Can I still get work on a Superyacht with a tattoo?
As an online superyacht crew recruitment platform, we often get asked if tattoos are a barrier to getting work onboard a luxury vessel?
Like most walks of life, superyacht owners come from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life themselves. So I strongly believe there will always be a yacht for every type of yachtie. Owners who like tattoos, owners who don't and those who are completely indifferent either way! What I would say though, is that visible tattoos can reduce the number of roles you might be successful in applying for, due to the fact that some boats have a no visible tattoo policy.
The superyacht industry is renowned for being particular, to say the least. It’s a popular career choice, so there’s lots of competition for jobs and employers want only the most committed, hard-working crew members. Crew who will fit in with the ethos of delivering an exceptional standard of service, take instruction, learn quickly and fit in with the team.
So although the answer is YES you can get work on a Superyacht if you’ve got a tattoo. There is a rather large BUT ... landing that superyacht gig you really want will depend on where, what and how large your tattoo is?
With tattoos becoming more and more popular, superyacht captains and recruiters have become more relaxed, they’ve had to. They’re very aware they could be missing out on a fabulous stewardess, deckhand, engineer, paddleboard instructor or chef if they say no to tattoos, but likewise they do have to be mindful of the owner’s preferences and those of his/her guests and the sensitivities of charter guests. After all, superyacht jobs are pretty much all customer facing, so it goes without saying that any offensive tattoos or big facial tattoos might hinder your chances of getting work if there's a chance the guests might be offended in any way.
If yours is a small or discreet tattoo you got whilst on holiday or on a gap year, that you can easily cover up if you're asked to, then you should have nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, if your tattoo is large or visible either below the line of your t-shirt sleeve, above your collar line or below the knee, some yachts might discount you. It’s very subjective. The final decision depends very much on the captain and owner. I’d suggest the type, size and location of the tattoo is so subjective you might even be asked to send in a picture of it, along with your application just to check it’s acceptable.
Saying that, we’ve had many, many crew with tattoos, make successful applications for jobs onboard superyachts over the years and then go on to forge fabulous careers in the superyacht industry. Some of them even getting more tattoos whilst overseas, travelling from country to country.
One department that does seem to avoid as much scrutiny is the engine room. Mainly because many engineer roles are not client facing. For those with tattoos who wish to cover them up there are so many products out there. From skin colour arm wraps to cover up paints. One thing I would say though is that you should always be honest on your profile and CV. The best way to start a new role badly is to have to explain that you do have a visible tattoo on day 1 when you stated otherwise on your CV. You can always write that you can use cover up products when on charter. This seems to be much more common then when I started in the industry 10 years ago.
What superyacht recruiters are really on the lookout for, are qualified crew with a positive, can-do approach to work and an enthusiasm to hard graft. As long as you’ve ticked those boxes and you're honest about your tattoos, you shouldn’t have any problems finding work on board a luxury superyacht.
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