7 Ways To Nail Your First 7 Days As A Yacht Stew.
Hear about the real yacht life, info on how to kickstart your superyacht career and tips on becoming a super stew.
A Chief Stew with 6+ years experience in the superyacht industry. I help aspiring crew confidently land their first job and teach the skills needed to be a stand out YACHT STEW.
Many friends intrigued in the world of yachting ask me what is day to day life like as a stew? And “what do you do onboard when theres no guests… must be like a holiday right?!”
Wrong. This is not the case TRUST me when I say.. there is ALWAYS something to do on a boat. It’s not all exotic instagram stories and swimming off the aft deck, in fact a stew does very little swimming during the season.
So let me explain on yachts ranging between roughly 30m – 70m you will generally work on a rotating roster. So what does this mean? You will work between Crew mess, Laundry, Housekeeping, Service and the Late Service shift. On bigger boats, you have more defined roles with bigger interior teams.
The difference between On charter and Off Charter
On Charter: Working with guests on, often cruising this is a super busy time and your prime opportunity to shine at being a stewardess!
Off Charter: When the boat is in between seasons or guest trips. You may be preparing for or completing a crossing to the Caribbean or another place and preparing for the next trip or in a shipyard for a boat refit and/or maintenance.
You’re on charter what can you expect? As a junior stew you will generally start on the Crew mess or Housekeeping learning how the boat works.
Crew Mess Shift
Your new domain- fabulous as you don’t really have much to do with the guests! You look after the crew. You clean the crew mess (common area) for the crew, restock food and drinks, set the table for crew lunch and dinner, clean up after crew meals. You also do a daily or weekly clean of the captain’s cabin and make his bed.
Whilst helping your laundry buddy deliver items as you make an effort to learn each cabin name and which guests are staying where on the boat.
Responsible for everything that goes in and out of the laundry so each item is generally tagged/logged or numbered. Hot tip don’t forget to take the pins out (if your boat uses that method in the tags) of every guest item and ALWAYS check the labels and pockets of guest clothing. Picture this, you’re in your laundry flow… pressing each guest item that was requested to be ironed upon arrival, you’ve got the tunes on you’re constantly turning over the machines and ironing with a roller the guest linen and napkins. You’ve stain-treated everything coming in from grease stains on the deck crews white polos to crab linguine stains on white napkins used at dinner last night to zinc marks on white linen garments. Back to the crew items, ironing everyone’s uniform so they all have their day and night uniform ready to go. Washing crew sheets and towels on their laundry day. Oh, housekeeping needs a hand, you turn off the iron! Head up to help with the cabins while the guests are having canapés on the aft deck. At the end of the day the laundry should be looking clear, the baskets empty, with priority placed on guest items. Machines should be empty when you leave. BEDTIME… dreaming of Laurastars – The main iron featured on yachts. Laundry is a big task onboard and requires a lot of organisation and efficiency, you’ll also need to know correct wash temperatures for all items, systems to log guest laundry, how to iron correctly, products used in superyacht laundry and how to stain treat the variety of items that enter superyacht laudnrys – all of this is covered in The Seaworhty Yacht Stew Online Training Course.
The first service shift you will do will most likely be the Breakfast Shift (after you’ve been given some time assisting in the pantry or back up service). So this is how this particular shift usually plays out…
You’re up early before all the guests. You start by checking the notes left for you from the late girl – any breakfast requests or jobs that need to be done first thing. You begin setting up the aft deck with newspapers, as soon as the deck crew have finished the wash down you’re setting the table with the breakfast table décor you pulled yesterday, you are cutting fresh flowersto put in and among your table decor, do the final check of the table have you got everything on there? Of course you do because you ticked off your table setting and pre-meal checklist (a handy download featured in The Seaworthy Stew training course). Pop on some relaxing music quietly so you’re not waking any guests …. Prepare the water station, wash dry and put out the fruit bowls. Oh, radio call…. Jess Jess… Georgia we have Mr Smith awake on Sun Deck Aft. You head out and greet the first guest awake. When in service you are responsible for knowing the whereabouts of every single guest onboard. You are in charge of communicating this to the captain, the galley, deck crew and the interior team.
Alrighty now we have all guests are awake… you have a constant presence near the breakfast table, keeping an eye on any buffet items which may need replenishing, you’re serving breakfast items from the galley, making coffees and fresh juices, clearing plates, and washing dishes. Ok breakfast is done, you let all crew know and you clear the table, you will spend time clearing all dishes and cleaning the pantry whilst still maintaining a presence around the guests. Most of the time they will be sunbathing or doing water sports by now. You go on your break….maybe 1-3 hours. When you arrive back you will be helping clear away guest lunch, you’re back on afternoon service which can be anything from afternoon tea to snacks and cocktails. You have a spare minute someone can relieve you so you quickly grab crew dinner and get changed into your night uniform. You then help with the turn down of the cabins in the evening as dinner service takes place. You see if you can help restock the housekeeping cleaning caddies, run some laundry, restock crew mess items, do a “top to bottom” check of the boat – guest day heads, interior, lighting. Last job… pulling your breakfast table décor for tomorrow. You don’t have to think too much about it as you prepared your décor schedule in advance which tells you what colour theme, flowers and décor to use with each set of plates, cutlery and glassware (also a downloadable template in the stew course).
Early Housekeeping/backup lunch service
You pop into the laundry as the laundry girl is not up yet, and start turning over her machines. You check the fruit baskets you put away the night before. You work your way to the top of the boat opening blinds, turning lights off and unlocking any doors if you’re in port. Usually if at anchor the doors remain unlocked.
You grab your best buddy… the hoover (vacuum) pop it on low setting and do a clean-through from the top of the boat to the bottom. You are wiping any fingerprints and putting items back into place along the way as well as plumping every cushion so the boat looks ‘magazine ready.’
It’s time for some morning sun, you will head outside setting up the decks with sunscreen baskets, towels, flowers and plants. All while snapping a quick photo and saying a quick morning hello to one of the deck crew doing the wash down. Alright back to it, the guests are awake you are on! Head to the cabin that is free… make sure you get this right you don’t want to go into a cabin where a guest is still sleeping. You hoover and clean the cabin, making the bed, drying and cleaning showers, cleaning toilets, replenishing toiletries, replacing used towels and removing all dirty laundry. If you know the guest often pops back to the cabin make sure you do the bed first at least when they enter the room will look neater. The rooms are left immaculate! Did you do a double-check as you left the room? I thought so! Well done. Now let’s help set the table for lunch! As the day unfolds you continue tidying the saloon/s (lounge areas) and turning down the cabins before guests retire to bed.
You start about 9 am (depending on how late the guests stayed up last night) You say you’re good mornings to the crew you pass in the corridor and head up to the Upper Deck Pantry. You will take over service from the breakfast girl so she can go on her break, whilst checking on guests you set the lunch table, liaise with the galley on lunchtimes, learn the daily lunch menu off by heart, pull any wine requested for lunch. It’s lunchtime, a fun time onboard as everyone has done water sports and are generally hungry and ready for a beautiful meal. You open the wine and serve, you offer fresh baked bread and explain the menu items. Lunch service is done, you clear the table, clean everything in the pantry, hoover the floor, restock the fridges.
Time for a break! Quick workout, eat some crew lunch then back to it. Let’s set the dinner table. It’s the gold and white themed night you know what to do as you’ve pulled all of this table decor before. It’s almost canapé service time you prepare your décor put out plates and cutlery and light the candles. Theres a lot of pressure on each service so you tick off your pre-meal checklist to make sure nothing is missed. Dinner service takes place, you are now serving after dinner which can be cocktails, tea coffee or wine. You maintain a presence yet let the guest enjoy the serenity! You are constantly checking the day heads after each guest goes to the toilet. Ah is that a yawn I see? The principal and the guests are off to bed. You let the captain know. You bring in all the decks with items such as vases, fruit bowls, candles, you do a check from top to bottom plumping any sofas and cushions, turn off the lights to night settings, and lastly write any information the girls the next day need to know such as guest bedtimes or activities for the next day they mentioned in the night girl notes diary.
Working Off Charter
It’s a little slower-paced when the guests aren’t on and you now complete the jobs to make sure the boat stays in pristine condition and the most organised it can be.
So there you have it, a little more insight into life as a yacht stew, always something to keep us stews busy!
Interested in becoming a yacht stew or feel like you lack the confidence in your current stewardess skills (after all they are so specialised)? Check out The Seaworthy Yacht Stewardess Online Training course for green and junior stews. You’ll finish the course feeling confident knowing exactly what to do when you step into a new role onboard learning everything from working in the interior on a yacht from housekeeping, cleaning, laundry and service to table settings, food and beverage, flower care and more! To find out more click here.
I’m a chief stewardess with over 6 years experience working in the superyacht industry on boats up to 88m. I help aspiring yacht crew by propelling them with the know-how and tools to confidently break into the superyacht industry.