How to Work on a Yacht like Below Deck

Nov 16, 2023 | Insights

How to work on a Yacht

Exploring a career on a yacht is not just thrilling; it’s an opportunity for an opulent adventure. If you’ve ever been captivated by the lifestyle showcased in the immensely popular TV series “Below Deck,” you’re in for a treat. This guide is tailored to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of yacht employment, drawing parallels to the vibrant crew depicted in the show. We’ll also talk a little bit about some of the courses you can sign up for at the Australian Maritime & Fisheries Academy to kick-start your journey!

Understanding the Yachting Industry

Before diving into the world of yacht work, it’s important to understand the industry. The yachting industry is a niche market that caters to the wealthy and those seeking a luxurious experience at sea. Yachts come in various sizes, from small sailing boats to large superyachts, and they require a dedicated crew to ensure smooth operations.

General Purpose Hand (Deckhand Course)

The General Purpose Hand is the minimum entry level certification required to work on an Australian commercial vessel. You’ll need this qualification to get yourself in the door so to speak. A General Purpose Hand assists with deck or engine work on vessels up to 100m long or 3000 GT, in the Australian exclusive economic zone, under general supervision of the master, chief engineer or delegated crew member.

Shipboard Safety Skill Set

You’ll also need a SSS. AMFA provides this skill set for individuals currently employed or seeking opportunities in the seafood or maritime sectors, particularly for roles on near coastal commercial marine vessels.

While there are no specific formal entry requirements, AMFA advises participants in the Shipboard Safety Skill Set to possess at least a fundamental swimming ability to successfully complete the practical component of the program.

Culinary Skills

If you aspire to work as a chef on a yacht, honing your culinary skills is essential. Consider attending a culinary school or gaining experience in high-end restaurants to enhance your expertise. This isn’t for everyone, but it is something to consider.

Hospitality Experience

Yacht guests expect top-notch service, so having experience in the hospitality industry can be advantageous. Working in hotels, resorts, bars, or fine dining establishments can provide you with the necessary skills to excel in this field!

Networking for Opportunities

Effective networking is pivotal in securing yacht-related job opportunities. Participation in yacht shows, industry gatherings, and online forums facilitates connections with professionals and potential employers, increasing prospects for yacht employment.

Realities of Yacht Work

While the allure of yacht work may seem glamorous, it’s crucial to grasp the practicalities, including long hours, demanding guests, and confined living spaces. The TV show illustrates this as well, despite being dramatised.


Whilst Below Deck is often cited as ‘cheesy and trashy TV’, Below Deck does shed a light into some of the tasks, responsibility and duties of both Deckhands and Stewardesses. The series also emphasizes the significant effort yacht crews must exert to thrive in the industry.

Embarking on a yacht career akin to the “Below Deck” crew demands dedication, skills, and a passion for the yachting realm. Attaining requisite qualifications, establishing professional connections, and acknowledging the realities of the job pave the way for an exciting maritime career. If you’re ready to set sail and work on a yacht, leverage the insights from this guide to transform your dreams into reality, and feel free to check out AMFA’s range of maritime & fisheries courses that serve as an excellent way to break into the maritime industry. 

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