Merchant Marine to yachts?

Anyone go from commercial shipping to yachts?

I know we have all looked at those pretty boats with envy. Food… gender balance…port visits… just curious if anyone have any stories or experiences to share!

I hear it’s rather difficult to go that direction as hiring managers have a bad opinion of commercial mariners. We are too rough around the edges to be rich people’s bitches.


Haven’t done it myself but I don’t recommend one go by the current crop of “reality” TV shows out there that depict a fun, carefree life working on a yacht. It is a lot of work, and you are often dealing with assholes around whom you must remain on your best behavior (of course I wouldn’t last a nanosecond, for that reason and others).

Now, a friend of mine is a yachtie captain and she’s retired but does take on the occasional student, and if it’s a motor yacht will toss me a fin just to come over and help the owner familiarize themselves with the engines and ancillary equip. A lot of them have more money than sense. She had one student last year that she cut loose because he wouldn’t listen. Old guy wanted to sail himself to the Caribbean. Previous experience was essentially a bass boat. We urged him to hire a crew…

Depending on your commercial experience and certification level it is very possible. There are many engineers and senior deck crew who started in the commercial world.

Talk to the management companies that handle very large yachts. The major yacht brokerages usually have a crewing department. Google “megayacht brokers”.

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I believe that I commented previously on similar thread. When I was sailing and living in Fort Lauderdale, I was talking with a local guy who had a yacht crewing company. It was pretty eye opening. I never did get a berth, but I was looking for short term work as an engineer, during my time off. I did have a discussion with the captain of Adnan Khashoggi’s yacht. Duties, besides the engine room also included keeping all of the toys (jet skis, and similar) working. . . If I were single at the time, I might have put more effort in pursuing it. I can’t recall the name of the company, and the guy is probably dead by now (he was in his 70s some 30+ years ago). I would also run across some yacht crew members at various drinking establishments. . . . If someone is interested, it would be best to look around places like South Florida where there are quite a few mega yachts.

I know a few guys who have and they all got into the industry the same way… they took STCW classes at Maritime Professional Training, which trains most of the superyacht captains in this country, and spent the week making friends with yacht captains and asking a ton of questions about their segment of the industry.

If you are ugly, grumpy, not physically fit, or buy your clothes from Old Navy and Target… don’t waste your time.

If you are at least moderately good looking, smile most of the time, and love CrossFit then go signup for Stichfix and tell the stylist you are going to be hanging out with the superyacht captains in Florida.


You don’t have to be a deck ornament to succeed in the yacht industry, particularly if you have an engine license.

You just have to be willing to work hard and get along with a small and diverse crew. The industry can offer a very rewarding experience afloat or ashore for those who can adapt.

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Hey…I resemble that remark!


Been there and done that… from my experience (8 years on private yachts) I’d say stick with your commercial gig… you’ll have a better life than being at the beck & call of a owner who has you 24/7. There’s no set schedule in the private sector I don’t care what anyone tells you, it’s the owners schedule that matters not yours. Sure… there are good parts as in any gig, fair weather sailin’ for the most part… exotic locales for ports of call (though many you’ll only experience thru a porthole!)… and the yachty lifestyle of wild parties and drunken escapades are indeed true…that might explain why I’m on my 3rd marraige! On the financial side, the money isn’t better and it sure the hell isn’t more stable, but hey if you crave a change and just wanna see some different ports than throw your hat in the ring… lots of owners (and insurance companies) love commercial licenses. For a behind the scenes peek at what really goes on one of the largest private yachts owned by the american billionaire, Leslie Wexner (Victoria’s Secret owner) and his 315’ft “Limitless” check out my videos; “On Deck with Mike Steuart” on YouTube.

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Im not sure.

Surely the fad for ‘expedition yachts’ has created a market for ‘expedition crew’. Have an outrageous scar, lurid tattoos, and tell stories of fighting of myanmar privateers with just a flare gun and a monkey wrench.

Always fun taking a class at MPT and looking at the difference between the yachties and commercial guys. Usually the yachties are wearing a chunk like a rolex/breitling/etc on their wrist. A lot of yachties left and came to the oil patch after it started booming ten years ago. They told me yeah, you’re living parts of a 5 star lifestyle like the food, but you are maintaining a 5 star hotel. Lots of 18 hours days keeping the boat looking perfect. If you are talented in some ways like free diving, scuba, spearfishing, or other water sports, it could help as a lot of times the owners don’t want to get into the water with just themselves.

Do you have all your teeth? Your BMI is within reason? And you can enunciate your words? You may be able to start as a deckhand.