How To Get Into Yachting: What You Need To Know
The deep blue sea is calling out to you. Maybe you’ve heard that working on a yacht is an adventurous career that includes traveling the world. Perhaps you’re a multi-millionaire looking to buy an expensive new toy. Or maybe you always envisioned yourself as a ship captain with one of those captain hats.
Whatever the reason, you’ve decided you’d like to get into yachting. But how, exactly, does one get into yachting? That’s the very question that has led you to this article today.
It’s not as simple as throwing on a pair of Sperry’s, heading down to the marina, and signing up. Whose yacht do you plan on getting on?
This guide will help you get a better idea of what yachting is, the roles and jobs available on yachts, and some pathways available for breaking into the yachting scene. It will also include a shortcut that anyone can use to relax on a yacht in a fun and affordable way.
What Defines Yachting?
Yachting can take shape in a few different forms depending on the type of vessel. However, what it consists of across the board is the act of sailing or cruising for recreation.
Although the concept of yacht club can sometimes refer to a group of people who operate basic motorboats and sailboats, it’s more traditionally associated with the rich and famous. Most people think of yachts as an unattainable luxury — but that might not be the case!
These luxurious floating vessels are mainly what this article will address. But even though most of us will never own a yacht, it doesn’t mean you can’t find your way on board.
While there’s not an exact definition that everyone agrees on regarding when boating turns into yachting, there are some accepted features that distinguish yachts from other vessels.
Yacht, Ship, and Boat: What Is the Difference?
A yacht is fancier than a boat or a ship. It is built for recreation, relaxation, sport, and comfort. They are personal vessels owned and operated for fun, not work. There are different types of yachts ranging from luxurious sail-powered vessels to billion-dollar megayachts.
A ship is larger than a yacht and usually attached to business. Cruise ships are massive and in the business of entertainment and travel. Pirate ships are also large and in the business of shooting cannonballs and searching for treasure.
The term boat covers a range of any kind of floating vessel that carries people other than a raft. It can be used to refer to a fishing boat, a cruise liner, or a cargo ship.
Roles On a Yacht
If you’re not the yacht owner or a guest on board, there are still several positions that need to be filled in order for a yacht to be fully functional. Depending on the size of the ship and the context of the voyage, not all of the following positions may be needed on every yacht.
But this will give you an idea of all that you might be able to do as a crew member on a yacht.
This is the head honcho. The captain is in charge of all the crew members and is responsible for the safe manning and operation of the vessel. They are also responsible for following international maritime law.
It’s probably the coolest job, but it also comes with the most pressure.
First Officer / First Mate
This position is second in command to the Captain. They are responsible for overseeing all operations on deck as well as any maintenance that has to be done. They might also have additional designated titles and responsibilities such as security or medical safety.
Chief Engineer and Yacht Engineer
The Chief Engineer’s job is to make sure that the yacht is running smoothly on the mechanical side of things. They oversee a team of Yacht Engineers, whose job is to maintain and repair anything on board.
Since yachting is largely aimed at pleasure, food is going to be an important part of the journey. The Yacht Chef has the crucial job of cooking up the best meals, snacks, drinks, and anything that the guests might enjoy.
A Yacht Purser is a position usually found on larger yachts that have more duties to take care of. The Purser is in charge of managing the interior of the yacht and all the financial matters on board. They’re basically like a treasurer and likely deal with large monetary figures.
The Yacht Bosun is in charge of supervising deck operations and managing the team of Deckhands. They deal with and organize supplies on deck to maintain the outside of the yacht.
Chief Steward/Stewardess and Team
A Chief Steward/Stewardess is in charge of the inside of the yacht. They also head up a team of stewards and stewardesses. They’re basically like the housekeeping on board, but they also act as party planners when there are events on board. They do the laundry, cleaning, and inventory.
A steward or stewardess is a great entry-level position for those looking to break into the yachting industry.
Yacht Spa Therapist and Spa Manager
Some yachts will have a spa and require someone to run and manage different treatments for the owners and guests. What would a luxury yacht be without a massage and facial ready at a moment's notice?
A Deckhand is another entry position for those starting off with yachting. It deals with maintaining the exterior of the vessel. If someone is shelling out the money to own a yacht and keep a crew, they’re going to want that thing looking shiny and spotless.
Where To Start
So far, we’ve gone over what defines yachting, what distinguishes yachts from boats and ships, and the different positions one can have on a yacht. But where do you get started?
The following are tips to help you find your way off the dock and onto a yacht.
Get Some General Experience With Boats
If you don’t already have experience with boats, it’s probably a good idea to go find some before stepping into the yachting big leagues. Spending time on boats of smaller scales will help you get familiar with the terminology and some of the duties of operating a yacht.
Most places that welcome boating will have places you can rent from. Research what's in your area and take a boat out. You can be captain for a day!
Rent a pontoon boat and spend a day out on a lake with friends and family. Pack up some snacks, drinks, your stylish inner tube, and get some boating action.
Each state has its own laws and requirements for operating a boat. Check out the requirements for your state and determine your next steps.
Learn To Sail
Sailing is definitely a step up from a boat you might casually rent at the lake. It requires specific knowledge and skill not only of the boat and its mechanisms but wind, navigation, and communicating with other boats while you’re out on the water.
There are several ways to get started sailing, from heading out on a friend's boat, training courses, and renting sailboats once you’ve gained the necessary experience.
Enroll In A Yacht Crew Training Course
If you’re serious about becoming a yacht crew member, there are several options for educational courses that will train you to work on a yacht. Courses cover a variety of topics and specializations based on your goals.
How To Own and Relax On a Yacht Cheaply and Quickly
You’ll be blown away by how expensive yachts can get. Chances are you’ll never own something like that.
But you can certainly enjoy your own private yacht with the FunBoy Yacht Pool Float. Yeah, it might not be the same as the superyachts we’ve been talking about, but it has a lot in common.
- It’s luxurious and spacious, with room for two and a spot for their drinks.
- It’s the perfect spot to relax.
- Your friends will want to climb aboard.
- It looks great in photos, as all yachts do.
- Oh, and you can also get a matching inflatable dog yacht to go with it.
Ready To Tack and Jibe?
You’ll probably need to learn those yachting terms if you don’t already. The reality is that most of us will never own a luxury yacht. But that doesn’t mean it’s totally out of reach or that there aren’t other ways to experience yachting that don’t require a hefty investment.
Ideally, everyone will get their yachting experience at some point or another, at least with a fun inflatable. In fact, it may be the best way to start and remind you that your yachting journey is closer than you think.