How to Find Positions as Crew on Boats

The call of the open ocean is undeniable. Sun-kissed skin, vast horizons, and the rhythmic rocking of the waves—a feeling unlike any other.

Yet, for some, the allure of the sea is more than just a relaxing holiday. It’s a calling for those who seek not just excitement and camaraderie, but also a sense of purpose and fulfillment that comes with being a valued member of a crew.

If you’ve ever considered a career on the sea, rest assured, you’re not alone. The good news? The world of boat crewing is teeming with opportunities, just waiting for you to explore and seize.

From elegant yachts to bustling cargo ships, there’s a crew role that perfectly matches your abilities and goals.

This guide will provide the necessary knowledge to explore the fascinating world of boat crewing prospects.

We’ll explore different types of boating crew jobs, delve into resources to help you find your perfect position, and answer some frequently asked questions. Let’s set sail.

Boating Crew Opportunities: A Diverse Landscape

  • Sailing Crew Jobs

Deckhand: This is the foundation of any sailing crew. Deckhands are in charge of the actual running of the vessel. On chartered boats, tasks include:

  • Raising and lowering sails.
  • Handling lines.
  • Cleaning the deck.
  • Aiding with guest services.

It is physically challenging but offers a terrific chance to learn the ropes (literally) and obtain significant sea experience.

Navigator: For those with a knack for charts and calculations, the navigator plays a crucial role in ensuring the safe passage of the sailboat. They are in charge of designing routes, employing navigational gear, and closely monitoring the vessel’s situation.

Watch Captain: While the captain is ultimately in charge of the entire vessel, watch captains take turns managing the ship’s operations during specific hours. This includes keeping track of weather conditions, navigating the boat, and ensuring that the crew is carrying out their responsibilities successfully.

  • Maritime Crew Opportunities

Deck Officer: Deck officers are the heart of the deck department on big commercial boats. They oversee cargo operations, ensure safety requirements are followed, and keep watch on the bridge. This position involves excellent leadership abilities, technical expertise, and the capacity to work under pressure.

Engine Room Crew: The engine room is the heart of any ship. Engine room crew members maintain and operate the sophisticated machinery that keeps the ship moving. This includes activities such as monitoring engine performance, performing routine maintenance, and diagnosing any problems that may emerge.

Catering Crew: Keeping the crew and passengers well-fed is critical for a successful journey. Catering crew workers prepare and serve meals, keep the galley clean, and ensure food safety requirements are followed. This position demands a passion for food service, the ability to operate in a fast-paced atmosphere, and a dedication to cleanliness.

  • Boat Crew Roles for Fishing Enthusiasts

Mate: On a fishing boat, the mate is the captain’s right-hand. They help with navigation, handle fishing equipment, and supervise crew activities. This position necessitates extensive fishing knowledge, leadership abilities, and the ability to make quick judgments in dynamic situations.

Deckhand: Deckhands on fishing boats are responsible for the vessel’s physical functioning, much as they are on sailboats. They help pull in nets and bait hooks, clean the catch, and keep the deck free. This duty is physically taxing, but it provides a front-row ticket to the excitement of the catch.

First Mate: The first mate is generally in charge of managing fishing operations on the boat. This includes deploying and retrieving fishing gear, managing the catch properly, and keeping accurate logs of fishing activities. The first mate requires a thorough awareness of fishing tactics, rules, and the target species.

Charting Your Course: Resources for Finding Crew Work

Now that you’re familiar with the types of crew positions, it’s time to explore the resources that can help you land your dream job:

  • Online Job Boards

Online job boards are a game changer for aspiring crew members looking for their ideal position. These platforms serve as thriving online marketplaces with opportunities across the crewing business.

Whether you enjoy the excitement of open-water sailing or the fellowship of a bustling cruise ship crew, there is a role for you.

The attractiveness of online job boards stems from their wide variety. Unlike traditional classifieds confined by geography, these platforms allow you to cast a wide net and investigate opportunities worldwide.

Online job boards offer a plethora of roles to suit every crew member’s aspiration. You can discover deckhand positions on luxurious yachts sailing to exotic destinations, opportunities for skilled navigators on transatlantic voyages, or catering crew positions on bustling cruise ships. The possibilities are endless.

  • Beyond the Web

Beyond the virtual realm of online job boards, people who step out and explore will find a wealth of crewing options.

Stepping outside of your digital comfort zone can help you connect with potential employers and crew members. Personal ties play an important role here.

Your local marina is a great place to start. This gathering place for boaters and captains is fertile ground for industry discussions. Strike up a polite conversation, indicate your interest in crewing, and leave a business card with your contact information.

Yacht clubs often host events and maintain job boards, providing another avenue to connect with potential employers and crew members in your area.

Finally, consider volunteering for regattas. These competitive sailing races offer invaluable experience, a chance to network with industry professionals, and the potential to impress captains looking for skilled crew members for their next voyage.


Crewing provides a unique combination of challenges, adventure, and personal development.

Whether you want to sail across turquoise waters on a sailboat, contribute to the global trade network on a giant cargo ship, or catch the big one on a fishing vessel, there’s a crew post for you.

With a bit of planning, dedication, and the assistance of the tools listed above, you can discover the ideal employment and set sail for a rewarding career on the sea.

Remember that becoming a crew member involves both preparation and initiative. Don’t hesitate to venture outside your comfort zone, network with industry experts, and aggressively seek out chances.

At Riverbank Professionals, we stand ready to be your trusted ally. We comprehend the intricacies of the crewing industry and are dedicated to bridging the gap between competent candidates and reliable companies.

With our broad network and dedication to excellence, we can guide you through the job search process and discover your ideal crew position.

So, if you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable nautical experience, get connected to Riverbank Professionals, and we’ll help you chart your way to a successful career at sea.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, being a deckhand is a physically demanding job. You'll be lifting heavy equipment, standing for long hours, and working outside in all kinds of weather. But if you're up for the challenge, the rewards are fantastic. You'll get to travel the world, learn new skills, and become part of a close-knit crew.

To prepare for a career as a crew member, consider obtaining essential qualifications such as first aid and CPR. You can also get experience by volunteering on local boats, sailing or navigating classes, or competing in regattas. Finally, network with industry professionals by attending boat events, participating in online forums, and engaging with fellow crew members. By taking these steps, you'll be well on your way to securing your ideal crew post and setting sail on a memorable journey.

Martha James

When Martha is not overseeing vessel operations on the ocean, she’s cooped up in her room binge-watching Abbott Elementary or writing blogs. Martha’s personal experience of being a Captain for the past four years provides her with enough knowledge to write research-backed articles. Martha uses her wisdom and (slightly dry) humor to entice readers, keeping them coming back for more.

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