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Too old/tattood for deckhand, too inexperienced to be a chef?
Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 12:34 PM
Joined: 19/07/2010
Posts: 2

Hello, thanks in advance for any and all replies and may you all enjoy smooth seas wherever you are.

I have been wanting to work on a yacht for sometime and plan to become STCW '95 compliant in about a year and then hopefully find a job.  Here is my dilemma; I have 2 years of experience working in fine dining restaurants, but I never made it higher than hot appetizers, or got much experience in cuisines outside of California cuisine (a name I hate by the way!).  I wish this weren't the case, but I know that my skill, knowledge and experience isn't quite up to being the head chef on a yacht.  I simply don't know enough different recipes or have enough experience to be a head chef, let alone understand budgeting, provisioning etc. 

I am flexible, I don't have to be a chef, I'd be perfectly willing to be a deckhand, in fact I'd prefer it.  However I'll be 31 when I get started in the industry and I have a couple of visible tattoos on my inner forearms.  I've been told that green deckhands are a dime a dozen, and that coupled with being over 30 and having a couple of visible tattoos, will make it very difficult for me to get a job, but that allowances are sometimes made for chefs and they make more money to boot. 

So my question is, do boats ever need simply a chef's helper or sous chef? I have a great attitude and am easy to get along with and I know I would make a valuable sous on a boat.  I've heard that sober chefs who get along with the crew are difficult to find.  I'd imagine that they only need sous' on the really big boats however? 

All I know is that I've been wanting to work on a yacht for years and that I know how to work my *&^ off and get along with people.  What I don't know is if my age (I look 25 I swear!) and tattoos (pretty minor but visible on my forearms, otherwise I'm extremely clean cut) will keep me from becoming a deckhand while my lack of ability to be a head chef will keep me from getting me in the galley. 


Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 1:34 PM
Joined: 31/05/2009
Posts: 14

id go the chef route. you can be a sous no worries. Deckhands good for being outside, driving tenders etc, looking after guests. chefs work long hours, but , everyone does. The bummer for chefs is the crew complaints about food. Chefs get a hard time. chefs that do well perform for the guests but dont worry what crew say. chefs get paid alot more as well and arent really part of the hierachy which is good.
Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 10:11 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277



Some yachts have dedicated crew chefs/cooks (where presentation is not as big an issue). When I cook, I find that wholesome, fresh, tasty, regional recipes at the proper temperature usually bring them "back for more". Therefore, if you are sensitive to your "guests" needs (without jumping through hoops), good at creating dishes from available ingredients, provide multiple selections and vary the menu frequently, you would probably do okay (especially if you occasionally provided on-watch and off-hours "room service' ;o)). This would get your feet wet. After one or two seasons you would probably pick up enough knowledge to change roles if you still wanted the extra fresh air.


Good Luck,




P.S. You have one leg up, I find appetizers usually make the best meals when everyone is pressed for time ;o)).


P.P.S. This is the type of position you might apply for: