From Megayacht to Mansion: Transferable Skills for Yachties Transitioning to Private Households

There may come a time in any yachties life when the attraction of life at sea and discovering the world wears off and they start yearning for stability. Fortunately for them, many of the skills required to succeed on a yacht are transferable to work in an UHNW private household. While there are clear differences between these environments (lower risk of motion sickness), both settings are comparable in many aspects and yachties will already boast a range of transferable skills and qualities required to transition into a land-based role.

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Satisfying Principal Expectations

Part of working on yachts, UHNW homes, and any luxury environment includes being able to satisfy exceptionally high client expectations. Before any trip, chief stewards will have briefed you on the guests, any specific expectations they have, and the correct way of addressing them. Whether an elderly British gentleman, a Saudi Prince, or an American tech mogul, all principals will have different expectations as to how staff members should approach, speak to, and serve them. Understanding the cultural nuances between different nationalities and being able to adapt is a key part of working on a yacht and the same applies to working in a private household as you may be faced with clients and guests of all origins. 

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Client expectations also vary depending on the style of household they run. Formal households may limit staff and principal interactions, strict households may opt for a “working in the shadows” approach with their staff while more informal homes can have a relaxed approach with their staff and allow them to interact freely with family members. If you are used to working on a yacht and keeping a distance from principals, performing your duties once a room has been cleared, and maintaining the highest level of professionalism, you will have no difficulty making the switch to private households, whether formal or not. Many technical skills obtained by yachties such as wine knowledge, silver service, wardrobe management and sewing are highly sought after and even required in private homes so you will be able to satisfy client expectations with skills you already have.

Attention to Detail

One of – if not the most important skill to have to work on a yacht is the highest attention to detail with yacht standards equaling those of a 5-star hotel. Principals expect nothing but the best and working in a private home is no different. You must be present but discreet at all times, able to notice the tiniest smudge, fingerprint, or speck of dust and be ready to spring into action to correct this. From fluffing pillows to an impeccable turndown service, your ability to clean rooms to the highest standard will be truly valued in a private home and will luckily already be part of your skillset. There are many different roles available in private households from housekeepers to estate managers and all positions require their own exceptionally high attention to detail. Whether you’re employed to clean, care for children, manage households expenses, train staff, or more, your yachtie ability to notice the smallest detail will be the most valuable skill to boast.

The Importance of Presentation

As is the case on yachts, presentation of private household staff is of the utmost importance. You must be well-groomed, well-spoken, and well-mannered with the ability to conform to client expectations regarding uniforms and any specific expectations they may have. Is it commonly expected to not have visible tattoos and piercings and many employers also expect conservative hairstyles and hair colours. Yacht expectations and private household ones are extremely similar and dealing with unusual requests in land-based roles is the same as on yachts; so if you’re able to accept, adapt, and change with the times, your transition will run smoothly.

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Adapting to Unconventional Hours

Working on a yacht will inevitably mean occasional disturbances during your rest hours, long hours, and unpredicted schedule changes. The same applies in private households so if you’re already able to adapt to work around your principle’s schedule, you’ll fit in perfectly in a private household job. You will be expected to show flexibility at all times, roll with the punches, and occasionally work extended hours. Last minute changes are all part of working on yacht and in private homes: flexibility and adaptability are essential skills.

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Understanding and Accepting Hierarchy

A strong hierarchy on a yacht ensures everything runs smoothly and this is also the key to running an efficient household. While yachties will be used to working under a chief steward, captain, purser, chief stew or bosun, any role in a private household will have you reporting to a house manager and working alongside a team of housekeepers, chefs, nannies, and many other staff members. Being able to accept this hierarchy and accept instructions from higher ups is as crucial in a private home as it is onboard a yacht. Being familiar with the various roles in a private home will enable an efficient transition to your new land-based role.

Experience in private households is naturally desirable when applying for positions in UHNW homes but candidates coming from yacht roles should not be discouraged to apply as they already possess many of the required skills to work in such environments. Some of the skills acquired onboard may even make you stand out more than other candidates and give you an advantage!

Platinum Nanny is an international bespoke search consultancy in the placement of childcare, household & estate staff in Monaco · London · Dubai · Switzerland.

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