How to get a job aboard a superyacht

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It can be difficult to know how to get a job aboard a superyacht if you’ve never been involved in the yachting world, however, once you’re in, the benefits of such a job are endless. Working with a fantastic team, who become like your family, travelling to and staying in some of the most mind-blowingly beautiful places in the world, and let’s be honest, the incredible pay! Here are our top tips to help you achieve your dreams of working aboard a superyacht.

Yacht in sunset

What experience is needed?

To become a Yacht Stewardess, any good hospitality experience will help your CV, preferably 5-star experience within a service role, or a position doing housekeeping. Doing a ski season is also a fantastic way to gain the transferable skills needed for work aboard a superyacht.

To become a deckhand, any practical skills, painting, sanding, varnishing, carpentry for example will help you get your first yacht position. Diving and water sports experience will also look good on your CV.

To become a yacht chef, fine dining or 5-star restaurant experience is valued highly.

What qualities are needed?

There are some core ideal characteristics of someone wanting to become yacht crew. These include being well presented, being a hard worker, enjoying taking care of appearance, and being fit and healthy, as you’ll need to be able to keep up with the extremely active role on board.

Sailing Yacht

What qualifications are needed?

All members of yacht staff need to have an STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers) Certificate. In order to gain this qualification, you must do a 5-day course which costs approximately £800 – £1000. You must also get an ENG1 Certificate from your local GP, this is a free, seafarer medical fitness certificate.

Deckhand positions regularly require a Powerboat Level 2 certificate, and any other courses you can additionally do will really help your CV stand out.

Yacht Chef roles are primarily based on experience, rather than qualifications, however you might want to consider doing the Ship’s Cook Certificate to progress your career once you’ve had some time at sea, as you’ll need this on commercial vessels or for boats that run with more than 10 crew.

How to write a great yacht CV

Your CV is a fantastic way to let people know how skilled and experienced you are and is often the first impression you can make on yacht crew or yacht recruiters. Follow these simple tips to make sure your CV really sells you well:

• Keep everything on your CV short and concise.

• Add a picture! This is really important as this is the first thing they’ll look for.

• Add the right kind of photo. A good head and shoulders shot, preferably in a polo shirt or smart attire, against a plain, or is possible, a nautical backdrop. This is the captain’s first impression of you – a selfie on your last night out isn’t suitable.

• Keep it to within two pages, no longer.

yacht cv template

What next?

Once you have all the necessary certificates, the best thing to do is to get down to a yacht hub, e.g. Majorca, Antibes, Fort Lauderdale and NETWORK! Book yourself in to stay in a crew house (similar to a hostel, but filled with aspiring yachies), many are run by former yacht crew who have lots of experience in the industry and will have the contacts to help you out, providing you make a good impression. Crew houses are great places to find contacts, get started, and to get advice on your CV.

While there, be friendly and socialise with everyone and mingle in the local bars, you never know who you’ll run into. If you meet a captain, however, don’t be too bold as to ask for a job straight away as they’ll have had that many times that evening already, instead focus on making a good impression by being polite and keen to learn about the industry.

Dock walking

Dock walking is where you walk up and down the docks and marinas handing out CVs, trying to meet the crews and captains in the hope of securing some day-work, it is one of the best ways how to get a job aboard a superyacht. Here are our top tips to succeeding at dock walking:

• Dress smart, and ready to work. A plain polo and smart chino-style shorts will make you look professional and ready to go

• Keep your make-up and hair simple, and don’t forget the sun lotion!

• Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking for miles each day

• I know it’s tempting to skateboard to the docks but leave your board at home! Skateboards are not favoured among yacht crew and will get you started on the wrong foot

• Take a lot of printed CVs with you, you need these to hand out to many boats

• Arrive around 8 am, at this time you’ll catch someone putting up the flag on their yacht and you’ll be able to approach them easily and explain you’re looking for day work, and ask if they are in need that day

• You’ll have much better luck if you can approach a boat alone, your friends are your direct competition while out dock walking

• Don’t ring a boat’s buzzer (doorbell), as you never know if the boss might be on board. Boats will have really tight turnarounds, and if the buzzer rings 50 times a day, they’ll get annoyed with you. If you can politely catch the attention of someone onboard, this is the best way to approach them

• Some larger boats will have trays where you can leave your CV, use these

• If you’re really keen, try going dock walking later on in the day too, you might catch people having a beer after work on the dock. This is a great time to approach them as they’re less busy and it’ll be much easier to strike up an informal conversation to ask for future work

• Be polite to everyone you meet, it’s a very small industry so you’ll never know who you may meet again down the line

• Be patient and keep trying, day after day. There will be thousands of people in the same boat as you (pardon the pun!), so you have to do your best to stay professional and do your best to stand out

• Be prepared for rejection, you’ll get 100s of no’s, sometimes for weeks on end. The yachting world is a very difficult industry to break into, however, once you’ve got some good experience you’ll be all set for a fantastic career on the seas.

Yacht Deck crew

Day work

When on board listen well, learn as much as you can, and always listen to instructions. The boats you’ll be looking after are extremely expensive, so your little mistake could cost thousands, and will prompt a very awkward conversation with the captain and owner, so stay switched on at all times, as references are invaluable in the yachting industry. Sometimes that first day-work position can turn into a seasonal or permanent position if you make the right impression!

Once you have a season’s experience, you can then approach recruitment agencies, such as us, Silver Swan Recruitment, and we’ll be able to find you your next seasonal position. Click here to see our current yacht roles available.

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