Stewardess on Super Yachts since 2016. When on land I miss the sea; When at sea, I miss my cats.
So you’ve decided you want to break in into the world of super yachts. Congratulations! You are in for a fun experience and rewarding job, if what you are looking for is traveling and saving up some money.
Like in any other industry, getting your first job in yachting is daunting at first. The job hunt can feel a bit frustrating, as that first opportunity is always the hardest to get.
But if you do your homework, your first job won’t be hard to get. Yachts don’t always look for crew with experience, as green crew are normally super eager to learn, and entry level position don’t require extensive knowledge.
Getting a job in this industry is all about being in the right place at the right time, and approaching the right people.
Here’s a few tips that will help you land your first yacht job sooner than you think.
1. Get your STCW and Medical Certification.
Those are the two mandatory certificates that you need for landing a job on a yacht.
If you work on deck, you might want to get some extra courses as well. The Power Boat Level 2 (PBL2) will allow you to drive a tender, which you will probably have to do as a deckhand.
Some basic understanding of navigation is also key. The Day Skipper or Yacht-Master certifications will help you if you have no experience. Having these on your CV show you are committed to the job, as you have invested some time and money into your career. None of those courses are mandatory for legally getting hired, but they will get you ahead of the competition.
If you are looking for an interior role, don’t worry too much about getting any other qualifications for starting. As a green steward/ess, you will be taught everything on board by your Chief Steward/ess. The Food & Hygiene Level II certificate is the most useful one in the beginning, as some boats require interior crew to have this course in order to get hired.
I personally landed my first job just with my STCW and medical certification (ENG1), and invested in some courses after my first season.
Going extra with yachting qualifications depends on how much money and time you want to invest in them, so if you feel like you will be more confident taking on some extra courses, go for it! Just know that they are not mandatory.
2. Get Your CV Ready
Your CV is your presentation letter, and a generic one won’t do much for you in the job hunt. Create a CV from scratch focused on the job you are looking for on board a yacht, the skills that you have, your qualifications and previous jobs.
Your land based job has probably given you some practical skills that could be useful in yachting. Experience in hospitality is a great bonus, but customer service, carpentry, massage therapist, personal trainer or even accounting are also careers that would be valuable in the industry.
Some things that are key in a good CV are:
- Basic info: Name, contact details, availability, current location, relevant visas, driver’s license and languages spoken.
- Profile: Define yourself briefly, your career objective and the type of job you are after; wether you are looking for a seasonal role or a permanent position, or a job on a sail yacht or a motor yacht.
- Experience: Write about your previous land jobs and describe how you could transfer what you’ve done before to your future job in yachting.
- If you are fresh out of school and have no work experience, write about your accomplishments in school. Have you done any volunteering? Mention it! Sell yourself. This is the time.
- Qualifications: Mention your STCW, Medical Certifications and other relevant courses. But also your degree and other certifications that are not necessarily yachting related.
- Interests: Talking about your hobbies is important when looking for work on a yacht. You won’t only work with your crew; you will also live with them. To the person reading your cv, knowing the kind of activities you are into will give them an idea of the type of person you are and wether or not you will have stuff in common with the rest of the team. Mention if you like sports, photography, music or whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Show them who you are as an individual.
- References: The hardest part of being green crew is the fact that you can’t provide any references from past yachts you’ve worked on. However, ask your past employers if they would be ok with having their contact details on your cv. Managing to get a written a reference from them would be a huge bonus.
3. Base Yourself in a Yacht Hub.
You could stay at home, 2000km away from the nearest port and sit in front of the computer, sending hundreds of CV’s online every day. But you probably won’t get a job like that.
If you live in Europe and have the chance, fly out to one of the popular yachting areas. Palma de Mallorca, South of France or Barcelona are great places to start looking for work.
If you leave in America, and are seeking a position on a yacht in the Caribbean, the islands of Antigua, St. Marteen or some cities in Florida are all great places to be.
There’s two reasons why basing yourself where the yachts are is important; you will be able to meet people in the industry if you hang out around there, and for a yacht looking for crew, hiring someone that is right there is way easier than flying someone all the way from another country or far away city.
4. Walk the Docks!
Again, sitting at home and sending cvs online will soon get very frustrating, when you don’t get any feedback from the jobs you are after.
The fastest, easiest and most effective way of getting work is dockwalking.
Print 10-20 cvs, put some adequate clothes on (presentation in this industry is important) and head to the port to look for work.
It may be embarrassing at first, but approaching the yachts one by one and talking to the crew is the best way of getting your first job.
Once you are there, it’s easier for crew to get a feeling from you and give you a chance.
Last year I was working on a boat where we hired a girl that was completely unexperienced, but we needed someone fast, and she had just left her CV with us.
When I got my first ever job, I was walking down the port when a captain approached me and asked me if I was looking for work. They needed someone asap, and I was right there!
When dockwalking, approach boats one by one, try to get the attention of whoever is working on deck, and ask them if you can leave your cv with them. If there is no one around, you can always ring the bell (if there is one) and say that you are looking for work and would like to leave your cv. If there is no ring bell, leave your cv somewhere visible where it won’t be taken by the wind.
The best times to go dockwalking are early in the morning (8am-9am) or in the late afternoon, around 2pm-3pm.
Wear some presentable but also comfortable clothes on. You might get lucky enough to be given some work for the day.
Walking into the main port and getting people’s attention can be scary at first, but most people you will talk to will actually be super nice. We all started somewhere and most of us understand what dockwalking feels like!
5. Make the Most of the Online Communities
You’ve got your qualifications, your awesome CV and you are in the right place. It’s time to meet some people!
It’s never been easier to connect with people thanks to all of the social platforms out there. Just on Facebook, there’s dozens of groups that you can join to meet others in the industry and to find out about events, job offers and meet ups.
Palma Yacht Crew, Antibes Yacht Crew, Stew Wanted, Girls on Deck: Connecting Female Deck & Engineering Superyacht Crew, Yacht Crew Jobs are just some FB groups to name a few.
It is also important that you reach out to some of the yacht crew agencies that are out there. Their job is to link potential candidates with yachts looking for crew.
Open up a profile on the agencies that you choose to go for, message them and introduce yourself. Some agents are not only good recruiters but also good mentors that can advise you on your career.
Yotspot is another good platform to be in. Jobs from crew agencies and vessels are posted continuously on this website. You just have to create a profile and start applying. Thousands of people use this platform, so getting shortlisted through Yotspot is not easy.
These are the 5 main things you should do to be on the right path for that first job on a super yacht. So get your CV ready, join those online communities, get in touch with the agencies and put yourself out there! With enough perseverance, everyone that’s got the right attitude and eagerness to get into yachting makes it.
Best of luck with your new career, and safe travels!
© 2021 Angela Llado