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.
Ever wondered what life is like on board as a sole yacht stew? In this blog/podcast episode, I dive into a day in the life of a sole stew. What jobs you’ll be doing from service, housekeeping, and laundry- you do it all!
As a sole stew you are responsible for the whole of the interior- you’re a one man band! The ideal candidate needs to be well rounded and no task to big or small as they juggle the daily tasks as all have different priorities.
Here’s an insight into my diary from my trip up to Fraser Island, Queensland as a Sole Stewardess onboard.
6 am I’m on deck- Taking a few deep breaths and taking in the spectacular sunrise looking out to Fraser Island located off the Queensland coast in Australia.
Fun fact It is the worlds largest sand island. Yet there are no other boats here apart from a few catamarans which come for a day or two. That’s what I love about Australia, you have so much vast ocean to explore and in comparison to the med or Caribbean, you can anchor wherever with no one else in sight.
I start preparing for breakfast service, I pull out the placemats, cutlery, glassware, plates and serving ware. I always prepare my napkins the night before as well as coffee cups so you are not rushing around in the morning if one of the guests is up. The first job is to turn the coffee machine on so it ready to go. Then I’m setting the aft table. I love doing this first thing so it’s all set as the first guests walk out and they can sit around the table and enjoy the serenity without me trying to get the table set.
Next I’m checking with the chef on breakfast plans so I can let the guests know what is on the menu today. Typically speaking it will be a main such as bacon and eggs, omelettes or pancakes then buffet style items such as fruit platters, yoghurts, muesli and toast.
I will start to start to squeeze the fresh juice so has time to chill in the fridge before breaky.
As I’m moving through the main lobby setting the table and so on I am making sure it all looks nice so fluffing the cushions, wiping the dust off the wood as the sun rises it’s easily noticed and also double checking no one has used the day head and I will generally give this a clean.
Guests start rolling out of bed, it’s coffee time, as I say good morning I offer a coffee or juice and bring it out to them. If the owner is up I will make sure he has had his coffee, explain what’s for breakfast and then head down to the master cabin to crack on. I always start with opening up the room- blinds up, lights off, bed made. Checking to make sure it’s not sheet change day I will make the bed. This is the first thing you should do if the guest walks back into the room the bed makes the room look neat. Next, you move onto the bathroom, if they have had a shower you will dry the shower, clean the toilet, empty bins and clean the sink checking for any toothpaste marks, wiping the mirror and checking for any fingerprint marks on doors/ metal. I keep an ear out for any other guests that may have arisen whilst I was doing the master cabin. I can come back to the master cabin and do a final clean later my main priority are the guests. Be sure to never leave the vacuum or cleaning products in the rooms, always always do a double check behind you as you exit a room.
As all guests start to come to the main deck aft I will let the chef know how many we are waiting on for breakfast times. I start to bring all the breakfast items out to the table. Offering juice or coffees again. I’m careful to check to see what’s being eaten and what we need to replenish such as toast or another main. Once everyone has finished eating I will clear all their plates and then the food from the table. As well as doing a final clear of all placemats and wiping the table.
As the guests gear up for a morning of watersports I’m ensuring the sunscreen basket is out, waters for the tender are stocked and any snacks they may need depending on how long they are planning to go and explore for. As they depart I wipe all the sunglasses, tidy up the hats, shirts etc. on the main deck aft and return any miscellaneous items back to their homes. Now it’s back to finish off the cabins and housekeeping, I work my way through housekeeping from master, VIP, to other guest cabins. Collecting laundry such as sheets, towels and guest items along the way.
I always try to have the washing machines on a cycle- a chief stew once said to me a washing machine not in use is a waste. There is always washing to do on a boat! I prioritise getting the guest laundry done as you generally don’t put their items in the dryer apart from underwear and socks so can take time to dry. Tip if you want a super speedy dry time- pop item in the engine room (if it doesn’t smell!) It’s hot and will soak up any excess moisture pretty quickly.
Once the cabins are ticked off and laundry is on, I will do a vac-dust from top to bottom of the boat. Wiping surfaces along the way and mopping any hard surfaces.
Now it’s time to restock all the fridges ensuring the water, soft drinks and beers are all fully stocked and cold. Labels always facing forward. While i’m doing this i’m checking the rubbish bins and taking them to the anchor locker to store until we get to land.
If the guests are still off this is my chance to grab some breakfast and go for a dip in the ocean, the captain on board encourages us to go for a swim i love that! It really freshens you up after minimal sleep.
After a short break I’m into preparing for lunch service- asking the chef what’s on the menu. Pulling out plates, glassware cutlery, serving ware and folding the napkins. I always make sure I know what wine we have onboard as if the owner asks what to have with some meals we have a variety of white and reds to offer and I can be confident in knowing the names and regions. The in-between meal period is filled with lots of little jobs there’s always a couple of dishwashing loads to unpack checking all plates and any glasses for marks and polishing the cutlery, I tend to jump from job to job. I’ll head down and turn over the laundry fold towels and any rags and return to their correct spot. I’ll also make sure my cleaning caddy is restocked and ready to go. Making sure the beach towels are replenished as guests use them throughout the day. Once I have time for lunch I know when to set the table, as I have everything organised it flows well. I ask if the owner would like any wine opened with lunch – this is done before as it’s much easier to prepare and decant if necessary rather than trying to do it all while lunch needs to be served,
Lunch service happens and then the clearing of plates begins. I help the chef with packing the dishwasher and I will be hand washing particlar items like wine glasses and drying.
The afternoon can often be filled with guests lazying about the boat or doing activities. Often drinks and snack service run onboard and I’ll be checking on the guests every now and then if they need anything. I also keep a close eye on where guests go throughout the day, if someone uses the day head I’ll go in after and clean it, if someone uses their cabin I’ll go in after and tidy or clean the bathroom. Boats always need to looks ‘untouched’.
Now as the afternoon carries i’m thinking about the cocktail of the day and what to make. I always have something up my sleeve to offer. I’ll keep an eye on stock levels of spirits and wines so I know what we have onboard.
I’ll often cut garnishes and prepare for cocktail hour which can happen at any point during the day and it’s easier to have everything set up. As the day goes on I’m constantly tidying up around the boat. And vacuuming / mopping where required.
I will check in with the chef which what’s for dinner, and start preparing for the next service. Around Dusk I will go and change into my night uniform – and try and squeeze in a shower if possible! Often we will organise canapes or cheeseboard in the afternoon and then prepare for dinner. Again I will ask the owner if they would like some wine pened for dinner, then begin setting the lighting around the boat as the sun goes down. I will start setting the table and be back and forth making cocktails and serving drinks it’s usually a busy time. Guests will often shower and get ready for dinner so I will try and make a start on getting the cabins done. When dinner is served and all guests are eating I will then sit down and eat dinner. Making sure I’m checking on the guests every few minutes to see if anyone’s water needs topping up or if its time for clearing.
After dinner, the pack down happens restocking the dishwasher, hand washing items and cleaning up. If i haven’t been able to do the cabins yet I’ll make sure these are done before helping with the dishwasher etc. The night time housekeeping tends to take awhile as you most likely have all guest cabins showers and bathrooms to do. From here on into the night I will be focussed on serving drinks and clearing them away. As well as checking on day heads. I will duck down the cabins and turn down the beds, making sure the guests have water and chocolate next to the bed, setting the dim night lighting and marking sure the bathrooms are perfect. After this, it’s back to drinks service and then it’s a waiting game until the guests retire to bed. It’s so relieving when you see a yawn! It’s been a big day it’s often after midnight. When all guests head to bed, you wash and dry the last dishes, empty bins, clean the table and your cocktail area. Turn the lights to a night setting (this will dependant on the boat) and take yourself to bed.
As you can see it’s a non-stop day with some days offering more time for breaks than others, for me this was one of the best trips with the most free time I’ve ever had on charter. As the guests went fishing for a few hours so it freed up my time. I love working for this boat temping when they need a yacht stewardess. I’ve worked on all kinds of boats from 28m to 88m and I don’t have a preference as I can say there are pros and cons to boats in different sizes. However I have noticed the smaller boats offer a more casual atmosphere you’re almost a part of the family.
I was thinking one day whilst I was looking out over the water when I was doing housekeeping in the master cabin, “here I am back in Australia working on boats after travelling the world. I started with no experience and it was sheer determination to enter the yachting industry that I think allowed me to get to where I am today. I learnt a hell of a lot along the way, and it made me think of all of you in this community who I believe can totally do it to! Yachting is the best career move I ever made, my only regret is not joining sooner!
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.