Working on Yachts FAQ

In this 'Working on Yachts FAQ', I have answered the frequently asked questions that people have sent me. If you have a question that is not answered here yet, send me an email by clicking here!

Tattoos onboard

  • Question: I have got a number of tattoos that will be visible in anything except long sleeves and pants. While I know it is almost impossible to get a deck job, I wanted to find out what my chances are of getting a job as an engineer?


It is indeed recommended that a crewmember doesn't have a visible tattoo. 

Crew who are already working in the industry and who wish to have a tattoo, place it somewhere that you cannot see it, when wearing their crew uniform.

Now, this rule applies mainly for people who are in close contact with the owners, guests and charterers. Positions like engineer and chef can get away with it. The engineer's normal uniform is an overall and the formal uniform has long sleeves shirt and pants. 

I have seen deckhands with a tattoo on their leg, but only very few...

It also depends on how big they are, of course. If they're barely visible and tiny, that's better than if they're really big you can't miss them...

Still, you have to decide which job you would really like to do on board. If you want to grow towards a higher deck position, you might have to get rid of the tattoos that are too visible... I know, that's already a bigger step to take...

The same is true for long hair or dreadlocks, you virtually see no deckhands who got them...


  • Question:I would like to transition into working as a yacht captain, initially doing deliveries. I realize that I will need to crew for a while and work my way up after building up my blue water experience.  I already have a 100 ton coastal license in the U.S. and many years of experience as a boat owner and bareboat sailing yacht captain in the Caribbean.  I am also a graduate of a Maritime College with an engineering degree in Naval Architecture and a lot of hands-on rigging, electronics, and diesel engine experience.  I was hoping that you could give me some honest feedback regarding one thing:  As a 51 year old healthy male in good physical condition (non-smoker), will my age be a big obstacle in finding positions, at least initially?  Fortunately, I have secure employment now, but I am willing to give up income in order to spend more time on the water doing something I really enjoy.


I do think you can still do the transition, but it depends on what you want to do.

For example, it's absolutely no problem to become a yacht delivery skipper. You will have to crew for a company for a while until they trust you to take deliveries on your own. Looking at the experience and the ticket you've got, you're well on your way.

After that, you could become a captain of some body's yacht or work as a charter captain.

Your age is more a problem if you want to go to the superyachts. There's a lot of young people working in the industry, so you get in competition with folks who are already working on yachts with the same or higher tickets. Nevertheless, there are many boats and different owners, so it's still possible, but less evident.

Looking at your technical experience, you could become an engineer on larger yachts. Age is less of a problem and they are needed urgently. They look for mature people with extensive knowledge...

Anyway, if you decide to do the transition, and I don't know your exact situation of course, then make sure you have the finances for that first 'bridge-year' in which you might not earn too much..

Normally, it takes some time before an owner or company sends you out with their yacht. 

If You have another 'Working on Yachts faq', send it to me here!

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