Yachting secrets that will shock outsiders…


When watching reality TV shows like Below Deck, viewers get a glimpse of what yachting entails. However, these yachting TV shows only show bite-size parts of the reality of life on superyachts. This blog unveils some of the most shocking and mind-blowing situations that happen on luxury yachts. I have collected a range of yachting stories, blog posts and news articles, which I consider the most unexpected yachting secrets.

Spoilt crew

Everyone expects guests and owners to be rather spoilt as they are used to the finer things in life. However, many yachties have stated that the yacht crew themselves can be spoilt. Although some may not come from wealthy backgrounds, all yacht crew are exposed to wealth and riches onboard. Thus, being around the most affluent people can start to rub off on the staff. If the guests are off board, some captains allow their crew members to use some of the amenities that the average person would never get a chance to experience. Onboard amenities such as gyms, home cinemas, jet skis, Jacuzzis, and indoor swimming pools are just a small example of yacht staff acclimating to.

Yacht crew typically receive a hefty tip at the end of a charter, this type of (tax-free) cash is not as impressive in most other services, but as their clients are wealthy, they can afford to pay higher amounts for gratitude. However, some yacht crew expect big tips, luxury items and gifts like Rolex watches around Christmas time. Sometimes, there can be a surplus of extravagant food and alcohol on board, which the crew can sometimes enjoy if the guests and captain permit this. Traveling to the best locations in the world, living on the most expensive yachts, mixing with the one percent-ers and being subjected to wealth continuous is bound to rub off on anyone!

No privacy

Lack of privacy onboard for yacht crew may not be shocking to many, but it always shocks the guests. Guests seem interested in where the yacht crew live, but the crew quarters and the galley are the only places crew members get privacy. Unfortunately, they don’t get much, though!  Some guest even requests to see the crew’s living quarters out of curiosity. Most crew members sleep in cabins, sharing their space with complete strangers, which means privacy is severely lacking. Most yacht crew must share bathrooms which can get interesting at the best of times! Even when crew members get time to rest and sleep, they can be woken up by constant drills, including fire drills late at night.

No stability

Many people join the yachting industry to live an aspirational lifestyle or to get paid to travel to beautiful locations. However, travelling means leaving your life behind you, including friends, family, and partners. Although the idea of that sounds easy, homesickness can soon kick in when you’re having a bad day and need familiar faces. Brooke Laughton from season 3 Below Deck Med said the lowest point of her yachting career was missing her sister’s wedding. Missing family events are not uncommon, which can be a negative part of working on a luxury yacht. Plus, the work on vessels can be unpredictable. For example, if a boat has been sold or doesn’t want their boat in use anymore, you can be asked to vacate the boat within hours.

Random requests

The most random requests from guests seem to revolve around food, interestingly! Expensive taste tends to link to exotic food requests. Some food requests are cultural, like the request of a live baby octopus for dinner. Guests have requested fruit and vegetables that are not in season, making it almost impossible to import. Other guests will demand that they will have food flown in from different countries like a croissant made explicitly in Paris. Rare flower petals and mineral water brands must be freighted by air to please the guests, which costs thousands! According to Charter World, some guests are super picky:

Another guest requested cucumber cubes cut to 10 mm exactly for breakfast. A ruler was used to make sure the measurements were accurate.

Whilst other guests are so picky that they bring in their own cutlery and plates onboard.

Superyacht crew agency highlighted that some guests have requested “Louis Vuitton life jackets” and “prescription diving goggles.” Other requests include having guests pampered pets flown in mid charter! Most of the time, the yacht crew must find creative ways of fulfilling all these requests.

Image from BOAT International

Promiscuous activities

Something you will never see on Below Deck is that many guests bring prostitutes and escorts onboard. This is widespread knowledge from crew members, but outsiders may not know. 

Women installed on yachts in Cannes during the film festival are called 'Yacht Girls,' and the line between professional prostitutes and B- or C-list Hollywood actresses who accept payment for sex with rich older men is sometimes very blurred….

The yacht girls can make $40,000 per night on these superyachts. Most crew members are so used to the yacht girls that it doesn’t faze them, but it may take time to get used to if you are a newbie. Laws are clamping down on this type of activity in some countries. These activities onboard have been occurring for many years, according to Lebanese businessman, Elie Nahas, who was arrested in 2007 for running a Cannes prostitution ring: ‘Every boat has about 10 girls on it; they are usually models, and they are usually nude or half nude. . . The girls are all waiting for their envelopes at the end of the night. It’s been going on there for 60 years.’


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