Starting a new job in any industry comes with a process of readjustment, following specific protocols and learning the quirks of the trade. In the yachting industry, where your job is your lifestyle and you live where you work, this readjustment process is a complete overhaul. Once your dockwalking time is done, you are on top of your crew agency form filling game and on CV version 25, you will have bagged your first sought after position. Due to the superyacht industry being so unique, not every yachtie out there lasts – here’s some top ten tips, which will ease any greenie into the industry and maybe even refresh some old-timers views.
1. Not all yacht jobs are the same
Each yacht is unique with each day and job list differing, from the get go knowing that not all Superyacht jobs are the same will get you one step ahead. Whether it be sailing or motor yacht, charter or private, small crew or bigger crew, milk-run itineraries or world wide travelling, this is an industry of extremes and differences. Do not take your first job to mean that all future jobs will be similar. The MLC does its best to regulate working protocols; however these still vary across the board. These disparities can be advantageous, time and experience will allow you to gauge which type of yacht job is best for you.
2. Live a minimalistic lifestyle
Living and working in such close quarters means you will need to quickly learn how to live a minimalistic lifestyle. Having bags and bags full of stuff will not put you in a good starting position with your new cabin mate. Sharing space is something you will have to get very used to. With limited storage space on most yachts, pack the essentials, this will also give you space to collect things as you go around the world. Depending on how often you can get the time off to get a home a good way to manage your things is to rotate, clear out your cabin see what you definitely want to still keep – a clear space results in a clear mind.
3. Make connections
Although there are hundreds and hundreds of yachts across the world, the Superyacht world is an extremely small one, so be sure to be on your game the whole time. Making connections is key in the industry on both a social and professional level. Starting out in yachting, where you have left your friends and family behind at home can leave you feeling a bit lonely; Crew members can help fill this void. On a professional level, it is great to have a vast range of contacts to put you forward for potential future positions. In recent years, social media has facilitated this need for making connections, which can be highlighted through the plenty of yacht crew Facebook groups and Instagram accounts.
4. Clean things need cleaning
It (hopefully) won’t come as a shock to you when you start your first yacht job that cleaning will play a big part. Working in this high-end luxury industry amongst the rich and famous owners and guests, it is not surprising that standards are much higher than you will have ever likely come across. Different yachts will have their own take and standards on keeping both the interior and exterior up to scratch. Cleaning things that are clean, cleaning the cleaning cupboard, re-organising things that are organised and tidying things that are tidy – welcome to the superyacht world. You will come across types of cleaning that you may have not known existed before stepping foot on yachts and they will soon become very normal to you.
5. The change of plan is the plan
Guest trips at the drop of a hat, last minute itinerary change, charters on demand, delayed time off; flexibility is a huge part of the industry. As a crew member, get used to needing an element of flexibility within your lifestyle, there may only be certain times you can take holiday and times where you will have to re-arrange your weekend plans. On the flip side to this, itinerary changes can be in your favour and increased charters could mean potential extra tips.
6. Work, work, work
If you are prepared for hard work, you are half way there in this industry. In both charter and private yachts there are periods of working long days, especially when you have guests on board. This hard work pays off in time off straight after and potential charter tips. When it comes to being at sea for a long delivery, the ocean swell doesn’t stop for weekends so watch rotas will be 24/7.
7. Take downtime seriously
Make sure that at every opportunity you get for time off you take full advantage of it. Head to land, explore a new place, learn a new activity, go on an adventure, progress a hobby, visit friends and family or simply relax. Taking time away from the yacht is important, spending all your free time on-board can become intense and leaving you feeling trapped. Superyachts can open up your world to new people, places and hobbies so reap these benefits on your downtime.
8. Mile by mile
People have various reasons for joining the industry, whether it is for the money, the travel experience, the career progression, neither or all three it is useful to keep a tab on the yachts you work on and the sea time you complete. Mile building is key when it comes to career progression, showing experience and commitment to individual yachts is important. A lot of yachts will pay for or towards certain qualifications, which will help you progress in your role or move you further towards a higher role.
9. Every penny counts
If you have done your research before jumping on board it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that the Superyacht industry is a well-paid one. Earning money off shore has its pro’s although from your first paycheck you need to be clever with where you put your tax-free money. Be sure to check out the tax regulations for your home country and how you should declare your earnings. With no living costs and limited outgoings working on board should set you up nicely to save most of what you earn each month. That’s not to say you shouldn’t treat yourself after a hard couple of weeks charter or a long delivery, but with healthy paychecks each month spending it all on rum will not make for a happy (or healthy) Crew member in the long run.
Crew Privilege membership is a smart way of saving your pennies wisely and still enjoying your precious time on shore. For €50 per year you save 20-50% off at most of the best bars, clubs, restaurants, car/scooter hire, hotels and local activities.
10. Remember, the world is your oyster
Like any other industry the Superyacht world has its own unique pro’s and con’s. With this in mind it is important that you have weighed these up in relation to the job role that you take on. There maybe con’s however no other industry allows you the travelling experience as a luxury Superyacht allows, not only is it about the destination but also the journey. Seeing new places, experiencing new cultures, provisioning new foods, taking on new hobbies, can all be done in the comfort of your new home and workplace.