YachtCareerHub Blog


Yacht Stewardess: How to Get Your First Job with No Experience [2024]

Chay Hodgson

Chay Hodgson

from YachtCareerHub

Finding your first yacht job is a real challenge and there are many steps along the way to achieve it.

We asked over 30 current yacht stews who broke into the industry how they did it, and what advice they have for others.

Based on their experiences, this guide explains the best ways to approach it.

Do you need a background in hospitality?

Having a relevant background is helpful, but not essential.

According to our survey:

  • 50% of stews have a hospitality background, with years of experience.

  • 30% have zero or minimal relevant experience, with brief bar jobs or academic background.

  • 20% have related experience such as housekeeping, child care and customer facing roles.

What courses did they do?

You must have a Basic STCW Certificate and a valid ENG 1 Medical to work on yachts.

Otherwise, there are a number of courses that can enhance your CV.

Here are some examples of what courses they did:

  • Stewardess Training

  • Powerboat Level 2

  • Tender Operator

  • Personal Watercraft (PWC)

  • Food Safety and Hygiene Level 2

  • PDSD (Proficiency in Designated Security Duties)

  • Advanced Silver Service

  • Barista and Bartending

  • Wine Knowledge (WSET)

  • Pilates and Yoga Instructor Certificates

  • Massage Therapy

  • VHF

  • Cigars

  • Flower Arrangement

Which courses should you do?

Many stews said that additional courses were not necessary for their first position and that the money would be better spent job hunting in a yachting hub.

Some crew members found it useful and managed to secure their first yacht job through their course instructor at SYSA.

Stews recommended focusing on these areas that are in demand:

  • Skincare

  • Nail Technician

  • Massage Therapy

  • Hairdressing/ Barber

  • Floristry

  • Mixology

  • Yoga and Pilates (Ideally with teaching experience)

Where to Find Work and What Time of Year

Being in a yachting hub at an optimal time of year is often the recommended way to find work.

However, the development of online networks and platforms that list yacht stewardess jobs in recent years has meant that some manage to find work without leaving their home.

You can be hired at any point in the year but springtime is when you are most likely to find a job in the Mediterranean.

Where crew found work:

  • South of France - 40% of crew found their first position in Antibes which makes it the most popular destination for aspiring yacht crew.

  • Palma de Mallorca - Another yachting hub where 20% found their first role.

  • Other Mediterranean hotspots: 20% found work in other areas such as Cannes, St Tropez, Genoa, Imperia, Malta, Croatia, Barcelona.

  • Fort Lauderdale - 5% found their first job in Fort Lauderdale, bear in mind it is risky to attempt to find work on a tourist visa.

  • At home: 15% found work while never stepping foot in a yachting hub before.

When crew found work:

  • Early Season (March - May): 65% of crew found work in Mediterranean springtime.

  • Mid Season (June - August): 20% of crew found work mid-season.

  • Late Season (September - November): 5% found work in the build up to the Caribbean season.

  • Off Season (December - February): 10% were able to find their first job in this period.

Should you go to a Yachting Hub?

It is not essential to go to a yachting hub, but it is advised so you can be available for in person interviews and daywork.

If you do go, it is important to get yourself out there and make real connections with lots of people.

However, there is a fine line between networking and partying which you should observe, and it is best to remain professional at all times. Not all of your peers are serious about finding a job on a yacht.

Effective Channels to Find Work

When finding your first yacht job, you need to look everywhere and apply everywhere.

You will likely find Facebook to be the most effective, followed by online job boards.

Introduce yourself to Crew Agents mainly for future reference, they may offer advice but they mainly place crew with yacht experience.

Try to get onto WhatsApp groups that post yacht jobs through your contacts or asking on social media.

Check Instagram for jobs, and connect with Captains and Chief Stews on LinkedIn.

Yacht Stews: Where to Find Your First Job

Yacht Stews: Where to Find Your First Job

How crew found jobs:

  • Facebook Groups: 45%

  • Job Boards: 18%

  • Networking: 13%

  • Course Instructors: 3%

  • Dock Walking: 3%

  • WhatsApp Groups, Instagram, LinkedIn: 18%

Facebook groups mentioned were:

How to avoid scams

Scammers sometimes target green crew who are searching for their first role on a yacht.

You shouldn't have to pay a Recruiter or Yacht to join. You may be asked to transport yourself, or obtain a visa but always use official channels.

If you are suspicious:

  • Don't send your documents

  • Don't send photos of yourself (especially in minimal clothing)

  • Don't pay them for airfare costs or visa costs

Is Dockwalking still useful?

Walking the docks has long been a rite of passage for new crew.

It can be a daunting prospect and the current data suggests it is not an effective way to find work, due to competition and yachts being fully crewed.

Some got lucky, finding day work and permanent roles. Others felt that even though it didn't result in a job, it built confidence and appreciated the opportunity more when it came.

4 Nuggets of Advice for Green Stews

4 Nuggets of Advice for Green Stews

You need a great CV

Your CV could be the only touch point a Captain or Chief Stew has with you, and they may only have a few seconds to assess it.

Find a Yacht CV Template or use a Yacht CV Professional to help you.

Your CV must:

  • Be well formatted and easy to read

  • Be eye catching at a glance

  • Include all relevant Certificates and Experience

  • Being concise (1-2 pages max)

  • Ideally have Daywork experience

  • Ideally have Yacht References

  • Have a Professional Photo (Get help with this)

  • Include some hobbies/ interests

Network, Network, Network

Some new crew can lean on existing friends in the industry for help and support to gain their first role.

Others may not know anybody at all, so you will have to make new friends.

Try to strike up conversations naturally and don't ask directly if they have any work for you.

Crew houses such as Crew Grapevine in Antibes can be helpful with work opportunities, networking as well as honing your CV.

Networking opportunities include:

A good personality goes a long way

New crew can stand out by having a great personality and unique life experiences as well as relevant skills to yachting.

Half of working on a boat is about how you fit in with the rest of the crew.

Have energy, being happy, smiley and bubbly is infectious and can make up for your lack of experience.

They want people who are also ready to work hard, provide longevity where possible and be serious about yachting as a career.

Be a Sponge

Before you join a boat, brush up on your housekeeping knowledge and yachting lingo.

Showing an interest and capacity to learn will leave a good impression on your Chief Stew.

You may think you already know how to clean, but an eye for detail is key as the standards are very high.

You will need to learn about:

  • Cleaning tips

  • What to do and what not to do

  • What products to use and where

  • How to dust

  • Vacuum

  • How to iron sheets, clothes, different materials

  • Folding techniques

You can learn these cleaning tips using:

  • Social Media

  • Podcasts

  • Youtube Videos

  • Websites

Find out about the living conditions onboard a yacht, the crew, what life on board is really like.

The difference between private & charter boats, the hierarchy and different positions. The more you know already, the better.

If you get an interview, research the boat if possible, practise common interview questions in front of the mirror and with friends to hone your answers.

Published 1 March 2024