What Does an Island Caretaker Do?

Dan Cavallari

Living on a private island may seem like a lifestyle reserved exclusively for the rich and famous, but it is possible to become an island caretaker who does exactly that: lives on a private island. The island caretaker will have numerous responsibilities, however, and the work is not easy. The job can also be a solitary one, as the private island can be a lonely place when others are not inhabiting it. The caretaker's general responsibilities revolve around maintaining the grounds as well as any dwellings or structures that may be built in the space. He or she will need to prepare the island for the owner's arrival as well.

Many private islands require a caretaker who handles a number of responsibilities.
Many private islands require a caretaker who handles a number of responsibilities.

It is likely that the island caretaker will need several types of skills in various areas, from carpentry and plumbing to electrical expertise and gardening and landscaping abilities. It will fall on the caretaker to learn as much about the environment of the island as possible so gardening decisions can be made wisely. Any structures built on the island will need to be properly maintained, which may mean securing the windows and doors before a storm, repairing any damaged or malfunctioning components within the home, or even making general repairs necessary during the normal life of a structure. Very often, the island caretaker will need to do all of this with limited resources, since it may be difficult to reach stores or other retail establishments on the mainland.

While the owner of the island is present, the island caretaker will generally tend to whatever needs the owners require, in addition to normal duties the caretaker would address while alone on the island. This may mean tending to watercraft, maintaining all terrain vehicles (ATVs) managing various pieces of equipment or entertainment items the owner calls for, and various duties specific to a particular island or owner. The caretaker may also be required to have training in first aid and CPR should an emergency arise on the island, especially while visitors are present.

The island caretaker will need to have a passion for working outdoors, as many of the duties will require the caretaker to be in the hot sun for much of the day. He or she is likely to live in a caretaker's home or cabin, which can be small and sparsely furnished; the pay for the job can vary significantly, though many caretakers do not make a significant amount of money on the job.

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