A guide on how to get started in the Superyacht industry
A podcast where you join me (Jess!) From Superyacht stories with other Yachties to helpful hints for green crew, we cover it all.
I am a yacht stewardess now living life back on land! After 5 years travelling the world on Superyachts. I want to share with you how you can do it too!
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. Its 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 Crew mess or Laundry shift 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 captains 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 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 eating 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. BED TIME… dreaming of Laurastars – The main iron featured on yachts.
You’re up early. You start by checking the notes left for you from the late girl – any breakfast requests or jobs needed to be done in the morning. 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 prepared yesterday, cutting fresh flowers you put your bouquets out, do the final check of the table have you got everything on there? Of course you do because you ticked off your checklist! Pop some relaxing music on 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 all guests are awake… you have a constant presence nearby the 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, 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 pantry whilst still maintaining a presence around the guests. Most of the time they will be sun bathing 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 non stop 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 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, 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 which tells you what colour theme, flowers and décor to use with each set of plates, cutlery and glassware.
Early Housekeeping/back up lunch service
You pop into the laundry as the laundry girl is not up yet, start turning over her machines. You check the fruit baskets you put away from the night before, put into correct spot. You work your way to the top of the boat opening blinds, turning lights off and unlocking any doors if your in port
You grab youre best buddy… the hoover (vaccum) pop it on low setting and do a clean through from the top of the boat to the bottom. Wiping any fingerprints and putting items back into place along the way.
It’s time for some morning sun, you will head outside setting up the decks with sunscreen baskets, towels and flowers and plants. All while snapping a quick photo and have a quick morning chat to one of the deck crew. 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 remove 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 9am (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 lunch times, learn the daily lunch menu off by heart, pull any wine requested for lunch. It’s lunch time, 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 break and explain the menu items. Lunch service done, you clear the table, clean everything in the pantry, hoover the floor, restock the fridges.
Time for a break! Quick workout, food then back to it. Let’s set the dinner table. It’s the gold and white themed night, you can’t help but think it’s a little extra but it’s all about the wow moments. It’s almost canapé service time you prepare your décor put out plates and cutlery and light the candles. Dinner service takes place, you are now serving after dinner this 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 a guests 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, lastly write any information the girls the next day need to know such as guest bed times or activities for the next day they mentioned in the night girl notes diary.
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.
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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.