24th Sep 2019
Top Tips to Improve Your Superyacht Salary
All crew, at some point in their career, will likely consider renegotiating their Superyacht salary.
In this article, we explore average yacht crew salaries, how they are determined, useful negotiation strategies and suggestions for what you should do with your hard-earned salary.
If an owner or captain requests “entry-level” crew then you should expect a base salary and, if you agree to a trial period when you are hired, expect to receive a “starting salary” until your trial period expires when you may have an opportunity to renegotiate your rate.
A wide variety of factors determine yachting salaries, including:
- How long owners and charter guests use the yacht
- The vessels’ planned itinerary
- Whether the boat runs with a full, or less than average, crew (running with a short-handed crew may increase individual pay)
- Your training, licenses, and practical experience.
- Any additional responsibilities not generally expected in your role.
When negotiating a salary, benefits should also be considered to balance the equation. For example, most yachts cover several personal expenses like meals, uniforms, and sometimes shoes, and many boats also include monthly phone allowances and paid vacations, including airfares.
Supply and demand for yachting positions also vary significantly depending on several criteria, including:
- What the position is
- When during the season you join
- How many qualified crew are available
- Where the vessel is
The infographic below shows the agency range salaries provided by nine crew agencies gathered from the 2018 Dockwalk annual salary survey.
Why do YOU deserve a pay rise?
Before you decide to renegotiate your salary, first consider whether you have a valid reason for asking for more money. It’s not enough to demand a pay rise just because you want it! Your captain or owner needs sound justification to increase your salary.
To determine this, honestly answer questions designed to establish whether you have valid reasons to ask for a pay rise, for instance;
- Have you, time after time, gone above and beyond?
- Are you a vital component in the crew team?
- Have you worked on the same yacht for over a year and feel that experience gained and your loyalty should be rewarded?
Tips for renegotiating your pay
Salary increases for yacht crew are possible if you do your research, believe in your added value and act professionally. The tips provided here should help guide negotiations.
Before the meeting
Check yacht crew salary guidelines and seek salary advice
Before asking for a raise, it’s a good idea to check yacht crew salary guidelines to make sure you know where you stand.
Our infographic above shows average salaries, but you should always bear in mind that salaries differ depending on the vessel, crew, and individual circumstances, so take the opportunity to seek advice from experienced captains and crew. Remember that salaries may also differ between charter and private yacht crew.
Your yacht management company can provide sound advice about what you should be paid and why. It’s also worthwhile taking a look at the yachting salaries portal which offers detailed worldwide yachting industry salary information.
Gather information about your performance
What did you excel at? When did you go ‘above and beyond’?
How did your work impact the running of the yacht?
When did you innovate, motivate, encourage, mediate, manage, and help?
Show and prove your value and contributions. Illustrate how you saved the yacht and crew time and money. Show your dedication to the yacht. Think about how you want to develop your role.
Your aim is to make it as easy as possible for the captain to comprehend your value to the yacht, and why they should increase your salary to reward your contribution.
Once you’ve deliberated about your worth, write it all down in a quick “fact-sheet” that highlights your rock-star moments but, whatever arguments you decide to use, make sure they’re truthful.
Setting up the meeting:
Don’t set up a ‘surprise’ meeting – timing is everything
Whenever you decide to schedule a meeting to discuss your salary, always be up-front about the subject of the meeting. The captain will not be impressed if you suddenly hijack a meeting, seemingly about something else with ‘oh, and by the way, I’d like a raise’!
If you have an annual review system in place, this is an excellent time to discuss salary. Should an annual review not be available or if you feel it’s too far in the future, it’s a sound strategy to time your meeting to follow a successful project or event in which you played a significant role.
If this isn’t possible, then consider how the captain might feel, from a timing perspective, about the appropriateness of your request to discuss salary. If it doesn’t feel right, then think about scheduling the meeting for when it feels more appropriate.
Always meet with the captain
Ask for a meeting with your captain about salary. Going to the owner is an absolute no-no; don’t do it.
During the meeting:
Don’t lead with the money
Start by reviewing your accomplishments. Illustrate roles and responsibilities you’ve acquired and then move on to how your salary doesn’t reflect your contributions; this will lead to discussing what you should be paid.
Your aim here is to make sure the captain understands why your request is plausible and why, rather than just paying “the going wage”, it’s worth increasing your salary to keep you.
Don’t make threats
The captain will more than likely call your bluff if you threaten to leave should your salary not increase.
Using this tactic changes the feeling of the meeting from negotiation to ultimatum, and may negatively affect the tone and dialogue of the meeting, ending in an unsatisfactory outcome.
Always remember there is no shortage of experienced crew ready to replace you.
Avoid getting off-topic
If you have a friendly relationship with your captain, try to keep the discussion about your performance and the numbers and, if you want to catch up, try to ensure you do so once you have completed the negotiation, rather than during it.
What to do with the extra money
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that receiving salary increases is an ideal opportunity to review your savings strategy, and we recommend considering putting that extra money aside. It could be a welcome addition to your emergency fund, education fund, or even contribute to your regular savings, or to fund your desired lifestyle in retirement.