NEW CREW aka ‘GREENIES’
So you have made a decision to join the yachting industry, and who can blame you. At this point in time the industry is the fastest growing in leisure and currently employs over 70,000 yacht crew worldwide. In 2021 the order books for new yachts went through the roof.
What do you need to know about this industry in order to get a foot in the door – which is not easy?
DO YOUR RESEARCH
We are blessed with having the internet which provides us with instant access to information at the touch of a button, some correct and some not. Get pressing that button and find out as much information as you can, from anywhere you can. The more informed you are, the better decisions you can make.
This means connecting with other people, either those who are already in the industry or, like you, who are interested in getting into yachting. This is where, with the benefits of social media, it is as easy as pie. Be sure to be polite and friendly as this is your first step and you want to make a good impression.
MAKE A PLAN
Getting ready to join yachting will take time and money but is made so much easier if you get your timing right. The industry has seasons and in general, we work around the Mediterranean season, which runs from late April through to the end of October and the Caribbean season which runs from December through to the end of April.
DECIDE ON A LOCATION
Where are you going to start? Sitting at home will not get you a job so heading to a yachting hub is what most people do when they want to find work for the first time. Usually, people combine this with some training courses but this does not have to be the case. However, you do need to have sufficient money to keep you in accommodation and food for the duration you are there without work. This means saving AND making a decision on how long you can afford to stay. Now you need to research the main yachting hubs…
WHAT COURSES DO YOU NEED
There are some mandatory courses you must have before you even start looking for a job, and without which you will not be able to work on a yacht. These are:
STCW95 – Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping for Seafarers
5 days basic training – classroom/online
Valid for 5 years
How to get STCW95
A medical certificate declaring you fit to work at sea.
By an appointed doctor.
Valid for 2 years.
Please note if you have pre-existing medical conditions you should do this before booking any other courses. If you do not pass, you will not be able to work on a yacht and any other money spent will be wasted.
If you are colour blind there is a possibility you will not be granted the certificate.
Guide on how to get ENG1
FOOD HYGIENE LEVEL 2 IN CATERING
Anyone who will handle food onboard must complete a course to ensure they are aware of how to keep food safe. This means stewards/stewardesses, chefs and any combined deck/stew roles. You do not need to do Level 1 before doing Level 2.
PSA – Personal Security Awareness
Usually a half-day course and may be available online. Some STCW providers also offer this within the STCW or as an extra. You can get away without if you work on a private yacht but if the yacht is commercial you will need it or the PDSD course (see below).
PDSD – Person with Designated Security Duties
One step up from the above course and required where you have specific duties which is often, in particular on a commercial yacht.
By not having either of the above, you will limit your ability to be put forward for vacancies.
HOW CAN VIP SERVICE SCHOOL HELP YOU
With so many people trying to get into the industry at this time, you need to stand out from the rest to be seen. Employers can be inundated with applications and look for people who offer the most. Being able to start with a full understanding of the industry and having the skills needed, you are already ahead.
We offer a Yacht Interior Introduction Package which will give you everything you need to work in the interior of a yacht.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO YACHTING
Once you have done your mandatory training and have invested your time, money and energy the hard work begins. The first step to getting a job is getting yourself out there and this starts with preparing a knockout cv (curriculum vitae, also called resume) and then registering with yacht recruitment agencies.
Yachts are busy and to find new crew they often have to rely on the services of agents who will do most of the work for them, at a fee of course. They will prepare a job specification for the position they have available and then contact one or several agencies. The agency will then check their database for candidates that suit the position and the skills required. Once they have their list they will contact candidates to check that they are available and interested, preparing a shortlist which will be sent to the yacht – this will only include a few select candidates – possibly three to six people.
The department head for the position they are looking to fill will then review candidates. For the candidates that suit, there may be calls made to each for a preliminary discussion about the role and about your experience, skills, personality, availability etc. At this point an even shorter list will be drawn up and interviews arranged.
As a “newbie” where do you fit into this? Well to be honest, the selection for a new inexperienced crew member is well down on the list. However, this is the process and to win it, you must be in it.
Step one is get your cv prepared. Starting from scratch is tough but all you need is to get a good format, a good photograph of yourself (head and shoulders only, plain or uncluttered background), start with your basic details, your education, your work experience (if any) and then fill in with things like your hobbies and interests, any volunteer work or travel, in fact anything you have done that will add value. You should also prepare a short paragraph which can be titled “Profile” or “Objectives”. This is where you state a little about you as a person and what your aims are.
Step two is to start the process of registering with agencies, completing their database, upload your certification and cv as well as any references you may have.
To start with, select a few well known agencies in the location that you think you would like to work in – you may even be planning on going there. You can follow this by adding more agencies in that location. Do keep a log of all the agencies you register with, along with your login and password as this will be essential to keep yourself active on their site. Once you decide to go to that location you can start contacting them to arrange one on one interviews. Don’t forget that these agencies have thousands of candidates on their system so be patient. If you turn up without an appointment they may not see you. Some run open days for new crew where you can go without any appointment and be seen.
NEVER PAY TO REGISTER WITH AN AGENCY – THIS IS A SCAM
Planning on going out to a yachtie hub and actively looking for work? Great idea. You have to be in the proximity of yachts to get the job. Make a plan and be prepared. You will need to look like you are yacht crew in order to fit in so get yourself some smart shorts or trousers and a nice plain polo shirt. Make sure you have comfortable and CLEAN trainers or sneakers; you may do a lot of walking. A good backpack, sunglasses, a hat of some description and a water bottle will be a godsend in hot weather. Do have back up clothes for dock walking and day working and try to keep one set nice for any interviews you get. Personal presentation is everything.
HOW SHOULD YOU BEHAVE
This is pretty straightforward, how you behave is how you will be seen by others. As you are looking for work and trying to get into a pretty special industry you need to think about how you present yourself and interact with others. In a nutshell, be polite, respectful and always ask permission. It does not matter what your background is, where you come from or what sort of character you have, if you start on a good footing things will always go well even if you don’t get the job. People will remember you by your manners, your behaviour and how you treated them.
Of course, when you travel overseas it will not be all about work without some play and you do need to network with others on a social footing. This is where many of you will fall down…literally!! Going out socially is one of the best ways to meet new people and to find out what is going on, where the jobs are, as well as learn lots about this industry. It will involve drinking so know your limits! This is also where you will be seen and there are Captains, First Officers and other department heads out there too. Make sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle…
WHAT TO EXPECT BEING A YACHTIE
Well done you when you get your first position. As new start can be daunting but if you have made it this far you have done really well. You can expect the unexpected… you may join your first yacht and leave the dock the same day so be prepared.
Life living on a yacht has some rules and one of the first things you need to understand is your safety and that of your fellow crew. This is why you must obey orders… they are there for a reason. The Captain runs the ship and he is in charge but may delegate his responsibilities to others so do be prepared to take instruction from others without complaint. Your motto should be ‘if I get asked to jump, I will ask how high’. Being willing and showing you want to do things will get you accepted so fast.
You will be signed onto the yacht and will have to hand over your passport to the Captain. This is normal and he has a legal obligation to be able to provide ID for all the crew at any time, should authorities require. Carry some other form of ID with you when you go off the boat. If you leave the yacht at the end of the day or at the weekends and need your passport for some reason you only have to ask.
As a crew member you will be fed and watered, will have a cabin with a bathroom, usually shared, bedlinen, towels, often toiletries and will have access to medical care. You will be provided uniform for work, different without the boss and with the boss. You will also have a timetable so be prepared to follow it. This will be your start and finish time, food breaks, watches and sometimes your yacht will be locked up after a certain time at night.There is often a Code of Conduct to be followed. All of this might seem a little restricted to start but this is how the industry works so get used to it. You will be expected to fit in but that does not mean you have no rights.