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What is a Yacht Captain Salary?

Ian Fortey

As yachts get bigger they tend to require more crew members who are more skilled at their jobs and that includes a good yacht captain. The pay range for a yacht captain can vary greatly and for less experienced captains on smaller vessels it may start around $45,000 while it can range up to as much as $300,000 or more for very skilled captains on larger luxury yachts. 

Let’s take a look at what can affect a yacht captain’s salary and what you can expect to make (or pay) in this field.

Factors That Affect Yacht Captain’s Salary

yacht captain salary per month

Most people feel a yacht has to be at least 60 or so feet in length before it’s considered a yacht. The longest yacht in the world is the Azzam which is just shy of 600 feet long. You can imagine that the captain of the Azzam has to deal with more than the captain of a 60 foot yacht. As such, the Azzam’s captain is probably making more money.

Size of the vessel is arguably the biggest factor in what a yacht captain gets paid. You can divide yacht sizes up into three categories as it relates to yacht captains to get a better idea of the pay involved.

I’ve included some survey data here taken from Dockwalk and this was gleaned from information provided by 476 different yacht captains to give you  a pretty good idea of how much a captain makes at every single yacht size. 

Junior Captain

A Junior Captain would be captain of the smaller yachts that rank in around 60 feet up to 100 feet. Many yachts of this size may only have one or two crew members on board to help operate them. The captain of a smaller yacht like this could expect to make perhaps $45,000 to $98,000 per year or more. Obviously this can change on a case by case basis depending on the specific duties expected of the given captain.

These smaller yachts have less involved operations and are, in general, easier to run which is why the captain of a yacht of this size would likely get paid less.

Survey data from 2021 shows that most captains working on yachts in this size range average just over $8,000 per month. On the low end of that scale were yacht captains pulling in about $3,100 a month while the highest paid make around $20,000 per month. Yacht captains can also pull in gratuities as part of the crew and that averages out to around another $1,300 per month.

yacht captain salary per month

In the middle is a Captain of vessels that range from 100 feet all the way to 170 feet which is superyacht territory. These vessels can include a crew of several different members and will require more organization and skill to maintain and run smoothly. At this size a Captain can expect to be making anywhere from about $80,000 per year up to $180,000. 

Survey data from 2021 shows that, up to 140 feet, a superyacht captain can average about $10,100 per month. The lowest paid were making about $1,175 per month while the highest were again making around $20,000. You also pull in gratuities at this level that average just under $1,400 per month.

Yacht captains working vessels between 140 feet and about 190 feet were averaging $14,100 per month. At the low end of that scale you’re looking at $5,750 and it can go all the way up to $34,500 per month, so this is some serious money. If it’s a charter yacht, tips can reach nearly $3,000 a month as well.

Senior Master

A Senior Master is the captain of any yacht over 170 feet. This gets into megayacht territory at 200 feet and even gigayachts at 400+ feet. These captains have to be highly skill and managed not only massive crews that can include dozens of people, but a lot of more complex technology than the smaller vessels may be making use of. 

Because of the demands of this job, it’s clear that pay grades increase substantially as well which is why captains at this level can make between $140,000 and $300,000 every year. 

Survey data shows that between 180 feet and 240 feet, yacht captains had an average salary of just over $16,100 per month in 2021. That means a starting, low end salary of $9,200 per month which went all the way up to $23,250 per month. Tips closed in at just under $3,700 per month as well.

From 240 to 280 feet a yacht captain averaged just under $15,500 in 2021 which you’ll notice is oddly under the average for the next size down. The low end of the scale here paid just under $7,500 per month which is a good deal lower than the low end for slightly smaller vessels. On the high end captains were making $20,125. For whatever reason, yachts in this range just don’t pay as well as those in the 180 range, on average.

When you head to 280+ feet, the largest that the survey data was able to account for, yacht captains average about $20,500 per month. Remarkably, the low end here was $9,200 which is the same as vessels a full 100 feet shorter. However, on the high end some of these captains are making $32,000 per month. Factor in gratuities and that’s another $5,600 on average.

How Yacht Captains are Paid

yacht captain salary per month

Most yacht captains get paid on a monthly basis. There are freelance captains who may also work under different payment terms. One such captain who responded to the survey charged $38 per hour as a flat rate. If they were chartered for a week, that would work out to $6,384 per week assuming you expect your captain to be ready for duty 24/7 on the water.

What do the Yacht Crew Members Make?

Like the captain, crew members can make more money on larger vessels and their experience in the business and time at sea can also factor in. But in general, here are some average numbers for crew salaries to put things in perspective.

First Officer

On a smaller yacht under 100 feet a first officer may earn up to about $65,000 per year. On a much larger yacht over 200 feet they could expect $100,000+

Second Mate

The bosun mate on a smaller yacht can start earning around $45,000+ per year. On a larger yacht over 200 feet this can be bumped up to well over $65,000 per year.

At the low end of the scale, on a smaller yacht a deckhand may make around $40,000 per year. However, on a much larger yacht they could potentially earn up to $65,000 per year.

Chief Engineer

A chief engineer on a small yacht may earn as much as $80,000 per year or more. On larger yachts that top 200 feet this can get closer to $150,000 per year thanks to the much more complicated machinery they need to deal with. They may also need to repair things like jet skis.

Assistant Engineer

The assistant engineer is obviously not earning what the chief does but they can still start at $45,000 per year or so. On large yachts this can reach over $85,000.

Chief Steward

The purser on a smaller yacht can make between $54,000 and $60,000. On the larger vessels this salary can increase to over $80,000.

A steward may make as much as $42,000 on some smaller yachts while that could increase to as much as $65,000 or more on larger vessels. 

A trained chef can expect $60,000 on a small yacht and that can reach well over $105,000 on larger yachts. Many larger luxury yachts also bring in Michelin starred restaurant chefs to work for limited times and these chefs can earn quite a bit more. 

On yachts up to 100 feet, a cook can look forward to making perhaps $54,000 to $60,000 per year. On the high end of the scale, a cook on a large yacht over 200 feet might make over $84,000 per year.

Motor Yacht Captains vs Sailing Yacht Captains

yacht captain salary per month

On smaller yachts, the salary difference between sailing yachts and motor yachts captains is often negligible or non-existent. As vessel size increases, the salary of a sailing yacht captain will tend to outpace that of a motor yacht captain, sometimes by a lot. Larger sailing yachts are often harder to come by and require more specialized knowledge so a captain able to handle a 200 foot sailing yacht is rather rare. 

Jeff Bezos currently has the largest sailing yacht in the world at 416 feet while, as we said, the largest motor yacht is the Azzam at almost 600 feet. Though Bezos’ yacht has yet to hit the sea officially, we can assume her captain will be well compensated. 

The Bottom Line

Because yacht captains may perform a wide range of duties for their clients, their pay range can vary widely as well. The yachting industry is nothing if not malleable about things like duties, yacht operations and salary ranges. As long as a captain is skilled and experienced they can expect to make a decent salary regardless of the size of the vessel, but it will definitely increase considerably as the yacht size increases. As such, yacht captain salaries can range anywhere from $3,100 per month to $32,000 per month.

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Seaworthy Secrets

Yacht Crew Salaries: Complete Guide to What Yacht Crew Earn

It’s no secret that the impressive yacht crew salaries attract most people into the exclusive yachting world.

Junior deckhands or stewardesses can earn starting salaries of $3000 per month. With a few years of experience and some courses to back you up, this amount moves up towards $4000-$4500 per month!

In order to compile this superyacht crew salary guideline, I have taken 10 of the top yachting platforms and used all of their data, combined with my personal experience, to reach an average salary expectation for each position.

Table of Contents

How Much do you Make Working on a Yacht?

table showing yacht crew salaries by position and vessel size

Yacht Captain Salary

  • 20m-30m: $4000-$7500
  • 30m-40m: $5500-$9500
  • 40m-50m: $8000-$15000
  • 50m-70m: $13000-$19000
  • 70m+: $16500+

Requirements of a Yacht Captain

  • Years of experience needed: 3-5 years of experience as Chief Officer/Mate and more than 5 years of experience as a Captain for larger yachts
  • Minimum level of Qualification: 200ton licence which allows you to drive vessels below 200tons

The Captain has the highest level of responsibility onboard the yacht and hence they earn the most out of all the yacht crew salaries.

Captains are accountable for the overall safety of the yacht, crew members and guests.

They also handle daily operations of the yacht, guests, and owner liaison. They deal with management companies, port control, budgets, human resources, and many more tasks and logistics that make the job demanding and stressful.

On top of this, Captains are required to hold high levels of certifications depending on the size of the yacht they are driving.

Yacht Captain salaries can sky rocket with higher levels of qualifications.

If you are looking to become a Yacht Captain one day I recommend looking into the courses required so you can get started with licenses and sea time. It takes time to get there, but when you do it will be worth it.

Looking at the helm station on the bridge of the yacht. There is a chart as well as all the monitor screens and through the windows you can see views of a large mountain

Chief Officer Yacht Salary

  • 30m-40m: $4000-$6000
  • 40m-50m: $4500-$7500
  • 50m-70m: $5500-$9000
  • 70m+: $8000+

Requirements of a Chief Officer

  • Years of experience needed: 3-5 Years
  • Minimum level of qualification: Officer of the Watch

The Chief Officer is second in command to the Captain and is responsible for carrying out the Captain’s standing orders.

On smaller yachts, the Chief Officer is referred to as the Mate.

The Chief Officer is responsible for carrying out the safety duties onboard and assisting in the bridge with paperwork and navigational planning.

The Chief Officer is also responsible for leading and managing their deck team, ensuring crew are following their duties as well as managing the water sports and guest activities.

The salary of a Chief Officer depends heavily on the license held.

man driving a tender. the chief officer earns a high yacht crew salary

Bosun Yacht Salary

  • Years of experience needed: 2-3 years
  • Minimum level of qualification: Yacht Master Offshore
  • A yacht Bosun salary can vary between $4000 and $6000.

Responsibilities of a Bosun

The Bosun is essentially the Lead Deckhand onboard. A lead deckhand salary on a larger vessel will be similar to that of a bosun salary on a smaller vessel.

This is an opportunity to step up from being a deckhand and gain some experience in a leadership role. This position is in place for larger yachts so that when the Officer is busy with bridge duties, someone is in charge on deck.

a man holding ropes walking outside the yacht

Yacht Deckhand Salary

Years of experience needed: 0

  • Minimum level of qualification: None needed, however Power Boat Level 2 and Yacht Master offshore will put you at a great advantage
  • Entry-level yacht crew salaries start at $3000 and can go as high as $4000/$4500.

Responsibilities of a Deckhand

A Deckhand is an entry-level role on a yacht.

You need to spend a few years (or less) as a Deckhand in order to learn and gain experience so that you can step up in the ranks and obtain your licenses.

This role will be very hands-on in maintaining the exterior of the yacht. Duties will include cleaning, polishing, varnishing, sanding, caulking, and any other maintenance work required.

Chief Steward / Chief Stewardess Salary

  • 30m-40m :$4500-$5500
  • 40m-50m :$5000-$7000
  • 50m-70m- $5500-$8000
  • 70m+: $7500+

Responsibilities of a Chief Stewardess/Steward

  • Years of experience needed: 3-5 years
  • Minimum level of qualification: Depending on the size of the vessel you may need courses such as Food Hygiene and Safety, Silver Service, WSET, or a Purser course

The Chief Stewardess or Steward is responsible for all the interior operations of the yacht .

They are responsible for managing the interior team, and ensuring the interior of the yacht is maintained to the highest standards. Besides cleaning and laundry schedules , this also includes provisioning for crew and guests, budgeting, accounting, and training of junior crew.

yacht captain salary per month

Steward or Stewardess Yacht Salary

  • Minimum level of qualification: Depending on the size of the vessel you may need courses such as Food Hygiene and Safety and Silver Service
  • Salaries start at $3000 and go up to $6000

Responsibilities of a Steward or Stewardess

A Stewardess/Steward is an entry-level position working within the interior of the yacht.

There are rankings within the interior (2nd, 3rd, 4th Steward/Stewardesses). As you spend more time in the industry, you will be promoted to higher ranks, and with that will come a better salary and more responsibility.

This role covers a range of tasks, including but not limited to housekeeping, laundry, bartending, table scaping, floral arrangements, serving, and hosting guests.

The engine room inside the yacht showing the main engine

Engineer Yacht Salary

  • 20m-30m: $4000-$5000
  • 30m-40m: $4500-$6500
  • 40m-50m: $6000-$8000
  • 50m-70m: $7500-$11000
  • 70m+: $9000+

Requirements of an Engineer

  • Years of experience needed: 2-4 years in an engineering role onboard as Deck/Engineer or relevant land-based experience
  • Minimum level of qualification: AEC

The Engineer onboard is responsible for all mechanical functioning and maintenance of the vessel. This is a very technical role that can pay well as you gain experience and obtain your licensing.

Yacht Chef Salary

  • 20m-30m: $4000 – $5000
  • 40m-50m: $5500 – $75000
  • 50m-70m: $6500-$9500

Requirements of a Yacht Chef

  • Years of experience needed: 3-5 years depending on previous experience
  • Minimum level of qualification: Food Hygiene and Safety Level 2

The Chef is responsible for feeding the crew 2 to 3 healthy and sustainable meals a day. They are of course required to prepare meals for guests when onboard to the highest of standards.

In their day-to-day tasks, they will be responsible for their own provisioning of the galley, maintaining stocks, cleanliness, and hygiene of the galley.

The salary of the Yacht Chef varies depending on qualifications and experience.

a man cooking food with 2 colourful salads and a platter of meat

Yacht Crew Salaries for Private vs Charter Yachts

There are two types of super yachts that require crew: Private and Charter yachts. The salaries for yacht crew differ slightly between the two.

Private Yacht

A private boat is owned by a single person or family who uses the yacht for their own purposes. They don’t charter it out and you can expect to have the same guests onboard for the duration of your contract.

The benefit of these programs is that you get to know your guests well so you may find it easier to manage their wants and needs.

You may also benefit from traveling to off-the-beaten-track locations as I have!

For yacht crew working on these private boats, you will usually not receive charter tips.

Charter Yacht

A charter boat is one that gets chartered out by guests. This operates as a business and also means you will have different guests for every trip. 

If you work on a charter boat you can expect to receive charter tips at the end of each charter. These are usually 10%-20% of the charter fee!

Considering these tips can be anywhere from $2000-$5000 per week depending on the size of the yacht, charter boats offer great earning potential and can skyrocket your salary as a yachtie.

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Hi, my name is Lisa, a Chief Stewardess in the yachting industry with 10 years of experience, as well as 8 years of hospitality experience prior to that. Being in the yachting industry has been a whirlwind of adventure, growth, challenges and some of the best experiences of my life, and I am excited to share my knowledge and experiences with all of you.

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2023/2024 Superyacht Crew Salary Guide

yacht captain salary per month

Whether you’re continuing a long-standing career, climbing the career ladder, or getting your feet wet for the first time, Dockwalk ’s Salary Guide provides the full picture when it comes to crew compensation. 

Salary is generally one of the top motivators for those looking for jobs in yachting, but it remains a closely guarded secret. Each year, the Dockwalk Salary Survey goes out to thousands of crewmembers and crew agencies across the world, gathering real-time salary feedback with the aim of creating greater transparency and understanding across the industry.

The 2024 Salary Survey is now open.

The Results of the 2023 Salary Survey

Our annual salary survey provided some unprecedented insights to what captains and crew earned in 2023.

The yachting industry is slowly returning to normal in the wake of the pandemic. Yachts are back to work around the world and many new ones are in the pipeline thanks to the surge in popularity the "social distant" yachting lifestyle has enjoyed. But, while this return to normalcy has opened up new crew jobs this year, crew themselves have been returning to the workplace in large numbers and competition has been fierce.

Many of the crew agents reported that crew wages largely are flat this year compared to last. Salaries went up in 2021 and 2022 when crew were in short supply, but now more crew are available than previously. While crew are demanding higher pay this year, they’re not necessarily receiving it, but some agents have seen salaries continue to rise since Covid. There are many factors that can affect the salary crew can expect, including where a yacht is based and the season.

The tables below show the “agency range,” which gives the average lows and highs of all ranges provided by the agencies, the “poll range,” where results from individual working captains and crew are tallied to show the lowest and highest of all the responses, and the “poll average” calculated from all the responses. Note that our figures do not account for longevity and experience, crew benefit packages, tips, or similar extra remuneration.

Not all positions with corresponding boat sizes had enough poll responses to be considered significant; those categories are marked with an asterisk to indicate if fewer than five crew responded in that size range for that position. Several categories had no or only one response, which is also noted.

To view the full table:

Dockwalk Salary Survey 2023 in USD and Euros

Yacht Captain Salary

How much does a Yacht Captain make? The average Yacht Captain salary is $110,184 as of May 28, 2024, but the salary range typically falls between $89,464 and $126,311 . Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education , certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. With more online, real-time compensation data than any other website, Salary.com helps you determine your exact pay target. 

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Yacht Captain Salary in Major Cities

Yacht captain salary by state.

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Yacht Captain Salary by City

City Name Average Salary
$137,729
$122,634
$106,327
$115,582
$123,516
$128,694
$108,751

Average Salary Range for Yacht Captain

Average base salary.

Core compensation

Average Total Cash Compensation

Includes base and annual incentives

View Average Salary for Yacht Captain as table

Average Salary Average Salary Range
Base Salary $110,184 $89,464 - $126,311
Bonus $86,525 $67,801 - $102,810
Total Pay $196,709 $157,265 - $229,120

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Last Update: May 28, 2024

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How to use the data presented here

The table has been drawn up with the information collated with figures from the past year within various yacht departments. Please note that they an indication only of starting salaries and the actual salary will vary depending on multiple factors.

Many elements need to be taken into consideration with regards to yacht crew salaries and not just the size of the yacht. The type of yacht (motor or sail), its usage (private, charter or both) and cruising schedule will influence the salary offered. Additionally, key elements of the candidate’s profile must also be reviewed, what is their previous experience, how long have they been in a particular role, have they recently acquired a new qualification, and do they have a specialised skill set that will influence the salary negotiation?

The highlighted section corresponds to yachts who offer a scheduled leave or rotational package.

Salaries here need to be modulated in accordance with the type of rotation offered, 5:1; 3:1 or 2:2 for example. There may be several different rotational schemes on a particular yacht, 5:1 for the junior crew, 3:1 for the intermediary position and full rotation for positions of responsibility.

The rotational salary is generally only a reduced monthly reduction (between 10 and 20%) and allows for a larger pool of candidates who are fully committed to the yacht, its programme and owner.

For many key roles, professional qualifications are the basis to establishing a guideline salary, notably in the Engineering  and Officer’s Department.

Following the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the yachting industry in 2020, the past 2021 was considered the year of revival for yacht crew placement.

With regards to salaries, the market saw a return to stability and no major new trends were recorded. There is always increased pressure to offer a scheduled leave or rotational scheme that now starts with yachts in the 40 to 50 metre range.

HOW MUCH DOES YACHT CREW EARN

Yacht crew salary guide.

The yachting industry is more appealing than ever, but it comes with its own set of challenges. With so many candidates available, the task is to match the right talent with the right yacht efficiently.

In this evolving market, crew members are prioritising a balanced work-life dynamic. While salaries and leave packages in yachting are usually competitive, flexibility is now crucial for attracting top-notch crew. Offering more flexibility in leave allows for a broader selection of candidates who are dedicated to the yacht, its schedule and its owner.

yacht captain salary per month

Key trends in superyacht crew recruitment

Offering Competitive Compensation Packages

Salaries and leave packages remain a crucial factor in attracting skilled crew members. Highly qualified crew are seeking packages that accurately reflect their expertise, certifications and the value they bring to their roles onboard.

Preference for Work-Life Balance

The desire for a better work-life balance continues to be prevalent among superyacht crew. This includes preferences for rotational positions that allow for scheduled time off, as well as yachts with itineraries that offer a good mix of guest-on and guest-off periods. Employers are responding by adjusting leave schedules and offering more flexible contracts to attract and retain top talent.

Emphasis on Soft Skills

While technical prowess remains crucial, there's a growing recognition of the importance of soft skills. Attributes such as teamwork, communication, and adaptability are increasingly emphasised during the recruitment process, reflecting the collaborative nature of yacht crew work and the premium placed on guest experience.

Underscoring Sustainability and Environmental Awareness

With increasing awareness of environmental issues, conversations are developing around sustainable practices. This includes expertise in managing waste, reducing emissions and operating advanced environmental technology on board.

Deck Department

 All the Captain and Officer salaries will depend on experience and maritime qualifications.

* On smaller yachts the First Officer is generally referred to as the Mate or First Mate. On yachts over 100m / 3000GT there are often two distinct roles for a First Officer and a Chief Officer.

** Specialised Deckhand positions will englobe a Deckhand Tender Driver, Kite Surfer, Carpenter, Diver etc.

Sole/Chief Engineer:

For 30m — 40m the salary is based on the candidates holding an AEC/Y4

For 40m — 50m the salary is based on the candidates holding a Y3 / SV Chief 3000kw

For 50m — 70m the salary is based on the candidates holding a Y2 / SV Chief 9000kw

For 70m — 80m the salary is based on the candidates holding a Y1 / SV Chief 9000kw

For 80m — 100m the salary is based on the candidates holding a Y1/Class I

For 100m+ the salary is based on the candidates holding a Class I

Second Engineer:

For 40m — 50m the salary is based on the candidates holding an AEC

For 50m — 70m the salary is based on the candidates holding a Y3 / SV Chief 3000kw and on rotation. If the role is permanent then an EOOW qualification is required and the salary would be 5 000—6 500€

For 70m — 80m the salary is based on the candidates holding a Y3 / SV Chief 3000kw

For 80m — 100m the salary is based on the candidates holding a Y2/Class II

For 100m+ the salary is based on the candidates holding a Class I/Class II

Third Engineer:

For 70m — 80m the salary is based on the candidates holding a AEC

For 80m — 100m the salary is based on the candidates holding an EOOW - equal rotation or 4:2 for example

For 100m+ the salary is based on the candidates holding an EOOW - equal rotation or 4:2 for example

For 80m — 100m the salary is based on the candidates holding a STCW III/4

For 100m+ the salary is based on the candidates holding a STCW III/4

Please note that the salaries below are an indication only of starting salaries and that the actual salary will vary depending on multiple factors; job specific skills, professional qualifications and experience. ​

YPI CREW now offers a bespoke service for our yacht clients to assist with salary reviews and comparative analysis. Contact  [email protected]  for any further information.

Download the full YPI CREW recruitment market report

Download the YPI CREW Recruitment Market Report for an in-depth analysis of current trends in superyacht crew recruitment. Gain valuable insights into the market dynamics and trends specific to each department, providing a comprehensive overview of the industry landscape.

Are you looking for yacht crew for your yacht?

Contact our recruiters who will strive to find the perfect fit to your existing crew by presenting suitable, available and interested candidates, who will be pre-interviewed and credentials checked.​

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Supeyact crew salaries

Engineering Department

Chef department.

* No yachting experience

** Rotational positions start at 6 000€ while non-rotational positions start at 7 000€ *** Combined Cook/Stew or Cook/Deck role **** Lower end refers to crew with no yachting experience

***** Rotational positions start at 4 500€ while non-rotational positions start at 5 000€

More and more yachts, from 30m+, are offering rotation at all levels in the galley in order to secure the best candidate on the market. 

Interior Department

Specialist Positions

30m — 40m

40m — 50m

50m — 70m

70m — 80m

80m — 100m

Chief Officer

First Officer*

Second Officer

Third Officer

Specialised Deckhand**

Deckhand Junior

4 500—6 000

45–60 days

3 500—4 500

2 800—3 000

45 days

6 000—9 000

3 500—5 500

8 000—13 000

45–60 days or equal rotation

5 500—7 000

50–60 days

3 800—4 000

9 000—18 000

60-90 days or equal rotation

6 000—7 500

5 000—6 500

5 000—5 500

60–90 days

14 000—20 000

7 000—9 500

5 500—6 500

61-90 days or equal rotation

4 000—5 000

3:1 rotation

90 days or 3:1 rotation

15 000—23 000

8 500—11 000

62-90 days or equal rotation

Discretionary

Equal rotation

9 500 + discretionary

7 500—10 000

6 500—7 500

4 500—5 500

3:1 rotation or equal rotation

Salary (€)

Chief Engineer

1st Engineer

Second Engineer

Third Engineer

ETO & AV/IT

4 000—6 000

Non-rotational

5 000—8 000

Non-rotational or equal rotation

7 500—10 000+

6 500—7 000

Non rotation or rotation

6 000—7 000

11 000—15 000+

7 000 — 8 000

Non-rotation or rotation

3 200—4 000

7 000—8 000+

13 000—15 000+

8 500—10 000

8 000—10 000

Head Chef/Sole Chef

4 500*—5 500

5 000—6 000

2:2 rotation or non-rotational

6 000—8 500

4 000—5 000***

6 000**—9 000

4 000****—6 000

4 500*****—6 000

2:2 rotation

Head of Service

Head of Housekeeping

Experienced Stew 1–3 years experience

Junior Stew 0–1 years experience 

3 500—4 000

2 800—3 300

4 000—5 500

3 000—4 500

3 000—4 500

4 500—6 000

3 800—4 250

6 500—8 000

90 days+ or equal rotation

5 500—8 000

60 days+, 90 days+ or equal rotation

4 250—5 500

60 days+ or 90 days+

7 000—8 000

equal rotation

90 days+ or equal rotation

4500—5 500

8 000—9 500

7 000—8 500

5 000—6 000

Spa Manager (with yachting experience)

Spa Therapist (with advanced level training)

Masseuse / Beautician (with basic training courses)

Personal Trainer

Laundry Master

3 300—4 500

4 000—4 500

4 000—5 000

90 days + or equal rotation

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Become a member of YPI CREW and connect with our recruiters so they can guide you through your job search.  

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yacht captain salary per month

How Much Do Yacht Captains Make? (Numbers & Examples)

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Do you love boating? The wind and the water? The smell of sunscreen and sea salt? The feel of a powerful machine beneath your hands?

If boating is your passion, you might be wondering how you can do it for a living. Well, you might be in luck.

How Much Do A Yacht Captain Make?

The captain of a yacht typically makes between $60,000 and $150,000, depending on the size of the yacht and his/her experience. On top of that, charter yacht captains will typically earn 10-15% of the price of the charter from tipping.

Here’s everything you need to know about how much a yacht captain makes.

Table of Contents

yacht captain salary per month

How Much Money Do Yacht Captains Make?

One of the major determining factors of salary for yacht captains is the type of license you possess, the type of yacht you work on, and your level of experience.

Yacht captains often get paid a base salary. It will typically be in the size of $60,000 to $150,000.

In addition to a base salary, they can also get:

  • health insurance
  • flight expenses
  • paid vacation
  • training reimbursement

If your position requires you reside on the vessel you are also likely to be supplied with food and sundries.

Tips are often earned on yachts that are available to be chartered.

Here’s our guide to how much you should expect to earn from tipping as a crew member on a yacht .

Different Ranges of Salaries for Yacht Captains

  • If you are a captain that is operating boats that range from 60 to 100 feet, the salary range would be between $48,000 and $100,000 per year.
  • A captain who operates vessels between 100 and 130 feet, can earn a salary between $90,000 and $140,000 per year.
  • A captain who would operate a vessel that can range between 130 to over 160 feet, could earn anywhere between $120,000 and $180,000.
  • If the vessel that you operate falls between 160 to 190 feet, your salary could be between $150,000 to $210,000.
  • If you operate a vessel that is 190 feet or more you could make over $200,000 per year.

Variations to these averages can depend on factors such as owner/guest use, the qualifications that are required with the position, and the itinerary of the vessel.

How Do I Become A Yacht Captain?

After looking at the earning potential, you are probably ready to sign up! However, you cannot just get on a yacht and become the captain.

To become a yacht captain, you first need to obtain a license. There are a few different levels of Captain’s licenses and you should attend the class that will give you the highest leveled license that you can qualify for.

There are two main license types that you can get. These are the “Six-Pack Captain’s License” or the “Master License”.

The Six-Pack Captain’s License would allow you to captain a boat with up to 6 paying passengers plus crew. The vessel can only weigh 100 gross tons or less.

This license is generally used for vessels that engage in charter fishing, scuba diving, or tour cruises.

This course includes topics such as the navigational rules, navigation aids and chart plotting, electronic navigation, characteristics of weather systems, and lifesaving equipment and safety.

To qualify to get this license you need at least 360 days of documented experience in the operation of vessels with 90 of those days being within 3 years of getting the license. You also have to complete the test that is given.

Any experience that was gained before the age of 16 cannot be used.

The Master License would allow you to captain a boat with more than 6 paying passengers.

Any vessel that is authorized to carry more than 6 paying passengers requires a Master license. Boats that require this type of license can include ferry boats, harbor tour boats, whale watching vessels, and water taxis.

For the Master License, the topics include everything listed for the Six-Pack license but also includes basic seamanship skills, tides and currents, marine radio operation, pollution prevention, vessel handling skills, and emergency procedures.

Requirements for a Master License depending on which type of Master License you get.

These include:

  • Master Inland: 360 days underway experience since age 16. 90 of those days must be within 3 years of getting the license. Completion of course and test.
  • Master Inland/OUPV: 360 days underway experience since age 16. 90 of those days must be within 3 years of getting the license. 90 days must be outside the boundary lines. Completion of the course and test.
  • Master Inland/Mate N.C.: 360 days underway experience since age 16. 90 of those days must be within 3 years of getting the license. 180 days must be outside the boundary lines. Completion of the course and test.
  • Master Near Coastal: 720 days underway experience since age 16. 90 of those days must be within 3 years of getting the license. 360 days must be outside the boundary lines. Completion of the course and test.

Other Requirements Include:

  • A Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC Card).
  • You must be 19 years or older.
  • Pass a physical examination.
  • Pass a drug test.
  • CPR/First Aid Training.

In addition to your license, you can also add endorsements.

These endorsements include a towing endorsement that would allow you to assist vessels in need for a fee, or sail or auxiliary sail endorsement which would allow you to operate a sailing or auxiliary sail vessel.

These endorsements are not required but may help you find a wider variety of jobs.

You also need a captain’s license if you are choosing to be a fishing guide. A fishing guide is the captain of a fishing vessel that holds paying passengers.

What is the Work Schedule Like for a Yacht Captain?

A six-figure salary can come with hard work and high levels of responsibility. 

While a yacht owner might only utilize their vessel between 6-8 weeks a year, you will most likely work all year. 

Your average year could consist of between 6-8 weeks of work with the owner, 10-12 additional weeks of work if the vessel is chartered, and another 8-10 weeks spend moving the yacht between ports.

The job duties of a yacht captain can include:

  • The ultimate safety of the passengers, crew, environment, and vessel.
  • Following the instructions of the yacht’s owner.
  • Crew hiring and dismissal as well as general personnel management.
  • Training and coaching the rest of the crew.
  • Legal and regulatory compliance.
  • Navigation including plotting a safe course, following the plotted course, docking and departing.
  • Management of the ship’s maintenance and upgrades.
  • Management of the vessel’s finances, porting options, and other accounting.
  • Negotiating for goods and services for the vessel.

There are personality traits better fitted to this job than others.

The ideal personality traits of a captain include:

  • A calm personality especially in an emergency situation.
  • Superior leadership, communication, and management skills.
  • Diplomacy skills.
  • Organized and methodical behaviors.
  • Knowledge of other languages and cultural sensitivity.

In addition to these personality traits you should also have the following skills:

  • Boat handling and navigation skills that can come from acquiring a license.
  • International Safety Management (ISM) and International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) knowledge.
  • Maintenance and engineering/troubleshooting experience.
  • Financial management skills.
  • The proper licensing.

The captain of a yacht is more than just a manager of people and assets. They are the manager of an experience. It is the captain’s job to run the vessel according to owner preferences to ensure the best experience.

The ultimate goal of the captain and the crew should be the happiness and experience of the owner and his guests.

Once the owner of the vessel describes what type of yacht he wants to own and how, when and where they would like to use the vessel, the rest of the management is often clearly defined.

It is up to the captain to maintain these standards and stay within the boundaries set forth by the owner. After all, without an owner of the vessel, the captain would not have a job.

The captain should also concern himself with the safety of all the passengers, other vessels, the environment they are in, and the vessel itself.

How Much Money Does It Cost to Run A Yacht?

For an average mega yacht that operates with 12 crew members, your expenses for the operation could be anywhere between 4 and 10 million dollars.

This budget is based on where your yacht is moored, whether your yacht is available for charter, and where the travel destinations are.

Making these decisions can be the responsibility of a management company or can fall to the captain of the vessel.

These decisions include all aspects of the budget, what charters to take, where to station the vessel between charters, when to service the boat, and where to get it serviced when you do.

If you are intending to own a yacht and run it, in addition to the crew and the above expenses you will also be looking at spending money on food, drinks, and other amenities that are needed while on your voyage.

Overall, Yacht owning is an expensive hobby. One of the biggest expenses is the pay and benefits for the crew. 

If you work on a yacht you should have no trouble turning your passion into a prosperous career with high earning potential.

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Yacht Captain Salary: 5 Factors Impacting Earnings and Career Growth

Introduction to mega yacht captain's pay, 5 factors impacting yacht captain salaries, career advancement and salary growth, final thoughts about the yacht captain pay, introduction to mega yacht captain’s pay.

Yacht captains usually ask us “What is the usual Yacht captain pay?” well there is no one straight answer to what a is a yacht captain salary but we will dive into it soon enough.

Here in US Chandlery we know very well that yacht captains hold a unique and prestigious position in the maritime industry, responsible for the smooth operation and navigation of luxurious vessels that traverse the world’s most captivating waters. As with any profession, the remuneration for a yacht captain’s services is influenced by a myriad of factors. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of a yacht captain’s salary, exploring the average earnings, the key determinants affecting pay scales, and the potential for career advancement.

Understanding the Average Yacht Captain Salary

As of June 26, 2023, the average salary of a yacht captain stands at an impressive $107,281. This figure reflects the compensation for captains who have a balanced combination of experience, education, and additional qualifications. However, it is essential to note that this is just an average, and the actual salary range can be quite broad, spanning from $87,000 to $228,000.

Several critical factors play a role in determining the yacht captain salary range

1. Yacht captain’s experience –  Experience is one of the most influential factors in shaping a captain’s earning potential. A seasoned yacht captain with years of successful voyages and an impeccable track record is likely to command a higher salary than someone just starting in the field.

2. Education and Certifications –  Yacht captains with advanced degrees in maritime studies, nautical science, or related fields, along with essential certifications such as a Master’s License, are more likely to earn higher salaries. These qualifications demonstrate competence and proficiency in handling the responsibilities of a yacht captain.

3. Additional Skills – Specialized skills, such as expertise in luxury hospitality, navigational technology, multilingual proficiency, and marine engineering, can significantly enhance a captain’s earning potential. Captains with a diverse skill set are sought after by yacht owners who value versatility and expertise.

4. Type and Size of Yacht –   The type and size of the yacht under a captain’s command can also impact their salary. Captains of larger, more luxurious mega yachts may earn higher compensation due to the complexity and responsibility associated with managing such vessels.

5. Geographic Location –  The geographic location of the yacht and the nature of the voyages undertaken can influence a captain’s earnings. Captains who sail in high-demand destinations or frequently traverse exclusive regions may command higher salaries.

The yacht captain profession career advancement and salary growth

1. Progression to Larger Yachts –  As a captain gains experience and expertise, they may be entrusted with the helm of larger and more opulent yachts. Managing bigger vessels often comes with higher compensation and increased prestige.

2. Promotions within the Yachting Industry – Some yacht captains may choose to transition into managerial roles within the yachting industry. These positions, such as fleet managers or yacht brokers, can offer competitive salaries and diverse career paths.

3. Reputation and Referrals –  A captain’s reputation within the industry can significantly impact their earning potential. Captains who garner positive reviews from charter guests and owners are more likely to attract high-paying opportunities through referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations.

4. Continual Professional Development –  Staying up to date with industry trends and pursuing continuous professional development can enhance a captain’s skill set and, subsequently, their market value. Investing in relevant courses and certifications can open doors to higher-paying positions.

Here is a very nice Vlog by Tristan Mortlock, definitely someone you would like to subscribe to his channel.

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The salary of a yacht captain is a reflection of their experience, education, additional skills, and the size and type of yacht they command. While the average salary for a yacht captain is currently $107,281, this figure can vary significantly based on the aforementioned factors.

For aspiring yacht captains, the key to achieving a successful and rewarding career lies in pursuing relevant education, obtaining essential certifications, and accumulating valuable experience. By constantly improving their skill set and embracing new opportunities for growth, yacht captains can chart a course towards greater financial rewards and recognition within the esteemed world of luxury yachting. 

You can look for open positions and see live position openings for yacht captain salary.

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Captains Careers Superyacht Industry Insights

What is the salary of a Captain on a superyacht? 4 May 2021

What should you be paying your Captain?

What salary can I expect as a Captain on a superyacht?

These are questions we often get asked at Quay Crew headquarters.

In this blog, the superyacht Captain salaries are revealed in our exclusive Captain recruitment survey by Quay Crew.

Captain Recruitment Specialist, Tim Clarke , reveals some very interesting findings…

The subject of what a Captain should be paid often comes up in conversation, normally with Captains, but recently I was working with the yacht owner on a large new build project and had to recruit everyone from the Captain down. I was asked “What should I pay my Captain?”. I had to advise on salary levels for the Captain position and this made me realise that there isn’t a lot of accurate information out there in the public domain.

So how much should a Captain on a superyacht get paid?

Recently I did a salary survey of Captains which went into significant detail regarding yacht size, program, leave, pay reviews, bonuses, flights and additional perks. 186 Captains responded so we had an excellent spread of data to work with. The full report is actually 41 pages long so this is just a brief summary of the most pertinent information.

Have a Captain recruitment requirement coming up or just want to see all the additional info? To receive a copy in your inbox, email  [email protected]

The breakdown of qualifications across the 186 respondents was as follows:

26% Master Unlimited

68% Master 3000gt

6% Master 500gt

Private or Charter?

58% of Captains surveyed said they work on a purely private yacht. 34% on yachts which are a mix of owner use and charter so run commercially. Only 8% work on yachts which are purely commercial / charter programs.

Monthly salary averages for Captains on a superyacht

Average monthly salary for Captains with full rotation:

Under 39m n/a

40m to 49m €12.4k approx.

50m to 59m €11.4k approx.

60m to 69m €13.3k approx.

70m to 79m €14.5k approx.

80m to 89m €16.2k approx.

90m to 99m €18.4k approx.

Over 100m €19.3k approx.

Average monthly salary for Captains who are full time:

Under 39m €10.2k Euros approx.

40m to 49m €11.9k Euros approx.

50m to 59m €15.3k Euros approx.

60m to 69m €16k Euros approx.

70m to 79m €19.2k Euros approx.

80m to 89m €22k Euros approx.

90m to 99m €25k euros approx.

Over 100m €14.5k Euros approx.

Additional Captain salary facts…

When you compare rotational and full time salaries on yachts over 60m, the full time positions average over 2k a month more. Some yachts’ Captain packages are hugely removed from the norm. For example, one 60m to 69m is found to be paying over 25k to a full rotation Captain. No yacht that responded under 39m offers rotation. 36 Captains are earning over 20k a month, the vast majority of which are on purely private yachts.

Captain Rotation

23% of Captains on yachts 40m-49m have a full rotation. This takes a big jump to 53% of yachts 50m -59m. Full rotation peaks at 83% on yachts over 100m.

The average is 63% of Captains on yachts above 50m have full rotation so 92 out of the 147 who worked on yachts from 50m to 100m up.

Captain Recruitment for Superyachts

If you are looking to recruit a Captain for your yacht and want to make sure you are accessing the best talent in the market, then give me a call on +44 7760 202610. Recently I have recruited a variety of Captains for various yachts including a 100m plus new build, a very prestigious 90m, a 60m plus new build just launched and lots more between 50m and 70m. Alternatively if you just want a chat about the Captain market and your current Captain’s compensation package, then just get in touch via phone or via my direct email .

If you are a Captain reading this then here are a couple of links to other blogs I have written which may interest you.

How to secure your dream Captain job on a superyacht

How many Captains are there?

What is the salary of a Captain on a superyacht?

About the author

How much does length of service matter in Superyacht Recruitment?

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Yacht Crew Salaries

Average starting salary guidelines.

The crew salaries reflected below have been derived from placement records and job orders for both power and sail, reflected as an average, received by Crewfinders within the past year and may change without notice.

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Quay Crew Releases 2023 Captains Salary Survey

yacht captain salary per month

Quay Crew has announced the release of its latest and largest HoD salary survey to date. Almost 300 captains responded across a range of yacht sizes from under 30 meters to over 100 meters.

In addition to average pay and leave, pay rises and bonus activities, the report also compares the experience of being a captain and a chief officer, ticket levels and longevity on board. It also compares the results to previous survey findings in 2020 and 2022.  

“ In our most detailed salary report to date, we have gained an insight into the real-time compensation captains receive, broken down by yacht size and with several other comparables too,” said Simon Ladbrooke, Captain Consultant at Quay Crew .

“A key takeaway this year is that, despite a slight decline in salaries between 2020 and 2022, the average monthly pay is now higher across all size brackets, representing a median 6.75% increase.

“Time for time rotation has also grown in popularity on all sized yachts, with the exception of yachts  under 39m which are all full time at the moment.

“By gathering chief officer experience as well as longevity on their current yacht, we can surmise that onboard promotion is on the rise. The average age that someone becomes captain is now older and the number of years of experience as chief officer is higher, suggesting the transition is also taking longer.

“This is undoubtedly down to there being more competition amongst candidates and it being more difficult to make that initial step up.

“However, almost three quarters say it took them less than six months to get their first captain role. Along with the extensive chief officer experience demonstrated in this survey, this could be largely down to onboard promotion.

Having said that, we were very surprised at this statistic as it doesn’t match at all with our experience. Often, chief officers are looking for several years before they finally get their opportunity. It’s something we definitely want to explore further in another survey.”

Top-level statistics include:   

Every yacht bracket has seen a salary rise since 2020 and 2022.

Full rotation is increasing and becoming more prevalent on sub-50m yachts, with an 11% decline overall in captains having under 59 days of leave.

40% of captains receive an annual pay rise, although this is not part of their contract.

38% receive a 13th-month bonus, but random and unpredictable bonuses are more common.

70% of captains have Master 3000.

50% of the captains who responded have over 10 years’ experience in the role and 32% were chief officers for three to years prior.

A third of captains have been on their current yacht for over three years.

Flight allowance improves with yacht size, with 49% of captains receiving business class flights as part of their package.

The average age at which respondents first became captain is 32.5 years old. 

The full report contains a comprehensive analysis of salaries and leave in each yacht size bracket and also compares full-time and rotational role. It also explores any correlation between experience and the type of ticket held. 

To obtain access to this salary report or QuayCrew’s previous reports for chief officers, chief stews or chief engineers please get in touch via [email protected] .

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yacht captain salary per month

Yacht Crew Salaries: The Current State

Posted October 12, 2023 by Ashleigh King

The topic of salaries in the yachting industry has gained attention this year, with a growing sense of awareness and discussion. Louisa had the opportunity to speak with several dedicated crew members who have shared their thoughts and concerns about this matter. With the ever-changing economic landscape, it’s crucial to assess whether salaries for yacht crew have adapted to these shifts in a positive direction.

A comprehensive analysis of Dockwalk’s salary surveys over the past several years reveals a rather consistent pattern spanning a 15-year period. Specifically, when comparing salaries in euros for a 50-meter yacht between 2008 and 2023, certain trends emerge. In the case of Captains, the industry average in 2008 ranged from 7,000 to 10,000 euros per month, while this year, it has extended from 7,000 to 15,000 euros per month. Similarly, Chief Engineers in 2008 were earning an average of 5,000 to 7,000 euros per month, whereas in 2023, their earnings range from 5,000 to 10,000 euros per month. It is noteworthy that while the lower-end salaries have remained relatively consistent, the upper-end figures have witnessed a significant increase, aligning more closely with industry expectations.

While the top-end salaries can be attributed to experience and longevity, it remains pertinent to question why the baseline salaries have remained at their current level. This inquiry may stem from the various factors related to job availability and individual crew preferences. It’s possible that, after a period of uncertainty, many crew members are now placing a higher value on the stability of full-time positions over seeking higher pay.

Engaging with numerous crew members who express diverse expectations and requirements underscores the challenge of establishing industry standards, especially considering the growing prevalence of rotational contracts. A notable example illustrates this complexity: I recently met a Captain who was perplexed by the stark disparity in his salary compared to that of a colleague. However, one crucial aspect he overlooked was that his counterpart had been with the same owner for four additional years, underscoring the significance of longevity in this profession.

Furthermore, entry-level crew members are facing their own set of challenges. Green crew are currently being offered a monthly compensation of 2,000 euros, which is nearly the same from 15 years ago when it ranged from 2,000 to 2,500 euros.

While the average monthly compensation for green crew hasn’t seen substantial growth over the past 15 years, it’s essential to acknowledge the rising costs associated with crew housing, food, and travel. In this light, exploring creative solutions to improve the financial well-being of entry-level crew members is a valuable consideration.

While the topic of salary stagnation in the yachting industry has raised concerns, there is also a silver lining. Salaries for experienced crew members have been on an upward trajectory, and the industry is evolving to accommodate different needs and preferences. By focusing on the positive aspects of these changes, we can look forward to a brighter future for all members of the yacht crew community.

Download our Crew Salary Guideline PDFs in Dollars and Euros for more helpful information.

With our presence established in the key yachting hubs worldwide, we stand ready to address all your crew-related requirements. Don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated N&J Crew team members today!

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Super yacht captain salary - how much you should be earning.

Super Yacht Captain Salary - How Much You Should Be Earning

Being the captain of a luxury vessel can often be very rewarding. Of course, the money you receive is directly parallel to your experience, which enables you to undertake more responsibilities .

Earnings can differ from captain to captain, as the salary is never set in stone. It depends on the size of the yacht, your at-sea experience, your ability to command a crew efficiently, and even the tipping. As such, it is often hard to understand how much money you should be earning, and the numbers tend to differ from source to source (try Googling it!).

Naturally, you might be looking for more concrete indications regarding the salary you should be earning. This is exactly why we wrote this article! Whether it is the “expected salary” question in your job application, or simply personal research for industry averages, we’ve got you covered!

In this blog post, we break down all the factors that determine a super yacht captain salary and help you understand how much you should be earning.

Table of contents

Superyacht captain salary tiers

Calculating the salary of a yacht captain, what is the average yacht captain salary, chartered vs private yacht captain salary, additional benefits for yacht captains.

  • Wrapping Up

As the length of your commanding vessel increases, so does the number of tasks and responsibilities. The complexity of your role and requirements vastly escalate as you go bigger, but so does your salary.

In short, a super yacht captain salary is broken down into several tiers, which are divided based on the size of the vessel. Generally speaking, here are the salary guidelines you should be looking at:

super yacht captain salary

Note 1: The salary fluctuation within the tiers indicates the captain’s license level, experience, and longevity.

Note 2: These numbers represent the salary without any additional perks, which we discuss in the following chapters.

Many might think that the income of a captain is very rewarding, especially when comparing the salary with other, high-level niche professions.

However, when calculating a (super) yacht captain salary, you need to take the following into consideration:

  • 24/7 onboard. Captains spend all of their time on the vessel. They hold a position of responsibility even when not actually working. The salary should therefore reflect the increased number of work hours.
  • Salary taxes. For most yacht captains, one of the biggest benefits of the job is that your income doesn’t get taxed. If, however, you are paying taxes in a particular country (e.g. freelance rental boat captains), income tax applies. This can take a huge bite from your profits.
  • The level of experience. Captains are often split into three categories based on their level of experience: Junior captain, captain, and senior master. It is this experience level that both certifies and qualifies them to command larger vessels.

Therefore, you need to ask yourself the following questions before you decide on the salary you should be looking at:

  • How much is my time worth, given my 24/7 employment and responsibilities onboard?
  • How are my tax obligations structured and how will these affect my salary?
  • Based on my experience and time at sea, am I more prone to receive the low or high-end of the salary tier I belong in?

For example, a junior captain that gets the opportunity to command a 25-meter yacht and has no tax obligations could see a €6,000 salary as a great opportunity to earn well, while gaining more experience.

On the contrary, a more experienced captain with additional certifications that needs to pay taxes is more likely to request €10,000 per month for the same job opportunity.

According to YPI CREW salaries , a tool that estimates the industry average salary of yachting-related positions, 446 captains were surveyed to determine the average salary of a captain based on the tiers described above.

Before looking at the findings below, make sure to also review the limitations of the survey, as well as the different variables that were explored.

Highest average salary - The results of the study indicate that permanent contractors that command motor yachts of a length between 81-100m had the highest average salary, which ranks at €18,000 per month. If you’re looking for the high-end, superyacht captain salary, this is it.

‍ Lowest average salary - Junior captains placed at both sailing and motor yachts smaller than 35m in length receive an average salary of €5,500 per month. This amount mostly refers to yacht captain salaries that are not yet qualified for larger vessels.

All other tiers fall somewhere in the middle and the average salary differs based on two factors:

  • Whether the captain operates on a chartered vs private vessel
  • Whether they hold a permanent position or are in rotation

As you can see, at the higher and lower ends of the spectrum, permanent captains of private vessels tend to earn more, while mid-range categories have a higher degree of fluctuation.

Note: M.Y. Captains refers to Motor Yacht Captains. S.Y. Captains refers to Sailing Yacht Captains.

super-yacht-captain-salary

Source: ypicrew.com

As you can see from the survey conducted by YPI CREWS, one of the variables that determine a captain’s salary is whether the yacht is chartered or privately owned.

When it comes to charter yacht captain salary (rental yachts), and thus temporary employment, there are two categories you need to keep in mind:

  • Individual, freelance captains get paid on a day-to-day basis. These types of captains are sought out and hired by yacht owners through middlemen.
  • Contract captains that receive a monthly salary. This category refers to seasonal jobs where an agency pays the captain for multiple trips during his employment period.

Private yacht captains are responsible for a single vessel and are paid on a monthly basis, holding a full-time contract.

If you end up working on a charter, you may receive tips or gifts from customers after their trip is concluded. On the contrary, employment on a private boat will generally result in higher basic income but little to no tipping.

You may also notice that private boat captains with a full-time job will have a more “corporate” structure of employment, including recurring free days and paid holidays. Captains of charter boats have more flexibility and freedom when it comes to the employment opportunities they want to take on, but holidays are usually impossible or very limited, and often unpaid.

How much do yacht captains make? You should now have a better idea when it comes to the average salaries depending on the ship’s size. That being said, captains are able to enjoy more perks which translate into money:

  • Yacht owners typically cover all onboard expenses, including food, uniforms, laundry, and even several types of insurance if the captain has full-time employment.
  • Since captains live onboard, there are also no living expenses that need to be paid. Sure, the captain’s room may not be as spacious and comfortable as a 5-star hotel, but the money you save through this convenience makes it worthwhile.
  • As mentioned previously, paid vacation days may also be offered depending on your contract type and the vessel’s schedule. For private yacht captains, it is typical to get 4 to 6 weeks of paid holidays per year and at least 1 free day per week.
  • While charters may have less leniency for holidays, captains usually earn around 10-15% of the charter’s price in the form of tipping. If the vessel is larger, so is the crew, which means that the pot is split with them as well.

Finally, make sure to familiarize yourself with the local tax regulations to see if you can avoid paying taxes on your income. To increase your odds of earning a tax-free salary, it might be a good idea to consult with professional tax advisors specialized in the yachting industry.

Wrapping up

After analyzing the different tiers of the average superyacht captain salary, you should now have a better idea of the category you belong in. The information above enables you to determine the salary you can request, and help you negotiate where needed.

To summarize, here are the numbers you should keep in mind:

  • 20-40m boat - €5,000 to €10,000 per month based on experience and certifications;
  • 40-60m boat - €7,000 to €16,000 per month based on experience and certifications;
  • 60-80m boat - €14,000 per month minimum , based on experience and certifications;
  • 80-100m boat - €16,000 per month minimum , based on experience and certifications.

If your job offer happens to pay less than the numbers mentioned above, make sure to also review all the additional perks you receive, as there are often many perks and bonuses “hidden” within your contract. You can then use this information to renegotiate your salary and hopefully agree on better terms.

‍ And that’s it! If you want to further improve your chances of getting paid what you’re worth, make sure to also structure a well-organized yacht captain CV . This will help agencies and yacht owners get a better understanding of your experience and management skills.

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  23. Super Yacht Captain Salary

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