Along with our ‘Meet the Crew’ series, we thought it would be good to go into more detail about the roles of the yacht crew. This is always a point of interest, especially for first-time charter guests. The deck team are less guest-facing than the interior service team, yet another crucial element to the successful operation of a yacht and charter.
How Many Deckhands Work aboard a Yacht?
The number of deckhands depends on the style and size of the yacht. On yachts and gulets up to 30 m, it is typical for there to be only one deckhand. On yachts 30 – 50 m, you are looking at a team of maybe 3 – 5 deckhands. As the boat grows, so too does the crew, responsibilities, and hierarchy.
What are the Roles and Responsibilities of the Deck Team?
On yachts less than 30 m, there is usually a crew of 4 – captain, deckhand, steward(ess), and chef. On these size yachts, the crew needs to work more closely as a team. So, the deckhand is responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the exterior which is usually done very discreetly. The deckhand will be up first thing in the morning, washing and polishing the boat before the guests get up, then from there, where the guests aren’t is where the deckhand is. Throughout the day, the deckhand also runs the tender if guests want to use water toys or go ashore. During service, the deckhand should also be helping in the galley or around the table with the stewardess. Depending on skills and qualifications, the deckhand may also maintain the engine and other systems with the captain, or assist. If guests go ashore at night, the deckhand will also be the friendly face that greets guests and makes sure they get back to the boat safely. Lastly, the deckhand is responsible for anchoring, docking and manoeuvres – a big responsibility.
On yachts between 30 – 50 m, the deck team expands. Usually, in this set-up, there are 3 – 5 deckhands, and one of these would be the Chief Engineer and or Bosun / Lead Deckhand. Like any organisation, when there are more employees, roles and responsibilities need to be adjusted. With a larger team, a ‘leader’ is required to ensure everyone is doing their duties. On larger yachts, the roles are more defined too, for example, deckhands are unlikely to help around the table during service – guest service is done solely by the interior team; though they might assist in the galley if needed. The rest of their responsibilities remain the same – exterior cleaning and maintenance, tender driving, helping guests with water toys, engine and systems maintenance. Part of the deck team’s duties can also include night watch – if the boat is on anchor or even if the boat is in a busy port. And when it comes to provisions arriving, all hands are always on deck to help get everything aboard. There are 100 other small (but significant) things the deck team does throughout the day, like rubbish runs (taking rubbish ashore), going for fresh bread in the morning, unclogging toilets – not so nice to mention but part of life on a yacht, and anything else you can think of.
Another unique feature of all the yachts in our fleet is that they are all equipped to sail! From the smaller gulets to luxury yacht Acapella which was built by two passionate brothers, who were adamant on building a luxury yacht with real sailing capabilities. As we said, all our captains are experienced and passionate sailors, given the chance, most of them will raise the sails during your sailing holiday (if you wish). And so, this means that the deck team are also competent sailors.
On many yachts, it is common to find that the deck team have nothing to do with guests, that they really try to remain invisible. This depends on the yacht setup and the captain. However, for the most part, all the boats in our fleet have a welcoming atmosphere on board which is contributed to by all members of crew. If guests catch a member of the deck team and want to chat, they are all happy to do this.
We are proud of the friendly yet professional approach of all the deckhands. ‘Time to lean, is time to clean’ is the mantra of the deck crew, there is always something to do. ‘Polite ninjas’ is probably the best way to describe them – always ready with a smile, always around but not always seen. This role may be less visible, but guests notice their hard work, passion, and professionalism, and it is a very important part of the overall smooth operation of a yacht and charter.
Check out our fleet or crew profiles on the site to learn more, and if you have any questions, contact our team. We look forward to welcoming you aboard soon.