If you are 100 percent confident that you want a crew job in the superyacht industry, then you need to think about training. There are two essentials: Plan on taking a five-day STCW Basic Safety Training Course (which is mandatory) and then a comprehensive three- to five-day yacht steward/ess training course. Once those two weeks are up, your chances of being hired as an entry-level stew are vastly improved… as is your confidence.
I Must Confess…
yacht stew training was mind-boggling.
When I signed up for yacht stewardess training, I was under the impression that this was simply a course on serving food and being a hostess to the guests. To my surprise, they spent an entire day teaching us nautical terms and familiarizing us with the layout of a yacht. For someone who didn’t have much recreational-boating experience outside of water skiing on lakes in northern Indiana, it was exactly what I needed. (Perhaps it’s news to you, as it was to me, that the various sides of a boat are referred to as port, starboard, aft, and forward.)
We also learned how to tie knots and handle lines because, they forewarned us (as I have you), oftentimes the stew is called out on deck to help the deckhands when the yacht is docking. I took full advantage of the opportunity to become versed in these basic and introductory yachting terms, and the effort wound up saving me from some otherwise embarrassing moments when I took my first job.
In the remaining days, they taught everything from how to serve caviar to how to iron a shirt properly. But it didn’t stop there. In fact, they spent half a day going over cleaning products and which ones to use on which surfaces.
We spent time on how to get out each kind of stain—be it on laundry or interior fabrics. We learned how to fold sheets, make beds, and polish silver. And of most benefit, we learned all about the types and methods of silver service and were even expected to perform our newly acquired skills in the practical portion of the class.
It was a week of heavy learning, but less than a week after earning my certificate, I got my first job.
I am confident that had I not completed the course, I would not have been hired for the position. If you want to know the truth, I think the chief stew on that boat (who, by the way, had not taken the course) pushed to get me hired so she could pick my brain on what I’d learned. And yes, once onboard, I often wondered how any entry-level stew could get away without having this training.
Think all this talk of laundry, cleaning, and guest service sounds like back-breaking work? Well, it’s certainly not easy. Being a yacht stewardess is a physically demanding job, if not also mentally challenging when you figure in having to communicate with and get along with so many different types of people in such a confined space. (And by that, I mean getting along with the guests and the crew.)
Take a look at this video, “Happy Working Stews,” a 1st Place winner in the Comedy genre of the 2010 Fort Yachtie Da International Film Festival, a fun yacht-crew event produced each year by Crew Unlimited and C U Yacht Charters (happening this year on November 16, 2013). This video was done by Mish Marchio, and is superb. Note: the video doesn’t begin playing until around the :22-second mark:
So is specialized stew training mandatory? No…at least not yet. But I cannot recommend it highly enough!
The introductory interior and exterior courses, even though these are not mandatory courses, have been developed to give you the skills, knowledge, and confidence to understand what your job entails as a professional steward/ess aboard or deckhand aboard a superyacht.”
—Joy Weston, owner and operator of Crew Pacific (Australia) since 2001
One of the main reasons I advocate this training is because it will help you to land a job much faster. Of course, you also have to look at it this way: You want to be as prepared as possible so that you are as comfortable as possible when you accept your first position. You wouldn’t take on a job working at a computer all day if you had no idea how to type, would you? Having specialized stew training prior to taking employment on a yacht will give you confidence that you know what you are doing, and that will be reflected in your attitude and demeanor with your fellow crew and guests.
Check the various training schools’ websites for yacht stewardess training courses (also known as interior crew training) to see if any are offering package deals where you can sign up for both STCW Basic Safety Training and an Interior Crew Course together at a discount. Remember, you’ll make this money back in the first month of full-time employment. Consider it an investment.
Another way to get started on your way to landing a job as a luxury yacht stewardess is to read my book, “The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess: Confessions from My Years Afloat with the Rich and Famous” – 2nd Edition.
Not ready to buy yet? Cool. Simply download Chapter 1 for free by clicking the book cover below: