How to get into super yachting
As a crew placement agency, we are often asked how to get into the industry so here is a brief overview which we hope will help aspiring crew to live their dream! So you think you want to work on boats because it’s glamorous? Well let’s start off by letting you know what the industry is all about...
Working on Superyachts can be fantastic. You get to travel, you meet great people, the salary isn’t too bad and if you are on Charter the tips can be awesome. But it is HARD work. The hours can be long, the tasks can be mundane, often you won’t actually get to see any of the places you visit. As an entry level Stew, for instance, you might spend all your time in a windowless laundry!
Then there is living on board. Your living space might be small and shared and you might not get on with all the crew. Yachting is fairly unique in that you have to work and live with the same people day in, day out, and they might not be the kind of people you would choose to live with! That being said, for many people it is some of the best years of their life. The social life is amazing and you will have some fantastic experiences. Just make sure you realise before you get on your first boat that you are there to work!
For a first-hand overview of what it's really like, and to see whether you are cut out to be Superyacht Crew, check out the following articles and links:
- Owen and Amanda's run down on what Superyachting is really all about: Make Money and Travel
- Jo Morgan's Superyacht Crew: Is it the right Job for You?
- And as a bit of fun: Behind the scenes with a Superyacht Stewardess
PRIVATE V CHARTER
It goes without saying that superyachts don’t come cheap! In order to run their yacht efficiently many owners not only use them privately but also hire them out for charter. This can mean a crazy busy season, with back to back charters and barely time to breathe. However, many crew prefer this; it means you don’t spend your days sitting in a harbour waiting for the owners to arrive, cleaning clean things! And the tips can be great.
MOTOR OR SAIL?
So, you love sailing? That doesn’t mean that working on a sailboat is the right thing for you. There are subtle differences, and many crew opt to have sailing as a hobby and a passion and yet work on a motor boat. There are some general differences laid out below; it is not the case with EVERY BOAT but usually you will find:
- Have bigger cabins and crew areas
- Employ a larger crew, so you are more likely to meet at least one person you get on with!
- Pay a higher salary!
- Have a more varied schedule, often going to some out of the way, off the ‘milk run’ locations
- Enjoy some great sailing and get to take part in Superyacht Cups and Regattas
- The salary is lower as people tend to do the job for passion
WHERE TO FIND THESE SUPERYACHTS
There are certain schedules that the boats tend to keep due to tides and weather. The main superyacht havens and seasons are as follows:
- The Medseason runs from late April to October
- The main bases to find work are Antibes, France or Palma, Majorca
- People start flocking to the Med to find work in April
- Coming to Antibes or Palma at the end of the season (October onwards) is also an option, as you might find yourself a boat for a Transatlantic crossing to the Caribbean
The Caribbean Season
- Boats start to head towards the Caribbean from late October onwards
- The main hangouts in the Caribbean are Antigua or St. Maarten
- The season ends in late April, when yachts will most likely head back to the Med
- The Med – Caribbean – Med schedule is the one most frequently used and is known as the ‘milk run’
- Some schedules might include some time in the States
- East coast – after the Caribbean you might find yourself on the East coast, heading to Florida or even New York
- On the West Coast, there is some great cruising and some good refit facilities. Many boats end up in San Diego or San Francisco for refit works
- If you’re lucky you might get to go to Alaska!
- Many crew dream of eventually getting to the Pacific
- The general itinerary is: after the Caribbean, a boat will transit the Panama Canal (March/April)
- They might visit the Galapagos Islands, and then head on to the Pacific Islands such as Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga etc.
- The best time to be in the Islands is May – September
- After this time boats often head to Australia or New Zealand to enjoy their summers’ (November- April)
- Some boats choose to refit in Australia or New Zealand, which can be done all year round
Everyday, there are at least one or two budding new crew members visiting each boat with the hope of getting a job on board. Your CV is the first impression a Crew Agent or Captain will have of you and it will stick. If your CV isn’t selling you, you simply do not stand a chance. Try to keep your CV clear, concise, simple and to the point – it should be two or three pages maximum. If a Captain or Agent needs more information, they can ask.At the bottom of the page you will also see a downloadable CV template.
Here are some tips as to what to include:
When asked to submit a CV with photo this photo should actually be on the CV!! Make an effort with it and look smart and presentable; professional looking attire like a polo shirt is ideal. Just a headshot is preferable with a plain background, not in the bar! Using a photo that you have from a night out will really not impress. The photo is necessary for many reasons, but mainly for the Captain to remember you. They really do see that many candidates on a day to day basis.
Generally, an Agent or Captain will scan a CV first of and will want to establish the following:
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Current location
- Contact details – make sure your email address and mobile number are up to date
- Marital Status
- Visas – list if you have your B1/B2 visa
- Smoker – for some boats even social smoking will not be permitted
- Visible tattoos and piercings – it is an appearance dominated industry so tattoos or piercings visible in uniform are often unacceptable
- Health – State if you have an ENG1
This need not be long, but a simple outline which position you are applying for. Sometimes it is difficult to establish from the CV alone the type of role a candidate is looking for. Remember to update this for the role you are submitting your resume for each time. A CV stating that you want to be a Chef when applying for a Stew position will go straight in the bin! Conversely, if you write a long list of positions it will look like you are not very sure of what you want to do!
List relevant Marine qualifications with date achieved first. These should include STCW10, Yachtmaster, silver service courses, and diving qualifications. You can also list if you have a Degree or Diploma and, if you want, a BRIEF list of your high school grades.
Start with the most recent first. Put enough detail so that we can see what you have done, but don’t go overboard. Bear in mind that the Captain will be able to get some idea of what you have done just by the ‘position’ so be fairly brief. If you have spent time day working on various boats, do not list every single boat separately. This looks like you are jumping from boat to boat. Just write the period you were day working, and list some or all of the boats worked on and locations.
List other jobs you have done outside the industry, again most recent first. You do not have to include paper rounds you might have done in your teens!
Interests and Hobbies
This might seem inconsequential but it is good to list. As a Crew Agent, it gives us more of an idea about you. Just a brief list is fine.
This should be a traceable list of references. Make sure they are happy to provide you with a reference first! Please list their name, the boat or company they are from, and a current phone number and email address.
When applying for a job you may also need to put together a cover letter or covering email to send with your CV explaining what you are after. Cover letters full of typos or even written in text language will send your application straight in the bin. Take some time getting this right!
To view a template of a well laid out CV, click here: CV template
So many CV's have errors or are even missing email addresses or contact phone numbers. Please make sure your mobile number and email are correct. If a Captain can’t get through to you after a couple of attempts, he will move onto the next CV.