Understanding Mega Yacht Crew Roles for Plain Sailing

A mega yacht can be considered an ecosystem; with the correct balance and support the onboard experience will thrive but if out of balance, well-being and performance stand threatened. There are many mega yacht crew roles – each responsible for safety, important duties and caring for guests – so having the right members in place is vital for plain sailing. To help understand your requirements, we explain mega yacht crew roles and the benefits they can provide.

Mega Yacht Crew Roles - Captain David Butler

Captain David Butler



Mega Yacht Crew Roles - Former Chief Officer George Papafaklis

Former Chief Officer George Papafaklis

How Many Crew Members are needed on a Mega Yacht?

There is no short answer to this question as the number of crew depends on many variables. Some smaller vessels may manage with a crew of five, while larger vessels may require a crew of 120 plus. The number of crew depends on the size of the vessel, but also on the services you would like onboard and whether you would like specialist mega yacht crew roles filled onboard. Generally speaking, the crew are segregated into three main departments: the deck department, the engineering department and the interior department.

What Are the Main Mega Yacht Crew Roles?

Deck Department Roles

Captain: the authority onboard, responsible for navigation and passenger safety as well as crew management, budgeting, administration, voyage planning, ensuring regulations are abided by and for planning and arranging refit and maintenance projects. An experienced captain will offer the management skills needed for a harmonious crew as well as for masterfully navigating the waters.
Meet Captain David Butler and Manolis Kilmataras

Staff Captain: as second in command beneath the Captain of vessels exceeding 70m+, the Staff Captain will head up the deck department and oversea maintenance, security, navigation and safety of the vessel. They will ensure that the Captain’s orders are carried out can assume command in an emergency.

Chief Officer: next in command, beneath the Captain or the Staff Captain depending on the size of the vessel, the chief officer assists with navigation, oversees docking, manages the deck crew, is watchkeeper and general assistant to the Captain. The Chief Officer can stand in for the Captain in their absence to keep the vessel safe and sailing smoothly.
Meet former Chief Officer George Papafaklis

Second Officer: offering support to both the Captain and the Chief Officer, the Second Officer is often employed on larger vessels to offer further assistance alongside the Chief Officer.

Bosun: responsible for maintaining the exterior of the vessel by managing the deck crew and executing deck maintenance. Duties include ensuring windows are clean, washdowns and painting, caulking and basic repairs. They often captain tenders if required and will have good knowledge of any water toys on board and be on hand to assist guests with their use.

Deckhand: working under the management of the Bosun to maintain the exterior of the vessel through washdowns, polishing, line handling and repair projects. The deckhands should take pride in maintaining a welcoming vessel that is in tip-top condition.

AV/IT Officer: from the internet to satellite connectivity, the AV/IT Officer is responsible for maintaining a variety of media systems on board vital for navigation and guest entertainment. From day-to-day maintenance including regular back-ups to resolving issues to maintain fully operational systems, this mega yacht crew role is amongst one of the most specialist.

Electro Technical Officer (ETO): responsible for repairing and maintaining the electrical systems including High Voltage Systems. From the engine room to electronic navigation, these systems are vital for smooth sailing and require a highly trained professional to maintain safe standards.


Mega Yacht Crew Roles - A deckhand communicating with his team while getting ready to drop anchor

A deckhand communicating with his team while getting ready to drop anchor

Engine Department Roles

Chief Engineer: as head of the Engine Department, the Chief Engineer oversees the mechanical and electrical systems, maintains systems and supervises repairs, and manages the engineering crew members. This position is one of the most vital amongst the mega yacht crew roles as the individual will require an outstanding knowledge of the vessel’s workings, from the engines and generators through to electronics and hydraulics, to offer a smooth and safe voyage.

Engineer: reporting to the Chief Engineer, Engineers carry out daily maintenance to ensure all mechanical and electronic systems are performing as expected. They may troubleshoot when issues arise and, under the supervision of the Chief Engineer, make repairs.

Mega Yacht Crew Roles - Chief Engineer Dionysios Kakolyris

Chief Engineer Dionysios Kakolyris

Mega Yacht Crew Roles - An entrée being prepared by the yacht Chef

An entrée being prepared by the yacht Chef

Interior Department Roles

Hotel Manager: as manager of the interior department, the Hotel Manager is responsible for training and overseeing the other interior crew members and is often the first point of contact for guests during voyages. An experienced Hotel Manager can anticipate guests’ needs to provide an unbeatable experience.

Chief Steward/Stewardess: in the absence of a Hotel Manager on smaller vessels, a Chief Steward/Stewardess will manage the interior department.

Yacht Chef: responsible for planning, preparing and delivering meals on board that are suitable for any dietary preferences or requirements and are in line with budgets. An experienced chef with seasonal knowledge and familiarity with cooking different cuisines can heighten the experience for guests on board, making each meal and event for all of the senses.

Head of Service: ensures that the highest level of service is provided across the functions of the vessel throughout the journey, to inject luxury into every detail. They will have impeccable organisation skills and a keen eye for detail. They can provide input on meal direction and service, accompanying drinks, and execute arrangements for onboard events and parties.

Head of Housekeeping: responsible for maintaining the highest standard for the interior, setting cleaning schedules, ensuring provisions are stocked and available to the Stewards/Stewardesses and completing all cleaning duties to ensure the vessel is a welcoming environment for guests throughout the voyage.

Steward/Stewardess: vital amongst mega yacht crew roles, responsible for providing luxury service to guests whilst maintaining the yacht’s interior cleanliness. They will tidy and clean the vessel, including laundry services, while also providing daily services to guests including drink preparations, turn-down services, preparing cabins, meal service and fulfilling any further general care requirements required by guests.

Specialist Crew: specialist mega yacht crew roles from spa managers and therapists, personal trainers, hairdressers and medical professionals can be hired in accordance with the guests’ needs.

Having an experienced crew will not only ensure your mega yacht is maintained in pristine condition and top performance, but filling these mega yacht crew roles with the correct members will transform your yacht into a home. Contact us or find out more about our crew recruitment services.

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