We worked on separate boats when Ben & I first met, doing completely different itineraries. It ended up that we only saw each other 11 times during our first six months of dating. And while I wouldn’t change anything about our relationship or how we got to where we are today, I did come to realise just how hard long-distance is! After our first season of long-distance, we both quit our jobs, flew to the UK & then Canada to meet each other’s families & started to look for a job together. In the past five years, we have ALWAYS worked on the same yacht & have been hired as a couple.
Don’t get me wrong, though, it hasn’t always been easy looking for a position together & I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that our first job as a couple was by far the hardest to find! We started looking before we had been together for a year (which agents said was not long enough) & struggled to find a yacht that took us seriously.
With the Med season fast approaching, I have no doubt there will be many lovebirds looking for a couple’s position, so here are a few of my tips that have worked for us! *As always, these are 100% my opinions, so take what you will from it!
P.S. I am well aware that my EPs are upside down! They were swapped as soon as this photo was taken!
When I print out couples CV’s & they look identical in terms of formatting, font & layout, it is visually a lot easier when presenting them to the Captain. It shows you have taken the time to work together on your CV’s, you understand the need to come across as a uniformed front & it looks professional.
Length of Relationship
On my CV it says…
Team Position: Ben Hulbert (together six years)
One of the first questions I ask couples is how long they have been together & being as open & honest in your CV WILL help! Now that we are you are married, I will tweak it to this:
Team Position: Ben Hulbert (together six years & married)
The longer the length of time, the more stability you offer to a crew & the higher your chance of being put closer towards the top of the pile.
Be prepared for compromise.
One yacht we joined was a significant compromise for Ben. He had already been in the industry for two years and had an additional five years as a qualified boat builder in the UK – so it is needless to say, he was ready to step up to Bosun on a 50m. Unfortunately, the yacht only had 2nd stew (with no 3rd onboard, so after three years on yachts, I stepped into a junior role) and a Deckhand Role. We probably wouldn’t have applied for it as we were just about to resign after a hectic year & wanted a month off. It was, however, THE boat. The one we had spoken about on our first dates, with its dreamy West Coast Itinerary & incredible reputation for fantastic Owners. So we applied & thankfully got the position and ended up staying for three years. I moved to Chief Stew while ben moved to Bosun. None of that would have been possible if we weren’t willing to compromise and step down.
Another compromise we made was concerning cabin arrangements. On our most recent yacht, if we accepted the job together, we were told we would not be able to share a cabin. You guys, this was TOUGH, especially on a guest trip! I thought going into it that it would be easy peasy; what I didn’t realise was how much we relied on the privacy of our cabin to chat, confide in each other and hang out. We ended up meeting outside the crew door after my shift every night to say hi & catch up on the day. Luckily, our Captain was able to make arrangements for us to share a cabin on the Tank Deck not too long after the first guest trip & it made a world of difference having a place to call ours.
Apply to EVERY job
Our most recent yacht only posted the Bosun position, not Chief Stew. So Ben applied, sent across both of our CV’s and then we waited. Finally, two weeks later, I received a call from Chief Stew & Captain while Ben was on the phone with the Chief Officer. Yes, it can be a bit annoying being on the hiring side, going through loads of emails from Stews hoping a deck position is also available, but we ALL do it & it’s sometimes the key to getting a job together.
Be Patient & Resilient
Ben has tattoos…15 of them! So you better believe that didn’t help us in our search. There were times when we discussed whether we should work apart until a position came up. I am SO happy we didn’t go ahead with that. Yes, we lost out on 14 different jobs in 3 months because of tattoos, but we also didn’t join separate boats to quit then as soon as a couple of jobs came up. We both worked extremely hard to update our agency profiles DAILY, went to every single networking event, the day worked, reached out to old colleagues & stayed in crew houses with other experienced crew. We made it our full-time job to FIND a job & refused to believe that we couldn’t be hired as a couple. P.S. Ben also went to Sephora, so his visible tattoos were no more… and as soon as he did that, we were offered a job the next day that didn’t care about visible tattoos. But it shows that we took the feedback we got from boats & made sure to fix any reoccurring issues.
Tips from other couples currently working together:
“I’d say it’s important that you don’t just for you first couples job offer if you bother aren’t happy. Although in a relationship we made sacrifices and compromises for our other half, yachting is along harder working together is one doesn’t enjoy the role/boat.”
“My numero uno tip would be to be patient and kind with each other. Going from hardly seeing each other and potentially being in different time zones with different schedules to living and working under the same roof can be a little testing at first. But, you will soon find your groove and work through it to a happy, balanced togetherness!”
“Agree on when to shut off “work mode” and when to have “you and me” mode. Aka, if you need to vent about something frustrating, communicate “, ok, I need to get this out…” and then once you’re done, be done. Focus on still being with each other and growing together. Being in yachting is all-encompassing, made conscious and verbal choices together to only talk about work when you need to, don’t let it dominate your conversations.”
“Keep personal problems (and over the top love and romance) in your cabin. Especially if you are only the couple onboard, it’s not nice making your crew feel uncomfortable.”
“In my experience, the best way to secure a GOOD couple’s job is to network network network. Unfortunately, I have found that some agencies offer meagre salaries and pretend they are doing you a favour by hiring both of you. My response to those provided has always been a firm no. It’s essential to know your worth and chances re that kind of jobs wouldn’t work out tremendously anyway (any relation should start with mutual respect, including an adequate salary).
“To assure that boat that even though you are a team, you are still awesome individuals, I find references that can attest to this are the best!”
“My biggest piece of advice is to remember what the Spice Girls put so perfectly…if you want to be with my love, you’ve got to get with my friends! Cringey, but TRUE. Girl time is equally as important as spending time with your other half. Balance was always key for me. I also felt as a second stewardess it made the girls and I have a stronger connection the more time I spent with them.”
“As a couple, you need to be an asset to the boat. By working together, you push each other to be better, and that is always going to be beneficial for the boat!”
There you have it, lovebirds, our tips for finding your next Couples Position!
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