What is a Captain looking for in crew?

Abi Smith  |  13th June 2019

On a yacht or superyacht, every crew member is under the ultimate command of the Captain. Captains need the right staff, with the right attributes, to ensure a happy ship. So what exactly is a captain looking for when hiring his/her crew?

Yacht Captains will be looking to recruit candidates with that ‘something extra’. This is something that isn’t necessarily obvious from a CV but can be determined from a face-to-face meeting – things such as ambition, work ethic, attitude and even personal hygiene!

The Captain will be highly skilled at dealing with people (both crew and the owner/guests) and s/he will ideally be looking for experienced crew who can contribute to the smooth running of the yacht.

Yacht Crew

Here are just some of the attributes they will be looking for:


While qualifications are extremely important in the yachting industry, so too is experience. The best candidates may not have spent the most time in the classroom but will be able to demonstrate that they have put the time in dock walking and will have valuable experience from it.

Captains love to see a CV which features hospitality experience – especially high-end hospitality (such as working in Michelin starred restaurants, private estates or luxury hotels) - as this can be comparable to working in yachting. Working behind the bar in your local pub is still hospitality experience of course but will not be held in quite as high regard.


While having the right skill set is incredibly important, the Captain will also consider what your attitude is like and your ability to get on with the job. See the list of characteristics that are required to work on a yacht.

Getting on with others – team player

Of utmost importance, and something that will most definitely be taken into consideration, is the ability to fit in with the existing crew members. Crew all live and work together in a very small space, so they need to be able to get along and have good communication skills. You must be a team player and be able to work in harmony with other colleagues, as well as being able to work well independently.

Being realistic

The glamourous and expensive lifestyle portrayed across social media is definitely NOT the reality, but it does tend to attract people who are interested in ‘living the high life’. In reality crew members work incredibly hard and it can be really tough at times, working long hours and making sure the guests are always happy. Any days off may well be spent playing with the toys in the beautiful water or visiting some amazing places around the world, but at times the work can be difficult and the hours long. Captains will be looking for someone who is there to work, not to make the most of the lifestyle.


Make sure that you have a genuine interest in the yacht that you are looking to join and that you have done some research which you can demonstrate during an interview. Many captains will ask ‘what do you know about us?’ – if the answer is nothing then it shows that you haven’t prepared for the interview or done your research.

Doing a little bit of research will really help you and will give you some information on whether you would like to work on board. It is the same as researching a company that you would like to work for before you go for an interview.

Show what you can offer and be prepared

Demonstrate to the captain what you personally can do for the boat and your attributes. Show what skills you will be bringing, what your attitude is, and how hard you are prepared to work.

As with any interview, rehearse the questions and answers you think may come up. Present yourself well and be early or on time for your appointment – with all your documents in hand with copies where necessary.

15 key characteristics to sum up what captains will be looking for in their crew:

  • Attention to detail
  • Team player
  • Sense of adventure
  • Pride in appearance and good personal hygiene
  • Enthusiasm and the ability to be pleasant 24/7
  • Eye contact
  • Strong work ethic
  • Grit and resilience
  • Confident but not cocky
  • Diligent and versatile
  • Well mannered
  • Good communicator
  • Self-motivated
  • Trustworthy and loyal
  • Polite and courteous