If you’ve been watching Bravo TV’s Below Deck, then you’ve likely heard the many references (um, complaints) from the lower ranking stews about the chief stewardess, Adrienne Gang, not pulling her weight. We also hear about the many lists Adrienne is often putting together.
And I say: Good for Adrienne! With the multitude of things that must be thought of and kept track of by the interior crew’s chief during a charter trip—not to mention the juggling act of simultaneously preparing for future charter trips while you’re in the middle of a demanding one—being an organized task-master is a phenomenal skill to have as a chief stew. It can be tremendously overwhelming, especially when the chief must also oversee stews under his or her management that cannot be trusted to get the job done properly. (Just thinking about it makes me want to go buy another #TeamAdrienne “Get $#!@ Done” t-shirt.)
There are a number of behind-the-scenes interior staff responsibilities that fall under the jurisdiction of the chief stew, or that pertain mainly to the chief stew’s role—the largest of which is household management. And that includes everything from provisioning and advanced provisions-ordering (for future trips) to keeping up with guest preference sheets, inventory and maintenance logs, and accounting (not all of which can wait until a current charter trip has ended). Ah yes, and it includes many lists. Including lists for shopping trips (which were my favorite part of the job!).
In my book, The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess, I focus more on detailing the entry-level steward/ess duties and responsibilities, since my book is primarily intended for young men and women looking to get started in a career on yachts. As a matter of fact, Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of my book address the plethora of things a new yacht stew will need to know, most of which are the responsibilities of the lower ranking stews: the 2nd, 3rd, and on down the line (sometimes referred to as “junior stews”).
Within those three chapters (4-6), my readers receive an introduction to what I call “The Big Three: Service, Housekeeping, and Laundry.” Outside of that, you’ll also find discussions about the “other” types of duties a yacht stew is called upon to perform. For a brief look at what all that entails, read this more tongue-in-cheek (yet also not too far fetched) detailed job description for a yacht stewardess at any rank onboard.
But in Chapter 5 of my book, I touch on a lot of the things that fall more under the chief stew’s jurisdiction. And I preface that chapter with the following reasons (taken straight from the book) as to why I bother covering them:
- “For a beginner stew, it is advantageous to see the bigger picture of what goes on in the interior department. Just because a chief stew is not attending to ‘heads and beds’ or assigned to laundry duties for an entire day does not mean that person isn’t working his or her tail off. It is good for [entry-level stews] to see just how grand and far-reaching a chief’s responsibilities are.
- “As your manager, a chief stew may assign [the lower ranking stews] tasks that fall under household management, such as taking inventories, putting together shopping lists, or updating the guest welcome book. You’ll want to understand your boss’s perspective as you take on these assignments.
- “I share with you these more advanced areas of responsibility overseen by the interior department since, after all, if you end up in this industry, you may aspire to be a chief stew yourself one day. (And they can really rake in the dough!)”
So essentially, I open Chapter 5 by giving insight into how and why an entry-level stew’s immediate boss, the chief stew, has a much more important role onboard. (And apparently, they had my book onboard as a resource during the filming of Below Deck, so I’m wondering if the ever-complaining Sam ever bothered to read up. )
While often less physically demanding, the role of chief stew on a megayacht is a far more mentally demanding job—and one that carries a lot more stress. (And the need for lots of lists!) Let’s just say if something goes wrong on a charter trip that is costing guests $25,000+ per day to be on, then it’s the chief stew who must answer for it. He or she must think of anything and everything that can happen, and make sure the entire crew is prepared.
For some even more straight-from-the-book fun, click here to read official yacht stewardess job descriptions, pulled directly from The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess’ Chapter 3. Even better than that, if you’re considering a career in the luxury yachting industry, the post also contains a yacht stewardess salary chart.
The Old “There’s No ‘I’ In Team” Speech
In the end, working aboard a luxury yacht is an incredibly rewarding experience. Beyond just the monetary rewards, one of the things that makes the job so fulfilling is to be part of a team that is working together toward a common goal—that of providing the owner and guests with a safe and enjoyable experience.
When we stop to consider what makes a particular yacht a good one to work on, it all comes down to the crew. It’s the team you have around you that makes the difference. And naturally so, for not only do you work alongside these other individuals, but you have to live with them as well. They are your fellow crewmembers, and they are your teammates, but they also become your family away from home. If the chemistry is right, it can make for an amazing experience for all involved.
With that said, getting to know the other crewmembers’ roles onboard will allow you to begin thinking in terms of the overall team picture. And you never know… at some point, you may have to jump in and assist these people in their jobs.
P.S. You’ve no doubt heard the common expression, “There’s no ‘I’ in team”? Well, lo and behold, there’s no “I” in “crew” either. ALTHOUGH, there is one in “captain”… but that’s not important right now. (And forget I wrote it!)