Behind the scenes – or ‘below deck’ – on a Superyacht is a meticulously organised and skilled crew that ensures a seamless voyage for their guests. There is a distinct hierarchy onboard, where each crew member plays a crucial role in creating an unparalleled experience for the onboard guests. In this article, we delve into the Superyacht crew hierarchy, explaining everyone’s diverse roles and responsibilities – from top to bottom.

Superyacht crew - stewardess


At the top of the Superyacht crew hierarchy, the Captain of a Superyacht works under the vessel’s owner or their representatives.

Ultimately, the Captain is responsible for the safe and smooth running of the ship – they are who each crew member answers to.

Their duties include (but aren’t restricted to):

  • Navigation
  • Sailing
  • Managing admin
  • Health and safety
  • Compliance with maritime regulations
  • Financial reporting

To reach this role, you will have to work your way up from most of the other onboard roles. Additionally, you must undertake a number of other qualifications and demonstrate a variety of knowledge and skills, including seafaring, admin, IT, health and safety, and even accounting.

Officer of the Watch (OOW)

Second in command to the Captain, the OOW is responsible for:

  • Day-to-day running of the deck
  • Navigation and running watches – when on passage
  • Helping with the maintenance of the Superyacht
  • Deck equipment inventory


Even though their duties usually go to the Captain on smaller vessels, the Purser’s role is still important.

Working under the Captain, the Purser:

  • Takes care of financial matters (including accounting, purchasing food and drink, and cleaning supplies)
  • HR
  • Recruitment

In becoming a Purser, you need solid experience and knowledge of the Superyacht industry – as well as a STCW certificate and ENG1 Medical certificate. It’s crucial you also have numerous skills and qualifications (financial and IT related).

Chief Engineer

The Chief Engineer (as well as the 2nd Engineer working underneath) manages the Superyacht’s mechanical functioning.

Essentially, the Chief Engineer’s main responsibility is:

  • Making sure the vessel’s mechanics run

For this role, sometimes starting off with Deckhand training is a good idea -it can provide a good introduction to Diesel Engine Maintenance as well as general maintenance and repairs.

Head Chef

Every Superyacht has a Head Chef to make sure guests relish their mealtimes throughout the course of the day! Sometimes, a Crew Chef is there to help too.

For this role, you need to complete the necessary culinary qualifications to become a chef. Experience of working as a Head or Sous Chef in a hotel or restaurant is also important, as well as the STCW Basic Safety Training certification!


The “Senior Deckhand”.

Their job is to:

  • Take charge of daily cleaning and maintenance
  • Drive the tenders
  • Look after the Deckhands working under them

Chief Stewardess

The Chief Stewardess is in charge of:

  • The Superyacht’s interior
  • Laundry
  • Service (guests must have a 5-star experience!)
  • Looking after a team of Stewardesses


The Deckhand’s role is to help with deck operations.

These include:

  • Maintaining and cleaning the yacht’s exterior
  • Mooring
  • Anchoring
  • Occasional security

Mostly, you answer to the Bosun.

It’s best to complete a Superyacht Deckhand course to pursue this role. Applying for a Bosun role could be your next step after a few seasons of experience with this job.


The Stewardess’ role is to:

  • Help ensure guests have the best experience
  • Working on the yacht’s interior
  • Service
  • Cabin preparation

Mostly, you answer to the Chief Stewardess.

Applying for the Chief Stewardess role could be your next step after a few seasons of experience with this job.

To keep up to date with the latest Superyacht Content News, click here.

Sign up to our Newsletter below:

Newsletter Signup

Related articles