The Importance of Deckhands in the Maritime Industry

Jun 20, 2023

When it comes to life on the ocean wave, a superyacht or mega yacht is arguably the most luxurious of vessels on the water. Owned by the ultra-wealthy and famous, these floating gin palaces are professionally crewed motor or sailing yachts, ranging from 40 metres (130 ft) to more than 180 metres (590 ft) in length. They are often available for charter with a staff of superyacht crew that cater to the guest’s high standard of comfort and lifestyle. They may be designed to emphasise comfort, speed, expedition capability or water sports.

In 2022, there was an estimated 9,219 super yacht or mega yachts afloat in the waters worldwide. There is a high call for the recruitment of specialist super yacht crew and staff members in the maritime sector. Positions from Captain to Deckhand are always in high demand and each role is as equally vital as the clientele expects the best.

The Role of a Deckhand

Arguably, apart from the captain, one of the most important roles on a ship is a Deckhand. A Deckhand is effectively in charge of looking after the exterior of the boat. Their responsibilities include loading and unloading cargo or luggage, relaying important information to the crew, maintenance of the exterior, and ship equipment, assisting with watchkeeping duties, and ensuring the general upkeep of the vessel.

The role is physically demanding and requires hard work and determination. The duties of a Deckhand change depending on the schedule and function of a vessel and are favoured by university graduates as they can earn a good wage whilst travelling the world.

How much does a Deckhand earn?

When it comes to pay, this ranges greatly depending on the sector of the maritime industry, but in general many vessels offer Deckhands attractive starting salaries. What is also an advantage is that promotions are recognised internationally making it easier to move to different vessels if you want a change of scenery and not lose your current position. On average, an entry-level/graduate deckhand can earn up to £27,517 per year whereas it’s estimated that the average starting salary for university graduates (based on the salary details of jobs posted to the site during the same period via was £21,000 – £25,000.

What are the entry requirements for Deckhand positions?

If you would like to work as a Deckhand, the maritime industry requires basic training or a ‘Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping’ (STCW) in basic safety before you are allowed to come aboard. When you have attained this qualification, you can work on sea-going vessels at entry level but gaining a specific Professional Superyacht Deckhands certification is required on some ships.

How to Become a Superyacht Deckhand

Obtaining a Professional Superyacht Deckhand qualification has become easier in recent years as several maritime training providers now offer a wide range of specific courses, most being online courses, or having online learning elements in it; making it so much easier to attend.

The Maritime Training Academy is the perfect training provider to gain the relevant knowledge to acquire an entry-level deckhand job. They offer a comprehensive diploma for Professional Superyacht Deckhands that has been designed to give crew members what they need to develop their careers within the superyacht industry.

Superyachts have requirements for their crews, and the Diploma will provide the necessary background and technical information on how to undertake the role of a superyacht deckhand to make the individual an indispensable member of any yacht crew. Essential knowledge and experience from industry experts have been condensed into a 10-module course to cover all aspects of deckhand training.

Below is a list of the module subjects included in the course:

  • Introduction to the Superyacht Industry
  • Finding a Job
  • Yacht Design
  • Aluminium Vessels
  • GRP Vessels
  • Steel Vessels
  • Wooden Vessels
  • Sails and Rigs
  • Basic Engineering
  • Tenders and Toys
  • Living Abroad
  • Guest Relations

A Superyacht Industry certification short course is also available that gives an insight into the industry.

Training to become a Deckhand at the MTA

The Maritime Training Academy are experts in marine distance learning, offering online maritime courses run by experienced and qualified professionals from the industry. From the yachting industry to the restoration of historic ships and boats, the MTA can cater for all requirements.

For further information, contact the Maritime Training Academy team on 01252 739779. Alternatively, you can download a copy of the prospectus for a comprehensive breakdown of our complete course range. We look forward to welcoming you on board soon!