So you caught a glimpse of a beautiful yacht sitting in the harbor and saw the crew hard at work serving guests and keeping the vessel in Bristol shape? Quietly you said to yourself… “that seems like an awesome job, how do I throw my hat in the ring for that job and become a real Yachtie?!”
Fear not, I’m here to help guide you through the process of getting your first crew job and donning the official title of Yachtie. But please be warned there are hazards associated with working crew on a yacht:
- You may have feelings of euphoria and will never look at a traditional 9-5 in the same light
- Your tan will definitely be the envy of all your friends
- Your passport will rack up some unique stamps along the way
- Most importantly, at the end of the day, you’ll have a blast doing what you do for a living
Once you hop onboard and go down the path to becoming a yachtie it becomes much more than a job, its a lifestyle. You spend your days on the water, in the sun, smelling the crisp salt air, not adhering to a traditional schedule. There’s nothing better and the longer you stay in the game the harder it becomes to give up the life.
Now that you’ve been properly warned about the side effects of becoming a yachtie. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of what it actually takes to hop on one of these beauties and care for her. For starters, take a mental note of what kind of boating skills you have. Are you a complete newbie having never washed one and have only gone out for the occasional sunset cruise on a friends boat? Or are you a seasoned salt ready to tackle anything Mother Nature or the yacht throws at you.
What does a Yachties typical day consist of?
Before I give you the requirements for landing your first gig on a mega or superyacht, why don’t we take a look into the daily life of a yachtie and see if you’re up for the task. You start your day off by getting up before your owners or guest, which in some cases is pretty early. So if you’re not a morning person the yacht crew life may not be the life for you. Then you hit the decks and chamois dry the whole boat. Be sure to remove fingerprints off of the stainless and make sure those windows look crisp! Then you take all the covers off of the cushions and make sure the boat is ready for your owners to enjoy.
After you get the boat squared away then you can grab some food for yourself. By this time the owners are usually stirring and ready to enjoy an action-packed day onboard. Usually, they’ll take it easy during the mornings. Then they’ll want to leave the dock, go for a slow cruise then throw the hook. Be sure to put every toy in the water including skis and tubes and have dinner on the hook. After you’ve watched another beautiful sunset its time to head back to the dock. From there your guests will continue to enjoy some drinks and some quality time onboard.
Finally, they decide to call it a night. You cover the boat up and crash yourself. Then in the morning rinse and repeat. Eat, sleep, yacht, repeat.
Now that you have a gist of the daily grind, what background do you need to hop onboard your first gig?
1. Hone Your Deckhand Skills
First, I would start getting some basic skills down pat, if you have none. Learn how to properly wash and care for the aesthetics of a boat. See if any local detailing companies are looking for an extra set of hands for their weekly care customers.
2. Search For Day Work
After you’ve got washing, and chamois’ing down pat, lets log some sea time. If you have friends who are day captains see if they are looking for a mate. Chances are they need a good, reliable mate.
Do some trips with them, you’ll develop a good rhythm of what it takes to get various size boats on and off the dock. It racks up those coveted days on the water so you can earn your ticket down the road.
Honestly, I love day work, moving different boats around for dealers, its a chance to experience so many different systems and trips and not the same routine like being full-time.
3. Get Your Certifications
After all of this, do you still have burning desire to embrace the yachtie lifestyle? I hope so…
Now its time to hit the classroom. In order to crew on a larger yacht at a minimum, you need your STCW 95. Which stands for, Standards of Training, Certification, and Watch-keeping for Seafarers.
The course consists of 5 elements and will take 5 days to complete. In order to successfully obtain it, you need to complete all five elements.
- Personal Survival
- Fire Fighting
- First Aid & CPR
- Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
- Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA)
Like anything else, this certification helps to show captains, and owners you mean business and aren’t trying to just hop on cause its “cool” to work on a boat.
4. Grow Your Network
After you received your certification, its time to start networking. The best opportunities within my boating career have come through my network, time and time again. If you took my advice above about working for someone cleaning boats or hopping on a delivery or two chances are you’ve met some key players in the game. But remember that day work is also good for something else, building references. Any captain and owner is going to want to make a few phone calls to get a feel for you.
While building your network up of captains, deckhands, brokers and anyone else who can help you accomplish your goal of landing your first gig on a yacht, you need to work on your resumé.
5. Craft The Perfect Resumé
Your resumé needs to paint a picture of who you are. Illustrate how energetic you, that you’re a team player ( a must considering you’re putting your life in the hands of those you sail with, things can happen in a split second on the high seas.) Make sure to get a nice headshot, that’s an industry standard to attach to your resumé.
Think long and hard about what truly sets you apart from everyone else vying to become a yachtie. What makes you memorable next the other persons application in the pile? This will help you to get captains to pick up the phone to speak with you, without knowing you personally.
6. Work With A Crew Placement Agency
Once you’ve dialed in your resumé and you’re ready to fire it off but where do you send it? A job board? Hang it at a marina?
Your best bet would be to register with a superyacht crew agency. There are a variety of ways you can go about this. Do a google search for an agency and you will yield a bunch of good results to inquire with.
Another way would be to do some research into large brokerage houses. They typically have a crew division, helping to place crew with newly sold boats or signup with larger boats to help place when someone leaves a boat.
Those are the two best avenues to help get your phone to ring. But like anything else don’t just wait for the phone to ring. Stay in touch with your placement agent be top of mind so when their phone rings with an opportunity it’s your number they dial first!
Be proactive and keep in touch is some of the best advice I can give, being in the right place at the right time will be the difference a lot of the time from getting landing that yachtie gig and it going to someone else. Talk to the captain who you helped with day work, your broker friends, you never know they could have just hung up with someone looking for crew!
To Sum It All Up
Lastly, while you’re waiting to land that first full-time yachtie opportunity, keep doing day work. It is the most valuable way to hone your skills before you hop onboard a larger yacht and will give you the confidence to excel in your newfound career… I mean way of life.
So go out there and make your dream a reality and get lost in the yachtie culture, you won’t regret it. You already took the first step and researched how to get your foot in the door.
If you need some help figuring out how to get started if you’re still struggling feel free to reach out.