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Your Luxury Yacht Charter Crew

A great yacht crew is at the heart of your chartering experience


A luxury yacht charter is made special in so many ways, from the finest bed linens to first class service, none of which would be possible without professionally trained crew onboard.

From the Captain to the most junior deckhand, all play an integral part to the overall success of your charter experience to ensuring each and every minute detail of your luxury yacht vacation is a dream come true.

The size of a yacht crew is often dependent on the size of the yacht. Typically, for a mid-size charter yacht, guests can expect anywhere between 6 to 15 crew members, which often exceeds the number of charter guests, making for an impeccable level of one-to-one service. At the top end of the scale, megayachts regularly have 30+ crew members.

In general, there are 5 main categories for crew: Captain, Chef, Interior Crew, Deck Crew and Engineers.


The Captain is the highest ranking member on board and has ultimate responsibility for the yacht, as well as for the safety of all the crew members on board. 

Close up of a captain's epaulettes on a yacht
Bridge control centre on board a yacht

During a yacht charter, the Captain is usually the main point of contact between the owner, broker, charter guest and crew. 

Communication is key

The Captain may wish to liaise directly before the charter commences to fine tune your itinerary, or make suggestions. Any Captain worth their salt will have a wealth of knowledge about the areas being chartered, including prevailing winds, tides and transit times, as well as the best locations to see and explore, so it's in your interest to listen to what they have to say. 

Captains will move heaven and earth to ensure your wishes and desires become a reality, and so communication with the Captain throughout your charter is key. You may also need to allow for some flexibility during your yacht charter, for example if rough weather conditions prevent a particular passage that may cause you or your guests discomfort. After all, Captains really do know best.

It's also well worth factoring in some downtime into your vacation to avoid undue stress in racing to complete an over-crammed schedule. Your yacht broker and the Captain can both advise you on this when discussing your desired itinerary with them.


Award-winning to Michelin-star trained, an experienced yacht chef is often the most important crew member to guests on board a luxury yacht charter.

A chef dresses a tricolor salad
Fine dining dish

The chef's domain is the galley, and on a yacht charter this is where all the magic happens. On larger yachts, there is often more than one chef, sometimes several, with the more junior chefs assisting the Head Chef, as well as preparing crew food, leaving the Head Chef free to create their show stopping culinary masterpieces for you and your guests. 

Catering to your preferences 

Before booking a yacht charter it is sometimes possible to sample a chef’s cuisine and discuss your catering requirements, from likes and dislikes to any allergies the chef should be made aware of.

This is where the preference sheet comes into its own when deciding on what you and your guests would like to eat and drink whilst onboard. This is a detailed questionnaire that informs the crew of the individual preferences and special needs of your yacht charter party. It is important to be as detailed as possible, that way the chef can ensure each and every meal is tailor-made to perfection.

Read more:

Yacht Charter Preferences
Yacht Charter Preferences

Interior crew

The interior crew are responsible for maintaining the inside of the yacht, rotating between general housekeeping duties, cabins and laundry, as well as delivering an exceptional level of service throughout your charter.

A wooden table laid up with bone china dishes with gold trim and respective cutlery for the various courses being served
White towels small and large being laid on a white linen bed

Whatever the size, price or value of the yacht, the crew will be there for you and your guests twenty-four hours a day.

Catherine Ambrogi, Director, Yachting Partners International Limited

The stewardess is often the crew member whom you will come into contact with the most, and their attention to detail when it comes to catering to the needs of guests is unparalleled. 

Additional skills 

Some stewardesses may also have additional skills, such as masseuse or yoga instructor, encompassing a greater level of personalised service for you and your guests.

Deck crew

The deck crew, often referred to as deckhands, are primarily responsible for operating and maintaining the exterior aspects of the yacht during charter, including meticulous cleaning and polishing, line-handling, driving guests ashore in the tenders and assisting with any water sports and activities.

A deck crew speaks into a hand-held radio on board the bow of a yacht
A black rope lying on a teak deck on board a superyacht

Depending on the size of the yacht, some deckhands may also serve as bartenders or waiters in the evening.

Here to help

The deck crew are always on hand to assist you in any way they can, so don't be shy if you need something whilst onboard. If they can't help, they usually carry two-way radios and will happily relay your request to the appropriate crew member. 


Although they keep mainly out of sight, they are often the unsung champions on a yacht charter as they are wholly responsible for the running of the engines, as well as the maintenance and service of all mechanical and technical components onboard.

In general, they will also be responsible for maintaining the IT/AV systems, and are typically the go-to crew member whenever something needs fixing. 

They predominantly spend most of their time below deck although may assist with launching tenders and water toys as needed.

A word about tipping

There is a bit of a grey area when it comes to tipping the crew, usually made at your discretion based on the level of service you have received. How much to tip can vary depending on the destination of the charter.

Assuming immpeccable service standards have been maintained, an American crew will expect a tip of around 15 to 20 percent, whereas a European crew will be happy with a tip of between 10 to 15 percent.

Distribution by the Captain

It is customary for any tipping to take place at the end of the charter and be presented to the Captain, who will then divide the amount equally between the crew.

Some guests may want to tip individually, especially if they feel they have been well taken care of by a particular stewardess or deckhand. But it is important to remember that certain crew are always more visible on charter and although others, such as engineers or sous chefs, are out of sight they too work hard behind the scenes to ensure the yacht charter runs smoothly.

Captain & Crew Gratuities (Tips): How much?
Captain & Crew Gratuities (Tips): How much?

For any more information regarding the yacht and its crew, please reach out to your preferred yacht charter broker

If you would like any further information about chartering a yacht, please see our comprehensive advice guides. We have included a selection below pertinent to this article for your convenience.

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