Superyachts docked at Puerto Portals. | A. SEPULVEDA


Starting a career as a deckhand on a superyacht is an exciting ride filled with adventure, luxury, and unparalleled experiences. So brace yourself! However, stepping into this world can also be pretty scary for newcomers. From mastering intricate tasks to adapting to the demands of high-profile guests, the role of a deckhand is multifaceted and requires a blend of skill, professionalism, and adaptability. Here are some handy tips to help new superyacht deckhands navigate their first season with confidence:

Learn and Adapt Quickly:

Superyacht life operates at a fast pace, and as a deckhand, you must be ready to learn on the go. Familiarise yourself with the yacht's layout, safety procedures, and equipment. Be observant, ask questions, and adapt swiftly to the dynamic environment onboard. If you’re not sure how to do something, ALWAYS ask! Don’t risk damaging any expensive equipment.

Prioritise Safety

Safety is paramount in the maritime industry. Pay meticulous attention to safety briefings, protocols, and emergency procedures. Keep personal protective equipment (PPE) on hand and ensure compliance with safety regulations at all times. Vigilance and preparedness can prevent accidents and ensure the well-being of everyone onboard. If you’re unsure, again, ask the chief officer or mate on board, or in their absence, the captain.

Master Deck Operations:

As a deckhand, you'll be involved in various deck operations, including anchoring, mooring, and tender operations. Hone your skills in handling lines, knots, and rigging. Practice proper deck maintenance, such as washing, waxing, and polishing, to uphold the yacht's impeccable appearance. Be the chamois. Master the chamois. You are at one with the chamois….

Develop Tender Skills:

Operating tenders is a crucial aspect of deckhand duties, especially during guest transfers (if you’re good enough to do those, be patient, this may be the domain of more experienced deck crew) and recreational activities. Familiarise yourself with tender handling techniques, docking procedures, and safety protocols. Every tender, like every car, is different and there are so many different kinds – outboard, inboard, jet etc. Precision, caution, and attentiveness are essential when manoeuvring tenders in varying sea conditions, so listen to the person showing the nuances of the boat, and practice!

Excel in Guest Service:

Superyacht deckhands will usually interact with guests and play a pivotal role in delivering exceptional service when they’re outside. Cultivate a professional and approachable demeanour, anticipate guests' needs, and provide assistance courteously and efficiently. Attention to detail and a proactive attitude can elevate the guest experience and leave a lasting impression.

Embrace Teamwork:

Collaboration is the cornerstone of success onboard a superyacht. Work closely with fellow crew members, communicate effectively, and contribute actively to team efforts. Respect each other's roles and expertise and foster a positive and cohesive work environment conducive to productivity and camaraderie.

Stay Flexible and Adaptable:

The superyacht industry is inherently dynamic, with schedules, itineraries, and guest preferences subject to change at a moment's notice. Remain flexible, adaptable, and open-minded in the face of challenges or unexpected developments. Embrace diversity and embrace opportunities for growth and learning. Every opportunity is a learning opportunity, even if what we learn is how not to do something…

Pursue Continuous Learning:

Strive for ongoing professional development to enhance your skills and knowledge. Seek opportunities for training, certifications, and specialised courses relevant to your role as a deckhand. Stay informed about industry trends, regulations, and best practices to stay ahead in this competitive field. Onboard, make sure you learn from your peers and seniors.

Maintain Professionalism:

Uphold the highest standards of professionalism in all aspects of your conduct, both onboard and ashore. Show respect for your colleagues, guests, and the yacht's owners. Demonstrate integrity, discretion, and loyalty, and always represent yourself and the yacht with dignity (and pride!).

Embrace the Adventure:

Working as a superyacht deckhand offers unparalleled opportunities for exploration, adventure, and personal growth. Embrace the adventure, savour the breathtaking vistas, and cherish the memories created along the way! Approach each day with enthusiasm, passion, and a sense of wonder, and let the magic of the sea fuel your spirit. I know it sounds a bit soft, but it’s just so true.

Embarking on a career as a superyacht deckhand is an extraordinary journey filled with challenges, rewards, and endless possibilities. By embracing these tips and embodying the qualities of professionalism, diligence, and adaptability, new deckhands can navigate the seas with confidence and excel in this captivating industry!