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Overinflated Wages ???
John Doe
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 1:08 AM
Joined: 13/10/2008
Posts: 77

I saw the words "over-inflated wages" and it got me thinking. Are yacht wages over-inflated; and where does this notion come from? I just calculated my wage at per hour rate and the garbage collector on my parents road gets paid more. So how does this idea that yacht crew are all rich and have ridiculously high salaries. All around are articles stating how crap the industry is, boats are for sale and low charter bookings should mean no tips right ? So who is rich, who is over paid ? It's definitely not me and I am high on the food chain so it certainly isn't the deck crew. What is truth what is myth and where does this notion come from ?
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 6:23 AM
Joined: 15/11/2010
Posts: 37

Sure your local Garbage man may have a higher per hour wage, but does he pay for food? Rent/Mortgage? Laundry services? normal housing maintanence? Internet? Fuel for his vehicle? etc. . I think you get my point. Saving money on tons of things like this, not to mention being busy at sea and saving money is a lot easier for yachties. If you still have problems with it, then its a personal issue, not a pay issue.
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 8:25 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Yes and no. Backpackers on 4 grand a month are overpaid. Yachting is a backpacker industry. As a professional sailor, total career earnings are modest in yachting. Very few can hang onto a position long enough. Every time you go unemployed and must sit out a season, kiss goodbye to 10 grand for shoreside expenses and 30 grand in lost wages while you look for a new program. Do this ten times in a 30 year career and you have shredded 400 grand off your lifetime earnings . Even if you do strike gold with a good program, by the time you take care of personal responsibilities like a pension and health care, you take home a modest paycheck . Superimpose this modest take home pay on the extremely expensive areas of operation that we must inhabit....3 euros for a coffee, and you would have a hard time stating overinflated wages. I only eat meals off the boat at cheap cafes, wear cheap clothing and a plastic watch, dont drink my paycheck, dont drive cars and worry whether Ill generate enough to stop.
John Doe
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 3:20 PM
Joined: 13/10/2008
Posts: 77

So Mike, because the yacht crew who don't own houses and cars ( I know many that do) should get paid less because of their expenditures or lack there of. If I have a family should I get paid more than an equally qualified person who is single ?
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 6:46 PM
Joined: 03/06/2008
Posts: 4

This is a tricky subject. When you do break down our salaries hourly on most boats, it is pretty sad. But that is the downside to being salaried. In my experience a salaried position means longer hours. But if you look at what our salaries are, we are doing pretty damn good! I do agree with Mike that you do also need to take into account food, a bed, and any associated bills that we don't have to pay when we live on board. We really don't have any mandatory living expenses. If we do have a family ashore, that does cost a bit of money, but that is a choice some of us choose to make, so I personally chock that up to an optional expense. (I know some people may take offense to that, but I know people that have made the conscious decision not to have family while they work in this industry.) The point that I always come back to when this thought crosses my mind, is where else can you make this kind of money without a college degree? I know there are costs for classes and licensing, etc and I know there are some of you that have gone to maritime colleges to get your tickets. But you can get your license without going to college, (at least most of them. Do some of the bigger tickets require college?), and if you look at the cost of classes, etc it is much less expensive then 4 or more years of university. As an engineer, I have looked at options for moving ashore, and there's not much out there that offers the full package of salary, and happiness with what I do. I do think we are usually paid extremely well, and have the great opportunity to save a lot of money for an early retirement, or blow it all and have one hell of an amazing ride along the way. In the end, I think most of us are worth every penny of it. We do work long hours and make lots of personal sacrifices to be part of this industry, but personally, I've tried, and can't think of anything I would rather do!
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 7:16 PM
Joined: 10/05/2008
Posts: 21

Well said Sam
David Roberts
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 7:19 PM
Joined: 21/10/2010
Posts: 1

I feel we may be missing the point with these postings so far. Principally people within this industry are paid the salaries they are due to the period they work and the unsocial leave ratios that exist in this industry. If we all worked ashore we could reasonably expect to receive approximately 150 days leave a year (weekends, public holidays, anual leave etc). The average crew member receives in the order of 60 days a year under a standard contract. Thus some form of insentive is required. As has been pointed out earlier, this is also a very transigent industry with people coming in for short periods. This is changing slowly with a more structured program of tickets etc but it is still rare to find "mature" (in age) personnel aboard yachts. Given these factors I think it is reasonable to consider the industry should get a hight rate of pay. However, this is not quite so valid when you get "rotational" personnel expecting only a very small drop in salary - which is often the case and cannot really be justified.
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 7:36 PM
Not sure about all countries, but all the extras such as food, accommodations, etc, even tips are considered income and are taxable, so yes, it is part of your income. Yachting - one of the only industries were a person with 4 years of college and a high school dropout can work side by side and make the same money and in a few MCA years can be making more than 8 years of college
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 8:11 PM
Joined: 12/07/2010
Posts: 57

Your paid better than time clock employees, and if you work well enough to put yourself into a good position you can double or triple your salary in tip's. The argument on hourly breakdown is so lame and old, FNG's, be happy or go home...and punch a clock for a while...
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 8:24 PM
nah, the pay is rubbish in general... sure you may save on food and rent but you sacrifice personal freedoms for it... no days off, no job security... As a chef you're better off doing fly in fly out work on a mine sight, 3 weeks on 2 weeks off $120k in the hand.... why would you bother with whinging crew and picky owners for half the money... Where are the tips that were kicking around 7 years ago... Boats are more like floating prisons than anything and the personal sacrifices are big for many people.... crew politics sucks BIG TIME and anyone that disagrees is either very lucky or they are deluding themselves ... between ship yards, shady port deals, brokers, flower arangers and everybody else that takes their cut of pie, there's not much left for crew who, to be honest get the raw end of the deal... it is what it is, an insight into the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 9:38 PM
Joined: 19/12/2009
Posts: 8

I think David Roberts is bang on!

But also keep in mind.. The experience's we get with the job.
What land based job gives you the oportunity to wake up at anchor in Porto Fino, or wake up in the San Blas islands etc.. You get my point.

I do agree with the under paid statement but that depends on the situation. But in most cases as we all know for a fact, you are not forced to take a job on a yacht. You have an interview and have time to accept or decline.. and you most certainly will always know what your salary will be before you start the job and working hours. So its your choice if you want to feel 'under paid'.

Example, My last yacht pays a deckhand $900USD a month. (private) Now most of you would say OMG that is underpaid.
But there were extra's included. Appartment, shared Car, Fuel for car, Appartment power, water, and a work week of 5 days 8-3pm.

So I think it is entirely up to the person. You choose to be on the yacht so it is your decision to be underpaid or feel under appreciated.

Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2011 2:40 AM
Joined: 10/12/2011
Posts: 4

Ok John Doe. I am surprised that so many people have acually taken this daft series of questions seriously. Do you think that the owner of your boat sits on his fat cigar chomping, Petrus 62 drinking ass and ponders how much per hour he USED to work for when he WAS making his fortune. Look at it from another angle mate. No he was looking for OPPORTUNITY. Get it? John Doe, open your eyes.
John Doe
Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2011 4:35 AM
Joined: 13/10/2008
Posts: 77

Farcanal- I really don't know what you are getting at but you "took the bait" so doesn't that kinda mean you are calling yourself Daft ? I started this discussion to find out what other people think about this topic, not to anger or ridicule anyone. I have stated in past posts that I am happy in my position and am a career yachtsman. 10 years now, and this industry and the people in it always amaze me. So many opinions and perspectives on virtually everything, things I would of thought we all were on the same page about. These forums are a testament to the differences from boat to boat, captain to captain and how important it is to get the right boat for you. At the end of the day I always love being on the water and want to surround myself with like minded people; it was NEVER about the money, that is why this topic fascinates me so much. I didn't gripe about my wage, I just wanted to know why someone else might find it excessive. A lot of you posters are agreeing with me and proving my point without even realizing it.
Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2011 12:02 PM
Joined: 10/12/2011
Posts: 4

Stay on point Doe, your post is all about the money and it is very important to you. Fair enough. Why don't you produce more in less time, then your hourly wage will be higher than the garbo'. Also, regarding your 2nd post here; Should you maybe get less time off than the junior decky because you get paid more. Just saying??
Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2011 12:14 PM
Joined: 19/01/2010
Posts: 36

As I work on specialist projects and small ships and have so far stayed out of the superyacht industry I am not really in a position to comment upon whether yacht crew get overpaid, but I will try anyway. If a young person is earning €4000 a month for working very long hours onboard a superyacht, chartering for example, it seems that is an under payment based on how much they could earn in sales and marketing for working a 35 hour week regardless of their qualifications. It seems that owners can pay badly and use the yacht as a lever to get hard workers, after all, which young, impressionable, materialistic, good looking 21-26 year old would not want to work on a flashy motor cruiser? Sam, why are you asking if we can get licences without going to college? If you are a superyacht engineer surely you have at least your Y4 licence and have gone to some kind of college to get it.
Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2011 10:20 PM
Hi there. Back in 2000 i was on on 2.700$ Qualifiaed AB seaman with a lot of knoledge in paints , varnishing, deck engineering, tender driving with comertial 50 ton vessels licence. Today with more, cetarnly more experience than many Captains, they only offer me 2700 euros. Guess what! Back comercial 2700. social security proper contracts 2 on 1 off, all flights paid free continuos training. A lot of people tried to make yachting professional, with contracts, and other issues wen i statred it was work privacy. to many foruums now. HAVE A NICE DAY FROM THE NON YACHTING PORT OFF BREMEN HAVEN. Maybe Lurssen . by
Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 9:11 AM
I just wrote a huge reply, including the maths for my old salary as a delivery captain (med-north sea routes). I then worked out my current salary as Master of a 100ft+ M/Y and i think that i do actually get paid well so no need to show the maths! All i can say is that with the right attitude and the view that yachting is a career not a summer job you will find the right yacht and therefore the right salaries; furthermore after investment of your own time into training and courses you will be more employable and eventually you will be earning really good money. I find that people who are whinging about their salaries will most likely be the people who find themselves out of a job and unemployed because they lack passion for the fundementals of the job. As well as wanting good money i work at sea because i like to be at and around the sea. I would be in the merchant navy or be a delivery skipper still but yachting gives one such a better social life and more day to day freedom.
Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 4:36 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100

All depends on how you look at it. Take your average person and divide their wage into an hourly rate for work they have done and yes - ALL crew members appear to have a low hourly rate - but if you want to measure your employment on an hourly rate, go back to shore! I am just finishing a 6 month shore break for holidays and training etc and am gobsmacked by how much living ashore costs me and the bureaucracy that comes with it - I cannot wait to get back on board and start twirling my spanners once more. All of the add ons that we attract with our jobs, and also the ability to save money while being at sea - for me, make it a very worthwhile career path - and on top of that - I have a job I really enjoy.
Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 12:54 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

Last boat I was on I was very handsomely paid. I was the best paid captain on a 110' boat by far. It was temporary duty for 2 years to get a very troubled 7 year operation surfing and crew trained and it was done in a year and a half. I earned my wage. I knew when the owner asked me what I thought about Padge taking over that I said "Hell yes, he's good to go."; my time at my salary was limited lol, but I'm all good with that. It's part of the job. Like old captain Ray said when I answered, "You're supposed to be asleep, why are you here?" with "I wanna take your job."; he came back with, "Then get over here and learn to do it right. If you can take my job you're welcome to it, there's another one out there for me."

Yeah, easy for him, he was 72 lol.

Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 1:54 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

It really all depends on the boats program. Some boats work the crew to death. They get money like crab fishermen, but they work like it too. I see more and more crews being pared down. It'll be interesting to watch MSM come into yachts more prevalently. Some good hardworking charter crews intentionally and willingly work those hours though in order to reduce the shares in the tip. As long as the watch officers and lookouts get proper seaman's rest, I leave it up to the crew how lean they want to run, but I won't  let it go below what I think I need minimally. A lot of boats people don't work real  hard and don't learn much. I have a qualm with rank terminology in yachting. I see a lot of deckhands that after about 2 months start calling themselves Mate with no credentials. I'm sorry, Mate is a licensed position. I also think it's a failure that yachting hasn't adopted the AB standard certification either. As a captain I love to see a deckhand walk on with an AB rating. It says a lot to me.

John Doe
Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 9:07 AM
Joined: 13/10/2008
Posts: 77

My first boat I paid to be on. My second boat I volunteered to be on, I received room and board so I guess I kind of broke even there. My third boat I got paid $50 USD a week (my cigs and beer cost more), and while i was there I managed to work through a Captains stroke and a Hurricane. I then graduated to minimum wage on a beat up whale watching boat. So, do i do this for the money, Obviously NOT. Money has just happened to be a by-product of many years of experience and ticket acquisition. BTW, The total time I spent experiencing these adventures equates to more time than what a modern Yachtie spends before he/she thinks they deserve a mates job. Hasn't anyone heard of 2 years before the mast. .....Am I happy with my wage....Yes. Did I spend a small fortune on a commercial tickets before I got into yachting ? Yes. Why, because I wanted knowledge, I take pride in the fact that I have marlinspike seamanship knowledge in todays times. My Bosun can't varnish, splice or paint. Do I try to teach him, YES. Does he want to learn, NO...he wants the cash and title with out the ticket, experience and responsibility. In summation, the most successful crew in this industry are here for the love of the Ocean not the $$$$. They just happen to get paid well because they are good at what they do; but they didn't become that way for the money. Is what they get paid over inflated ? Probably if you look at it from the view of they would do it for cheap for the love of it. Is what they get paid over-inflated ? Not even close if you look at it from the view of a travelling capitalist who thinks they can get in and get out with a packet of cash because they sacrifice everything to be here.
Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 11:17 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

Yeah, I started west coast IBNA / Schooner rat; Room & Board + charter tips, Weinberg's Navy. Went on to a couple years Avalon Shore Boat and Glass Bottom Boat from there. That was really good money before I had to quit my sea lion show, I'd make $400 a day in tips, 20 years ago on a 50 ton ticket add that to the $100 a day for the boat and that was excellent. I think I paid $300 a month for company housing.

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