An overview of the role and opportunities of a Superyacht Deckhand

If you want to begin a career in the superyacht industry, a superyacht deckhand role is likely to be the place you’ll look to start. But what is a deck hand, and what will you be doing?

In this entry level role you will be largely responsible for the upkeep of the yachts’ exterior. These vessels are people’s pride and joy, and you’ll need to ensure the yachts’ condition reflects this with clean windows, maintained deck and serviceable equipment.

You may not just be working during a charter or ‘boss visit’ either, work continues during maintenance periods too. This may include hands-on jobs such as varnishing woodwork, refreshing and touching up paintwork and servicing and maintaining equipment and leisure facilities.

In short – prepare to be hands on!

The next question, of course, will be where to get started – what experience do you need?

Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is potentially an entry level role. Unless experience is stated as a requirement, you will ideally need to have some previous experience, knowledge or passion for the water, be it sports or leisure. Enthusiasm is a must!

On top of this there are a couple of essentials and a few ‘handy to haves’.

  1. You will need your STCW Basic Safety Training before applying for any Superyacht Deckhand role. This is a comprehensive set of training courses, run over 5 days, that will ensure you are equipped to handle yourself safely and sensibly at sea, whatever the experience may throw at you.
  2. An ENG1 Medical is essential too – it confirms and affirms your fitness to work on a vessel.
  3. Additional certificates. If you have little experience for any role, it’s always handy to have a little extra to bring to the opportunity, to help push you above the competition. We tend to recommend a Powerboat Level 2 course so you can help handle the yacht’s tender boats, Crowd Management to show you can handle larger parties and cope with guests in an emergency situation, or Proficiency in Designated Security Duties so you can help ensure everything runs safely and securely when engaged in daily yacht management tasks.
  4. Other skills? Our sister school in the Balearics, Palma Sea School runs a range of courses that could benefit your career, be it as a new starter or someone looking to progress. Competent Crew, PWC, Powerboat courses and more…
  5. Recruitment. A knowledgeable recruitment link can rally help, as they will know what opportunities are available, understand what specific yacht owners or operators want in a candidate and can help ensure your CV (including all those hard earned new skills and certifications!) is honed to perfection. SWMA have partnered with some incredible industry specific recruitment agencies to help you secure your perfect opportunity; get in touch and get the ball rolling today!

You could try:

Wilson Halligan



You can take a look at our Superyacht Training page for extra details, course booking options and our fantastic Superyachts Career video.