basic salary would be higher than that of a charter yacht.

The reason being is that on a charter yacht you could end up getting tips and so from guests, therefore your basic salary on a charter yacht might be a bit less – as your yacht deckhand salary will be largely supplemented by gratuities.

The size of the yacht seems to be the biggest factor depending on average yacht deckhand salaries. The bigger the yacht, the greater your salary, as well as how much experience you have.

The country you work from will also have an impact on your salary too. For example, in South Africa, a deckhand will only make R13,000 a month on average. Which is about $866 a month. Whereas if you had to work in the United States you would be in line to make a lot more money.

Which type of person would be ideal as a deckhand?

Being a deckhand is not for everyone. The job would suit a specific type of person. You might feel that you would like to become a deckhand for the money you can make in salary.

However, if your personality doesn’t suit the job, you might find yourself running for dry land after your first week onboard.

Anyone can become a deckhand. It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman. You would need these specific personality traits to get on with the job.


Are you:

  • An adventure enthusiast: If you enjoy scuba diving, jet-skiing, wake surfing, swimming, and fun, then becoming a deckhand is for you. Deckhands assist their guests with tons of fun and adventurous activities.
  • Physically strong: When it comes to being a deckhand, a certain amount of physical strength is needed. You will need to move heavy equipment around the boast, and the maintenance and cleaning of the boat are physically tiring. You would need to be fit and have tons of energy in order to be a deckhand.
  • An outdoor fanatic:If you hate the idea of sitting in an office all day, then being a deckhand could be for you. You will mainly work outdoors on the yacht, in good and bad weather. So, you need to make sure that you enjoy being outside, whether in the rain or sunshine.
  • Helpful: Deckhands are required to help out all the time. Whether you are helping guests or the captains, you can be sure that you be on beck and call 24/7. If you have a friendly and helpful attitude, then being a deckhand could be a great fit for you.
  • Great at managing tasks:As a deckhand, you will need to be efficient with the work that you do. The amount of work that a deckhand does is a lot. From maintenance to painting, to cleaning, to getting the toys for guests ready, you will need to be awesome at managing your time and getting your work done on time.
  • A leader: Many deckhands eventually work their way up the ranks to Bosun. If this is your goal, then becoming a deckhand will be a good start. Many deckhands eventually even become captains one day.

Whatever your goal is for your future, if you would like to become a deckhand you will need to make sure that your personality is well suited for the job before you start to even consider how much you can make in this job role.

The job is hard, but I think it must be an incredible experience. The stories that Tom (the deckhand on the yacht in South Africa) were amazing!

From seeing dolphins to enormous whales, and magnificent sunsets, he said that he would never do any other job.

If a life of adventure is for you, then becoming a deckhand on a yacht is the perfect job!

The last word…

Perhaps being a yacht deckhand isn’t the thing for you. But, did you know there are other boats where you can also become a deckhand and earn high wages too? And, I’ve done all the hard work for you if you were wondering what the salary ranges were. Check out the following blog posts for more information.

  • Tugboat deckhand salary: up to $72,300 dollars a year (see details)
  • Barge deckhand salary: up to $147 dollar a day (see details)
  • Tuna boat deckhand salary: up to up to $300 dollars per trip (see details)
  • Deadliest Catch deckhand salary: up to $50,000 dollars (see details)


(Video) The REAL Below Deck! Super Yachts Explained: Crew, Ops, Life Onboard


How Much Does a Deckhand Make on a Yacht? (Private and Charter?)? ›

The chef makes about $7,000-$10,000 a month, depending on experience and training. The deckhands usually make around $3,500-$4,500 a month, while a bosun would make a little more at approximately $5,000 monthly.

How much does a deckhand make on a private yacht? ›

Starting out as a junior, a yacht deckhand salary can be anywhere from $3,000 to $3,5000 per month, with very rare cases reporting to earn over $4,000 per month. However, after a few years working as a deckhand you might expect to take home anything from $3,500 to $4,500 per month.

How much do you make on a private yacht? ›

Yacht Crew Salaries
POSITION70' to 100'100' to 130'
Captain$84 - $120,000$120 - $156,000
First Officer$54 - $66,000$66 - $78,000
2nd Mate/Bosun$48 - $54,000$54 - $60,000
Deckhand$42 - $48,000$48 - $54,000
26 more rows

Do yachties get salary or just tips? ›

In many cases, yachties also benefit from tips and gratuities. Having said that, getting tipped is more common for those yachties who work on board a charter yacht rather than those who have such a position on a private yacht. If you're a new yachtie, you can expect to make around $2,500 per month.

How much does a yacht girl make? ›

For instance, a chief stewardess will typically have a salary in the range of $3,000 and $5,250 per month on a smaller yacht (between 80 and 140 feet), while one working on a larger yacht of over 140 feet could have a salary of over $7,000 a month.

What is Captain Sandy salary? ›

But the mega bucks go to the top dogs, Captain Lee and Captain Sandy, who on a 185-foot superyacht make between $150-$210,000 a year.

How much is a 4 day charter on Below Deck? ›

How much does it cost to charter a yacht from Below Deck? The cheaper yachts from Below Deck can be chartered for $140,000 a week. The most expensive ones have charter costs close to $300,000 per week.

Do private yacht owners tip their crew? ›

Charter Crew Private yacht owners often want to acknowledge crew financially for exceptional service, but this can be a slippery slope. It's common practice to tip the crew on a yacht. It is advised to tip between 5-15%, depending on how satisfied you are.

Do you get tips on a private yacht? ›

Gratuities are discretionary, but it's customary to acknowledge and reward a fine crew in appreciation for long hours and a job well done. Tipping guidelines vary according to the size of the yacht and the yacht charter destination.

Is it worth it to work on a yacht? ›

There is a lot of positives to being a yacht crew member - you get to travel the world, meet incredible people and make great memories and lifelong friends. You receive a generous compensation and you live onboard so most of your daily expenses are taken care of, making it easy for you to save lots of money.

How many months a year do yachties work? ›

Winter/summer seasons each last around six months and refer to both location and time of the year; summer yacht charter season spans from around April/May through October, while the winter season starts in November and runs through April.

What is the highest tip on Below Deck? ›

Captain Lee Rosbach has always begrudgingly said that Below Deck guest Timothy Sykes delivered the highest tip ever. Sykes tipped the Below Deck Season 5 crew $35,000, after initially appearing on Below Deck Season 2.

Are the tips on Below Deck realistic? ›

The amount of money the crew gets in tips is not realistic.

“On a yacht of that size, [a good tip] would be $5,000 a person for seven days of work,” she explained. “Our charters are a little bit shorter, just so we can make the show. But everything else is the same… we usually get around $2,500, $2,000.

What is the best age to work on a yacht? ›

What is the average age for working on a yacht? The average age of customer that trains with Flying Fish who intends to start a career on a yacht is between 22 and 35 years old. However, if you're under this age do not be put off!

What is the average age of a yacht crew? ›

But what is the average age of a yacht crew? Students who train with SYSA with the intention of starting a career aboard superyachts are typically between the ages of 18 and 30, with an increasing number in their late 20s and 30s.

How much do first mates make on yachts? ›

Again, the pay rate depends on the experience of the mate and the size of the boat. Breen says that the typical pay is $150 for day work and $200 for fishing trips. The rule of thumb for a good traveling mate is $1,100 dollars per week, Breen says.

Do Below Deck guests pay? ›

The charter guests you see on the show are genuine charter guests. They pay their own money to secure a space within the six weeks of filming time each season. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to charter any of the superyachts featured in the series.

How much of Below Deck is staged? ›

Q: Is Below Deck scripted? A: No. The direct answer to this question is a definitive 'no'. Nobody appearing on the show is reciting lines from a script, nor is anything staged in the strictest sense of the word.

What is the highest paid ship captain? ›

High Paying Ship Captain Jobs
  • Tugboat Captain. Salary range: $77,500-$118,000 per year. ...
  • Marine Superintendent. Salary range: $36,000-$109,000 per year. ...
  • Port Captain. Salary range: $62,000-$100,000 per year. ...
  • Boat Pilot. Salary range: $76,500-$87,000 per year. ...
  • Vessel Master. Salary range: $43,500-$84,000 per year. ...
  • Captain.

Do the engineers on Below Deck get tips? ›

Captain Lee demystified the tipping process further on Twitter, sharing that every member of the crew gets an equal cut of the tip, including the captain, as well as the couple of Below Deck crew members who have typically not appeared on camera, such as the first officer and engineer.

How long is a charter season? ›

Typically, there are two yacht charter seasons. That includes the summer season and the winter season. The summer season runs from the beginning of May until the end of October, while the winter one commences in November to April. However, there are a few exceptions to these time zones, depending on where you are.

Who pays for the nights out on Below Deck? ›

Guests really do pay for their charter.

"They spend their real money to be on the show," executive producer Mark Cronin told Bravo TV. But since it may not be the most relaxing trip, guests that are featured on the reality show get a 50% discount on their charter.

Do yachties pay taxes? ›

While there are taxes every yacht owner has to pay, the flipside is that there are some tax deductions that can save yacht owners money on their taxes. The deductions depend on how the yacht is being used.

Do yacht charters tip in cash? ›

In general, there are several common ways to pay the tip on a yacht charter: Cash: The most common way to pay the tip is by cash, which is usually handed to the captain in an envelope at the end of the charter. The captain will then distribute the tip among the crew members.

Does the captain of a yacht get part of the tip? ›

Do I have to tip in cash? Generally, tips are given in cash to the captain but there are other methods of tipping too.

Where does waste go on a yacht? ›

Getting Rid of Poo

Most boats have holding tanks, which can be pumped into an on-shore facility, and some have a Y-shaped valve with the ability to either store waste or directly release the contents of the holding tank into surrounding water.

Do you have to be barefoot on a yacht? ›

Do: Follow the “barefoot rule” on board. The majority of yachts do not allow the wearing of shoes on board. And there are reasons for that. Street shoes, such as boots and heeled shoes, are prohibited on all boats as they can damage decks and floors and contaminate carpets and other exotic decorations.

What do you wear on a private yacht? ›

Women can wear a bathing suit, whatever cover-up they feel comfortable with (such as a caftan), sunglasses, and sandals. Men can wear sandals, swim trunks, and a nice polo. You'll suit the occasion and be comfortable while you do it.

Am I too old to work on a yacht? ›

So In short, you're not too old for yachting, but you should still prepare yourself for a potentially more challenging job hunt. Networking is even more important for you as people will need to meet you and know you in order to know you are up for the job.

How many hours do you work on a yacht? ›

Workload demands vary according to whether you're looking after guests or preparing for them to arrive. Typically, a busy period might look like between 12 and 18 hours a day, and if guests are on-board that means 7 days a week. But it very much varies from yacht to yacht.

Do you have to be a certain weight to work on a yacht? ›

This isn't to say you have to be extremely slim to work onboard, you just have to be a healthy weight as the job is physically demanding and you must be fit for sea. Crew members are generally an extension of the yacht they work on.

Do yacht crew get days off? ›

All yachts differ and many Owners and their Captains do a phenomenal job of managing time off, making allowances for individual requirements. Some will even allow extra unpaid leave if individuals have no holiday entitlement left, as well as promoting leave during down time such as refit periods.

What do yachties do off season? ›

During off-season, yachts can schedule yard periods, haul-outs, and major projects.

Do yachties get benefits? ›

You may be required to work some holidays, and in that case you should receive special pay or compensatory days off. Other benefits include room and board, basic living essentials, crew uniform, access to email, performance-based bonuses, and possibly life insurance.

Who did not tip on Below Deck? ›

Below Deck: Crew Received No Tip Only One Time In All Franchise Seasons. Below Deck fans may remember that the crew received no tip once. That was because Captain Lee kicked the guests off the yacht for breaking rules. The Below Deck crew received no tip only once.

What is the hardest job on Below Deck? ›

Below Deck's chief stews are some of the hardest workers on yachts. They're the team lead for anything relating to the guests on the interior (aside from the chef).

Who left a 6500 tip on Below Deck? ›

Erica Rose and Charles "Chuck" Sanders drew the ire of staff and viewers alike after leaving a tip of $6500 for the entire crew of Parsifal III. The tip amount was apparently the lowest in Below Deck history.

Do yacht owners hook up with crew? ›

Some specific yacht users are known to regularly exchange sex for gifts such as luxury watches. “It's the norm in the industry,” the captain said. “The owners want to hook up with the stewardesses.

Do yachties sleep with guests? ›

Most crew members sleep in cabins, sharing their space with complete strangers, which means privacy is severely lacking. Most yacht crew must share bathrooms which can get interesting at the best of times!

How are Below Deck crew chosen? ›

Producers Cast Below Deck Based On Experience And Potential

"When it comes to casting, it really comes down to: Are they working now, how are they doing, and would they be able to continue to carry story?" Nadine explains.

What is the easiest job on a yacht? ›

Chef – The Best Entry-Level Yacht Job For The Creative Type

Every boat needs someone to cook for the crew, the owners and maintain the galley. This is one of the easiest positions to come into, especially if you have experience on land working as a chef.

How do I get my first job on a yacht? ›

Complete beginner training: To work on yachts, you'll need to complete the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) Basic Safety Training Course. This one-week course includes fire prevention, personal survival techniques, personal safety and first aid/CPR.

What is the minimum crew for a yacht? ›

Most luxury yacht charters come with a crew of between 1 and 6 members. Larger vessels, such as super yachts, often have a crew of up to 15 or 20 people. Each member of the crew has their own title and responsibilities, although they will often help out across different areas of the yacht.

How old are most yacht captains? ›

Yacht Captain Age
Yacht Captain YearsPercentages
40+ years53%
30-40 years22%
20-30 years25%
Sep 9, 2022

Is it hard to become a yacht deckhand? ›

Being a deckhand is a physically demanding career requiring hard work and determination. The key to becoming a successful deckhand is learning from experienced crew members as you work aboard an inland or large ship. Duties of a deckhand change depending on the schedule and function of a vessel.

Is it hard to get into yachting? ›

The yachting industry is a notoriously difficult industry to get into; the old phrase 'it's who you know, not what you know' springs to mind! So how do you go about giving yourself the best possible chance of securing yourself that dream job aboard a yacht or superyacht?

How do you get a job on a yacht with no experience? ›

To be considered for employment in a luxury yacht without experience, you'll have to complete some basic safety training and a clear medical examination. There are diverse job opportunities on a yacht which include stewards to laundry persons and from engineers to personal trainers and many more in between.

Who gets paid the most on a yacht? ›

The Captain usually makes between $150,000 to $210,000 a year working on a 185-foot superyacht, assuming the Captain is working full-time. Additionally, the Captain can make up to $100,000 on top of the salary they are getting if they charter their yacht for the entire year.

How much does a deadliest catch deckhand make? ›

According to the Alaska Fishing Employment Center, deckhands on the Deadliest Catch or in the king crab fishing industry can earn and make as much as $15,000 a month in salary. The king crab season lasts for 3 months, meaning they can make between $20,000 and $50,000 as a deckhand.

How much do Below Deck guests pay? ›

Guests pay tips

It's customary for this to be around 15-20% of the full amount for a week-long charter on the yacht in question (not the discounted rate), though some guests choose to pay less.

How much do Below Deck get paid? ›

The Below Deck Crew Makes A Salary & An Appearance Fee

The chef makes about $7,000-$10,000 a month, depending on experience and training. The deckhands usually make around $3,500-$4,500 a month, while a bosun would make a little more at approximately $5,000 monthly.

How much do deckhands on Alaskan crab boats make? ›

Average crab fisher's salary

Other related jobs include deckhands , who make an average salary of $14.65 per hour with additional compensation of $5,000 per year in overtime, as well as boat captains, who make an average salary of $20.55 per hour .

How much do king crab captains make? ›

The average Alaskan King Crab Fisherman in the US makes $61,512. Alaskan King Crab Fishermen make the most in San Francisco, CA at $92,663, averaging total compensation 51% greater than the US average.

How much does a deckhand make on a cod boat? ›

The average salary for a fishing vessel deckhand is $50,292 in the US. The average fishing vessel deckhand salary ranges between $20,000 and $121,000 in the US.

How long does a crew stay on a yacht? ›

It's a good rule of thumb to stay in a position on board until you are ready to progress. For junior crew, a solid season to a year is ideal. For experienced crew, 18 months to 2 years + is the preferred duration of service before more senior roles can be expected.

Does the captain get a tip on a yacht? ›

Is there a tipping etiquette? Yes, all tips should be given directly to the captain so that they can divide the amount out between all the crew. It is important to remember that there may be crew that have worked just as hard as others but have been less visible during your trip.

Do you tip captain for private charter? ›

Often the captain is doing an impressive amount of leg-work on day charters, from route planning and navigation to welcoming the passengers and preparing the ship for guests ahead of time. Tip between 10% and 20%, based on how long your charter is, your itinerary, and how well it's executed.

How much do yacht captains get paid? ›

The average Yacht Captain salary is $106,785 as of May 01, 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $86,706 and $122,422. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

How scripted is Below Deck? ›

While the show isn't scripted, it is dramatised. This is the bedrock of reality TV; it's how producers and editors ensure their show is entertaining and ultimately keeps fans tuning in.

What is Captain Lee salary? ›

But the mega bucks go to the top dogs, Captain Lee and Captain Sandy, who on a 185-foot superyacht make between $150-$210,000 a year. Then you have to add on the tips, reportedly average at around $15,000 per person for about six weeks of work.

Who is the highest paid cast member on Below Deck? ›

As for the chef, such as Below Deck alum Chef Ben Robinson, they make about $7,000 to $10,000 a month, depending on experience and training. The Captain of the boat is the highest earner, making between $150,000 to $210,000 a year working on a 185-foot superyacht like Captain Lee's My Seanna.

How many crew are actually on Below Deck? ›

Below Deck: Inside the boats from the hit reality show

A Below Deck charter typically carries a maximum of 12 superyacht crew on board, including up to three resident crew who work on the yacht full time.


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