Rhodes graduate Katie Wilter is a graphic designer and social media enthusiast with itchy feet. Now a super yacht stewardess she is seeing the world from a porthole and blogging about it. When we spoke to Katie she was heading along the east coast of the USA from Nova Scotia back down to Florida.
What experience or qualifications do you have for this position?
You need to do a one week STCW 95 course which includes Fire Fighting, Sea Rescue and First Aid. You also need an ENG 1 Medical to state that you are fit and healthy. There are also other courses that you can do such as a Stewardess course, Power Boat 2 course but they are expensive and not essential if you have some prior service experience.
How did you find your job?
After signing up with the many yachting agencies, I applied to numerous job adverts. After a couple of interviews, I was very lucky to find the dream yacht job! When I started in France last year, I walked the docks every day for a month, had some day work and then found a seasonal position.
How much do you earn?
Yachting salaries are either paid in euros or dollars and are tax-free as you are off-shore. Another plus is that you have no living expenses as you live on the boat, are fed well and are supplied with uniform and toiletries.
Are you doing the job for love or money?
I am working on a super yacht for the love of travel and the love of easily saving money.
Tell us a little about your average day?
As a stewardess, my average day is anything from 9 to 18 hour day. When there are guests on board it is usually an 18 hour day including multi-tasking serving meals, cleaning cabins and the interior of the yacht, accompanying guests on sightseeing tours and running the laundry. En route to the next destination ‘underway’ every crew member does night watch keeping to ensure the yacht is on the correct course and will not collide with any other vessels out at sea. Days off are rare – I haven’t had a day off or sleep in for over two months!
The travel, great crew members and the fact that you are able to save a large sum of money each month makes it a great job. I am extremely lucky to have the most generous, down-to-earth, kind-hearted yacht owners as well. The USA East coast season is coming to an end in the next few weeks. We will then be doing maintenance work throughout November before heading down to the Caribbean for a charter season.
What are the best bits of your job? And the worst?
The best bits include seeing a new destination every few days, earning tax-free money, being out at sea and being able to play with toys (wake-boarding, snorkelling, cycling etc.) and the work can be exhausting but is relatively easy. The worst bits include getting sea sick in rough seas, not having your own personal space (as you share cabins), as well as not having evenings and weekends off.
So, have you ever wanted to throttle anyone on the yacht?
Yes. Every yacht crew has – when you are exhausted, stressed while maintaining a cheerful ‘stew smile’ for guests despite any troubles of the day there are some frustrating moments. I call it ‘advanced character building’.
Are you in this job for a while, or planning to move on soon?
I do not have any definite plans. I am looking forward to a day or two off next month, am acting as stewardess and crew cook in November while the crew are taking leave. In December, I am visiting my friends and family in Cape Town for a very brief 12 day visit for a friend’s wedding before meeting the yacht in St Maarten in time for a Christmas and New Year’s Eve charter.
Any tips for those wanting to work on a Superyacht?
It’s all about networking so get online, sign up with Facebook groups and agencies; go to meet ‘n greets, put a smile on that dial and don’t give up. If you work hard at securing your first bit of work then you will have your moment to shine, securing a great job