Have you always dreamed of working as a superyacht nanny? Or are you considering dipping your toes into what is a highly complex yet rewarding role on board? Then let us introduce you to Ella Peters.
Boasting years of experience working as a superyacht nanny, Ellie has supported families all over the world on board sailing yachts and motor yachts, working with little ones to keep them happy, safe and entertained.
Bringing all her knowledge together through the recently launched SuperyachtNanny.co, her aim is to help and support those already working in, or looking to explore this niche role in yachting.
Here Ella shares her thoughts on some of the most popular questions she’s asked about onboard childcare.
What does the role of a superyacht nanny involve?
Superyacht nanny roles cover the entertainment and safeguarding of children on board. Nannies accompany the family on excursions, entertain the children in the water and are responsible for children’s wardrobe management and bedtime routines along with a host of other duties. The yacht chefs prepare all children’s food, and that for the nanny. Steward/esses take care of service and housekeeping, but the nanny should always pick up after the children, keep her cabin tidy, and a little housekeeping support is always appreciated by the stews.
What is the most exciting part of the job?
I personally love the variety the role offers, from private jet travel to the yacht, taking little ones for Italian gelato and winding down with a bedtime story after a laugh-filled day in the sunshine are just beautiful experiences to be involved in.
What is most challenging aspect of the role?
When working with children, safety is paramount – and this is never more true than when on board a yacht. That said, being there without being too present is an art form you quickly develop, although it isn’t always that easy when working in confined spaces.
Parents want to know their children are safe and being entertained, and you quickly get to gauge how much involvement the children are expected to have with parents and guests during the day. But don’t worry, as this is a skill that develops with experience.
The role also means that you are not part of the crew, but you’re not a guest either so it often takes some juggling to get the dynamics right. But always remember that keeping the crew on side makes a huge difference to everybody’s overall experience.
Are nannies expected to wear crew uniform?
This differs from yacht to yacht. Some roles require yacht uniform to be worn at all times, while on other jobs it’s only required while on board and you’re able to wear your own personal (but always professionally appropriate) clothes for trips ashore.
Some families prefer the nanny not to wear uniform at all, and instead wear personal clothes. If you are unsure what to wear, ask the PA, chief stew or whoever you are most in contact with, but linen shirts and shorts of appropriate length, quick-to-put on sandals and a modest swimming costume always come with me. You can never be too prepared and guest preferences can change.
Where do you sleep while on board?
This is another situation which depends on the family needs, preferences and where there is actually a spare bed! Often the role can require the nanny to share a cabin with the child they are looking after, sometimes you have your own guest cabin, or you may be expected to share a crew cabin. It’s always helpful to ask what is expected prior to accepting the role, as this can hugely impact on the dynamics of the job.
How do you handle water safety situations? Do you need to be a good swimmer?
As safety on board is paramount - especially with little ones - being confident in the water is typically required and a big part of the role. That said, the crew is also there to support with water sports and on safety matters, so don’t be afraid to ask for their support.
Are you on board full time or are the roles on a freelance basis?
The majority of nannying roles are freelance. Permanent stew-nanny jobs do exist, but these are rather few and far between. There are ‘nanny only’ positions, and these are even less common. As to be expected, the vast majority of freelance positions are aligned with school holidays.
Do you plan activities or just go with the flow of what the interior crew have prepared?
I’m a stickler for being prepared. I always try to plan a few steps ahead to ensure I am not left in a tricky situation that can impact on the day or the parents’ plans. For example, if you think the family will stop at the beach for a dip after their planned ice cream excursion, play it safe and take swim wear and towels.
The interior crew often plan special evenings and other events throughout the trip, so speak with them ahead of time and work as a team to create the most memorable experiences for all guests.
And the best part of the job?
I absolutely love working with children, and the nature of super yachting means each experience is very different from the last. As a nanny you get to experience and see amazing locations around the world, and also play an integral role in the smooth running of the family’s holiday. Being a part of making summer memories is such a special feeling and I am honoured to be a part of the family’s time on board.