Yachtie Guide: charter yacht jobs vs. private yacht jobs

What’s The Difference? We break down how their salaries, travel opportunities, stability and busyness compare.

When you’re first getting your foot into the yacht industry it can seem like there’s a whole new language to learn. A common question people might ask you is whether you are applying for charter yacht jobs or private yacht jobs – to which you might reply, I’ll take any yacht jobs I can get! But different people are suited to different ways of working, and trust us when we say that charter and private are very different working experiences. So, to ensure you find that dream job, we’ve explained the two sectors below.

What is the difference?

Broadly speaking, there are two types of roles available for superyacht crewcharter yacht jobs and private yacht jobs. The term ‘charter yacht’ means that the boat is rented out to holidaymakers and corporate trips part of the time, rather than being used by the Owner. Conversely, a ‘private yacht’ is only used by the Owner and their guests, meaning you are more likely to be serving the same faces. The contrast between these two types of yachts explains why working on them is so different.

Charter yacht jobs vs. private yacht jobs

  • Salary and tips

    This is likely high on your list of considerations – find our guides to average yacht deckhand and yacht stewardess salaries here. How much you will get paid varies greatly based on experience, skills and yacht size, but typically charter salaries are slightly lower than private ones, based on the idea that the crew will more than make this up in tips. Those working on a private yacht rarely receive tips, but may get a bonus at the end of the year. 

    Tips usually amount to 10-20% of the total charter cost, which is then split between the yacht crew by the Captain. They can be very lucrative, but it is worth remembering that if the boat breaks or charters cancel, you will miss out on those tips and will be stuck with that lower salary. 

  • Travel opportunities

    Charter yachts are typically always on the move, dominating the most popular cruising routes – these include the Caribbean, Mediterranean, New England and Florida. On the other hand, private yachts could spend weeks waiting in dock for the return of their Owner, but will generally go to a wider variety of places, including those that are more off-the-beaten-track.

    Those working on a charter yacht will enjoy seeing so much of the beautiful, classic yachting destinations, but may eventually get bored of repeating the same routes. On the other hand, private yacht jobs may mean periods with no travel at all, but have the potential to take you to the farthest, most exotic corners of the earth. 

“Cotton Crews app has been the best app for finding yacht work. The work Cotton Crews does is amazing and it was the perfect place to go for crew placement.”

  • Stability

    Working on a private yacht offers a lot of stability – crew are more likely to stay on the same boat for a while, and there are often benefits such as longer vacations and health insurance. You also really get to know your Owner and their circle, which creates more of an amicable, family-feel onboard. Alternatively, charter yacht jobs can have a higher turnover and you never know who you could walk on the boat next. For some people, this may make the job more exciting.

  • Busyness

    Both charter and private yacht jobs can be very busy, but charter is typically busier, with more cruising activity per season. The time with guests onboard is also likely to be more intense on a charter vessel, with each charterer wanting to make the absolute most of the yacht during a week’s trip. In contrast, a private yacht Owner has as much time as they want with their boat, so may take a more relaxed approach to their time on the water. Some may find that time goes faster when they are busy and so prefer the fast-paced charter lifestyle, whereas others may find the constant hustle stressful, enjoying the occasional lull on private yachts.

More Questions?

Working on a yacht – whether it is charter or private – is a very exciting and rewarding career for anyone who loves pleasing people. We hope this guide has helped you decide whether you want to work on a private or charter yacht; please get in touch if you would like more information on how to work on a yacht, or to find out more about our yacht crew jobs.

Check out our yacht crew roles on our free Cotton Crew Jobs app. Download the app here: