Superyacht Stewardess

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion.

I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

Kurt Vonnegut

We've talked about the fun aspects of working on a Superyacht, so lets just for a minute look at what the work actually is. As a Superyacht stewardesses your job description is basically domestic help.

Yes, I know many people do not like the idea of being called domestic help, especially those who have good educations; however, cleaning, serving, and taking care of someone's personal effects is in essence domestic work.

The History of Domestic Service

The history of domestic service.

You can find traces of domestic workers way back in history, however from the point of this article, we will focus on the period from the mid 1900's where the business of household domestic staff was booming in both Europe and in North America.

The conditions faced by domestic workers have varied over the years and from household to household. Traditionally, people who took on the work as a domestic worker came from poorer socioeconomic situations, and depending on the individual's skill set would evolve into a hierarchical system.

Individuals would get paid for the services that they performed, however with no real legal protection many were taken advantage of. The only real advantage of becoming a domestic worker was on the provision of food, clothing, accommodation and a modest wage.

Service was based on an apprenticeship system with room to advance over time through the ranks. Domestic servants were divided into upper and lower classes.

The upper servants carried out duties such as:

  • Butler
  • Footman
  • Governess
  • Skilled cook
  • Head housekeeper
  • Lady's maid
  • Horse trainer
  • Chauffeur
  • Butler
  • Librarian
  • Grounds keeper
  • Nanny
  • Secretary
  • Masseur
  • Au pair
  • Valet

The lower servants carried out the following duties:

  • Kitchen maid
  • Scullery maid
  • Lackey
  • Handyman
  • Laundress
  • Nursemaid
  • Wet-nurse
  • Pool boy
  • Stable boy
  • House maid
  • Knave
  • Boot boy
  • Dog walker

The history of domestic service

Historically, most household servants lived within the house, in an allocated area usually called the staff quarter. The accommodation was often substandard accommodation. I.e. The kitchen, the basement or in the attic. They wore simple yet presentable clothing and it was not uncommon for workers, work between 16-18 hours a day.

So how does the super yacht industry compare to the above historical overview?

Well, many aspects of historical service still may be applied to the superyacht industry, however the notable difference lies within the people involved; both the owners of the yachts, and the staff who crew the yachts.

Whilst a limited amount of research has been done on this topic, I will rely on my own experience and personal thoughts hypothesize the differences.

Owning a super yacht requires a great amount of wealth, a super yacht is very visible, very public. A super yacht is international a thing of beauty to be shown off the rest of the world. Therefore, many owners of super yachts want the beautiful people to match their beautiful yacht.

In addition to the 'ego side' of owning a super yacht and Unlike the domestic work force who have very little if any legal right at all to rely on; the super yacht industry is protected by strict rules and regulations under international maritime law and as such has industry standards to adhere to. Such as salary standards, and work regulations, and accommodation standards.

The staff who crew these amazing vessels are very different from traditional domestic workers. In general, they come from wealthy Western countries and are highly educated.

They generally flock to the docks of the Mediterranean sea and USA, Florida, in search of travel, sunshine and good salaries. In addition to this the super yacht industry has incredible high standards and as such offer many training programs, which ensure that the crew on board are highly skilled, trained, efficient workers.

Furthermore, I believe this to be the main difference between historical domestic workers and super yacht crew;. Professional yacht crew makes a conscious choice to work in domestic service. They are not forced to work in service if they chose not to.

This makes a huge difference in their self esteem, personal development and career advancement, resulting in high standards and excellence in service.


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Kylie O'Brien
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Kylie O'Brien

Author, Writer & Founder at The Stewardess Bible
Kylie is an Ex - Superyacht Chief Stewardess, and Hotel Manager from Sydney, Australia. Passionate about sharing information, you can find her typing up a storm in her small home office, or breathing in the cool wind off the North Sea, in Zeeland, Netherlands.
Kylie O'Brien
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