Q&A with Deckhand Luke Johnson

2 August 2023 By Claire Griffiths

Claire Griffiths is Dockwalk’s contributing editor in the Mediterranean. She fled to the sunny south of France from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Claire has a background in journalism for national and regional UK press and a career in political and corporate PR prior to that. Claire’s hobbies include eating, sleeping and dancing at inopportune times. She tries to avoid sheer drops and Olympic bobsled runs. Email Claire at

Name: Luke Johnson
Position: deckhand
Yacht: M/Y Sosa
LOA: 37.95M/124' 6"
Builder: Sanlorenzo
Time in current position: three months
Time in industry: two years
Previous vessel: S/Y Endless Horizon
Nationality: Zimbabwean

My ultimate ambition is to work towards an engineer position and eventually become a chief engineer, which is obviously a
long way away.

Before joining the yachting world, I worked in finance, and I had a comfortable job. It took me a while to build up the courage to make the move, but it was definitely the right decision for me.

There’s nothing particularly hard about the job, except during the season you can get some party charter guests and then you don’t get much sleep.

It’s a good idea to get quite a lot of daywork under your belt if you want to break into the industry. I ended up dayworking with the same boat for three months and that gave me some leverage in getting some experience. The agencies were more inclined to put me forward for jobs once I had that.

The captains usually tell you what they expect of you in the first couple of months if you ask them. Every boat is different, so it’s a good idea to find out what your captain likes to focus on. My captain on Sosa is very particular about safety and likes to make sure the watch duties are done right.

Most people who are hiring generally want crew to have something extra to offer, like dive or technical qualifications like AV or photography, not just for the boat but for charter guests to have memories to take away. It makes you stand out. I did my diving qualification at the end of the season just to get it under my belt. The mate on board likes to have a diver; we have the equipment and it’s useful to check under the boat.

Everything that I have learned so far has been amazing. My mate has been like a mentor to me. He’s going through his OOW and everything he teaches me is worth its weight in gold. My next step is to get my Yachtmaster and he teaches what I need to know for that. It’s a good idea to really listen to your peers, I think.

The best bit is the traveling and the fact that I’m working outside with my hands, and no two days are ever the same. Every day I am learning something new, mentally and physically.

I recently broke my ribs on board falling down some stairs with plastic slippers on. So my best tip is go easy on the stairs!

This article was originally published in the April 2023 issue of Dockwalk.


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