Earlier this year we provided readers with a video blog of Amber Harley doing her basic safety training at Warsash Superyacht Academy. Harley, having secured a job on board a 60, superyacht, now has one season under her belt and is looking forward to her next. Here, she provides us with the realiities of what it's like to be a new crewmember starting a career in this industry.

Having completed my first season, I am now going to hit you with the reality of becoming a 'yachtie'.  I have just completed my first season without a break; and by break I mean some time off longer than two hours in the day and eight hours during the night. This is not an exaggeration. My days are generally between 14 and 18 hours long and if I finish by 9pm, it's a luxury. Weekend? I no longer know the word. Sunday night blues are a thing of the past, as is the pre-weekend Friday excitement. I no longer know what day of the week it is, let alone what month, season or often which country I'm in. The yacht is my home, my job and my life.

Harley (right) with her fellow interior crew

The work itself is varied. I have befriended a multitude of hoovers, irons and rollers, having spent many a lonely hour with them. I have cleaned multiple toilet bowls, dried many a shower, and wiped away more fingers prints than I can count. At times I have found myself cleaning some quite disgusting bathrooms.


Do I enjoy yachting? Yes. Is it hard work? Yes. Am I doing another season? Yes.



Another area that I believe is worth broaching is the longing for home and the things that I have left behind. There is a lot of stuff you will miss: leaving dos, weddings and, sadly, sometimes funerals. Time off can be difficult during off-season and is next to impossible during a season Although I'm lucky to be able to pick up the phone and call, text or Facebook any of my friends and family, it is still difficult to find the time; I'm either exhausted on a short break or my friends and family will be in bed. However, the longing for home is soon replaced by the crew. With little option, the chief stewardess and chief officer have become my parents and the rest of the crew my brothers and sisters. There is always a shoulder to cry on and someone to laugh with.




Above: Harley's shared cabin and bathroom

This leads me on to the accommodation and my cabin-mates. I share a cabin with two other girls; we have an en-suite and, having spent many nights on a 46ft yacht, I believe the rooms are perfectly comfortable in size. I spend 24 hours with my roommates.  We eat, sleep and work together. You would have thought that this might be difficult, and although there can be minute conflicts on lighting during the night and how many alarms we can set, generally speaking it works surprisingly well.

Now we come to one common preconception about superyacht crew. Not only do yachties spend a lot of time in the water with fish, they have an impressive ability to drink like them.

Do I enjoy yachting? Yes. Is it hard work? Yes. Am I doing another season? Yes.

Having read this so far you may wonder why I am continuing into the Caribbean for the winter season and I sometimes question it myself. However, yachting is an experience; an amazing, terrifying, exciting and exhausting experience. If you are looking for sun sand and tropical beaches you may need to re-think. If you are looking for sailing – true yachting, with the breeze in your hair and the salt on your skin – again, you’re more likely to be looking for a holiday. If you are looking to wake to the sound of the anchor chain grinding against the pulley, the deep sound of the engine thudding below you and some air-con-recycled air, then yachting most definitely is for you.

On a more positive note, you get to travel to some incredible places. Furthermore, you work in beautiful, stunning conditions with incredible people. All I would say is, don't be blinded by the Champagne. Behind the luxuries there is a very dirty bathroom waiting to be cleaned by you.