Life on the open sea is great for the millionaires who can afford to spend months traveling the world and partying on their superyachts. But the same can't always be said for the people who live below deck, and are paid to look after them.
The lucky ones could get tipped with a brand new Cartier watch, a $75,000 diamond bracelet or an all-expenses-paid weekend break in New York by the superyacht owners. But others are woken up in the early hours of the morning by their filthy rich bosses who fancy a massage — and some miss family weddings and funerals as a result of their long and grueling contracts.
While these deckhands earn around $5,250 per month tax-free — plus tips and no living costs — the price they pay for traveling the world and earning big money isn't always worth it.
Sun Online spoke to Bosun Conrad Empson, 24, and Chief Stewardess Brooke Laughton, 27, who both starred in the reality series "Below Deck," to find out what working on a superyacht is really like.
"I've been tipped $15K but was asked to join a male boss in his hot tub"
Brooke Laughton, 27, is a stewardess from Manchester, England.
“When I was a little girl, I [spent vacations] on luxury yachts with my family around the Caribbean," Laughton said. "But working on them is definitely different from how I thought it’d be. The movies glamorize superyachts, but you’re really just working crazy hours — sometimes for not very nice people.
"All owners are different, so when you start working on a new boat you never know what to expect. These are extremely rich people, and some are absolute a------s who are demanding and rude. Others appreciate what they’ve got and treat you like family.
"I had one lovely owner who flew us stewardesses — four in total — to New York for a long weekend, all paid for, taking us to amazing restaurants and [inviting] us to their family barbecues. Another time I worked for a family for a year-and-a-half and they didn’t even know my name.
"On one charter, I was tipped [over $19,000] for one week, and one girl I know was given a yellow diamond bracelet worth [over $75,000]. But there was another time a family gave me a cheap key ring as a tip after a season.
"Girls do feel pressure to please their bosses — I was once asked to join a male boss in his hot tub. I felt uncomfortable so I said I was working and it wasn’t very professional.
"The owners also want their crew to be glamorous and well put-together at all times – manicured nails, no chipped polish, lipstick, immaculate hair. But it’s hard to maintain this when you’re working all the time and hardly have time to sleep."