Young men and women who work on superyachts to make a living reveal what it is really like to sail the seas constantly surrounded by millionaires. Last week, a horrible incident below the deck was brought to attention after the sudden death of Instagram model Sinead McNamara in Greece.
The 20-year-old worked for just four months on the £109million Mayan Queen IV when her body was discovered on Friday at the back of the boat that was, at the time, anchored off the island of Kefalonia. Two weeks prior to her death, she posted a cryptic message writing: “My head is all over the shop today,” along with emojis of a volcano, tornado, and a needle with blood dripping from it. Police opened a murder investigation following her death.
Individuals dream of jobs as deckhands, stewardesses and captains on luxury vessels that allow them to cruise through the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas to travel while bringing in extra money. Recruitment agencies promote these kinds of jobs as opportunities to experience delightful adventures while possibly earning up to £110,000 a year tax-free, depending on their role and size of the vessel.
The lifestyle of living and working on superyachts may seem glamorous, but for the crew, the reality of life on board can be the very opposite to what the A-list guests tend to enjoy above deck. An Australian woman, Sarah Begbie claims she was expecting days that consist of champagne brunches and all-night parties when she started on the multi-million-dollar yacht Trinity, based in South-East Asia, as a hostess, but the reality was drastically different.
Sarah told Sun Online: “My daily tasks included but were not limited to, all food and beverages services, all housekeeping including making up the guest rooms, guest and crew laundry, linen and turn down service, accounts, stock control and provisioning.”
She continued, “Basically, imagine a 164-foot yacht, which contains six crew bedrooms, crew mess, galley, seven guest bedrooms, eight guest bathrooms, main saloon, dining room, front lounge and bridge. All of which myself and two stewardesses are responsible for keeping clean 24/7 while doing all of the food and beverage service and at times containing as much as 11 crew and 16 guests. It was intense.”
Begbie worked between 16 and 18 hours a day and when she was not working for those few short hours she would be in her quarters that she claimed were “smaller than a jail cell.” She said: “I earned probably just over £2,500 per month. This was, however, tax-free money and I of course had no living expenses.”
She mentioned the boat she worked on was privately owned which meant she didn’t receive tips. Begbie says, However, having mixed and worked with a lot of different crew, I heard a lot of stories of amazing tips — of people working in the Mediterranean receiving as much as £5,500 for a week-long charter.”
Although the job wasn’t exactly what she predicted, there were some perks that came with working on the vessel. Sarah received an Armani watch on one birthday and was treated to a lavish dinner by the yacht’s owners which provided her an insight into how the wealthy lived.
She said: “There were always plenty of young female guests on board to keep any single men occupied and these were women that looked like they had just come from the Victoria’s Secret runway.”
“Our backyard was crystal clear waters and deserted white beaches for as far as the eye could see. Although while on charter it was difficult to appreciate this, during time off and breaks it was amazing,” she added.
Former yacht workers mentioned to News.com that while there were many benefits of working on superyachts, the salary ranged widely depending on the size of the boat and the role. Captains could earn anything from £40,000 to £110,000 a year, while deckhands earned between £13,000 and £28,000.
Work on board the vessels was hard, according to former deckhand Alex, who worked for six months on a new 121-foot superyacht. He described his job as a “glorified cleaner.” His duties consisted of drying the boat every morning, removing condensation and polishing everything to a high sheen. Alex told The Sun, “When you do varnishing it’s not just one or two coats, it’s 10-12 coats.” He added, “That’s what it needs to keep it in the immaculate stage. It’s worth millions and millions of dollars so that’s what’s expected here.”
Bethany Silcox also worked on a superyacht as a stewardess for three years on several vessels owned by wealthy businessmen and Middle Eastern royalty and “often had Russian oligarchs as charter guests.” She told the Daily Mail: “Two of those were charter yachts. One cost £782,000 per week to charter and the other £31,000 per week, before provisioning and fuel.”
Although there wasn’t much time to indulge in the beautiful surroundings. “The longest day I had was 25 hours continuously on my feet and the longest stint I did at sea was 40 consecutive days without stepping foot on land,” Silcox said.