Thinking of making a change? Here’s what you need to know…

Whether you’re a seasoned crew member or a relative greenie, you might find yourself thinking about making a switch between interior and exterior departments. These two departments play distinct roles in ensuring a smooth and memorable sailing experience for guests, and making the shift can be a big decision.

In this article, we’ll go through some things to consider if you’re thinking about making the transition and what to do if you decide it’s right for you.


What’s the difference?

Yachts are complex vessels that require a diverse and highly skilled crew to operate efficiently. 

The interior department typically includes positions such as stewardesses of various levels, chefs, and housekeeping, responsible for the comfort, safety, and hospitality of the guests.

The exterior department, on the other hand, encompasses roles like deckhand, bosun, and captain, focused on navigation, maintenance, and water sports. Each department has its unique responsibilities, skill sets, and demands.


Why make the transition?

Which department you work in is personal preference, but crew members often consider transitioning between these departments for various reasons including…

Developing skills

Transitioning offers an avenue to broaden one’s skill set. For instance, a stewardess with a passion for water sports may shift to the exterior department and become a deckhand.

Career Advancement

Depending on the role you want to work towards, moving from the departments can serve as the right step on the pathway to certain leadership roles.

Personal Growth

Some individuals in the crew may be motivated by a desire to break the monotony of their daily routine. Switching departments provides a fresh perspective and new challenges.

Seasonal Variability

Yachts’ requirements can change with the seasons or the nature of charters. Transitioning between departments enables crew members to adapt to these evolving demands.


Is the change right for me?

Before you go whole hog into making a career change, try these three steps to figure out if switching things up is the right decision for you.

Self reflection

Take some time to reflect on your skills, interests and career goals to help determine if a transition aligns with your long-term objectives.

Speak to others

Discuss your thoughts with your current HOD or captain, as well as other crew members who have made similar transitions. They can offer valuable advice and insights into what to expect.

Try it out

If you’re currently working on board, you could spend time with the crew in your desired department to understand their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, to see if it’s the right fit for you.

How do I make the change?

So you’ve made the decision and you’re ready to make the change. Here is some advice on what to do next…

Get qualified

Alongside STCW Basic Training and a seafarers medical certificate such as the ENG1 which you need for all roles, you may also want to think about gaining other qualifications, such as a Food Hygiene certificate for interior crew, or other training to aid your transition.

Learn the ropes

Find out what practical skills and knowledge you will need to have to make the transition. For the exterior, this includes safety protocols, docking procedures and equipment, yacht maintenance, navigation, seamanship and literal knot tying. For the interior, think about service skills like mixology and barista skills, as well as housekeeping and laundry.


Utilise industry contacts to explore job opportunities in your desired department. Yachting associations, crew agencies, and social media can be valuable resources.

Stay Informed

Keep up to date with industry trends and regulations. Knowledge is power, and being informed will make you a more valuable crew member.

For general enquiries about recruitment or training please contact

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