Before You Grow Up: Be a Deckhand on a Luxury Yacht

There are only a few carefree summers in your life. Don’t waste them interning at law firms—opt for one of these adventure-packed seasonal gigs instead.

Sep 16, 2013
Outside Magazine
deckhands yacht boats jobs how to apply

   Photo: Leif Skandsen/Flickr

To be clear, this is not cruise-ship work (which is terrible). Sign on to assist a private charter boat and you’ll polish chrome, sling drinks, and clean cabins, all while seeing the world (or at least Bermuda) from an extremely posh vantage. “It can mean 16-hour days when the owners are aboard, but that’s followed by weeks of paid time off,” says Hannah Moran, 34, who has worked on 200-foot yachts all over the world.

Prereqs: Experience on sailboats or in the service industry. Must be 18 or older.

How to Break In: Connect with an agency like Crewfinders in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which places newcomers on boats and arranges off-water housing. If you’re not the perky service type, look for short-term gigs crewing yachts sailing south for the winter, which may pay as much as $125 a day. “I’m looking for people who know their way around a boat,” says Chatham, Massachusetts, captain Timmy Dow. Many of these gigs are word-of-mouth or come through walking the docks at yacht clubs on the eastern seaboard.

Pay: As much as $2,500 per month, plus room and board.

Romance Potential: “Don’t date anyone on your boat,” warns Moran. “It’s not worth the drama. Plus the captain can fire you for any reason.”

Résumé Skills: Open-ocean multitasking; discretion with respect to the antics of prominent boat owners.

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