Careers advice

What yacht jobs exist in Aotearoa New Zealand?

These yacht jobs are bound to float your boat.

Last updated: 27 March 2024

There’s an often-quoted statistic that there are more boats per capita in Aotearoa than anywhere else in the world. While we can’t verify that statement for you, it’s fair to say that we’re a pretty boat-obsessed nation.

From fishing to diving to just cruising around, many of us head out onto the water any time the weather will let us.

But what if you want to take your love of boats beyond a hobby and turn it into a profession? Well, jobs in the yachting industry are one of the most common ways to do this, and there are a wide range of professions that come under this broad banner. Here are just a few.

7 yacht jobs you’ll find in Aotearoa

1. Skippering

Okay, we’ll start with the obvious one. No yacht is getting very far without a skipper, and not everyone who owns a yacht is qualified or equipped to pilot it.

While it’s fair to say that skippering opportunities on yachts are few and far between, Aotearoa is a favoured destination for superyacht owners, meaning that qualified professionals with knowledge of our often unpredictable waters can be highly sought after. Of course, there are also opportunities to learn your craft here and take these skills overseas, which many Kiwi choose to


Although skippering comes with substantial responsibilities, there’s also a lot to love about these roles. Often well paid, you’ll also be in charge of the vessel, and have the opportunity to see some amazing places to boot!

It takes a while to get there, but are there many better jobs than skippering yachts?

2. Deckhand

The vast majority of professional yacht skippers will have started out in their careers as deckhands, and then worked their way up the ladder, to bosun and then eventually to captain.

As a deckhand on a yacht, your responsibilities will be the safe, efficient and smooth running of the vessel, taking your orders from the captain and/or bosun. You’ll be involved in important manoeuvres such as anchoring and docking, and you’ll also be expected to keep all equipment in good working order.

If you’re working on a commercial yacht with paying passengers, you’ll also help facilitate the experiences and excursions they’ll have booked as part of the package.

3. Stewards

In many ways, commercial yachts and private superyachts are like very fancy floating hotels, which means there are plenty of jobs that will keep hospitality staff busy. From serving food and drinks to tidying and cleaning guests’ rooms as well as common spaces, there’s never a dull moment for the hospo crew in the yachting industry.

4. Chefs

Of course, someone has to prepare the food that the stewards will be serving up, so there’s demand for chefs within the yachting industry.

Given the status of the clientele who can typically afford to either own a yacht or holiday aboard one, cheffing in such environments is rarely an entry level position. You’ll usually be serving at least three meals, plus snacks, a day, and you’ll have the added pressure of working in an often confined environment with only the resources that are onboard. This means that careful planning will be required, particularly if the yacht is away from port for some time.

Want to take your culinary skills to the high seas?

5. Engineers

A technical malfunction can not only ruin a punter’s yachting experience, but it can also put the lives of those aboard in danger if the boat is a long way from shore. This means it’s quite common for large superyachts and commercial yachts to employ an engineer as part of their crew.

As well as any day-to-day maintenance of the equipment and structure of the boat, marine engineers will be expected to rise to the occasion in an emergency situation in order to put things right. This means that the ability to work under pressure, as well as the technical skills, will be a core requirement of this yachting job.

6. Boat builders

If you love boats, but perhaps don’t want to spend your entire working life aboard one, working as a boat builder could be a great option. Of course, this is a highly specialised profession which will require substantial training (you’ll need to do an apprenticeship), but it can be a highly rewarding and lucrative career choice.

One of the beauties of this career path is that, in time, you’ll have the option to be self-employed, taking on the projects that interest you most.

7. Boat interior designers

If designing the vessel as a whole doesn’t float your boat (sorry!) you’ll also find jobs dedicated to yacht interior design. As well as the aesthetic element, every aspect of a boat’s interior needs to be carefully considered with regards to its impact on stability and weight.

Given the luxurious nature of commercial yachts and private super yachts, these can be awesome opportunities for interior designers to flex their creative muscles in a unique environment.

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Al Hall
Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.