How to sail around the world on a luxury yacht

The yachting industry can seem, to an outsider, like a well-kept secret, but I’m going to let you in on it. Do you fancy the idea of sailing around the world on a luxury yacht? Want to know how to get paid to do it? Read on.

What do you do onboard a yacht?

The key things to understand are that yachts require maintenance and service standards are extremely high. Interior crew maintain the interior guest areas laundry and crew mess. Crew from the deck and engineering departments maintain the exterior and engine room, whilst also supervising guest use of toys (such as jetskis, waterskiing and scuba diving).

Engineer working in the engine room on a yacht

Pros and Cons


  • You travel to new and often remote locations
  • Tax free wages (depending upon your citizenship and the flag of the yacht)
  • You have nearly no living expenses, as the yacht provides food and toiletries
  • You eat great food. There’s a chef onboard remember?


  • You work long hours and working 5.5 days a week is the industry standard
  • You are virtually owned by the yacht and cannot choose or control when to take time off.
  • You are working, Not on holiday, so the yacht may visit amazing places but you may not have time to explore them, which can be frustrating
Yacht Flags can have Tax implications for crew

What do I need to work on a yacht?

There are so many yachts out there, each with their own itinerary, making it very difficult to give a definite list of what you need. Here are some standard requirements of the industry, although you may come across a yacht requiring none of them:

  • Passport – All yachts which travel will require you to have a passport
  • STCW’95 – The STCW’95 is an entry level watch-keeping course and a requirement onboard yachts which offer charters
  • CV – (or resume) highlighting any water-based activities
Exumas, Bahamas

How do I get a job on a yacht?

There are a few yachting hotspots around the world, the obvious ones are Fort Lauderdale in Florida, Antibes in France and Palma in Spain. The Mediterranean season starts in April and the Caribbean season (Fort Lauderdale area) starts in October.

One way to get a job is to dress smartly and dockwalk, which means walking along the docks, approaching yachts and leaving your CV with them. Another method is to register with crew agencies (the recruitment agencies of the yachting world) Yachts often need casual workers (called dayworkers) to help prepare a yacht for the next trip when they have a tight turnaround, or to cover crew holiday, so it is worth telling the yachts you come across dockwalking, if you are available for daywork.

If you are prepared to work hard and make the personal sacrifices demanded by yachts, you will be well rewarded as you travel the world. Just make sure you don’t suffer from seasickness before embarking on this career option though!


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