Crew Share Financial Advice for Crew Looking for their First Job

29 April 2022 By Aileen Mack
iStock/Jirapong Manustrong

Associate Editor Aileen Mack joined Dockwalk in July 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. If she’s not at a concert or coffee shop, she is lost in a book, movie or a YouTube rabbit hole. Email Aileen at

Sometimes, you can get so caught up in the journey or what comes next that you forget to think about the big picture. When working hard to get on board a yacht, between qualifications and logistics, the finances of it all may get pushed aside. We asked our 2021 Dockwalk Salary Survey-takers for their advice for those in the early stages of their yachting career. Here are some of the responses:

“Don’t choose your first job by salary but rather by [the] experience you’ll get with it. [The] first job is always hard and often underpaid, but always look on it [as the] long-term experience you’ll get there, [which] is important for later.”
Freelance Deckhand on 36-meter motor yacht

“You never know what the season might hold; be prepared to go without an income at times, so always save when possible. Always have a safety net.”
Stewardess on 40-meter motor yacht

“Don’t worry too much about saving all your cash at junior level. Enjoy the ride but try [to] save enough for courses; your time will come to earn and save big bucks once you have the necessary experience.”  
Deckhand on 70-meter motor yacht

“Get that contract in writing before you ship off! Details like time off, grocery stipends, and living accommodations should be discussed. Working with a small program, this has been a gray area that causes more trouble than it should.”
Deck/Stew on 85-foot motor yacht

“Don’t settle for less than you’re worth. Don’t take a less than industry-standard salary just because you’re in a pinch at the moment, [and] don’t join a boat that has less than industry-standard benefits, i.e. less than thirty days holiday a year, having to buy your own food, having to buy your own uniforms, etc.”  
Mate on 130-foot motor yacht

“Find a good boat and stay there: leaving to chase higher salaries rarely makes up for the months spent looking. Even if you receive a ten percent salary increase, it will take nearly a year of working nonstop to make up for every month spent unemployed and searching.”  
Chief Engineer on 70-meter motor yacht

“Negotiate on salary and don’t undervalue yourself because in undervaluing yourself you’re also undervaluing the industry. The time, hard work, sacrifice of lifestyle, energy, and all those extra hours you put in when you work in the industry comes at a price.”  
Chief Stewardess on 76-foot sailing yacht

“Money is no substitute for being happy — right salary, right boat, and save a minimum of sixty percent of your salary each month in the first five years and don’t touch it.”
Captain on 19-meter motor yacht

This article originally ran in the November 2021 issue of Dockwalk.


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