TYS Recruitment

How to Ask for a Pay Rise

The average yachting crew salary is significantly higher compared to those of shore-based positions, especially when you factor in that crew members often don’t pay for rent, food, toiletries, and in some cases, tax. These high wages reflect the demanding nature of the job, the long hours, personal and social sacrifices, and the uncertainty of when you’ll have a day off.  

With that being said, as your experience increases, so should your salary. While some people find discussing money and asking for a pay rise comes naturally to them, for others, it can be a daunting and tricky task to navigate.  

As the age-old saying goes: if you don’t ask, you don’t get it. Here are some helpful tips to assist you in the task of asking for a pay rise: 


1. PERFORMANCE: Why Do You Deserve This Pay Rise?

It is crucial to understand and believe in the reasons why you think you deserve a pay rise. As a crew member, you cannot simply ask for an increase without justification. Remember that you signed an employment agreement in which you consented to the agreed-upon pay, so reflect on the changes since you signed your agreement. Have you shown exceptional loyalty by spending a significant time onboard? Have you received positive feedback from the crew and guests for going above and beyond? Do you play a crucial role in the smooth running of the vessel? Highlight these factors, and truly believe in them to make a strong case for why you deserve a change in salary.  

2. TIMING – Pick the Right Moment to Speak to Your Captain/HOD. 

Carefully choose an appropriate time to request a private meeting with your Captain/HOD. Aim to approach the Captain/HOD on a day when they aren’t visibly overwhelmed with responsibilities, such as, for example, during a sea trial or a Flag State audit. Selecting a less stressful day will help ensure that your discussion remains productive and focused. Remember to keep this meeting within office hours, while it may seem easier to bring up the topic after a drink on a drop-off day in a relaxed environment, it is important to rather keep the conversation professional.

3. INDUSTRY STANDARD: Research Typical Pay for Your Position. 

It is essential to research the typical salary range for your position within the yachting industry. Start by looking at salary guides and industry supports specific to your position. Websites, forums, and professional associations often publish annual salary surveys that can give you a clear picture of realistic expectations. Additionally, reaching out to colleagues and friends who have similar experiences and are open to a conversation can provide incredible insight into current salary trends. 

4. REMAIN PROFESSIONAL: Keep Your Personal Reasons Out of It 

A higher salary should be based on merit and the value you bring to the team, not on personal circumstances such as having a new baby or taking out a mortgage. Highlight specific ways that you have contributed to the vessel’s success, as using common sense and clear reasoning will help to ensure that your request is taken seriously and treated with respect.  

We typically aren’t fans of ‘Do Nots”, but when it comes to discussing something as sensitive as money, there are a few crucial “Do Nots” to keep in mind:

1. DO NOT: Compare Your Performance to Others

Avoid comparing your performance to that of others within your department or on your vessel. This can create unnecessary tension and may reflect poorly on your character. Instead, focus on highlighting your achievements and contributions and emphasize how your work has positively impacted the vessel and those within your team. Remember to be kind and considerate, you never know what challenges your colleagues may be facing. 

2. DO NOT: Make Empty Threats 

There is an abundance of experienced crew members looking for their next position, as well as less experienced individuals who are eager to be trained. Saying that you will leave if you don’t get a pay rise is not a constructive approach. Instead, be open to reasoning and constructive feedback you may receive in response to your request. If you are genuinely considering other opportunities, explore them professionally. Threatening to leave can damage your relationship with the captain and other crew members and undermine the professionalism of your request. 


If you find this topic or topics related to money in general rather daunting, then consider reading Chris Voss’s book, ‘Never Split the Difference’. Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator who provides valuable insights and techniques that can boost your confidence and improve your negotiation skills, and he offers practical advice on how to communicate and advocate for yourself in high-stakes situations effectively. If nothing else it provides great discussion over lunch in the crew mess!  

Remember, navigating conversations about a pay rise can be challenging but with thorough preparation, confidence in yourself, and a professional approach, you can increase your chances of a positive outcome Focus on your achievements and contributions and stay open to feedback. Good luck!

Chloe Leo

Chloe Leo

Originally from South Africa, Chloe began her yachting career in 2018 after completing her Economics degree. After five adventurous years at sea, she has now traded the sea for land, calling Palma home. Chloe’s passion for the industry and excellent people skills shine through in all her interactions and creates a perfect blend of professionalism and relatability. Beyond work, Chloe loves outdoor activities especially golf and cycling, and she loves paying tribute to her passion for travelling.

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