- Emery Wallerich, 24, is a yacht stewardess based in South Florida.
- She started the job right out of college and fell in love with it and the travel immediately.
- Here’s what she says working on a private yacht is like, as told to writer Sarah Prager.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Emery Wallerich, a 24-year-old yacht stewardess based in Florida, about her job. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I first heard about yacht stewardesses while I was on a trip home in Tacoma, Washington, during my last year of college. A woman who worked as a chief stewardess on a super yacht was staying in my parents’ rental property, and as soon as my mom heard what her job was she said, “Do not tell my kids about this. They’ll do it in a heartbeat.”
My mom was right. I got the details from the woman, graduated, moved to Florida, and at the age of 22 started my career as a yacht stewardess.
My mom was worried that I’d never visit home since I’d be living on a boat in different countries, but she made me promise I’d visit every few months and very quickly came around after one of my first employers let her visit me and come aboard the yacht.
I’m currently working for a family in a private, permanent job on a three-level, 141-foot yacht based out of South Florida, though we’re currently sailing around the Caribbean. I’ve also had temporary jobs on other yachts that lasted between three weeks and six months.
I’m the second stewardess on board, working with the chief stewardess and third stewardess
Along with the chef, we make up the staff taking care of the yacht’s interior. I make the beds, serve meals and drinks, bring out sunscreen and towels, wipe down showers, vacuum rooms, run karaoke night — just generally make sure the family and their guests have a tidy yacht and are taken care of at all times.
The three “stews” take shifts and stagger days off. I cover the late shift and go to bed when the family does (maybe 1 or 2 a.m.) and get up eight hours later. I take a two-hour break after running lunch service and then help the chief stewardess run dinner service.
When I’m on, I try to be nearby and available to the family without crowding them. If they have to go looking for me to ask me for something, I’m not doing my job.
There’s also the exterior crew on board: the chief officer, the captain, the deck hand, the bosun (the deck hand’s boss), and the engineer. They keep the outside of the yacht clean, bring the family to the beach or on a trip into town on a smaller boat called a tender, and bring them water toys to hang out in the water off the yacht. The staff all uses radios to communicate with each other constantly.
The pay varies on each charter, but I typically make around $4,200 to $5,000 per month, and I put about half of it into savings and investing
I’m able to save so much since my housing, food, and even toiletries are completely provided for by my job. I’ve already moved up in salary in my first couple of years. A chief stewardess, the highest level and most experienced of the stewardesses, can easily make $100,000 per year.
I started a TikTok account two and a half years ago to share my love of yachting with other people and it’s grown to more than 337,000 followers. I do receive small payments from the TikTok Creator Fund for views on my videos, but I see the app less as an income stream and more as a way to put my degree in digital communications to good use and show that life on a yacht isn’t all drama like the reality show “Below Deck” makes it seem.
While the financial side is great, my favorite part of the job is the travel
I’ve been to six or seven countries on yacht jobs already, and the family I currently work for is planning to go around the Caribbean, Atlantic, and Mediterranean this year. I also love meeting and working with crew members from different cultures, countries, and backgrounds — the chef on my current yacht is from Italy.
If it sounds like a dream job, it is. I’m grateful that my mom wasn’t able to stop that stewardess from telling me about it back home and that it turned out to be the perfect fit for me. Next stop: the British Virgin Islands.