Lighthouse careers

Yacht captain salary guide

Key takeaways

How much does a yacht captain Earn?

Based on recent studies the average yacht captain salary is 8200€ per month.

Currently the average yacht captains salary is 101,056€ as of 04 August 2022.

Salary ranges may vary greatly depending on many important factors such as education, certificate, additional skills and the number of years spent in a position.

  • From 20 to 30m the average yacht captain salary is 5000€ per month
  • From 30m to 40m the average yacht captain salary is 7000€ per month
  • From 40m to 50m the average yacht captain salary is 9000€ per month
  • From 50m to 60m  the average  yacht captain salary is 11000€ per month
  • From 50m to 60m the average yacht captain salary is 11000€ per month
  • From 60m to 70m the average yacht captain salary is 13000€ per month
  • From 70m to 80m the average yacht captain salary is 15000€ per month
  • From 70m to 80m the average yacht captain salary is 15000€ per month
  • From 80m+ the average yacht captain salary is 17000€ per month

A quick yacht captain salary guide


Captains and other yacht crew members get the privilege of traveling to amazing destinations around the world with different guest groups. They eat world-class meals and enjoy other glamorous perks.Above all, they get paid handsomely for their efforts.

It is very common for a captain to receive six figure annual salaries with many bonuses and other incentives. These yacht captains are some of the highest-paid people on earth often earning more than airline pilots! As you can imagine, working as a captain might be one of the most rewarding jobs you can ever hold.

However, if you’re considering a life at sea as captain, you should first know what the salary range might be for someone in your position. We have devised this quick article to give you an idea of how much a yacht captain gets paid and where they typically work.


Super yacht captain is said to be one of the best jobs in the world.


The yacht captain shall be responsible in chief for safety and navigation on a yacht. Responsibilities include management of all members of the team and maintaining the satisfaction of the owner and their guests. It can be stressful work but it is rewarding with close owners relationships and high financial compensation.


What is a average yacht captain salary range?


Currently the average yacht captains salary is 101,056€ as of 27 September 2021. Salary ranges may vary greatly depending on many important factors such as education, certificate, additional skills and the number of years spent in a position.

But there is a lot of hard work and training involved to achieve this high-level career. To become a yacht captain you must have extensive training and experience. You will receive formal training which will take years of both classroom time at certified schools as well as on-the-job-training.

You can expect to learn about navigation, safety procedures, engineering, deck operations, boat handling, maintenance and more. It is essential that you understand marine laws and environmental conservation rules.

Some captains also choose to take additional classes or certifications such as: RYA Yachtmaster Offshore, First Aid and CPR, the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS), Radar Operator and so on .


Do yacht captain work full time or rotation?


This also depends on the size of the yacht and the nature to the operation. In general, Yachts over 60m will have rotational heads of departments.


How Much Does a Yacht Captain Make?


There is no straight forward answer to this question.

While the life of a yacht captain may appear glamorous, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that makes it more demanding. While luxury and leisure are a part of the job, it is rightfully earned.

Yacht captains carry vast responsibility on their shoulders at all times. The captain acts as the president or CEO of the vessel—while there are other crew onboard all working towards the goal of a safe ship, any issues fall back on the person in charge.

The base salary for a yacht captain job can range from €4,000 and €6,000 per month—to more than €18,000—depending on the size of the yacht. But, additional compensation is earned in the form of tips and other benefits.


Yacht Captain Salary Range Breakdown


Salary guidelines for yacht captains tend to fall into the following ranges. They are organized by vessel length, as the complexity of the position increases with yacht length.

For example, a Junior Captain would likely be found handling a ship 20 meters to 30 meters in length. A Captain might be manning a ship 30 meters to 50 meters feet in length. Finally, a Senior Master would be found in charge of vessels 50 meters to 60 meters and greater.

Typical salary ranges per charter for these sizes are detailed below.

Furthermore, these figures vary within the range depending on owner and guest use, qualifications for the position, and the vessel’s itinerary.


Licensing to be a yacht captain


Licensing is crucial to becoming a captain, but simply studying and taking certifications alone is not enough, you also need a considerable of sea time and nautical miles.

Each step of the licensing classifications carries an experience mandate to ensure individuals are ready for the responsibility of the position.

As previously mentioned, one of the most influential factors in determining a yacht captain salary is the license held and the size of the yacht.

Throughout this program, captains learn topics including:

  • Navigational rules
  • Navigation aids
  • Chart plotting
  • Electronic navigation
  • Characteristics of weather systems
  • Lifesaving equipment and safety

Typical yacht captain salary and Compensation

Base salary is important, of course. But it is not the only area that goes into yacht captain salaries on luxury yachts.



In addition to their salary, a chunk of the money for both a captain and other crew member compensation comes from tips.

In particular, captains typically earn 10 to 15 per cent of the charter price in tips.



As with other career paths, there are various benefits in addition to yacht captain salaries and tips. These benefits include:

  • Bonuses
  • Health insurance
  • Flight expenses
  • Paid vacation time
  • Training and certification cost reimbursement
  • Uniforms

Plus, while on the vessel, food and supplies are typically included as well on top of the yacht captain salary.


The Responsibilities of a Yacht Captain


While it’s true yacht captains can earn six-figure salaries, this comes with a great deal of responsibility.

They are ultimately responsible for all matters of the vessel, personnel, guest well-being safety and pretty everything related to the yacht operations . This includes:

  • Following yacht owner instructions
  • Scheduling and rotating ports each month depending on guests
  • Crew Hiring, supervision, and dismissal
  • Ensuring legal and regulatory compliance
  • All aspects of navigation—including plotting a safe course, departing, following said course, and docking
  • Managing vessel maintenance
  • Managing the ship’s finances
  • Securing goods and services for the vessel

To be successful in this career path, captains must be quick on their feet. They must maintain a problem-solving mindset at all times, to ensure the safety of the vessel and everyone on board.

But at the same time, these individuals must be extremely personable. Whether it be interacting with the owner, guests, or crew, the captain’s communication and management skills must be top-notch. This way, everyone is on the same page about the given expectations. They must work well with the management company.

As a captain, you are also in charge of crewing the vessel. This means you are responsible for hiring, training, and developing the skills of your fellow co-workers.

While this may not be the main responsibility of the captain, it is important to work together with others on board to ensure everyone’s goals are aligned.

With this in mind, it’s important to thoroughly vet every individual who works on your ship. Using a managed hiring agency to vet these individuals ahead of time is one of the most effective ways to screen potential hires.

Be sure to carefully review these agencies, as well. With so much on the line, it’s critical that they remain professional yet tailor their services to your needs. A crew placement agencies should come well-reviewed to ensure the success of the staffing process. Lighthouse careers often has exiting vacancies for yacht captain’s job.


Yacht Captain Resources


We have covered the typical yacht captain salary question and how much money can be made for such positions.

For more information on positions available in Europe and other areas, or for managed staff recruitment services, contact us today.

If you want to find out more about yacht crew salaries, feel free to use this quick salary calculator