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How Much Does a Chief Stew Make on a yacht?

Have you ever let yourself dream of working onboard a luxury yacht? For some, it can be a dream job. You travel the world and visit some of the most beautiful and exclusive places while earning a salary.

The bulk of fellow crew members in this industry are outgoing and adventurous individuals. They come from diverse cultures and nationalities that have mutual values and a strong work ethic.

The working days can be long and tiresome. But, oh the leisure time!

If you have been considering a career onboard a yacht, you might be asking, “How much does a chief stew make on a yacht?” read on to find the answer..

The Different Yacht Steward(ess) Positions

So you’ve chosen to give yachting a chance, but which role is better suited to your skills and objectives? Here is a summary of the different yacht steward(ess) roles and what they entail.

Chief Steward(ess)

Under the command and control of the captain, the chief steward(ess) will carry out his or her duties and obligations. The chief steward(ess) is wholly accountable for the vessel’s interior. Also for fulfilling the owner’s and guests’ needs in terms of hospitality and service.

Under his or her guidance, the chief stew will also train and oversee any lower-ranking stews. You need excellent service, host/ess, and management skills, as well as a strong sense of creativity.

What Are Your Responsibilities as a Chief Steward(ess)?

You’ll be in charge of keeping the boat’s interior department running smoothly on a daily basis, which means you’ll need to know and manage many tasks.

Hospitality Services

One of the main roles of a chief stew is keeping the level of hospitality at a high. On a luxury yacht, guests are used to being treated like royalty, and it will be your responsibility.

Here’s a condensed list of the things you will have to take charge of:

  1. Food and beverage stock levels and facilities housekeeping
  2. Controlling the staff closet and laundry
  3. Service for mealtimes and cleanup thereafter
  4. Maintaining a happy, high-energy spirit and have a never-say-die attitude
  5. Management and direction of the second and third stews (including training and motivating them)
  6. Managing the staff schedule and rotational duties
  7. Implementing and maintaining Human Resources guidelines and procedures
  8. Providing overall guest care and entertainment (unpack and pack their suitcases, care for their personal items, arrange special activities, and arrange valet services)


This is really just an overview of a chief stew’s long job description. There are so many additional duties that a chief stew has to be willing to perform too. This includes things like assisting the deck staff, overseeing staff meal times, arranging excursions and offboard activities for the guests, and much more.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Chief Stew?

In order to become a Chief Stew  you will need previous yachting experience.  A chief stew is a senior role on board and so comes with a lot of responsibility.  Most chief stews would come with some formal training and experience in service, bartending, wine presentation and service and even cigar service.

The STCW Basic Safety Training certification is mandatory for anyone looking to take a role on board a yacht and you will also need an ENG1 seafarer medical certificate or equivalent which is also mandatory to work onboard a yacht. 

Another recommendation is to have at least a Seafarer Medical Certificate or something of the same.

Additional useful experience/qualifications would include event management, floral arranging, and even table decorating skills.

A chief stewardess handles multiple tasks and needs to be the ultimate plate spinner.

  The position can also require a level of financial aptitude and some accounting/bookkeeping qualifications can be helpful. Financial responsibility often held by the chief stew can include monitoring expenses for their department, recording and numbering receipts, managing a cash float etc. the chief stew is often responsible for paying vendors, ordering floral arrangements, sourcing special items for guests, which all needs precision management of the accounts.

How Much Does a Chief Stew Make On a Yacht?

So to get to the original question, ‘How much does a chief stew make?’  Well, this depends on a number of factors.  Things to take in to consideration include the yacht size, Yacht location, if it is purely private or a charter vessel, size of team managed in the role etc.  But as an average a chief stew salary can be anything from €35,000 to upwards of €65,000.

It will also depend on the location of the charter and the duration of the season. To negotiate a higher salary, a chief stew will show that they have additional qualifications and plenty of relevant experience.

Compared to doing similar roles on land and even on cruise ships, a yacht stew salary base tends to be higher. Also when you consider the tips one can receive serving on luxurious charter yachts or the incentives and benefits offered to the crew, the possible salary gaps become dramatic.

Other Stew Positions

There are many stew jobs available on a yacht, in addition to the chief stew yacht spot. These are the 2nd and 3rd Stews, also known as Senior and Junior Stews.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Senior or Junior Stew?

Under the supervision and control of the chief stew and the captain, the 2nd or 3rd stew will carry out his or her duties and obligations. Individuals in these roles are responsible for helping with the vessel’s interior upkeep and delivering excellent service according to the standards of the owner and guests.

Hostess skills are much the same as the chief stew but with less responsibility and accountability. They include the following:

  1. Sustaining interior housekeeping while still being primarily responsible for guest-cabin cleaning during a trip
  2. When visitors and crew are aboard, laundry, ironing, and other wardrobe cleaning duties are performed for them
  3. When needed, providing outstanding guest service and showcasing expert bartending skills
  4. Valet service and guest facilities
  5. Assisting in the planning and service quality of dinners
  6. Assisting with purchase orders, inventories, procurement, drafting and editing checklists, and other interior-related activities
  7. Maintaining and demonstrating an understanding of diplomatic protocol and etiquette
  8. In the crew mess, keep watch in line with the list of obligations
  9. Supporting exterior crew when needed
  10. In the event of an emergency, taking sole responsibility for those onboard safety duties as delegated by the first mate

What Qualifications Does a Senior or Junior Stew Need?

This is a basic entry-level position. Although prior yachting experience is not expected, it does result in higher pay benefits. As mentioned earlier all on board roles require a valid STCW certificate plus an ENG1 Seafarer Medical Certificate.

Experience in table service, bartending, and cocktail service and a qualification in any of these areas will help secure a role. While the latest PYA Interior-Crew G.U.E.S.T credential isn’t needed, it’s a good idea to take the courses mentioned and look for similar beginner interior-crew training courses.

Stew Salaries

Although annual wage recommendations are given, bear in mind that the ranges vary because several variables determine wages.

These include:

  1. The yacht size
  2. The use of the yacht (in other words, private or charter)
  3. The style of the boat (motor power or sail)
  4. What other perks do the crew members get (insurance packages or educational repayment)


Salaries can also differ based on a crew member’s personal credentials. That could be the length of time the owner and visitors use the vessel, and the itinerary. Again, the pay levels are base wages that do not include tips, when given. 

Holding Two Positions At Once

When working on smaller and midsize yachts, you can be responsible for holding two positions at once. These smaller yachts are not crewed by as many crew members as the superyachts.

A person hired for this position will hold two positions and must wear more than one “hat” during the day. These could be deckhand stew, captain Engineer, stew chef, and many more.

Advantages of Chief Stew and Stew Packages

Since almost all jobs on superyachts need you to live onboard and sail with the yacht, your room and board are paid in full. It is normal and required that the yacht owner provides everything you need continuously. That would include the following:

  1. Your meals
  2. Your uniforms
  3. Laundry and detergent
  4. Linens
  5. Even personal care items like soap and toothpaste are supplied on most yachts


In the meantime, your salary is deposited into your bank account automatically. Where in the world can you say that almost your entire year’s salary is sitting in your bank account without being touched?

Most workers in other occupations are fortunate if they save a tenth of their annual income. They are responsible for paying rent, electricity, purchasing and repairing vehicles, and purchasing all clothing they need each day. Let’s not forget about groceries as well.

Work Like a Chief Stew and Play and Save Like a Pirate!

Yachting, of course, gives you unique access to some of the world’s most exclusive beaches, hotels, and events. Sounds too amazing to be real, doesn’t it?

When taking a look at yachting from the outside, it’s difficult to see beyond the glitz and glamour that is often synonymous with this demanding industry. But we hope we have given you an insight into the job and answered the question “How much does a chief stew make on a yacht?”

There will be days when you’re sailing, the weather is bad, and you’re stuck cleaning indoors. There will be days where you feel overwhelmed with joy that you have just spent the day on an unspoiled beach enjoying a beautiful sunset!

Seize the day, ahoy! Contact us for an opportunity to sail away, enjoy and discover all in a day’s work!

How much should you be earning?

On the Key

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