Many life-long careers in the yachting industry have begun as a seasonal job or gap year with a desire to visit exotic destinations. The continual change and challenges that come with each new charter group make the positive feedback even more satisfying and those with lifelong wanderlust have a rare opportunity to see some of the world’s most incredible cities and scenery.
Working on a luxury yacht isn’t without its drawbacks, however: Weeks at a time spent away from home, long working hours in the peak seasons and ensuring that everything runs smoothly when you’re far from the port can all take their toll. When performing tasks that can be as equally trying as they are rewarding, crew members want to assure that their pay reflects the professionalism and high degree of detail that they put into each day.
Following the launch of free salary-sharing platform www.yachtingsalaries.com in March 2016, YPI CREW has revealed its first report into the salaries paid to the crew on luxury yachts of various sizes.
Covering the period between 2016/2017, the results not only provide transparency to crew members but help employers to attract and retain individuals with exceptional skills. The occupations covered range from captains to deckhands and compare pay for permanent, private, rotation and charter crew: Find out how the charter industry measures up to the other sectors.
446 captains submitted information to www.yachtingsalaries.com, and the data revealed that 13% worked on sailing yachts and the other 83% on motor yachts. Captains on larger yachts earned more per month than captains of smaller vessels to create an upward trend, although M/Y captains of 35m-51m superyachts fared particularly well, with a jump in salary from €9,000 per month for 41m-50m yachts up to €13,000 p/m for larger luxury yachts. Private and permanent captains tended to earn the most for their size category, with permanent captains coming out slightly ahead.
Sailing yacht captains tended to earn the same as on motor yachts for the 0-35m and 35-40m vessels, earned more than motor yacht captains in the 41-50m category by €2,000 per month, and earned less than motor yacht captains by €2,000 in the 51-65m category.
239 of the 434 technical crew surveyed were chief engineers, and on charter yachts, they earned an excellent salary compared to private, permanent and rotational counterparts on the same-sized yacht: In the 0-35m size category, they earned €6,000 per month compared to €5,500. Salary levelled off in the 80-100m category, with chief engineers on charters earning slightly less than others with a salary of €9,500.
Second engineers were the most stable across the sectors and received a steady pay of between €48,000, rising to €70,000 on the largest yachts. Second engineers on charter yachts were paid considerably more per month than permanent and private second engineers within the 51-65m and 66-80m categories, earning between €5,000-€10,000 more in the former category and €2,000-€5,000 per month more in the latter.
Third engineers earned between €2,500 and €5,000 per month, with the pay scale raising incrementally based on yacht size.
69% of the 224 deck officers who took part in the survey were permanent and 31% rotational. Second and third officers had a greater chance of occupying a rotational position (50% and 70%), making deck officers the most likely crew members to have rotational work. Deck officers on charter yachts tended to earn less than counterparts on similarly-sized vessels, and private and permanent positions provide the most stable throughout.
Salaries for chief officers on charter yachts ranged from under €4,000 per month on 0-35m vessels to over €8,000 on 81-100m vessels and dropping slightly in the category of 101+m
Data for 2nd and 3rd officers was more sporadic, and charter position salaries ranged from €3,800 for both positions on yachts 51-65m and upwards.
Although 127 chefs participated in the survey, results were varied both for yacht sizes and sectors, producing the unusual graph where the head chefs on a 0-35m and 66-80m yacht were earning approximately the same (€4,000 per month) while on other sized charter yachts the head chefs were earning between €5,000 and €8,000. Of the head chefs who submitted data. 85% were permanent and 15% on rotation.
Vessel size seemed to play a part in the salary of sous chefs, with each type of employees earning more on larger yachts. 71% were permanent, and 29% were temporary.
Pursers, Stewards and Stewardesses
For the 2016/2017 report, only 27 pursers, 68 chief stewards/stewardesses and 27-second stewards/stewardesses provided information, and there are therefore too few results to make solid conclusions about industry salaries in this area. Of the pursers, salary varies from €5,000 per month to €7,000 and remuneration did not have any correlation with the size of the yacht and salary was stable regardless of the type of employment, although results were the most unstable in the 66-80m category.
Chief stewards and stewardesses received greater salaries for working on larger yachts, with rotation, permanent and private employment having the most stable salaries and charter crew the most variable: salary on a 51-65m superyacht was €6,500 per month, whereas under €6,000 was paid to stewards and stewardesses aboard 66-80m vessels and smaller yachts.
The results of the second stewards and stewardesses had the most variability, with charter and rotation crew earning under €3,000 for 66-80m vessels while private and permanent crew earned €5,000.
Deckhand salaries tended not to vary depending on the size of the vessel, and 93% were permanent and 7% on rotation aboard motor yachts, while sailing yachts had 100%, permanent crew. From the 87 deckhands that contributed to the study, data revealed that salaries tended to range between €2,100 – €3,000 per month, regardless of whether the yacht was a charter, private or permanent. Deckhands on rotation earned €3,000-€9,000 less depending on the size of the yacht.
The website www.yachtingsalaries.com currently has 2,857 searchable salaries and includes other professions such as bosun and helicopter pilot, as well as the full comprehensive report. Results are searchable at any time, and the next report is due in November 2018.