Is yacht-crewing a realistic Gap Year option?

Yachting brings together the need to earn money and the want to travel during your gap year. What could be more perfect than setting sail across the seas to exotic locations and being paid for it? Surely life isn’t so simple that this really does provide the perfect gap year solution? Let’s look a little deeper at the world of yacht crewing.


The Basics

Yachting provides the chance to take to the seas and there are a number of options open to you if you’re thinking of signing up for yacht crewing. Firstly, there are many reasons yachts need crews from leisure sailing and cruising, to racing and yacht delivery. Boats and therefore crew sizes come in a wide range of sizes and there are a number of jobs to apply for, including deckhands, kitchen jobs and hosting positions. Sign up to an online crew agency or visit one of the main departure ports such as Panama, San Diego or Gibraltar to see what the local Yacht Club office has to offer.


The most obvious benefit to yachting is the wide range of places that these boats tend to travel to. Popular yachting locations include France and Spain in Europe Malaysia in Asia and of course The Caribbean, with most yachts departing from Florida, USA. Yacht crewing provides a great way to see the beautiful parts of the world and is an alternative to cheap Caribbean holidays which also provide you with a chance to see an area of the world that may otherwise seem too expensive to visit. Wherever you’ll choose to go, yachting provides a great experience, meeting new people and experiencing a lifestyle on the open seas.

Yacht crewing also provides a source of income which can be vital during a gap year, unless you’ve been able to save a substantial amount before you travelled. Within yachting circles, pay can vary depending on which company you’re assigned to and what job you’ve been given. This in itself is another benefit as there is such a wide range of jobs within the industry. Not only is that a great boredom buster but it’s also fantastic for your CV. There are many skills that you’ll be able to learn and improve upon, including the chance to practice your language skills with the many international passengers you’ll come into contact with. The work also tends to be seasonal and freelance contracts available so you’ll be able to make the job work around your plans for your gap year.


To any trip there are always downsides. A trip yacht-crewing may seem like fun but you will still be working. It’s important to decide exactly what you want from your year out and if that’s relaxation and getting away from it all, then maybe a working gap year isn’t for you. Whilst you’ll be meeting new people, you’ll also live at quite close proximity to them which can sometimes make you yearn for your own space. The people ultimately will make or break your experience.

A big factor is not being able to choose your destinations. Obviously given the nature of yachting, it’s unlikely that you’ll be taken to a destination that’s unfavourable but there is something to be said for choosing your own path during your gap year.

  • scott
    Posted at 11:55h, 05 November

    i am currently heading to mexico in the coming weeks and would love to work on a yacht around the caribean. could you suggest how i could find work?

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