Things new SuperYacht crew need to know

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You’ve just got your first job on a Superyacht. Here are some things that are essential to know

  • Offshore banks are totally unnecessary!

    • Not many people will tell you this as offshore banks normally pay referral fees to anyone who introduces new business (ever wondered why certain Yacht crew forums recommend offshore banks and no other options?) but these are the reasons they are not necessary these days
      • They are expensive and you need to keep a minimum balance in your account to keep your account open. What’s that all about?
      • Card fees are high despite you getting a Euro card with your account
      • A lot of crew think you can use an offshore account to hide your money from the tax man. THIS IS NOT TRUE. You can’t hide anything.
      • They don’t help with your credit rating
      • Offshore banks can be detrimental when applying for a mortgage.
      • There are lots of other banks that offer better service and multi currency accounts onshore these days. Plus, most of these are free to open and use. Click here for an example.
      • Get yourself a foreign currency account that is the same currency as you get paid in. Getting paid € into a £ account costs you a FORTUNE
  • Tax:

    • Here are a few things You need to know about tax.

      • Your earnings are NOT tax free just because tax isn’t deducted from your salary.
      • You need to declare your income each year to confirm you work offshore and therefore may benefit from tax free salary.
      • Doing your tax return makes you a UK tax paying resident which brings all sorts of benefits.
      • Not doing a tax return can result in fines from HMRC
      • Click here to find out more
Note: All the above relates to UK crew. Different rules will apply to crew from other countries
  • Foreign Exchange:

    • You get paid in one currency, have a bank account in another and possibly spend in another. This can get expensive! So what do you do?
      • Always get paid into a bank account which is the same currency as your salary
      • Always have a card that can operate in multiple currencies and make sure it is set to the same currency as the country you are in.
      • Do not keep spare money in your foreign currency account. Change it and send it back home regularly. It does you no good otherwise.
      • To do all this you need a good foreign exchange company.
      • Being sensible about all of the above can save you up to £70,000 over your career.


  • Investments

    • These are the key to you being able to leave yachting when you are ready to go home. From year two of your career you should be doing all of the following;
      • Investing in buy to let property
      • Set up an ISA.
      • Look into long term investments such as pensions
      • Stocks and shares
      • Alternative investments.
    • All of these are easy to do but PLEASE make sure you do it properly. Always use regulated professionals and NOT someone who walks the dock. Get in touch to find out how our team of regulated professionals can help you.


  • Invest in Property

    • Property is the number 1 investment for Superyacht crew. Remember these pointers
      • You should be starting your property investment from year 2 of your career so get saving
      • Don’t spend too much. Most crew make the mistake of buying in the area they grew up in. Most of the time this is the wrong area and costs too much!
      • Remember, you don’t have to like the house you are buying, it is simply to make money with. You won’t ever live there, so take the emotion out of the purchase.
      • Take advice. CREWFO (among others) is here to help you get this right. You should be looking at a minimum of 5% return on investment.


  • National insurance

    • Lots of crew have no idea what they are supposed to do here.
      • In the UK paying national insurance entitles you to a state pension and NHS healthcare. If you don’t pay then theoretically you don’t get either.
      • Because you do not work in the UK or for a UK company you are not required to pay NI
      • There are a few countries whose NI (social security rules) make this complicated/ difficult. For example France and Malta. If you pay NI in the UK these problems go away
      • As a seafarer, if you complete a seafarer’s questionnaire you will be able to voluntarily pay Mariner’s Class 2 NI which is a much lower rate. See here
      • Be aware, if you work on a British (or IOM) flagged yacht you could be liable for full NI


  • Forums, Facebook groups, other crew

    • In a nutshell, don’t believe what everyone else tells you.
      • There are a lot of social media groups out there which claim to be “looking after crew best interests”.
        • A lot are genuinely decent but be aware that some of these groups are there to make money. They are not “independent”
        • The group admins will steer crew towards companies who pay them.
        • Group admins will delete posts that mention companies that don’t pay them!
        • Here’s an example. Why is standard bank the only bank that is ever mentioned in crew forums? It isn’t the only bank account out there!
      • Your fellow crew are all in similar, but possibly quite different situations. They are of course trying to help you but remember what is right for them may not be right for you.
      • Talk to someone like CREWFO who will take your information, circumstances, situation, plans into account and give you an answer that is specific to you.


  • Dock Walkers

    • Like it or not, Superyacht crew are a target. Yes, there are a lot of good, honest people out there but there are also a lot of very good thieves. Be sensible;
      • If someone knocked at your door at home trying to sell you a tax return what would you do? Yes I thought so.
      • If a guy in a bar tried to sell you an investment product would you buy it?
      • A lady stops you in the street and offers to arrange a mortgage for you. Would you say yes?

Be Sensible

Why is it that so many Superyacht Crew listen to these people? If it happened at home you would walk, or more likely run away. But, for some reason in yachting you just say “oh yes please that would be nice” to someone you have never met before. You have no idea who they are, what their experience is or how qualified they are to do what they are selling you.

This is why so many Superyacht crew can tell you a horror story about investments, mortgages, stocks and shares, offshore funds etc. BE SENSIBLE, ASK QUESTIONS. There are of course lots of great people who walk the dock every day (we’ve all done it!) but there are also even more who know how easy it is to take advantage of crew. If it doesn’t feel right don’t be too polite to walk away. After all, it’s your money.

The Superyacht industry is a great place to work and give you the perfect opportunity to save, invest make a better, more comfortable future for yourself and see the world. Make sure you do all of these things but do them sensibly.

Crew Family Office is the place to go for advice on everything financial for Superyacht Crew. We look after 1000’s of you and are helping you avoid the pitfalls so many are fall in to whilst building your savings and investments for your future after yachting.

Published on 30th October 2020 in by