Crew Positions on a Yacht – Available for Your Yacht Charter

There are many things that make the experience aboard a private yacht charter unbeatable. First is the clean and lavishly furnished interior & exterior space, second the first-rate service offered on board and lastly, the well-thought-out cruising itinerary. Well, enjoying all these on a yacht would not have been possible if there were no professionally trained crew to accompany you throughout the journey.

But do you know the various crew positions on a yacht? If no is your answer, then check out the list below:


The captain, who sits at the helm of the yacht, is the highest-ranking figure among the crew. He or she is in charge of the vessel and bears the overall responsibility of ensuring the safety of both the yacht and the people onboard.

The captain is also the point of contact towards the owner and/or charter company. His or her decision regarding any matters on the yacht is always final. Since most captains are experienced and have massive knowledge on local destinations, they are the ones who craft the itinerary.

As a holidaymaker though, you are free to express any itinerary wishes and/or requirements, which your captain might consider to make your holiday dream come true.


The mate, also known as a deck officer, comes second in rank after the captain. His or her duties include assisting the captain, supervising the deckhands and taking control of the vessel in case the captain is taken ill or not available.

Bigger yachts can have a second, third and even fourth deck officer. These officers will mostly be in charge of the deck department and manning the rest of the crew. They are also expected to report back to the captain.

Personal Chef

A sailing trip can never be complete without food and drinks. So the chef’s responsibility is to prepare the menu, provisions and do the cooking to ensure all your catering needs are well-taken care of. He or she also feeds the crew. For bigger yachts, there might be a crew chef or an additional chef whose responsibility is to assist the 1st chef.

Before booking a charter, it would be important to sample the chef’s cuisine and discuss with him or her, you specific catering requirements. If you are a vegetarian or have any allergies, you should let the chef know. There’s always a preference sheet provided for
the charter, which you can utilize to make your special requests known, with regard to food and drinks.

Steward (ess)

The stewards or stewardesses are at the heart of customer service on a yacht. They’re mainly responsible for the interior cleanliness of the yacht including carrying out such tasks as cabin cleaning and laundry. They also serve meals & drinks, help with the luggage and answer to any questions that the guests might have.

Some stewardesses also have talent in massage and/or manicures and can provide the services at the guests’ request. Stewards and stewardesses are often outgoing and friendly, something that keeps the experience aboard the yacht warm and fun.


Deckhands are primarily responsible for maintaining the exterior of the ship. Some of their duties include cleaning, polishing, painting and handling the lines while docking as well as controlling the windlass when the yacht is anchoring. Deckhands also assist guests with any water sports activities and other fun outdoor features like Jacuzzi.

Bigger yachts can have more than one deckhand, with the Lead deckhand being in charge. For smaller yachts, deckhands may also serve as waiters or bartenders. Whether you’re going for a weeklong or fortnight sailing expedition, these people’s efforts are quite indispensable in making the journey fun and hassle-free.


Engineers are basically responsible for the upkeep of all mechanical and electrical systems on the yacht. Aside from monitoring the main engines, they also fix any problems relating to air conditioning, fluid tanks, hydraulics, multimedia systems, and even plumbing

A yacht engineer mostly spends most of his or her time below the deck and may have one or two engineers acting as assistants. The engineer will always be in constant communication with the captain and may involve the vessel’s mate(s). For smaller yachts, an experienced captain can double as the engineer.

Other Crew Options

Aside from the set of crew mentioned above, there are other positions that may be attached to a yacht, especially one that’s large and of luxurious nature. Some of these positions or additional professionals include masseuses, personal trainers, nannies, dive instructors, helicopter pilots, and yacht pursers, among others.

Tip for the Crew

Just as you would tip a bartender, waiter or bellman, you are expected to leave a tip for the crew of your private yacht charter. However, the decision to or not to tip is at your discretion as a charterer. If you are extremely happy about the service rendered to you aboard the yacht, then tipping would definitely be the best way to show your appreciation.

But then you might be asking yourself, how much should you tip and when? Well, the amount of tip you give may vary depending on the location and the length of the trip. An American crew would, for instance, expect a tip of not less than 15 percent. On the other hand, a European crew will appreciate a tip ranging anywhere between 5 to 10 percent.

As for when to tip, it is customary that tipping is done on the last day of the charter. In this case, you should put the entire tip amount in the envelope and present it directly to the captain, who will divide it amongst the crew.

While it might be tempting to give some crew members a generous tip, that move is not recommended. That’s because the different persons on the yacht are working as a group and even though you might not see some of them, their efforts contribute to the smooth running of the yacht.


Understanding the roles of various crew members on a yacht is the first step towards having a great experience at sea. That is because you know what to expect and can even plan to request certain extra services on board. Chartering a yacht with the finest crew is hence a sure-fire way of having an exciting and memorable holiday at sea.

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8 thoughts on “Crew Positions on a Yacht – Available for Your Yacht Charter”

  1. I had no idea that there were this many individuals involved in the running/sailing of a yacht – do charter yachts usually cover all these positions or do they get away with employing less?

    I was also surprised that Engineers have a set position on the crew – I can imagine a larger boat using them but a yacht seems a little too small for their use, surely?

    Oh well – learn something new every day! 

    • Hi Chris,

      It depends on the length of the yacht. The bigger the boat, the more crew it will be required on board. In most countries, except the UK I think, under 24 feet, you don’t need a paid crew. 

      Let me know if you need more info. I am always happy to help!

      Thank you for the comment, and I hope you have a nice day.

  2. When I traveled in a yacht in the Caribbean for the first time, I didn’t know that stewardess work on yacht as well ( I thought they only take care of passengers on aeroplanes). This article contains all the members present on a yacht and I think that it’s mandatory for guests like us to know the role of each individual. By personal favorite is the chef of course cause he/she makes delicious foods on-board. 

    This is a good article and it was interesting as well. I can’t wait to see what you publish next. Keep up the good work. 



    • Hi Ani,

      Of course, the chef is always the best onboard the yacht, it’s like a second mother who prepares delicious meals:) 
      I am glad you enjoyed reading the article!

      Thank you for the comment!

  3. Hi! Thank you very much for this very interesting article. I knew the roll stewards or stewardesses play on a yacht. But besides them, I was totally unaware of all the various crew positions.

    Yeah, knowing what to expect of each one of them, and where to find them will surely enhance our experience. Thank you very much!

    • Hi Henry,

      You are very welcome!
      Indeed, it’s important to know about the crew position, so that when chartering a luxury yacht, the charterers know what to expect.
      Thank you for commenting!

  4. This is my first time learning what is needed for a smooth yatch experience at sea. I never knew much about crew members and their importance

    It sounds expensive, but of course if you can own a yatch or afford to rent one then I think it’s fantastic. All these professionally trained members working together to give a smooth journey… Thus is enlightening

    • Hi Eohia,

      Many yachts are affordable, and some of them can even be cheaper than a hotel:)

      I am glad you found the article useful!

      Thank you for passing by and wish you a lovely day.


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