How to Become a Yacht Stewardess / Steward: An Experienced Insiders Guide

If you’re wondering how to become a yacht stewardess / steward, you’ve found the perfect starting point.

I’ve personally reaped the rewards of 10 magnificent years in the industry, where I started out as a yacht stewardess and worked my way up to Chief Stewardess. This has motivated me to help people like you that are wondering how to become a yachtie.

My goal here is to equip you with the best resources and knowledge for how to become a stewardess on a yacht. Make sure you follow these steps to ensure you successfully land your first job.

yacht stewardess setting dinner table with an Asian theme
3rd Stew Stacey, setting the table for a Japanese inspired dinner

Yacht Steward / Yacht Stewardess Job Description

As a Yacht Stewardess or Steward, you are responsible for all the interior operations of the vessel. This will include tasks such as housekeeping, laundry and high-end food and beverage service.

Interior Tasks Include:

  • 5 star food and beverage service
  • Flower arranging
  • Table scaping
  • Laundry Care
  • Interior housekeeping
  • Updating interior inventories
  • Accounting and budgeting
  • Liaising with guests and co-ordinating activities
Welcome drinks for the guests on arrival day

1. What Qualifications Do You Need to be a Yacht Stewardess or Steward?

In order to become a stewardess on a yacht, you will need to have an STCW Certification and pass an ENG1 medical.

STCW10

The STCW (Standards of Training and Certification of Watch keeping) is an internationally mandated course and a minimum requirement for anyone who wishes to work on a yacht.

Throughout the training, crew members will acquire the necessary skills to handle emergency situations and ensure the safety of all onboard. They will also learn safe working practices to ensure the safety of themselves and their fellow crew members.

In 2010 the STCW convention added a new module requirement to the basic safety training, so ensure that you do the additional Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA) module which takes one extra day.

This STCW course is comprised of 4 modules, takes 5 days to complete, and is valid for 5 years. The modules include:

  • Personal Survival Techniques (PST)
  • Fire Fighting and prevention (FFP)
  • Elementary First Aid (EFA)
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR)

If you aim to work on vessels of +50m in size you may also need to hold the PDSD (Proficiency in Designated Security duties) course. This is a one-day online course for anyone who may be involved in security duties such as being a watch keeper.

ENG1

To work on a yacht, you must undergo a basic medical examination called an ENG1. This assessment is performed by a doctor certified by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) to ensure that you are healthy enough to work on a yacht.

A list of MCA-approved doctors can be found here.

4 yacht stewardesses wearing emersion suits
Onboard crew safety training

In order to become a Yacht Stewardess or Steward you do not necessarily need to hold any other courses or certifications. The courses you choose to do would be more so to boost your confidence and gain better insight into being a stewardess on a yacht.

Hood Hygiene and Safety Level 2

Although this course is not mandatory, I highly recommend you do it as most vessels require anyone handling food (Stews included) to hold this certification. There are a few variations of the course so just ensure that the one you do is MCA approved.

The purpose of this certification is to equip crew members with the skills to assume personal accountability for food safety. This involves understanding the importance of maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in both personal work areas and food preparation.

Introductory Yacht Steward/ Yacht Stewardess Training

These courses are generally held over 5 days, and include everything you need to know about how to get into yachting as a Stewardess or Steward, as well as what your job will entail.

You will learn all the basic elements of housekeeping, laundry, service, floristry, wine knowledge, and onboard living etiquette.

These courses are not essential, but extremely helpful in having you better understand what will be required of you if you want to become a Yacht Stew.

the master cabin of a super yacht. a big room with a bed
The Master Cabin on a 50m Super Yacht

3. Create the Perfect Yacht CV

If you are wondering how become a Yacht Stewardess with no experience, you are going to need to make sure your Yacht CV stands out from the rest.

Besides a well-laid out resume, you also need to highlight why you are the best candidate for this specific job that you are applying for. Be sure to highlight ANY transferable skills you may have to offer the industry. This could be hospitality experience, floristry, baby-sitting, yoga, or maybe you are a masseuse.

Resumes on a desk next to glasses, a pen, and a plant
A good resume is crucial if you want to become a Yacht Stewardess

4. Apply for your Visa if Necessary

To work as a stewardess on a Super Yacht, you will need to look into your personal situation and passport to identify which visa you need.

B1/B2 VISA – Needed to enter the United States and surrounding waters

Shengen Visa – Needed to enter Europe for the Mediterranean season

5. Locate Yourself in the Right Place at the Right Time

Once you are ready to head over to a yachting hub, you need to consider the time of year you are going. Ideally, you want to arrive a few weeks before the season starts. There are 2 seasons in yachting:

The United States and Caribbean Winter Season (November/December to March/April)

The biggest hub for yachting in America is Fort Lauderdale, and in the Caribbean, it is Antigua and St Maarten.

Please note that if you are not a green card holder or US citizen, I do not recommend flying into America and actively seeking work. This is illegal and could get you into trouble.

The Mediterranean Summer Season (April/May to September/October)

If you’re looking for the ideal spot in the Mediterranean, consider Antibes in the South of France. It’s a top yachting hub with plenty of crew houses and yacht agents. Plus, you’re within easy reach of other sought-after destinations like Monaco and Nice.

Palma, located on the island of Mallorca, is also a major hub for yachting. It boasts numerous marinas, agents, and crew housing facilities.

aerial view of large marina with yachts
Aerial image of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

6. Day Working and Dock Walking for a Yacht Stewardess / Steward

“Daywork” is when you get hired on a day-to-day basis, earning cash and assisting boats as they need extra help onboard.

Daywork is a great way to get experience as a Yacht Stewardess or Steward. If you make a good impression on the Captain and Crew, this could lead to a permanent position onboard or a referral to another boat.

Dock Walking” is when you walk the docks of marina’s handing out your CV in the hopes of being hired for day work.

7. Sign up with Yacht Crew Agencies

You will want to sign up with as many yacht crew agencies as possible. Here are some popular agencies you should sign up with to get started: Luxury Yacht Group, Blue Water Yachting, The Crew Network, Cotton Crews, Yot Spot, Northrop and Johnson, HR Crew and Burgess.

To stay updated on job postings, it’s important to check social media platforms like Facebook. Join various yachting Facebook groups such as Fort Lauderdale Yacht Crew, Palma Yacht Crew, and Antibes Yacht Crew. You want to keep checking these groups regularly to stay informed.

Yacht Steward / Yacht Stewardess Salary

As with everything in the industry, your salary is largely dependent on the size of the vessel, your experience in the industry, as well as your qualifications.

A starting salary for a Yacht Stewardess or Steward can range from $2500-$3500. From there you can expect to see annual salary increments as you spend more time in the industry.

If you want to set some goals, a Chief Stewardess’s salary can be upwards of $5000 – $9000. Possibly even more depending on the size of the vessel!

On top of these very attractive salaries, you may also have opportunities to earn more money in the form of charter tips and annual bonuses.

tropical table setting with fruits and flowers
A creative tropical table setting using local fruits and flowers

Roles and Responsibilities of a Yacht Stewardess or Steward

The Housekeeping Stew

The role of a Housekeeping Stew is to clean and maintain all aspects of the interior of the vessel. Guest cabins and common areas need to be meticulously cleaned with a lot of care and attention to detail. They will also be cleaning crew areas such as the crew mess and bridge.

Cleaning the vessel is not as simple as it seems. You will be vacuuming, dusting, polishing, tooth-picking grooves, ear budding ledges, and working with delicate surfaces.

The Laundry Stew

The Laundry Stew is responsible for laundering, stain treating, ironing, and maintaining laundry for the entire vessel. This includes crew uniform, crew personal clothing, guest clothing, beach towels, bath towels, table linens, rags, and kitchen tea towels.

The job of a Laundry Stewardess is in fact a very meticulous one, as you will be dealing with a number of different fabrics and colors. A simple mistake could cost the boss a very expensive dress.

The Service Stew

The role of the Service Stewardess is to ensure that every want and need of the guests is met. As far as service goes, you will be serving 3 meals a day, afternoon canapes, sunset cocktails, and all the other beverages and snacks in between.

You may also be required to head over to the beach to do service if there is a beach set up, or go for a cruise on the tender to serve drinks and snacks. A fun part of the role is also of course the tablescaping, which is usually most Stewardesses’ favorite aspect of the job.

yacht stewardess ironing in the laundry room
4th Stew Gemma in the laundry room

At-home Tasks for Your Personal Growth

There are a number of things you can do to boost your confidence as a Yacht Stewardess or Steward before joining the industry. I can assure you that personal skills and experience come preferred over certifications.

Take your time to do research, link up to the social media accounts of established stewardesses and get involved with any work or transferable skills that will boost your resume.

All of these tasks, to list a few, can be practiced at home and will impress your future employer.

  • Napkin folding
  • Table setting
  • Service
  • Cocktail making
  • Making beds
  • Toilet paper folds
4 yacht stewardesses standing together in uniform
My absolute dream team of Yacht Stewardesses

Final Thoughts on Becoming a Yacht Stewardess / Steward

Some of you may find it easy to become a Yacht Stewardess or steward, and some of you may bump into some hurdles along the way.

Either way, my advice to you is to keep your head up and stay positive.

Work hard, put in extra effort wherever possible, keep smiling, and be a positive energy bubble in your work environment. Your efforts will pay off and soon you will be reveling in the world of Yachting. I hope to see you out there!

If you need any more advice I would be more than happy to assist you personally. Please pop me an email in the contact section.

Hi, my name is Lisa, a Chief Stewardess in the yachting industry with 10 years of experience, as well as 8 years of hospitality experience prior to that. Being in the yachting industry has been a whirlwind of adventure, growth, challenges and some of the best experiences of my life, and I am excited to share my knowledge and experiences with all of you.

3 thoughts on “How to Become a Yacht Stewardess / Steward: An Experienced Insiders Guide”

  1. Hi I’m interested in a position to be a Stewardess and to work in the bar or a restaurant on the boat .
    I would love to apply for a position in the mediterranean, I’m not sure where to start or if I have to do a course .

    Reply
    • Hello Chelsea. When you are starting out in the Super Yachting Industry (not cruise ships) your role is more likely to include housekeeping and laundry. With more years of experience, your role will become more diverse and include bar tending and service. If you are looking to better understand the role of a Stewardess before joining the industry, then I have a great post on a Day in the Life of a Yacht Stewardess. If you are interested in joining the industry, then this article lists out everything you need to do to find your first job. Good Luck!

      Reply

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