Life as a Chief Stew
I was working in a clothing department store at the ripe old age of 17 when my auntie, a Chief Stewardess on a 40M yacht, called asking if I wanted to go and work with her in the Caribbean. Without giving it a second thought I jumped at the chance, next thing I know, I am doing my STCW95 and ENG1 and on a plane heading for my first job as a Stewardess on a Motor Yacht in Sint Maarten.
It’s been 11 years since I left the UK to start my career in yachting, and I wouldn’t change a thing! However, there are a few things about the super yachting industry that many people do not see or hear about.
Working onboard a super yacht, changes your way of life forever, you cannot walk past an unfolded towel without the need to re fold it into a perfect fold, or toilet paper that hasn’t been correctly folded (even if you are in a public toilet!) Some things that seem total normal to you, seem completely different to us, when you stock your fridge at home, I’m sure not everyone places the sodas or waters in the fridge so they are 1cm apart and all facing forward!
There are some parts of yachting that not everybody thinks about, sea sickness- the moment you can feel your skin go all clammy and your body temperature rises, you know what will happen next! And unlike many other sicknesses, until your yacht stops or your feet touch the ground theres not much you can do!
Cleaning, if you have time to lean, you have time to clean! Being a Chief stewardess, one of my jobs is to make sure that the interior of the yacht is absolutely spotless at all times. This means changing all of the bed sheets if a little bit of mascara is on your pillow case, or polishing all the silver in the shower every time you shower (which can be many times a day!) hoovering the entire yacht morning, noon and night.
Being creative is a massive part of working on a yacht, you need to be able to think on your feet, if a guest wants a cocktail party onboard for 60 guests in 2 hours, then the guest will have a cocktail party onboard for 60 guests in 2 hours! If the guests request a beach BBQ on a private island, or want special sandwiches made at 2am every morning just in case they wake up, or decide they want McDonalds onboard for dinner instead of the 5 course meal the Chef has been preparing all day, they get it! It is very hard, strenuous work, but we choose to do it. We work 17,18 hours a day to make sure that we provide the highest level of service.
There are so many amazing parts of being a Yachtie, I have listed a few below:
You get to live on a multimillion-dollar yacht, for FREE
You travel the world
Meet the best friends from all over the world
Make the most amazing memories with your second family (crew)
You also get to cross off some magical things on your to do list, swimming with pigs in the Bahamas has to be the most exciting thing I can remember!
Even though you work ridiculously hard when you have guests on, you still have fun! Theme nights are always fun onboard, you turn the yacht into a pirate ship, 80s disco club or Tiki bar! We always had a different theme for every meal, we would do underwater breakfast, a garden party lunch and haunted dinner with Champagne Bottle candles! There is no limit when it comes to decorating for guests. It makes it memorable for them and fun for crew!
The reason we all go through this, is so that all of the charter guests experience their dream holiday onboard a wonderful yacht. It is our job as crew, to keep all guests safe and happy throughout the entire trip. Having guests return to your yacht the next holiday is exactly what you want to happen, the trip will be even better as you know the guests, they know the yacht and crew and you already know there likes and dislikes so you can plan their charter down to how they have their coffee!
I have been in the yachting industry for around 11 years and now moved to land based life. There’s not a day in yachting that I would change and luckily, I have been able to move into another career that is yacht focused. I will always have wonderful memories of being a Chief Stewardess and I was blessed to have worked on some outstanding yachts with outstanding crew.
Getting some fresh fish in St.Kitts
Marigot Bay, St.Lucia- I was stuck here in a hurricane once.
Crossing to the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale
My favorite photo of MY Polly, we were in the Bahamas, I went ashore to get some cute local things to put on the guests pillows that night for turn down- I love that yacht- that yacht made me very happy.