What Size Yacht Requires a Crew and a Captain?

what size yacht requires a crew

It might be your yacht, but that doesn’t mean you have the chops to steer that baby over open water. That’s just the reality. Fortunately these days, yachts have evolved significantly, allowing individuals with little experience to successfully and safely take charge with little fear.

But even then, there are some yachts that are just too big for an amateur captain to handle. So if you’re not too experienced, or if you’re not confident in your skill, then you might have to hire someone to do it for you. The question now though is what size yacht requires a crew. Here’s what you need to know.

What Size Yachts Need a Captain and Crew?

There’s a lot that goes on aboard a yacht. And if you’re going out with just a small group of family and friends, you might find your hands full. While you might be able to get the job done, it kind of defeats the purpose in the first place, especially if you were heading out for a little rest and relaxation in your comfortably air-conditioned yacht.

Back in the day, yachts that were 70 feet in length required a captain, no questions asked. But today, yachts come with a range of features that make it possible for humble boat owners to be the captain of their own ship. These include joystick controls, stern thrusters, and warping winches.

That said, you might want to think about the size of your boat and whether you might be better off with a captain and crew. As a general rule, yachts that are 75 feet in length should do just fine without a crew. Of course, that’s given that you have upgraded features like autopilot to help ease the burden on your shoulders.

If you’ve got some experience, then you might be able to captain your own yacht up to 100 feet in length. But anything beyond that is often too large and complicated for an amateur or beginner, requiring more experienced personnel.

The Crew Members Required for a Yacht

Bigger yachts need more people because there’s more to do. If you’ve got a yacht that’s over 100-feet in length, then it’s imperative that you get more than just a captain. Here are some of the yacht crew members that you should definitely think of hiring.


He’s the guy that’s in charge of your boat in general. The captain doesn’t just steer, they also make sure that the rest of your crew is doing exactly what they need to do. You have to be careful in choosing your captain because they pretty much call the shots. And because there are unscrupulous captains out there posing as capable, honest yacht men, it’s vital that you check identification and qualifications.

First Mate

You never know what might happen out at sea. If your captain falls ill, or if they can’t perform their function for whatever reason, it’s important that you have a first mate. These guys know exactly what the captain does, and they fill in the position if your lead somehow ends up out of commission.

Second Mate

A spare tire for your spare tire. The second mate knows what your first mate does, and knows what your captain does. While they might not be needed for short trips, they’re definitely important to have around for long excursions where both your captain and first mate might be unable to fulfill their role.


These guys are well-versed in all the technicalities that make your boat tick. They take care of the engine, the motor, and all other electrical components in your boat. They make sure everything runs smoothly, and they perform any necessary repairs to prevent accidents and poor performance. Again, engineers are necessary for long voyages.


Deckhands work to keep everything nice and tidy, not just for your comfort but for everyone’s safety. If you’ve got any equipment on board like jetskis or in unfortunate conditions where a life boat needs to be used, they’re in charge of providing necessary assistance to keep you safe during and after use, and to deploy these water toys.


Think of them as the hospitality specialists. They relay any information from the captain to the guests on board. If you have any concerns, you can also course them through the stewards or stewardesses on board. If you have just a small population on board, then one or two of these crew mates should be enough.


Of course, you’re going to want some satisfying grub during your trip. It doesn’t hurt to hire a chef to prepare meals for you and your guest. And while a single chef might be enough, it might help to hire a sous chef along with him to streamline the preparation of all that food. Remember -- you’re feeding guests and crew, which might be a tall order for one chef.

How Much Does a Yacht Crew Cost?

It helps to know that most of the people who work as a yacht crew charge annually. The size of your boat also plays a role in the amount they’ll require. Bigger boats mean bigger pay, since there’s a lot more to take care of and look after on a bigger yacht.

  • Captains - $1,000 per foot of board. If you've got a 75-foot yacht, that's $75,000 a year
  • Engineers - Up to $130,000 a year
  • Deckhands - Up to $50,000 a year
  • Chef - Up to $70,000 a year

Since these prices aren’t cheap, you might want to consider your schedule to get the most out of your yacht and its crew’s annual fees. Some crews offer package deals, letting you book their team for a discounted price. For other members of the crew like stewards, security guards, instructors, and even life guards, there may be a separate charge.

All Aboard!

The whole purpose of a yacht is to enjoy, unwind, relax, and rest. But if you’ve got a pretty big boat, you kind of defeat the whole point if you try to manage that massive vessel all by yourself. So what size yacht requires a crew? That really depends on how much experience you have. But if you take it from us, having a crew just improves the overall experience, giving you more time to enjoy the open water with family and friends.

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