How to Become a Yacht Stewardess: Everything You Need to Know About the Job
Posted on: 11/26/2018
The annual salary for a yacht stewardess starts at around $40,000 plus tips. While that may not seem like a lot to some, while you are living on the ship all of your expenses will be covered by the charter guest.
Being a yacht stewardess is a great way to see the world, meet incredible people, be fed every meal by a great chef, and live a more present lifestyle free of cell phones and constant connection. Away from your family and friends on the open water, you will find peace and adventure.
Read on to learn how to become a yacht stewardess and begin your dream career today.
How to Become a Yacht Stewardess: The Education Requirements
If you want to land a job as a stewardess, you will need to take some short courses that ensure safety and good service on the yacht.
If you are looking for an entry-level position, then you will take the most standard courses, while those looking to become a chief stewardess will have to go back to school for further certifications.
When you are first getting started in the yachting industry, you will need to complete an STCW certification course at an academy like the Maritime Professional Training Academy in Fort Lauderdale.
This course costs around a thousand dollars and is typically completed over about a week-long time range.
How Hard is it to Get Hired as a Stewardess?
Getting hired as a stewardess aboard a yacht is generally not considered to be difficult. Once you have your STCW certification, you will be legally qualified to take a position.
In order to get a job, you should move to a major port city. In the United States, nine times out of ten that is going to mean Fort Lauderdale. Your other option is Newport in Rhode Island. While there are other cities in the country where you may be able to find a position, these hotspots are the best place for those new to the industry to scoop up work.
Once you land in the city, you can hit the docks with your resume looking for people who need to fill positions. In this industry, when you need someone, you need them now, so be prepared to start as soon as the next day.
If you have any hospitality experience such as bartending or entertaining guests, this is helpful to list on your resume.
What Time of Year Do They Hire in Fort Lauderdale?
To get hired as a stewardess, you should head to Fort Lauderdale in between seasons. This is where you will find the most stationary yachts giving you the best chance of landing a position.
There are two primary yachting seasons - summer and winter. To get hired for the summer season, you will need to be in Fort Lauderdale between April and June. For the winter season, you should arrive between September and mid-December.
These down-times are when yachts are in port preparing for the next season and you will be able to set up interviews with many different ship captains or owners at one time.
Those are also the months that you would have off once you become part of a crew while the yachts are repaired and maintained for the next season.
What Do I Do if I Don't Get Hired There?
When you are new to the yachting industry (the term is "green"), you may find it difficult to secure a position. When you begin asking around for advice, many experienced crew members will tell you to head to St. Martin to look for work.
St. Martin is where many of the yachts head and make a port out of for the season. If you are there you can often find positions that crop up from other stewardesses who didn't work out or were unable to fulfill their obligation.
In order to do this, you will need to purchase a round-trip ticket in order to get through customs. You can cancel your returning flight at a later date if you find a position.
If you choose this route, be cautious when you talk to customs people at the airport. Don't tell them that you are coming to look for work. It can raise a lot of questions and prevent your entry in some cases. Just like how people coming to America aren't able to work, there are similar visa requirements for the island.
However, since you will be hired aboard an international vessel, those laws won't apply to you. But trying to explain all of that to an ornery customs agent isn't the best way to spend your first twelve hours in the city.
Consider Registering with a Crew Agency
One of the best ways to find open positions aboard yachts is by registering with a crew agency. They will be able to pair you up with openings and act as an advocate on your behalf.
Before you hit the agency, make sure you spruce up your resume. You need to sell your abilities and talents to potential captains.
These agencies typically don't require any fee from you to join, so you might as well give it a shot. The agencies are paid by the ship captains once they agree to your placement.
If you go with an agency, you will still need to attend individual interviews and secure the position in the same way you would if you found it on your own. It's just a great way to aggregate leads and provides a lot of exposure for your resume bringing you more potential opportunities.
To stay on an agencies books, you will need to check in with them weekly while you are in between gigs. This is so that they can ensure that you are still available. Once you find placement, you will be required to check out.
Make sure you follow through with doing this or you may find it difficult to work with the same agent when you are in need of work again.
Once you move to town, you will need to begin by walking the docks and meeting people. Dress professionally and make friends, this is a social industry where the right recommendation can go a long way.
Be proactive and positive while you network. You need to be confident in yourself and your ability to find a job if you want anyone else to believe in you.
Useful Skills to Have
While anyone can find a home aboard a yacht with the right attitude and certifications, there are certain skills that will move you up the hiring list.
Those that have basic cooking skills, experience babysitting, formal service training, experience working in a bar or food service, mechanical experience, carpentry skills, and diving experience will all find it much easier to find work and they can also help you command more pay.
How to Secure the Most Pay
When you are first starting out as a crew member, your salary is usually a baseline. Over time, as you gain experience, you will be able to command a higher salary.
Other factors that impact your wage include the size of the boat, the number of responsibilities that you will have, whether the vessel is chartered or for private use, and your ability to make a commitment to being on board long term.
Jobs that offer other benefits like medical and vacation time may offer lower pay as a trade-off, so decide what is important to you before you decide what vessels to head to look for work.
A Note on Commitment
When you step aboard a yacht as a crew member for the first time, you will be very excited and eager to get started. But over time with subsequent charters, you may begin to lose your excitement, especially if your charter guests are particularly difficult or if you get into an argument with another crew member.
While cruising around the world is a dream come true for many, you have to remember that it isn't a vacation. You will be expected to work hospitality hours, which are long and hard and often go late into the night.
You will also have to contend with the personalities of the other crew members and try not to step on anyone's toes, both while you're staying in Fort Lauderdale and on your ship. If you don't have an easy-going personality type, then this may not be the position for you.
Once you take a job on a yacht, you need to make sure that you finish out your contract if you want to find employment anywhere else. Don't allow gossip, bad etiquette and drama to ruin your potential career.
Where to Stay While Finding a Position
Having learned how to become a yacht stewardess, you know your next step needs to be certification and moving to Fort Lauderdale to find a position.
Check out these great listings for a safe, affordable place to stay.