Luxury yacht captains may earn a base salary well into six figures. Salaries mainly depend on the experience of the captain, level of licensing and the length of the vessel. So, how much does a captain earn?
The complexity of the position of the captain escalates as the length of a yacht increases. Many portray this job as one of leisure and luxury but it is not the case. This position comes with vast responsibility. Although exact job details vary, the captain is the head of the show. He/she reports only to the yacht owner.
There is a variation within salary guidelines depending on license level, experience and years on the job.
Captain Level Size of Vessel Salary Range
Senior Master 170ft – 200ft+ $144,000 – $300,000
Captain 100ft – 100ft+ $84,000 – $180,000
Junior Captain 60ft – 100ft+ $48,000 – $98,000
Salary packages normally also include bonuses, health insurance, paid vacation, training and certifications and flight expenses. Crew is normally required to reside on board 24/7 so all food and daily necessities are provided.
Tips are many times given to captains from charter guests when the yacht is chartered out. Each vessel has its unique programs so things can vary within the industry.
Operating expenses for an average mega yacht (with 12 crew) are between $4-10 million. Budgets normally depend on where the vessel is moored, if it is available for charter and the travel destinations. In many cases separate management companies or the owner’s business network are involved to manage the financial decisions and accounting. However, in some instances the captain also manages the budget and takes all of these types of decisions.
Captains are responsible for everyone on-board, the vessel itself and the overall environment. In addition, captains must understand the on-board mechanics, tools, international regulatory requirements and rules of the flag state.
Owner objectives are broad ranging and the captain represents the interests of the owner. Owners can have anywhere from simple to elaborate requirements. Some owners may use their yacht regularly with family and friends while others rarely board. Charter periods will also factor into the owners’ interest.
Procedures for contracting, dismissing and managing crew must be in strict adherence with the Marine Labour Convention (MLC). There must be a match between the crew, owner and vessel in terms of certification, experience and personality. Captains must assure the owners that issues of confidentiality are priority of all crew.
On superyachts it is quite standard to have between 12-40 regular crew. In addition, there may be day workers or seasonal hires and managing everyone is routine. Everyone from the stewardess to dive master ultimately report to the captain. The captain must have a working knowledge of the positions and set performance expectations.
The captain oversees time and costs for routine maintenance. He/she must have knowledge of flag requirements and register as these tools are necessary to obtain quotes and supervise any work on-board.
The captain must always be up to date with all Maritime Guidance Notices (MGN), Maritime Information Notes (MIN), and all international marine safety codes. Knowledge of global differences in regulations, regional mores and enforcement agencies is critical.
Each individual yacht has its own business model and at a minimum the captain must keep financial records and have an oversight of the budget. Captains communicate directly with management companies when they are involved.
Navigating the vessel is the classic definition of the captains’ job. Also, plotting and following course, docking and departing berths are all basic skills. Experienced captains has personal familiarity of marine geographies.
To reach the required performance levels to captain a superyacht, vast amounts of logged hours, dedication, decades of training, and certification are required. Not to mention character and temperament.
Superyacht captains can assure the owner of the best yachting experience. The ultimate goal of all crew is to ensure the happiness of the owner and their guests.
Superyacht captains command a salary based on responsibility and years of personal and professional development. There are relatively few positions on the market and longevity and experience are always rewarded.
Did you know that wine matures differently on land than on the water? Prior to purchasing your next stock, read our top tips for storing wine on your superyacht.
Wines normally mature faster on yachts than they do on land. The rocking of a yacht and vibration of the engines are felt on a molecular level in a bottle of wine. Tannins which give structure to the wine begin to precipitate out. There is no cause for alarm. Get the right vintage and you will for sure have a memorable glass of vino.
Older vintages of Bordeaux, Burgundy and even port shouldn’t be stored for any great length on a yacht. A trip across and back on the Atlantic may be long enough to create more maturity in a bottle than if it were stored on terra firma.
Top suppliers of wines and spirits are not difficult to come by. Based in London, Penum recently supplied £1 million of wine to a superyacht client. They offer a service of sourcing rare vintages and will assist with pairing the right wines with particular meals.
Vins Sans Frontières is a Nice-based company ideal for instant provisioning. In addition to sourcing wines, they also maintain a vast stock which is immediately available.
Many yacht owners don’t take their finest vintages on board for fear of harm so the finest bottles may be best enjoyed on land.
Your superyacht crew should be trained in wine and spirits. Enrolling them on a Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) course is a good investment. Many courses are available through the off season. WSET qualifications are the internationally recognised.
Wine should ideally be stored in the heart of the ship. The lowest most central pivot point is ideal as this is where there is least movement.
As mentioned earlier, movement will hasten the maturity of a wine, and along with humid conditions guests who know their wines may wonder why they taste older than they should.
Space is always a concern on a superyacht. Most wines will hold up just fine when left standing up to about a month or so. In fact, screwcap bottles and sparkling wines can generally be stored this way. Any wines which have sediment must be standing up for a minimum of 24 hours prior to opening to let the sediment settle.
When it comes to displaying wine on your luxury yacht, it is best to consider including a dedicated unit in the yacht’s design. Elegantly designed displays save time for the crew and guests by offering direct access. Many can be enhanced with spotlights.
A fine selection of whisky is mandatory on board your yacht.
The 1970s Collection from Glenmorangie is a truly exceptional selection. The distillery has rebottled five its most special vintages from this decade in a bespoke case designed by Wouter Scheublin.
Three of these vintages are over 25 years old and two of these vintages (1975 and 1976) have never been previously released. These are very rare and unavailable for purchase other than as part of the collection. There are only 10 such collections in existence.
The Canary Islands are a great place to escape the winter. Here you can enjoy amazing food and drink, volcanic scenery and wonderful warm weather. The Spanish Canary Islands, off the coast of West Africa, are an astonishingly well-kept sailing secret. So here is our sailor’s guide to the Canary Islands.
Local temperatures in winter are an average of 22°C-plus with sunshine every day. Winds here are perfect for sailing with Force 3-4. Furthermore, the prevailing NE trade winds make for consistent conditions.
Backdrops on these islands are varied. All of the seven main islands – Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro – are within a day’s sail of each other. What is unique is that each island has it’s distinctly unique character. One can find excellent facilities in harbours and marinas here.
Many of the sailors one meets in the Canary Islands are preparing for an Atlantic crossing. Many people wish they have more time to spend here exploring the natural beauty of the islands.
These Spanish islands pose no problem for sailors arriving from other EU countries. English is spoken widely and foreign yachts are welcomed.
Many may think these islands are hugely expensive but it’s not the case. Berths are generally available also. Many marinas were built in the last 15 years and there are plenty of berths for both long term moorings and for visitors alike. And all at a reasonable cost. The Canary Islands are a duty free zone so one can find additional savings.
Yards and big chandlers are used to working with blue water sailors here. However, finding spare parts may be a more complex and lengthy process. One must go through the Spanish system for all imports and then through Gran Canaria whenever you are in the islands.
Trade winds dominate the weather on the islands. There is normally a 3-4 from the NE. Wind acceleration zones affect this, however. Spring and summer are when the trade winds are most dominant, and strongest in July. Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, only 60 miles from Africa, are also hit by the south-easterly Sirocco. These winds can create confused conditions but normally this doesn’t long.
Lanzarote and Fuerteventura hardly ever see rain. These islands are quite influenced by North Africa in terms of climate. The further west you go, the greener things become. These temperate islands rarely rise above 29˚C in summer. Sea water temperature even in January averages 18˚C.
Tides in the Canary Islands are quite easy to cope with. Tidal streams rarely go beyond 3 knots and tidal range is no more than 2.8m.
Playas de Papagayo, Lanzarote
Crystal-clear water and perfect sandy beaches. On the south side, around the point one can find some of the famous black beaches. Most of these are uncrowded and quite small.
Costa Calma, Fuerteventura
Take your pick of a number of bays on this well-named coast, sheltered from the winds but open to an ocean swell at times.
Playa Francesca, Isla de la Graciosa
A sandy bottom and crystal-clear waters can be found here. However, it does get busy here in the summer season. In Graciosa, just north of Lanzarote, there is a marine reserve and one can find the Canary Islands’ most unspoiled beaches here.
Playa de Lobos, Isla de Lobos
The islet of Lobos is a mile north of Fuerteventura. This natural cove is well protected from the north and north-east but subject to local winds. Lobos’s famous turquoise lagoons are a short walk away.
Bahia de Antequera, Tenerife
This area is part of a national park and protected from all but southerly winds. You’ll find high cliffs and a sheltered bay just south of the island’s north-east tip
The Canary Islands are a great escape at any time of year but especially in winter. There is a lot of natural beauty to discover.
Plastic is everywhere, and plastic pollution is happening on a global scale. It is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year. This is enough to fill 15 plastic bags for every meter of coastline on the planet. As a result, plastic waste has been found across the globe in all marine environments. Effects have been seen in even the remotest areas far away from habitation.
Plastic is showing up in products you may not be aware of. There are micro-bead exfoliants in products such as toothpaste and facial scrub. These are flushed down the drain daily, not to mention entering our bodies. Polyester and acrylic fibers from our clothes can enter the ocean via our washing machines.
Recent studies found that the top contributors to plastic pollution were mid-income countries with growing economies and China is the largest. Although waste management is more effective in developed countries they are not off the hook. Plastic waste per person is high and not to mention that many of us still litter.
In some areas there is more plastic than plankton. The most commonly known site is called the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. This is a massive wind-driven circular current with floating garbage in it’s center. These rings actually contain large amounts of micro plastic. Micro plastic is a piece of plastic that is less than 5mm in size. When plastic products are broken up in the sea they produce micro-plastic.
We are what we eat and animals throughout the food chain are affected by plastic pollution. Nearly 700 marine species have encountered plastic debris, according to a recent study. Over 90% of seabirds are thought to have ingested plastic.
Plastic can actually become more toxic in the water. Many banned pollutants such as DDT, PCB’s and flame retardants still linger at sea. These pollutants are attracted to plastic and are absorbed into its surface. These pollutants are at significantly higher concentrations when ingested by marine life.
Plastic ends up on our plates also. Many of the popular fish species we eat (like mackerel, cod and flounder), have all been found with plastic. Shellfish are not out of the woods either. Micro-plastic have been found in both oysters and mussels. Table salt produced from seawater has also been found with traces of plastics. Scientists do not yet know the implications on human health.
In addition to the cost of cleaning litter, there are economic costs associated with plastic pollution. Plastic debris causes ship collisions (with litter) and the entanglement of propellers which costs the fishing communities globally.
We are learning more and more about the vast scale of plastic pollution. As awareness grows so does hope.
More research needs to be done on the exact impact on the health of humans and wildlife but governments are starting to take notice. The EU for example, is trying to reduce the use of plastic bags. Everyone needs to participate as this problem includes consumers, manufacturers, waste managers and regulators.
Consumers in Europe are already making the right choices. Cosmetics Europe which represents 4,000 personal care product manufacturers, has already been recommended to remove micro-beads from their products. The US is hopefully soon to follow on this path. Ocean friendly beauty products are becoming more popular also.
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