Chief Steward & Stewardess
A Chief Steward/ess is most likely an experienced Steward/ess who has progressed to this higher-ranking role. They are in charge of the interior of the yacht and have a similar role to a steward/ess, but on a more senior level. The Chief Steward/ess manages and recruits the interior staff (Stewards, Housekeeper, etc) and reports directly to the Captain.
The most important aspect of the Chief Steward/ess role is his/her attention to detail. This type of position requires the ability to think ahead, provide a service before the guest makes the request and to anticipate events before they happen. Most importantly, you must exhibit the ability to discreetly serve guests in a luxury 7-star manner.
It is necessary to eliminate the idea of “work hours”… work can come at any time, day or night. Days are often long and hard, but your time off will be well worth the wait. Be open minded, flexible and ready to accept new and varied challenges each day.
A typical day’s tasks will include:
- Food service, including providing silver service
- Drink service and bar tending
- Overseeing the cleaning and polishing of accommodation
- Cabin preparation
- Flower arranging
- Obtaining local currency
- Arranging trips, transport and other similar events for guests or the owner
- General yacht operations
Once established in a Chief Steward/ess role, he/she may elect to move into a Purser role. This is a highly administrative position that is found only on very large yachts. It requires a strong background in everything from service to administration and crew management.
Required Skills and Experience:
The Chief Steward/ess will normally have experience as a Steward/ess, but for top-end superyachts they may have experience as a butler. There are no specific qualifications, but a background in food and drink, hospitality and catering or customer service is an advantage. The Chief Steward/ess may have completed a hospitality training programme (for example the Steward/ess Certificate accredited by the Professional Yachtsman’s Association).
The following attributes are essential:
- Superb guest service skills
- Discretion and confidentiality
- Excellent interaction skills
- Team management skills
- Well-organised and a good administrator, including accounting
- IT literate
Although not officially mandatory, the MCA STCW Basic Safety Certification is generally viewed as a pre-requisite for a Chief Steward/ess role.
A Chief Steward/ess could expect to earn between £1,750 and £3,000, or £2,500 to £4,000 on larger yachts, according to experience. As a Purser you could expect between £3,500 and £5,000 per month.
Many larger yachts employ Pursers and Chief Pursers, and this would be a suitable progression from the role of Chief Steward/ess.
Although not a ‘crew’ position, many Chief Stewards have gone on to become the Personal Assistant to the yacht owner, or the House Keeper/Butler in the owner’s residence.
Stewards and Chief Stewards are employed on Cruise Liners, and experience on board superyachts would be welcome for these positions.
There are many links between working on superyachts and working in hotels. Reception/Front of House Management and other operational roles in hotels make a good match.