On the Job

How Many of these Yachtie Terms Do You Use?

15 July 2022 By Nina Wilson
An illustration showing two men talking.
iStock/Rudzhan Nagiev

Pre-galley, Nina Wilson trained as a dive instructor and skippered sailing boats in Greece before starting her yachting career in 2013. Currently head chef on a 55-meter, her talents included telling brilliant jokes and being able to consume six cheeseburgers and feel no guilt. Follow her on Instagram @thecrewchef.

You would be forgiven for scratching your head once or twice upon hearing the jibber-jabber yachties like to toss around. Henceforth, I present a translation sheet — feel free to forward to your land-based family and friends so they can start studying for your triumphant return.

“Well, my owner is worth 6 billion and only eats albino caviar.”

Yes, we frequently refer to the owner of the vessel as our owner. Try not to think too much about the psychology behind this. (Do we truly believe we are slaves? Slaves don’t get free shampoo…right?)

“I’m going to go down for a few hours,” OR “Where’s Tommo?” “He’s gone down.

Alas, get your heads out of the gutter. Simply, going down below, down to their cabin, to put their head down and get some down time.

“Sorry, can’t do beers tonight, I’m boss on.

Boss is on board, all fun is cancelled.

iStock/Julia Lemba

“Make sure you candle-ise the boat at sunset.”

This is not even a real word. It’s a made-up word by some over-rose’d chief stewardess to describe the process of decorating the boat with candles. (Before you question me, I have heard it used on multiple vessels ranging from 55 meters to 80 meters. FACT.)

“We’ll do the vac-dust on Thursday.”

Dusting, but with a vacuum. We have evolved from just wiping the dust around with a cloth, we hoover it out of existence with a high powered piece of Miele engineering. Genius.

“Friday is wash down day.”

Washing the boat, but only from the top down. And in-to-out (or vice versa depending on your Chief Officer’s method).

“Please fill in your HORS today.”

Pronounced like ‘whores’ and stands for Hours of Rest, not any particular red light district inhabitant.

“I can’t make it, I’m on watch.

Basically, the boat is a vulnerable, delicate child and you are the babysitter for a 24-hour period. Don’t let the baby burn, sink, or get stolen.


Now, now

A South African import. Sometime between now, before, and later — I’m afraid nobody born outside the continent of Africa truly knows.

On My Last Boat

A precursor to a long-winded story about how their last boat was infinitely better, had unlimited crew champagne and razor blades, and how everything was done differently (but better).

“Damn, it’s gonna be WAF today.”

No, unfortunately not Wives and Friends day. It’s gonna blowing its tits off, be proper gusty, OR say it how you mean it and use Windy As F***.

“Have you pulled for dinner?”

This one means gathering all the crockery/cutlery, etc. for service, essentially pulling knives and forks out of drawers, so…yes, I guess this one makes sense.

Dog Box

A terrible, tiny cabin that the MLC have not been informed of and that all junior deckhands inhabit. Get a UV light in there and it looks like a Jackson Pollock painting.


It’ll buff out.

Usually said after a significant blunder (say, driving the tender into the swim platform bow-first) causing significant damage, and taking a significant amount of time, effort, and money to fix.

CV sent

Believe it or not, jobs do sometimes get posted on those yachtie Facebook groups — however, if you apply it’s mandatory to comment that you have sent your CV so as to ‘double tap’ the poster’s attention. If you don’t comment, you won’t get the job, FACT.

“Tomorrow is pick up day.

We’re collecting the guests, prepare to service everyone’s needs but your own for the next 7/10/59 days.

Do it for the tip.

Poo in the Jacuzzi? Scoop it out. Guests want sushi at 1 a.m.? Put the rice on. Everyone has their price, and we WILL do what it takes to get that fat envelope at the end of the charter. Let’s say it together now…FOR THE TIP!

“Tomorrow is drop off day.

We boot these rich cats off in less than 24 hours, ice those beers STAT. Got any powdered charcoal? Get it on standby.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully a good inroad into the twisted bedsheets of yachting vernacular.


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