Yacht Delivery

Anyone doing it either down North America East Coast to Caribbean or aCross the Atlantic?

Yes, Dockwise Yacht transport,(today DYT):
But that was probably not the type of Yacht delivery you were thinking about.

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Are you looking to get a boat delivered or to get a job doing it?

Actually neither. Reading a biography I just bought on Kindle. Author mention he did that on vacation times.

What he said was “ These jobs were brief, interesting, and helped me extend my time ashore between ships…I had decided to explore delivery as a career option, electing not to ship out, and to see if I could make a decent living tramping about the US coastline as opposed to long voyages to distant lands. I was about a month or two into that experiment, and the seeds of regret were not only sprouted, but in full bloom. As a sideline, it was a good bit of ‘extra’ money, and having a regular job elsewhere meant being able to say ‘no’.”

There I Was… Sea Stories, Tall Tales and other True Lies

Clifford Babson


You meet these yacht delivery sailors in Halifax quite frequently. Something to do with Florida, dead retirees, great circles, and wealthy Europasians… don’t know, man, ask your economist-navigator friend. All I know is they like to drink a few beer, smoke weed, and talk about boats while sitting on the stoop.


That doesn’t sound so bad, do they need engineers? Where do I sign up?

Long ago when I was young & single I fantasized about a job prospect that a delivery rummy told me about. He said all a sailor had to do is sit in the yacht club bars on the north end of the Panama Canal, tell sea stories & they could get paid to crew anywhere in the world.


Back when I was sailing and living in Fort Lauderdale, I spoke at length with a local business that supplied yacht crews. I even spoke with the captain of Adnan Khashoggi’s yacht. I just couldn’t work the schedule with my “day” job. . .


This is the logic the vagabond yatch crew deliverer explained to me about the yacht clubs around the Panama Canal. Boats coming in after crossing the Pacific often had crew who would quit after a long voyage & less experienced skippers heading East would want to be fully manned & have the most experienced crew they could get before heading across the Pacific for the first time. He said he didn’t get paid much but managed to keep his bar tabs paid & free travel all over the world on nice boats. This was the days before the open yatching forums & internet job boards though. Don’t know if things are still like that or if they ever were? The guy had a bunch of unbelievable stories about him.

I never pursued my fantasy of being a Caribbean/South Pacific tramp sailor. I always preferred a steady paycheck & thought of spot job yacht work as the last resort. Maybe in retirement?

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A lot of sail and motor yachts in the delivery trade don’t have dedicated engineers. Deck crews are a dime a dozen but I always placed a great value on mechanical ability when hiring crews. There are many ports on the cruising and racing circuit where if you show up at the right time of year, you are pretty much guaranteed to find a berth. Lots of young adventurous folks hitchhike their way around the world that way.


While I didn’t take the yacht gig very seriously, I did ultimately get a “part time” job on a treasure hunt/marine archaeology project. . . there are/were some strange opportunities that pop up in South Florida. . especially in the 80s. . .

Actually havent done this from the yacht perspective. However while aboard as Pilot I get to ask questions. Most crew are from agencies. Cooks, steward/ess, deckhands, mates. They temp out as the yachts get charters, or seasonally. Typically the skippers and engineers are permanent. But even they usually start as mate or engineer asst through the temp agencies until they develop a rapport with either an owner or a Captain to be offered a permanent position.

One guy who I do know well is the only permanent crew (Capt) on a 90’ sailing yacht. He uses Temp Cook, Mate and Deckhands when crewing up for ‘his imminence’ and cortege arrival and shipment.

If you’re really looking, search for yacht crewing agencies around Fort Lauderdale. That would be the place to start,

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Yup. I am sure that still stands, like it did in the 80s. . . often times if a yacht was between charters or the Owner being onboard, it would lay at the dock with just a caretaker. Quite a few that I would see in the local haunts were cooks or stewards. Funny thing, the wife will watch that show “Below Decks”. . . I just cringe. . . .

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about who and how a yacht is crewed.

To start with, “down North America East Coast to Caribbean or a Cross the Atlantic” are very much different trips made by very different vessels. Yachts that cross the Atlantic on their own bottoms are usually in at least the 50m class, most are longer. Those vessels almost without exception are fully crewed by permanent professional crew all year long. Charter yachts (which are nearly all those 50m and above) keep the same crew in order to maintain consistent levels of service which is a major part of their reputation and attracts repeat clientele. Most of those boats now offer “rotation” for senior crew with equal time on and off.

Boats making an Atlantic crossing on their own bottom usually have the “junior” rotational crew onboard and give vacation time to as many of the hotel crew as possible. Most of the big boats have two chefs, the owner’s chef - who might work at the owner’s home when the owner is not onboard - or remain onboard for charters if the owner has his own chef at home, and a crew chef who feeds the crew.

Some American owned boats cruise the Caribbean in winter then New England in the summer but for a large boat the passage is hardly any reason to lay off one crew and hire unknowns for the few days it takes to change locations.

The little boats that take the ICW north and south with the seasons are usually owner operated and often the owner hires a “captain” to move the boat and use some unlicensed (or a 6 pack) gig worker for the job. It is a hobby type of thing for most of them.

There is a lot more to that business than meets the eye.

There are often temporary Engineer positions on this site:

“An individual on a visitor visa (B1/B2) is not permitted to accept employment or work in the United States.”

Those boats that require a B1/B2 visa holder currently located in the US are asking for that person to violate American law and the conditions of their visa.

The feds frequently followup on those ads and also visit the yards and boats.

I know an engineer who does this every summer season, but not as an engineer but a deckhand. He loves it

Hot off the press:

Just bookmarked that for the retirement gig work folder. :wink:

There are “yachts” as in boats used for fun and YACHTS. No one has the space for a dedicated engineer on something like a 40 foot sailboat, you would be standing a full watch besides for fixing things, but diesel repair ability is a huge plus to get your foot in the door in that world.
In the world of 100+ foot motoryachts, you very well could find a berth as an engineer. I always worked on the smaller end of the scale and did pretty much every job, sometimes there were only two of us aboard.
For the bigger end I sadly heard being a US citizen is a huge drawback. Seems we have a reputation for suing everyone and needing health insurance :frowning: