It is anything but ordinary. Sitting in a windowless office cubicle, driving home in traffic jams to a cookie-cutter house in the suburbs? That’s for other people. Your ‘office cubicle’ is the bridge of a superyacht, glowing green against the night, and your ‘house’ travels around the world, big Atlantic waves hammering on the walls. If you like a life less ordinary, it cannot get any better than yachting.
The travel is unparalleled. It is a strange thing to sit at a beach club in the South of France on a day off, cold glass of Whispering Angel rose in hand, and see a yacht come into anchor that you used to live on in the Maldives, Costa Rica, or Alaska. The travel offered by this job is life-changing. Sure, when the guests are on, the travel is often limited to just the view—but what views they are. And when they get off? You get to have your days off where billionaires like to holiday.
The friendships are epic. Being yacht crew is one of the most social, open and friendly occupations in the world. New crew are welcomed in with excitement (thank god, a new face!), and there are always new friends to make at bars, yacht shows, and just hanging out on the dock. It’s always just a quick chat with the crew next door before you find out some shared connections— people you know in common, places you’ve both spent time, boats you used to work on. There’s something really wonderful about that shared sense of experience.
The stories are ridiculous. Okay, so discretion about yacht guests is crucial, and non-disclosures are sacred. But once you’ve removed the identifying details, swapping stories about ridiculous guest requests or wild moments at sea is pure joy. Everyone has their crazy stories about yachting, and sharing them is undeniably part of the fun.
The money is great. Even the most junior crew —accounting for the perks of paying no rent, food, bills or toiletries— are on a good income. And it only gets better from there as they progress up the ranks, allowing crew to swiftly pay off houses and cars (plus handbags, endless gadgets, and Breitling watches with distress beacons.) As the cost of living bites harder around the world and generations of young people lose hope of ever buying their own house, yachting becomes a financial ladder of extraordinary opportunity.
You’ll learn extraordinary things. Some are technical, like how to park a superyacht or fix a generator. Some are lifesaving, like how to fight a fire or prepare for a pirate attack. Some are just fun, like learning how to drive a tender, use a jetpack, or use a Sabrage sword to cut off the top of a champagne bottle. And some, of course, are lessons in humanity- what it’s like to live in a group in a small area —and all the frustrations and joys that entails. But also, it’s a window into the lives of the people that rule the world. What can compare with an education like that?
You get to go shopping with a billionaire’s credit card. Even if it’s not actually for you, tell me that’s not fun. The chef gets to buy caviar and ingredients that a land-based chef would give their soul to cook with at a restaurant. Shopping for the latest water toys the boss wants, new equipment for the engine room, or the chief stew going absolutely nuts on new stuff for the interior. Guilt-free shopping, there’s nothing quite like it.
The food. Oh, the food! Sure, the chef has to do the heavy lifting on this one, but the rest of you reap the benefits. The range and quality of the food you eat on yachts are outstanding, and you will never eat this way again. And that’s just the crew food. When the guests are on and the trays of untouched food start to come to the crew mess— the platters of Wagyu, the sides of salmon —you are eating food that graces the tables of billionaires, royals and celebrities.
The traditions are unforgettable. When you look back at your life in yachting, often, certain moments will stand out. The Neptune ceremony as you cross the Equator, or the mid-Atlantic swim. The Christmas in the crew mess, trying to keep the raucous laughter from floating up to the guests. The howls of joy as the deckhand is set out onto the foredeck wearing a tin foil hat to ‘calibrate’ the radar. When you combine the traditions you set with the shared culture that emerges on any yacht —the collection of movie quotes and in-jokes, the nicknames and the experiences— you get something extraordinary.
It’s the shared language and experience of a collection of people on the adventure of their lives.
So yes, yachting is amazing — even if sometimes it pushes you to your limits. That’s part of what makes it so incredible.