Crew for a luxury yacht

Many an owner of a luxury motor yacht will tell you their captain and crew are indispensable. There are yachts that are just too big and too complex to be operated without a captain and crew. But even when a crew is not technically required, the right crew can make your yacht ownership experience so much more pleasurable.

To decide how big of a crew you want, or need, you need to have a good understanding of what each yacht crew member does. Here is a breakdown.

The Captain – The captain’s role can vary a bit depending on the size and complexity of your yacht. But at the very least your captain will be responsible for:

  • Driving and/or navigating the yacht
  • Managing all of the other crew members and service technicians
  • Oversight of all vessel upgrades, refits and repairs
  • Making sure all of your yacht’s documentation and legal paperwork are in order
  • Stocking and provisioning the vessel before each voyage

A yacht captain

If you have a motor yacht of appreciable size, and do not have her signed up with a yacht management company, your captain may also take care of the “business side” of your yacht handling things like accounting and payroll.

The Mate – The mate or “first mate,” as you see in the movies, is the captain’s “right hand man.” He or she will:

  • Handle detailing, cleaning and more “cosmetic maintenance”
  • Assist the captain with navigation
  • Assist the captain with leaving or entering the dock
  • Assist with stocking and provisioning
  • Help to make sure the yacht is well prepared before embarking on a trip
  • Supervise 2nd and 3rd mates, should they be part of your crew
  • Assist the rest of the crew in the day to day operation of the yacht

The Mate and Crew

On larger motor yachts, of 100ft or more, the mate will also be responsible for the operation and upkeep of your tender and any water toys you may have on board

The Engineer – Only the largest of motor yachts, in the 150ft or more range, will require a full-time, or on-board engineer. The engineer is primarily responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of all of the yacht’s critical systems, from the engines, to the hydraulics, to the electrical system. In addition, the engineer, or the “chief engineer” on even larger vessels will:

  • Be responsible for all regular maintenance and upkeep of all the yacht’s mechanical operations
  • Oversee and supervise all mechanical repairs, refits, upgrades and rebuilds
  • Make sure the apropos spare parts and tools are on board to ensure the safe operation of your yacht
  • Supervise techs and other engineering staff as necessary


Motor Yacht Chief Engineer

Stewards – Stewards are the hospitality or “service staff” on board the yacht. Depending on the size of your yacht you may have one or several stewards. The stewards are primarily responsible for:

  • Managing on board food and beverage service
  • Serving as an onboard “party planner”
  • All interior housekeeping work
  • Maintaining inventory of necessary supplies
  • Bartending
  • Being the liaison between guests and the chef, if the vessel has one
  • Aiding the mate in preparation for going to sea
  • Seeing to all of the general needs of the owner and guests

Yacht Crew Stewards

A Chef – depending on the size of your yacht and of your crew, you may or may not have a chef, or you may hire a chef on an as needed basis for special parties, events, etc. The chef is responsible for stocking the kitchen, and planning and preparing all onboard meals.

On Demand Yachting and Your Yacht Crew

Let’s say you are considering buying a yacht of a certain size, and are still not sure if what crew members you may or may not need. A great way to literally “test the waters” is to book a charter yacht of similar size. A chartered yacht will have a captain and crew. This way you can get a much clearer picture of the crew’s responsibilities, and a good idea of what the crew does for you and your guests.

Once you decide that you do need a captain or crew, where do you find the one that is right for your motor yacht?

Did you know that our On Demand Yachting solution has been designed to remove all of the hassles of yacht ownership, including finding and hiring the right crew for your needs and the needs of your vessel?

We will help you to define your needs, and then do all of the work for you, matching you with crew personnel that are the best fit. And, if you do not want or need a full-time crew, with our stress-free crew management solution, you only pay for crew when you need it.



Operating a motor yacht can be costly. Putting your boat in Charter can earn income, and defray some of the costs of ownership. On Demand Yachting from FYM can show you how. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.