‘Below Deck’ Yachties Spend Christmas on Yachts – Working

Many Below Deck yachties aren’t home with their families during Christmas, but instead most plan to work.

Several Below Deck crew members recently posted about being on charter during the holidays and some yachties shared that they simply celebrate the season whenever it works for their schedule.

‘Below Deck’ crew members share their Christmas charter plans

Chef Rachel Hargrove from Below Deck shared that she was jetting off for a last-minute charter. “I fly more than sail!” she posted only a day before Christmas Eve. “Off to cook for a charter last minute! See ya!”

Robert Westergaard, Malia White, Alex Radcliffe work on a tender on Below Deck Mediterranean
Robert Westergaard, Malia White, Alex Radcliffe work on a tender on Below Deck Mediterranean | Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo

Bosun Malia White from Below Deck Mediterranean also seems to be on charter this holiday season. She shared a throwback photo from last Christmas and posted that she’ll be having another warm holiday. “Throwback to Christmas last year…. Looks like I’ll be having a warm Christmas again this year! Where is everyone celebrating?” she captioned the photo. White’s boyfriend Jake Baker shared a video on his Instagram and it appears that he is celebrating the season with White.

Chief stew Daisy Kelliher from Below Deck Sailing Yacht is also on charter. She posted a funny video from her boat about a week ago, which is when she confirmed she’s working.

The bottom line is: “In this industry, Christmas is pretty much the one holiday you are guaranteed to be working. If your guests aren’t on board, they will be flying in,” a yacht captain told Dockwalk.

Many yachties plan to work on Christmas – but it still can be a downer

While many crew members know that working holidays away from loved ones is part of the job, it can admittedly be a bit of a letdown. “I always found it difficult being away from home for Christmas,” yachtie Ben Proctor shared on Work on a Super Yacht.

“You are likely to be in a hot climate (Caribbean or Florida) and having grown up in England, experiencing Christmas in the heat for me is not right, let alone seeing an inflatable snowman bobbing away on a Caribbean beach with temperatures of 35 degrees. It just doesn’t seem to have the same kind of magic…,” he wrote. “Then comes the fact that you are away from home and for me and the crews I worked with, no other time made you feel so far away and miss your loved ones so much.”

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“There is something about Christmas, the magic of leaving work on Christmas Eve, driving back to your family, catching up with loved ones, sharing presents and laughter and relaxing around those dear to you (and yes, watching the same episodes of Only Fools and Horses and the Queens speech.),” Proctor added.

“Christmas and New Year are very popular times for guests and owners to use their yachts, so it is often a very busy time on board – no relaxing in a beach club drinking rum punches with the crystal clear Caribbean water lapping at your feet,” he admitted.

Christmas sometimes mean bigger tips for yacht crews – and a big party

Some crew members point to the perks of working Christmas. “It isn’t a big deal to me,” one yachtie told Dockwalk. “I don’t mind working Christmas charters. The guests are generally happier and the tips are much bigger; sometimes we even get a present.”

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But other crew members experienced the opposite. One yachtie said a red flag is if the guests ask the crew to join them for Christmas dinner. “Like they knew they weren’t going to give you extra, so they assuaged their guilt by asking you to join them in eating the meal you cooked and served to them,” he said.

In some cases, crews aren’t on charter on Dec. 24 and 25 so they party instead. “It wasn’t about buying gifts or making time to see the right people; it was about having a great time with the folks who were there,” a crew member said. Different superyacht crews gather for a pot luck meal and cocktails.