Yacht Bosun Guide

Published 11/08/2023

If you’ve ever been curious about what a bosun does and their importance within the yacht’s crew, you’ve come to the right place. In the world of yacht crew we look at the responsibilities, qualifications, and day-to-day activities of a bosun.


What is a Bosun on a Yacht?

A bosun, short for boatswain, is a vital position within the crew of a yacht. The bosun serves as the senior deckhand and is responsible for overseeing the deck department’s operations. They play a crucial role in ensuring the maintenance, cleanliness, and safety of the yacht. With their experience and expertise, they help maintain the exterior appearance of the vessel and coordinate the work of other deckhands.

The bosun holds a position of authority within the crew structure and serves as a link between the captain and the deckhands. They work closely with the first mate and are responsible for executing the first mate’s instructions related to the deck department. A bosun is typically an experienced and skilled individual who has worked their way up from entry-level positions within the yachting industry.


Bosun vs First Mate

While both the bosun and the first mate are important roles within the yacht’s crew, there are distinct differences between the two positions. The first mate holds a higher-ranking position and is considered second in command after the captain. Their responsibilities extend beyond the deck department and encompass overall vessel operations, navigation, safety, and crew management.

On the other hand, the bosun focuses primarily on the deck department and works under the guidance of the first mate. They oversee the day-to-day activities of the deckhands, ensuring that tasks are completed efficiently and to the highest standards. While the first mate sets the overall direction, the bosun plays a key role in executing those plans and maintaining the yacht’s exterior.




What Does a Bosun Do on a Yacht?

As the senior deckhand, a bosun is responsible for a wide range of tasks and responsibilities on a yacht. Here are some of the key duties typically assigned to a bosun:

  • Supervising Deck Operations: The bosun oversees the deckhands and ensures that they carry out their duties effectively. They assign tasks, provide guidance, and ensure that the work is completed to the yacht’s standards.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: A bosun is responsible for the maintenance and cleanliness of the yacht’s exterior. They coordinate tasks such as washing, polishing, and painting to ensure that the yacht is always in top condition.
  • Safety and Security: The bosun plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the crew and guests. They oversee safety drills, inspect safety equipment, and maintain a safe working environment on deck. The bosun also handles security-related tasks, such as monitoring access points and implementing security measures.
  • Inventory and Supplies: The bosun keeps track of inventory related to the deck department, including supplies, tools, and spare parts. They coordinate with the chief steward/stewardess to ensure that necessary items are available when needed.
  • Tender Operations: Many yachts have tenders, which are smaller boats used for transportation and recreational activities. The bosun is often responsible for the maintenance and operation of these tenders, ensuring they are in good working order and ready for use.
  • Guest Assistance: As part of the deck department, the bosun assists with guest services when needed. They may help with water sports activities, provide information to guests, and offer general assistance during their time onboard.

These are just a few examples of the tasks and responsibilities typically assigned to a bosun. The role can vary depending on the size of the yacht and the specific requirements of the captain and first mate.


How Much Does a Bosun Make?

The bosun salary on a yacht can vary depending on several factors, including the size and type of the yacht, the level of experience, and the geographical location. Generally, the salary range for a bosun falls between USD 3,000 and USD 6,000 per month. However, it’s important to note that these figures are approximate and can vary significantly.

In addition to the base salary, bosuns may receive additional benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation, and bonuses based on performance. It’s worth mentioning that the yachting industry is known for its tips culture, and a bosun can receive a share of the gratuities from the guests, which can significantly boost their overall earnings.

It’s important to keep in mind that salaries and benefits can differ depending on the yacht’s size, reputation, and the experience level of the bosun. As with any position in the yachting industry, the compensation for a bosun is highly competitive and can be influenced by the demand for qualified professionals.