How to Get Work on a Boat

by Free Traveler on August 20, 2012

There are very few jobs that allow you to travel the world in style and get paid for it. One of them is working aboard a private luxury yacht. The good news is, just about anyone, as long as there’re not prone to seasickness, can do it. You don’t have to be a sailor. There are plenty of positions that do not require boat experience.

If you do manage to find work as crew aboard a luxury boat, you will be living the high life. Yes it is hard work, but the chance to travel aboard a yacht, get paid handsomely, and live, eat and drink for free definitely make up for it. Below you will find everything you need to know about getting work on a private boat.

*If you’re interested in working on a cruise ship, definitely check out Wandering Earl’s (How To Work On A Cruise Ship)

Who Captains Hire

Depending on the size of the ship, captains look for a wide variety of crew. On some of the largest yachts, they require everyone from Barbers and Cooks to maintenance men, maids, engineers and deckhands. As long as you are skilled and have worked in the service industry, then they is no reason why you shouldn’t apply.

How to Apply

The easiest but also the least effective way to apply is via the Internet. The Crew Network is on of the largest directories that match captains with crew. You will need to fill out your details such as availability and also a CV (Curriculum Vitae) / resume. However, since there is a lot of competition, unless you have a lot of experience in a specific field, there is little chance that you will be contacted.

The best way to get a job on a boat is by visiting the captain and crew in person. Networking face to face is essential. On some boats, the crew often works in very small quarters and so captains want to hire people that are easy to get along with. Being amiable and having good people skills is almost important than having skills in the job that you are applying for.

Where and When to Find Boat Work

There are three primary ports where luxury yachts dock. That isn’t to say there aren’t many other places where you can find boat work, but these places are the largest. They are Ft. Lauderdale Florida, Palma De Mallorca, Spain, and Antibes, France. Each of these locations have Crew Network offices and have hostels known as a crew house. Here you can network with others looking for boat work.

The best time of year to search for boat work at European ports is September to October. At this time many boats are in need of crew before they make passage to the Carribean. In the America, the best time to find boat work is the month of August before the hurricane season kicks off.

How to Get the Job

As mentioned before, you must be amiable and also be proactive. Walking the docks in the early morning is the best way to begin introducing yourself. At this time, the crew is often up cleaning the boat. Approach them and ask if they have any day work. If they do, show them that you can work hard. This is often better than any interview. It allows you to network with the crew and this can lead to many opportunities. It could lead to further day work or it could even lead to a permanent position on their boat or another’s.


Finding work on a boat, especially on a private luxury yacht isn’t easy. It is such a high paying and sought after job that there is a lot of competition. However, if you remain proactive and really hustle, and put your best foot forward, and don’t give up, you will eventually land your dream boat job. For a more extensive guide, check out How To Work On A Luxury Yacht.