What It’s Actually Like Working As Yacht Crew on Charter Yachts

Cleaning the teak wood with a machine before the Boss Trip

Cleaning the teak wood with a machine before the Boss Trip

I’m here to tell you the truth about working on Super Yachts for the 1%. It’s not all glitz and glamour. The reason why I’m being so honest is because I don’t want people to get into the industry because they were sold a dream.  

I was in the industry for over 2 + years and I definitely did NOT experience flying in on a private jet, being served on a silver platter, and sippin’ Moet Chandon while watching the sun go down from the Jacuzzi on the sundeck. 

I have officially exited yachting to take my coaching business full time so that I can empower other women to travel solo, break into the industry and go after their dreams to live a nomadic life that’s against the grain. Although yachting provided me with tons of amazing experiences, opportunities and savings, I have been ready for a while to settle somewhere and go after my own dream of helping and serving others to live out their nomadic dream life.

This is why I want to be so honest about what it’s REALLY like working in the industry. Most of your friends and family back home will think that if you work on yachts, that you are simply on vacation all the time. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, you do get to see amazing places off the beaten path, but you do also work EXTREMELY hard in between those moments.

Working on yachts isn’t exactly what I envisioned it to be like. I mean, I wasn’t expecting to be treated like the guest onboard (the above statement was obviously a joke). It would be nice to experience being on the other side someday. I’m manifesting it, and I know it will happen! 

When I decided to get into yachting, I wasn’t quite ready for the grueling hard work and long hours that I would be putting in both on and off charter as a deckhand.

I’m not writing this to complain, but rather give people who are considering entering the industry a bit perspective and a reality check. It can be amazing, but it is also A LOT of hard work. So don’t be fooled that it’s all fun and flashy.

Yes you get the perks of traveling to off the beaten path locations, get a good monthly salary that you can save 100% of while living expenses free, medical insurance and repatriation flights, BUT there are plenty of sacrifices that come with it.

In my E-Book, “The Greenie Guide” I talk about sacrifices, the perks and 21 mistakes I made and lessons I learned, 10 things no one tells you about the industry and SO MUCH MORE. You can buy it HERE.

Cold Hard Truth:

The industry isn’t for everyone and to be honest it wasn’t for me anymore. I’m being raw and honest because it can really beat you down physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have also been wanting to settle down in one spot for quite some time now and to grow my online business. I exited yachting because I have a new path that I want to follow, and I know that I have a purpose that will allow me to serve and help others.

In my last two years in the industry, I have been challenged more times than I would have liked. I am grateful for the adversities as they have made me much more resilient today. It’s one of the reasons why I am so passionate about opening up about my experiences and empowering and guiding women (and men) who want to break into this niche industry. 

I want others to know what to expect and to be ready to handle the challenges they will face and the sacrifices that they will have to make. It can be the right industry for you and an amazing experience if you take the right steps. If you’re a woman who is thinking about breaking into the industry then know I am here for you to give you all the guidance and empowerment that you will need. I WISH I had someone to do this for me when I first started. I made tons of mistakes and had to learn a lot all on my own. Having a coach would have been a blessing.

You can apply to book a free call with me HERE if you would like to join my group program. If you’re a man who wants to work 1:1, then you can apply and book a free call HERE.

I thought I would share with you guys a rundown of what a week on a boss trip/charter looks like from my journal entry…

Day 1 – Pick Up Day

It’s Sunday morning and we started our workday at 8 am in Fort Lauderdale. We’ve just worked for two weeks straight preparing for the boss trip without weekends off. The days have been long and hard (8am-6pm) most days, detailing everything to get it guest-ready.

The Boss is scheduled to come on board with his wife and 4 guests at 8 pm tonight. We have 12 hours to get the boat 100% ready. It’s going to be a long day.

We have been given an hour break before the boss would come on, and then I got told I would be on the late shift. This means I must go to bed when the guests go to bed. Since it has been rainy and stormy out, we plan to stay on the dock for the night which means there will be no anchor watch.

After the guests finished their dinner & drinks and went off to bed, it was already midnight. 

As a deckhand on lates, I had to cover all the decks (sofas, chairs) and do a general tidy up by taking the garbage out and making sure the decks were clean before I signed off duty. I then helped the stewardess inside who was on lates since I didn’t have much to do on deck that first night.

Then, I took 9 hours of rest and started my shift the next morning at 10 am. 

Day 2 – 24 hours of Mayhem 

I felt absolutely defeated these last couple of days. I’ve been on this boat for a month now, and I am still adjusting to everything on board. It takes time when you first join to get to know the crew, gel with your team, learn everything on the boat, and find a rhythm. 

Since I had been told I would be on lates for this trip, this means I will be doing anchor watch once we finally leave the dock. Of course, being the new person plus being the lowest on the hierarchical totem pole gets you the graveyard shift. There are perks to it though – It is quite peaceful because you work alone and have no one bugs you. I even managed to do a quick little bodyweight CrossFit workout on the swim platform, then jumped in for a swim and meditated while looking at the stars (the Chief Officer did actually encourage me to do so if I felt like I needed a quick break).

24 hours ago I was finally asleep, after going to bed at almost 1 am after our first 16 hour day of work with the Boss on. I woke up at 9:00 am to start my shift at quarter to 10. The day turned into a day of mayhem. From constantly covering and uncovering, to drying the decks from the on and off rain in Florida, to detailing the tender, to going on a quick provision to get the chef some Spaghetti Squash, I felt like I had been running around like a headless chicken all day. 

We prepped to take off the lines and fenders and put the passerelle away to go to anchor twice! The first time was literally a practice run, because a huge squall of rain came in and we had to abort the mission to leave the dock. Our poor guests have been so unlucky with the Florida rainy/hurricane season weather that we haven’t even been able to go out to sea. We finally got out at about 4 pm and then uncovered everything and had the beach club set up for the guests to enjoy a moment of sun peaking through the clouds. 

Normally I would’ve had a break by 3 pm, but since we had all this back and forth going on, none of us had a chance to even rest. I barely had time to even break for lunch – I stuffed it down in 10 minutes (that was literally my only break since 10am. Finally, the officer told me I could go on a 4.5-hour break to be back on Deck at 11 pm for Anchor watch until 6 am the next day. I knew it would be a long grueling night ahead with only a short nap to get me through the night shift. 

Now that we were off the dock, my shift would be switching to 3 pm-6 am (with anchor watch every night). I’m a morning person, so staying up all night isn’t necessarily my cup of tea. Surprisingly this shift has been flying by, and I think that the 2.5-hour nap really saved me. 

What is Anchor Watch? 

While on Anchor watch, you must keep busy by doing logs every hour to make sure the anchor isn’t dragging, monitoring that the wind doesn’t go over 30 knots, and that the depth doesn’t fall below 2m (for obvious reasons). I kept myself awake by doing rounds of the engine room and bridge every 30 minutes to 1 hour, while doing little jobs in between such as detailing the wash locker, organizing things and rinsing the Main Deck of salt. 

I don’t do any of these cleaning jobs without listening to inspirational and motivational podcasts, audiobooks or a good playlist on Spotify. The work you have to do in yachting can be completely mind-numbing most of the time, therefore it’s extremely important to keep your mind busy and active. I don’t necessarily get joy from the menial tasks such as polishing stainless, blading windows, or washing the decks (I don’t really think anyone does for that matter). The fun part of the job is being involved with the guests while doing watersports with them, driving the tenders, and of course, getting involved with anchoring and lines. 

Day 3: 

I knocked off at 6 am and went straight to bed. My body clock didn’t really agree with me just yet, as I ended up sleeping for only 3.5 hours and waking up at 10:30 am that same morning. Thanks to my friend who recommended I watch Emily in Paris on Netflix, I had a nice little binge sesh before the start of my 3 pm shift. 

Thanks to that show, I now want to move to Europe and have my own Eat, Pray Love adventure.

As soon as I got on deck, I did a round of all the decks and greeted the guests on the Bridge Deck Aft, where they were wrapping up lunch. 

I checked in with the Chief Officer, who informed me we would be getting the tender ready to go out for a little adventure. Apparently, the guests tried to go diving that morning, but the swell and unclear waters didn’t make it easy for a diving adventure. 

We set up the tender by stocking it with drinks and ice, rolling a bunch of white towels, getting snorkeling gear on board, getting the seabobs onboard, and even lowering down the jet skis with the crane from the bow to have two guests jump on and follow behind the tender.

The tender ride to one of the islands off of Key West was about 45 minutes with the swell. By halfway there, the guests got tired of smashing through the waves on the jet skis, which meant me and the bosun had to swap out with them.

Once we got to the island, we anchored on a private little beach and got all the toys out for the guests to enjoy. It felt like I was back in Fiji on a deserted island. It was picture perfect and serene. Taking in the precious moments.

After hanging with the guests for a couple of hours and making sure they were enjoying themselves, we hopped on the jet skis again and headed back. By the time we got back to the yacht, a beautiful sunset was setting and the sky was bright red and orange. After the bumpy jet ski ride, I was told to go down for my 3-hour break, and come back ready for anchor watch.

The moments I get to be on the water as a deckhand is a time I truly appreciate this job. I love to be out in the water, even if I have to get sprayed by saltwater and get hit by the wind in my face while riding the jet ski back to the yacht in 2-meter swells. 

When I got back for anchor watch, I had some nights jobs to do which included:

  • Fueling, flushing & rinsing the jet skis

  • Rinsing the main deck Aft & blading the windows with Vinegar + H20

  • Rinsing the tender and drying it with a chamois

  • Restocking drinks and ice on the tender 

  • General tidy and organization of wash lockers + topping up cleaning spray bottles

  • Wiping down and cleaning around the bridge deck table

  • Doing walkthroughs the bridge and engine room for checks every 30 minutes and doing a log every hour

I took a half-hour break right before the end of my shift to do my little routine (with my superior’s permission). Before I knew it, it was 6 am and the bosun came to relieve me from my night duty.

I slept like a rock in my tiny cabin bunk, and woke up at 2 pm the next day…

Day 4: 

When I awoke from my deep sleep to the relaxing sound of my alarm in my dark cabin, I was finally rested and ready for my day. 

Starting your shift in the middle of the day can be tough because you come out on deck slightly disoriented because half the day is over for the guests by this point.

I start by doing my rounds of the decks and checking in with my superiors to see what the plan for the rest of the day will be. 

The plan was to go for a cruise into town and drop the guests off so they could go explore Key West. 

We prepped the tender and then helped the guests onboard. I got the last line off the bow and waved goodbye to them. While the Captain and Officer took the guests ashore, I went to do some general cleaning of all the decks and make sure everything was in order. Normally when I start my shift, the bosun swaps with me and goes on his break. 

And then I went down for my break and repeated my anchor watch duties all over again. By this point, I actually started to enjoy my little routine. I took a moment to look at the stars and appreciate being anchored out on a multi-million dollar superyacht in the ocean off the Florida Keys. Life is pretty neat.

The night flew by and I did my little workout, swim, and meditation routine and then went to bed at 6 am.

Day 5:

Things were starting to swing into routine and rhythm for me. I was starting to gel with the team, the guests, and my nocturnal sleep schedule. It was another sunny day where we began to finally uncover everything and have the guests sit on the decks and enjoy the sunshine.

The boss wanted to go sailing, so we got the Picos ready for him as it was blowing 15 knots of wind. I was dreaming of kitesurfing at this moment, but I was lucky enough to test out one of the Picos and go sailing for the first time ever. I ended up picking it up pretty quickly, and even managed to tack and turn, only falling over once!

These are the perks of being a deckhand. In the last two days, I got to jet ski and sail, which I never got to do as a stewardess on my last boat.

Those 15 minutes of playing around on the dinghy were over before I knew it as I had to get back to the swim platform to help with putting away the toys. Then I went down for my 3-hour break and came back for my night shift dressed in blacks.

Anchor watch duties took over again, and I took a moment to appreciate the night sky. 

Workout, swim & mediate. I breathed in all the good and exhaled all the bad. I’ve realized that I’ve come a long way with my anxiety and stress in life, and especially in this industry. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned to finally let go of my anger and frustrations and maybe I was able to finally be at peace because I had a team that was finally positive and supportive. All in all, I was feeling pretty good. 

6 am rolled around and I passed the torch to the bosun.

Day 6:

Last FULL day!

This was the final stretch. The guests had a pretty chill day and I hopped in the tender this time to take the guests ashore to go into Key West.

When I got back, I was doing a general clean up and then got sent for my break again. When I came back up dressed in blacks, I was on standby wait for the guests to come back from their night out in town. 

While they were gone I flushed the jet skis and made sure the sundeck was uncovered and the jacuzzi was hot and ready in case they wanted to use it. 

When they came back, they were happy and ready for bed. It was the very last anchor watch for me. I was excited to have my normal sleep schedule back, but I would also miss the peace in the middle of the night.

6 am came around real quick, and I went to get my last few hours of sleep before being up to drop the guests off midday.


After only having 4 hours of sleep, I woke up and got ready to say bye to the guests and prepare to stow the boat to go underway for Fort Lauderdale which would take over 12 hours.

We started from the top deck, stowing everything away. We made sure everything was covered and strapped together, that any chairs were tied around the table with rope so nothing would slide, and all the fenders were taken into the garage. We put the tow on the tender and let it drift behind the yacht on a short line. We got all the inflatables into the garage and stowed away any last bits. 

Lastly, I attached the straps to the Picos so that the crane could lift them up to the sundeck. The Engineer must have not clipped the tag line onto the Pico, as it started to drift away. Immediately, I jumped in and swam after it, kicking hard against the strong surge and current. It was actually great to jump in, as the ocean water woke me up. 

Once everything was safe and secure, the engines went on & we were underway.

I head down to my cabin for a hot shower and got into my sweatpants and hoodie straight away.

I sat in the main saloon on the cushions and began writing some of this blog. As I write this, I am watching the sun go down over the horizon, while we make our way back to our home port in Lauderdale. 

It’s almost 7 pm, and I’ll be going to bed soon. I have to be up at 4 am for watch while we are underway. Our ETA is 5 am tomorrow. 

I woke up at 11 pm wide-eyed and awake. I realize that my body is confused, and my sleep app asks me if I’m jet-lagged. I pop a melatonin and head back to bed for another 5 hours before my watch.

Day 8:

I wake up at 3:30 am, make my matcha green tea latte, a PB & J sandwich on an English muffin and head up to the bridge. It’s 4 am and the Captain asks me to wake the engineer up in 15 min to get ready to drop the anchor at 4:30 am. I standby on the main deck aft, awaiting for the captain’s instruction to head down to the swim platform when it’s safe to make sure the tow lines for the tender don’t slack under the yacht. 

Once we anchor, I’m on watch until 7 am, when the rest of the crew wakes up and we get ready to prep lines and fenders to head into a slip on the dock. The weather is miserable – it’s raining and the skies are grey.

Once everything is prepped, we pull the tender in on the tow line and the bosun jumps in. We heave the anchor and make the route to the dock. 

We have to go to a new slip since it’s the weekend of the boat show, and all the good spots are taken. We’re stuck docking in the ghetto shipyard area of Dania Beach. It’s a floating dock, and we have to attach lines to a bunch of pylons. It takes us almost an hour to figure out the docking. Once we are happy with the lines and fenders, we tie up the tender alongside our starboard side. We then work as a team to get the shore power cable out and connected so we can switch off our generator power, we then open up the Laz and put the passerelle up. 

It’s 10:30 am by this point, and it’s time to wrap up on deck after a long month of prepping for the boss trip and finishing a week trip in the Keys.

I’m on watch, unfortunately, which means I get to chill and watch some movies while finishing this blog post.

That’s an idea for you guys of what a charter schedule looks like.

Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this and let me know what else you would like to know about yachting below.

Love & Light,




November 4, 2020

  1. Zack Trask says:

    Another wanna be yachtie. Your selfish tone indicates your not cut out to be a true yachtie. Entitled drivel, swimming at night, alone!! Your comments concerning the “ mind numbing “ aspects of being a deckie, a derogatory comment about the “ ghetto shipyard” in Dania Beach, shows your faux sense of unity with your fellow yachtie. Please, confirm youve removed your fake persona from being part of a true yachting crew. Worst blog ever.

    • Karina Greco says:

      Thank you for your feedback. I apologize that my honest tone and style of writing offended you and that you had to take time out of your day to spread so much hate. I am flattered that you read my entire blog until the end, but if you paid attention you would have seen that yes indeed I have exited the industry to start my own business. Have an amazing day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *