Crew Life » Career & Training » Quay Crew Releases 2023 Captains Salary Survey

Quay Crew Releases 2023 Captains Salary Survey

Quay Crew has announced the release of its latest and largest HoD salary survey to date. Almost 300 captains responded across a range of yacht sizes from under 30 meters to over 100 meters.

In addition to average pay and leave, pay rises and bonus activities, the report also compares the experience of being a captain and a chief officer, ticket levels and longevity on board. It also compares the results to previous survey findings in 2020 and 2022. 

In our most detailed salary report to date, we have gained an insight into the real-time compensation captains receive, broken down by yacht size and with several other comparables too,” said Simon Ladbrooke, Captain Consultant at Quay Crew.

“A key takeaway this year is that, despite a slight decline in salaries between 2020 and 2022, the average monthly pay is now higher across all size brackets, representing a median 6.75% increase.

“Time for time rotation has also grown in popularity on all sized yachts, with the exception of yachts  under 39m which are all full time at the moment.

“By gathering chief officer experience as well as longevity on their current yacht, we can surmise that onboard promotion is on the rise. The average age that someone becomes captain is now older and the number of years of experience as chief officer is higher, suggesting the transition is also taking longer.

“This is undoubtedly down to there being more competition amongst candidates and it being more difficult to make that initial step up.

“However, almost three quarters say it took them less than six months to get their first captain role. Along with the extensive chief officer experience demonstrated in this survey, this could be largely down to onboard promotion.

Having said that, we were very surprised at this statistic as it doesn’t match at all with our experience. Often, chief officers are looking for several years before they finally get their opportunity. It’s something we definitely want to explore further in another survey.”

Top-level statistics include:   

  • Every yacht bracket has seen a salary rise since 2020 and 2022.

  • Full rotation is increasing and becoming more prevalent on sub-50m yachts, with an 11% decline overall in captains having under 59 days of leave.

  • 40% of captains receive an annual pay rise, although this is not part of their contract.

  • 38% receive a 13th-month bonus, but random and unpredictable bonuses are more common.

  • 70% of captains have Master 3000.

  • 50% of the captains who responded have over 10 years’ experience in the role and 32% were chief officers for three to years prior.

  • A third of captains have been on their current yacht for over three years.

  • Flight allowance improves with yacht size, with 49% of captains receiving business class flights as part of their package.

  • The average age at which respondents first became captain is 32.5 years old. 

The full report contains a comprehensive analysis of salaries and leave in each yacht size bracket and also compares full-time and rotational role. It also explores any correlation between experience and the type of ticket held. 

To obtain access to this salary report or QuayCrew’s previous reports for chief officers, chief stews or chief engineers please get in touch via

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