• The Yacht Crew Coach

DAYWORK 101:For Yachts Hiring Dayworkers


The Yacht Crew Coach answers some questions to help yachts hiring dayworkers


Q: When do yachts need dayworkers?

Yachts mostly hire dayworkers to help turn the boat around during a busy charter season, during a shipyard period because hiring dayworkers is a lot less expensive than the labour supplied by the shipyard, to put the boat back together after a shipyard period or during a large event. If crew go on leave and the boat is between seasons they also might hire dayworkers to fill in for crew on leave instead of hiring a temp.


Q: How do you justify to your boss or management company that the yacht needs to hire dayworkers and the crew are not just being lazy?

This is an issue I have dealt with on many occasions. Yachts are starting to budget for dayworkers and a good captain who has a sound relationship with management and the owner will advocate for the hiring of dayworkers when the crew have been working extremely long hours.


Burnout is very real in the yachting industry and sometimes the expense of hiring a few dayworkers needs to be considered against the overall happiness and stress of the crew. The cost of replacing a crew member is not just the crew agency fee, flights, and a monetary value but ALSO a time and knowledge value.


The crew who remain have to work harder to train up a new person and the knowledge the departing crew member takes with them regarding the operations on board and guest preferences is priceless. This is the opportunity cost of not hiring dayworkers that most captains and owners do not consider when just looking at a straight budget comparison.


Crew do get paid fairly decently but when you calculate their salary divided by the number of hours they work every month you will find that some crew barely make above minimum wage which is something


If a junior crew member is earning 2,800 EUR a month and working 13 hours a day for 30 days in a row that is 2,800/(13*30) = 7.12 EUR an hour. Not very much when you take that into consideration.


Happy crew mean happier guests and that is the ultimate goal.

Q: What is the biggest challenge with hiring dayworkers?

Their lack of expertise. To get around this as an HOD you need to have detailed work lists that can be checked off, and assign the dayworker to work with an experienced crew member or give them very basic tasks (unless the dayworker is an experienced crew member helping you out).


For any task (whether it is assigned to a dayworker or a crew member) ALWAYS give a time frame to do something in and explain the detail that is required to complete it (for example, quick wipe versus getting out the cotton buds and toothpicks). It is not realistic to expect someone with limited experience to complete work to the standard that is needed on board and a recipe for failure for everyone. 

Q: What is the value of dayworking on a resume?

If the person is completely new to the industry, having daywork on their CV shows that they were proactive in trying to find a job and upskilling themselves and that will hopefully translate to them being proactive on board - always a WIN. They have also had a  basic introduction into life on board and the etiquette required. Captains and HODs want to hire people who will make their lives easier and who will also go the extra mile to make sure guests have the best possible time on board. Keep these two things in mind when you are doing anything on board,  applying for jobs and interviewing. 


Q: Should I give dayworkers a reference?

Of course! Written references are not expected, however, the Head of Department should at the very least provide them with a phone number and email address so that crew agents and potential employers can verify their work. This is crucial to new crew looking for jobs and remember that you hold a very big part of their life in your hands. Finding a job is a make or break experience and it is soul-destroying for someone who has not been able to secure work and has to return home having wasted thousands on courses and flights.

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