Landing your first job in the superyacht industry is harder than ever today with every junior job post receiving 100s of applications world wide.
Below are some simple hints that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Keep in mind that you are applying for a professional job, working for some of the most high profile people on the planet and that each boat, captain, owner and crew are unique in their needs and preferences. Stay positive! There will be a lot of setbacks and a lot of people saying no at first. Don't expect jobs to come to you. Get out there and meet crew, captains and agents. Network, network, network.
Thinking that you are applying for a paid holiday is a mistake and you will likely fail with this mentality. You are going to be working long hours and be given the worst jobs on board. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself in to before spending you hard earned money on courses.
1. Basic Certificates:
These are prerequisites for most super-yachts:
1. STCW 2010 Basic Safety Training
2. ENG 1 (or equivalent seafarer medical certificate)
3. Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (required on most ISM and ISPS compliant superyachts)
4. Yacht Master Offshore (just a suggestion as is required for most deckhands/lead deckhands & bosuns on the larger yachts).
2. Personal Documents:
o Make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity and sufficient blank pages.
o Make sure you have the correct visas in place and know when they expire.
Yachts are now travelling to destinations all over the world. However, if you are looking for your first job, the following locations are recommended to set up base while you job hunt and network.
1. Palma de Mallorca, Spain. April - November (yachts are here all year round doing refits)
2. Antibes, France. April - November
3. Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA. October - May
4. Newport, RI, USA. April - November (yachts are here all year round doing refits)
5. Antigua, West Indies. October - April
6. Auckland, New Zealand. October - April (yachts are here all year round doing refits)
Dock-walking involves going to the marinas and ports and asking the crew on the yachts if they have any day-work available or if they are seeking new crew.
This is still by far the best way to land a job even if it's just day-work.
Stand out from the crowd!
Networking with yacht crew in your area is a great way to find work. Remember, you are always representing yourself which includes your actions outside the marinas.
Keep in mind that first impressions count, so always be polite and professional, be prepared that some crew may not be as polite and professional to you. A lot of crew tend to forget
(sometimes on purpose) what it feels like to be on the other side of the gangway which is a shame.
Take copies of your CV. If they don't have work, you can at least pass on your CV
should something become available later.
Be on the dock before 0800, which is when most of the yachts are raising their ensigns on the stern.
Do not ask to speak with the captain, simply talk to the first crew member you can find.
Take pride in your appearance. ie. be clean shaven, have neat hair, tidy clothes etc. Crew will be wondering if you have what it takes to interact with high profile guests.
Be prepared to start work straight away and make sure you have clothes with you that you can work in. Always have your I.D on you.
Do not pester the same yachts each day. If they have your CV and you made a good impression this will be enough.
5. Day work
If you are lucky and secure some day-work on a yacht, use that opportunity to work like you have never worked before to prove yourself. This is usually the first part of a job interview so treat it as such.
Never complain about jobs given to you.
Work until they tell you to stop.
Never pretend to know how to do something if you don't. Ask questions.
Do not expect to be given lunch and uniform. Be grateful if it is given to you.
If you notice problems on the boat, tell a senior crew member. They'll appreciate your eye for detail.
Clean up after yourself. Be a tidy worker.
If you're not early, you're late.
Use this opportunity to showcase your skills, work ethic and personality.
Watch and learn, this is your chance to see how things operate on yachts.
6. Crew Agencies
With over 140 super-yacht crew agencies world wide it can be quite daunting figuring out who to approach.
Most are motivated by the fees they receive from placing candidates which can lead to them favouring experienced crew as this translates into higher profits for the business. These agents may be less willing to spend time assisting junior crew as a result.
Crew agencies cont:
It is not uncommon for crew to register with upwards of 4 agencies but it can become a lot of admin as you will be required to update your profiles, cv's and log into your accounts regularly in order to stay "top of mind" and keep your profile active.
Regularly keep in contact with agents in your area and meet up for face to face interviews when possible.
YOA was developed to make your job hunting experience a more enjoyable and productive experience. A professional environment where you can showcase your skills, personality and experience by connecting directly with captains and yacht representatives.
7. Applying for jobs:
Make sure you CV is only 1 or 2 pages long with a good professional photo. Do not clutter it with irrelevant information.
Do not send all of your certificates and documents when emailing someone about a position. Your CV and references will suffice.
If you are applying directly with a captain or the yacht's representative, take the time to write a cover letter stating why you would be great for the position.
Once you have applied for a position be prepared to be contacted at any time. There is a high chance that the yacht is in a different time zone so plan a good time to talk. A missed phone call could mean you missing out on a job.
If you have applied through a crew agent keep contacting them for an update. Sadly some do not inform candidates when jobs have been filled.
Spell-check your cv, there is no excuse for spelling mistakes in a professional document. Save your CV as a PDF; it looks professional on all programs/devices and can't be edited by others.
This is your first yacht job. Don't expect to be paid a rockstar wage, earning tips and travelling all over the world. Stay humble and appreciate the opportunity to work on board these yachts and learn from the crew around you.
Hard work pays off; get your certificates as fast as possible and before you know it you will be moving up the ranks and passing this information to the next generation of aspiring yachties.
By: Tom, Don and the YOA team.