How to become a skipper
So you want to be a yacht skipper?
Many yachting graduates choose to start their careers on smaller yachts where they have the opportunity to refine their sailing skills and develop a great reputation. Being a Flotilla Skipper, Charter Skipper or Delivery Skipper is a great way to start working afloat in an industry you love.
A skipper is a person who has command of a boat or watercraft and is more or less equivalent to a captain in charge of a ship. The skipper may or may not be the owner of the boat.
There are a number of types of different roles including flotilla, charter and delivery skippers.
What does a Flotilla Skipper do?
A flotilla skipper is responsible for the running, sailing, maintenance and guest care of a yacht forming part of a holiday flotilla or sometimes the entire group of up to 20 yachts, which form the flotilla.
Flotilla holiday companies often operate in the Mediterranean, you can earn anything between €100 – €250 per week (depending on operator) but can also earn some reasonable tips.
Working as a flotilla skipper is a great way to build on your miles.
You will need to be an outgoing and friendly personality who can accommodate guests at all times. You will need to be organised and efficient to cover all admin and paperwork as well as deliver safety and technical briefings, conduct general maintenance and assist guests with sailing.
How much does a Flotilla Skipper earn?
Flotilla holidays companies often operate in the Mediterranean, you can earn anything between €100 – €250 per week (depending on operator) but can also earn reasonable tips.
What does a Charter Skipper do?
A Charter Skipper manages and captains a yacht that has been hired out to paying guests. This role typically involves taking command of 35 – 60ft yachts (catamarans are particularly popular) operating in the Mediterranean or Caribbean.
You will have a busy schedule with a high turnover of guests during the season that will want to pack a lot into their 1 or 2-week holiday.
You will need to be an outgoing and friendly personality who is committed to providing the highest level of customer service.
A hard-working attitude is required, as you will be responsible for all aspects of the charter operation from maintenance and passage planning to the general management of the yacht.
What does a Delivery Skipper do?
A delivery skipper is responsible for the safe journey of a yacht to its new owner or meeting the owner of the boat at a particular destination.
You are your own boss when working as a Delivery Skipper, you don’t have the responsibility of guests but it is up to you to make sure that the boat gets there safely and on time.
Delivery skippers usually work on a freelance basis or for an agency, either way, both will be looking for skilled sailors so your level of qualification and experience on the water will determine how much work you will pick up.
You will need to be a determined and reliable person with a good work ethic. Taking on this type of role means that you will have the benefit of a flexible lifestyle, you could be working for long periods of time followed by long periods of time at home, this role could also take you to any part of the world.
How much will I earn as a delivery Skipper?
Your travel and food expenses will be paid for while on a delivery, freelance delivery skippers often negotiate their own wage but on average you could expect to be paid between £100 – £140 per day. As a newly qualified Yachtmaster, you will need to build on your miles and experience before taking on the role of skipper.
You can do this by joining a delivery as a crew member (often unpaid).