Lie detector tests were mandatory – A superyacht captain who worked for Russians reveals the quirks of sea-faring billionaires – From deploying sonic weapons that emit pain rays to seeing crew scrub decks in Armani cashmere jumpers, he has seen it all.

Screen from Bravo TV’s show Below Deck. (Image used for representation only)


A superyacht, by definition, is a luxury yacht that is professionally crewed and has a loadline length of 78 feet and above. It is no secret these excellent vessels are the epitome of luxury and the ultimate status symbol. Costing millions to make and then maintain, life on these megayachts is an entirely different world driven as much by moolah as motors.

Yachts have always been the ultimate status symbols for the rich and famous. (Image used for representation only). Via – Instagram / Rich Russian kids.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has unfurled the affluent lifestyle of billionaires, and their superyachts play a crucial role in them having a good time. Business Insider shared the experience of a superyacht captain who worked for wealthy Russians. The megayacht captain shared some very intriguing details that will leave you amazed.

Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse yacht docked in Bermuda – Via – Charterworld.com

The exciting stories amassed result from spending 15 years at sea and working for wealthy Russians. The first thing the captain points out is how most ultra-rich individuals are also ultra-secretive. No matter where they sail, the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, the owners dont like to make a splash.

The Eclipse megayacht has a crew of 70. Via – Charterworld.com

What happens on a yacht stays on a yacht, which is ensured with the help of non-disclosure agreements ensuring absolute discretion from well-paid staff. At times, the captain shared, it can go as far as the employees taking a lie detector test to prove they were upholding their vows of secrecy.

The mastersuite of Alaiya yacht. Via – Winch design.

“They’re operated in a super-secretive way so they can use them and deflect attention from the ownership,” the captain said. It sounds far-fetched, but that’s how the owners prefer it and ensure it. Sharing business documents, photographs, and even drawings of the superyachts, everything is just prohibited. It is a small price for some to pay in exchange for a life of sun, sea, and high pay.

The outdoor cinema lounge of Alisher Usmanov’s yacht Alaiya. Via Lurssen

The Guardian was shown some of these actual yacht employment contracts that stated posting photographs of the yacht on social media could be a firing offense, and talking to the media is strictly banned. Another contract shows employees must consent to polygraph lie detector tests if required. Another industry insider shared with Business Insider why it was not alarming to spot crew scrubbing decks dressed in Armani cashmere jumpers.

Yachts have always been a favorite of Russian billionaires. (Image used for representation only). Via – Instagram / Rich Russian kids.

The anonymous worker with 20 years in the superyacht business told the tale of a superyacht owner “who, much like the great tennis player Ivan Lendl, never wears the same shirt twice.” The wealthy owner didn’t believe in repeating his expensive designer clothes. The employees were instructed to throw them away after being worn just once. The wealthy yacht owner didn’t comprehend the need for a wardrobe in his beautiful suite as his mantra was, ‘I buy it, I wear it, and I throw it away.’ Clearly, storing, organizing, and repeating is meant for mortals with shallow pockets, aka crew members. On second thought, the pockets of crew members are not that superficial after all.

The living area of the Alaiya megayacht. Via – Winch Design.

Even junior deckhands with little experience pocket $2700 a month with room and board included. As far as Senior crew members are concerned, prized chefs have been known to earn $27,000 a month. Captains of superyachts that flaunt staff of 80 and more can earn as much as $40,000 a month. With such handsome salaries, keeping mum about the adventures of your workplace is not a very burdensome price to pay.

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