A deckhand is the entry level for almost all professional crew jobs on superyachts. The deckhand position will encompass many responsibilities, but most importantly, he/she will maintain the exterior of the yacht and keep it in pristine condition at all times. You could be the only deckhand on board, but on larger superyachts there may be as many as 5 or more deckhands working.
Your day will typically start very early and end very late. You will be involved in a number of tasks, including:
- Fibreglass restoration
- Line handling
- General exterior maintenance
- Driving tenders and/or toys
- Escorting guests when they use the toys
- Diving (if qualified)
- Helping interior staff serve meals or clean cabins
- Occasional assistance with the Chef in the galley
The deckhand is also normally responsible for the general day to day operation and maintenance of jet-skis and other toys and tenders.
The deckhand’s role is incredibly varied and gives an excellent opportunity to learn about the general operations on board a superyacht.
Required Skills and Experience:
Deckhands do not have to have boating qualifications but having them is an asset. General seafaring skills are expected. Deckhands should ideally have some knowledge and experience of navigation, boat handling, engines and radio equipment.
Any skills or experience in any of the above mentioned tasks would be a distinct advantage over other candidates.
If you’ve never worked on a yacht before, it doesn’t mean that you are unsuitable for consideration. Captains have, in the past, hired crew with a variety of backgrounds such as hospitality and hotels, cruise lines, recent graduates, mechanics, engineers, tour leaders, divers and anyone who can prove they have the willingness to learn and the right work ethic.
Qualifications and certification are not normally needed to become a deckhand – experience is generally more important, but RYA qualifications such as Day Skipper, Power Boat Level 2 and VHF/SRC Radio Operators Certificate or IYT Tender Driving Licence may be beneficial. As an alternative the MCA approved Yacht Rating Course is acceptable. As you progress you will be expected to achieve the MCA Yacht Rating Certificate.
You may be required to hold the MCA STCW Basic Safety certification, and if you wish to progress from the deckhand role this certification is likely to be required for higher positions.
At entry-level a deckhand could expect to earn between £1,250 and £1,750 per month. An experienced deckhand could expect up to around £1,750 or £2,000 per month.
A Deckhand is an excellent place to start your career on board a superyacht as it gives you a good grounding in day-to-day operations.
A Deckhand may choose to continue working in a deck role, and progress to the position of Bosun. Alternatively he/she may prefer to move into the Engineering department as an Engineer, or get into the Service department as a Steward/ess.
Experience as a Deckhand on board a superyacht would be valuable in a whole host of other crew positions. For example in the Leisure sector holiday companies employ both engineering and stewarding crew for their flotillas.