The question I’m asked the most…‘How do I get into Yachting?’
Everyone discovers the industry differently, I found out through a good friend who I met at University. She had just finished 5 years on charter yachts and was transitioning back to life on land while I was the opposite. I wanted to finish school and find a new challenge & adventure.
Before you pack your bags & book a plane tickets, there are a few basics to know.
There are yachting ‘seasons’…
November to March is typically in the Caribbean
May to October is spent in the Mediterranean
The main hub of the Caribbean is usually Fort Lauderdale, Florida & that’s where boats will focus their crew search. The centre of the Mediterranean season is usually Antibes, France although lots of yacht crew are now basing themselves in Palma, Majorca while looking for work. Antibes is typically more expensive that Palma for accommodation.
Prime time for looking for a job September/October/November & April/May/June.
This is the time boats are crossing to and from the Mediterranean & lots of crew will complete a season and then move on. The Fort Lauderdale boat show is in October and the Monaco boat show is in September. This marks the end/beginning of the two seasons. This certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t jobs available year round, there are always jobs openings just not necessarily an abundance of junior crew positions.
So you are heading to Fort Lauderdale at the end of September…what next?
Book a crew house
These are dormitory style houses full of yacht crew of all experience levels looking to find work on boats. It’s an awesome networking opportunity & a great way to make some friends when starting out. A quick google search & you can find lots of local houses! I highly recommend Cotton Crew House, Sams Crew Castle & Smart Move – I’ve found them all to be highly professional & tend to be a better networking environment than some other houses. One of the most well known crew houses in Antibes is called the Crew Grapevine, they have several houses in the old town and you’ll meet loads of crew members!
Take your STCW
This is a prerequisite needed before working onboard Super Yachts. It takes approximately five days to complete, with each day focusing on a different safety aspect. The entire course costs around $1000 USD & you’ll definitely need to book it ahead of time. Within those five days, you cover everything from Personal Safety to Fire Fighting & Sea Survival. The certification expires every 5 years & you’ll never know what experienced crew you will meet in the classroom! In my first STCW class, I had 6 Captains! It was brilliant networking.
Quick Doctors Visit
This second prerequisite is called the ENG1 & it only takes about 30 minutes. The doctor will ask you questions specific to working off shore in addition to checking your vision & hearing. There aren’t many doctors stateside who perform this exam so book it early! I always use the Health Med Centre, which is just a block or two from some of the main docks in Fort Lauderdale. There are loads of Doctors in the UK that provide the ENG1. I use one close to Bournemouth, if you google ENG1 UK Doctors, you’ll find loads!
Your first yachting job will often be the hardest to find. With more & more people finding out about the industry the competition can be tough. This makes networking the most crucital part of finding your first break into the industry. Make sure to follow Dockwalk Magazine & The Triton newspaper on facebook. They will post all of the upcomng networking events in the area. Palma Yacht Crew Facebook page has quickly become on of the biggest yacht related pages – definitely worth checking out!
Around boatshow time, there multiple events a night! Mingle, meet as many people as possible! Get to know your fellow colleagues – ask for advice & listen to their experiences!
I’ve written an entire blog post just about this!
Click HERE to check it out!
Depending on where you are from, you’ll need to look into the appropriate visas. Most yacht crew need at least a B1/B2 and Schengen visa.
Looking for more tips as a Junior Crew member?
Click here for my top tips for greenies!
Can’t wait to meet some of you guys on the docks!