HOT TIP: Use superyacht blogs and forums, like the Superyacht Facebook Site to chat with experienced crew members and get their opinions and advice!!
If you are new to yachting, you are probably not familiar with the term STCW. This abbreviation stands for: Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. A crew member must attend a set of 4 basic courses that cover the following areas of:
The majority of yachts now require all of their crew to be STCW certified, especially yachts that charter.
The STCW 95 standards were set up by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which has the force of law in all 154 signatory countries.
HOT TIP: Check out the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) website for an in depth explanation of STCW 95.
Your certifications reveal your commitment to your job in the superyacht industry. They will help you to be promoted to a higher rank in a shorter space of time and will increase your earning power. Your certifications will put you at the head of the queue when it comes to interviews for crew positions.
IYT certificates are the most widely recognized commercial global certifications by the major yacht registries and governments.
HOT TIP: By enrolling in superyacht training courses you are making a clear statement about your seriousness and motivation. A new-to-industry crew member that already holds a deckhand certificate is a step ahead of all other inexperienced applicants and even many who have had former crew positions but lack the certification.
Certification is looked upon very favorably by a captain or owner when it comes to offering you a job! The role of the steward/ess is much more than serving food and drinks, it is about the ‘Art and Attitude’ required to care for the guests every need - even before the guest realises they need it! Through knowledge and experience, you will develop confidence and self assurance, giving you the ability to adapt and learn with each changing situation that arises aboard a luxury superyacht.
To be a success as a professional Steward or Stewardess, it is essential to be accredited by a reputable training academy that issues internationally recognised qualifications.
The courses should be taught by experienced steward/ess instructors who can demonstrate the expertise and hands on knowledge they have learnt from working in the superyacht industry over many years on both power and sail vessels.
HOT TIP: Ask yourself this question - Would I step onboard a 747 as a flight attendant without any job specific training? Well, a superyacht is every bit as complex - and even more socially demanding than a 747.
For someone new to the industry, there are many ways to enhance your appeal to yacht owners and Captains. Depending on the position you are applying for, there are a variety of skills that can give you an edge over the competition, such as:
Depending upon where you intend to begin looking for work, you will need a place to stay. In almost every yachting town, you will find “Crew Houses”. Most crew houses charge rates on a weekly basis. You will find an average range to be between $100.00 per week - $150.00 week. In most cases, you will have to share a room with one or more crew members. Crew gathers in these houses from all around the world. They share a common interest in yachting and everyone is typically looking for work. You will surely find some interesting people during your stay!
Depending upon the size of the yacht, you will find any variety of positions. The most common positions that crew are hired for are:
We at the Superyacht Crew Academy measure our success by your success in finding and holding a crew position on a superyacht.
We have developed a very simple formula to apply for a superyacht crew position …
Finding the perfect position on a superyacht can sometimes be a long process. Superyacht positions do not operate on a rotation schedule, as with cruise liners or ships, contracts of employment are usually for a set period of time for example one season or 6 months. When a crew member leaves a position, it is normally with a 2 – 4 week notice, whereby the vessel must find a replacement or renew the contract.
Jobs can come up at any time and in any part of the world. Finding the right position normally depends on being in the right place at the right time. Superyachts tend to cruise during certain "seasons" and being available at the start and finish of these seasons is a definite advantage.
Many variables are taken into consideration when determining the salary for each position, such as:
HOT TIP: Have a look at the crew salary guide (most positions will be tax free depending on your citizenship).
Working on a superyacht is considered full time employment unless otherwise stated. Most boats either work on a seasonal, temporary fill-in or permanent basis:
Seasonal is usually about 3-6 months
Temporary / Freelance may be for any length of time, normally filling in for crew on vacation, helping with charters, etc.
Permanent is usually a commitment of at least one year. Owners and Captains make every attempt to avoid having a high crew turnover and therefore look for crew willing to make this obligation.
Daywork is a term used by both new to industry crew and experienced crew. It refers to work that is done on a daily basis (paid daily), usually in between jobs or to gain experience in the industry.
HOT TIP: If you are just beginning your career on yachts, it’s important to understand that more boats on your resume is NOT better. If you jump around from boat to boat, you may ultimately be overlooked for work because you appear to be a “boat hopper” Captains want crew with staying power.
Most agencies and employers will refer to a particular season in yachting. Each part of the year will be a prime yachting season in various parts of the world. There are several yachting hubs where prospective crew will base themselves in order to be available for upcoming positions.
The prime cruising season in Europe is during the summer, from June to September. Antibes (France) and Palma de Mallorca (Spain) are two yachting Mecca’s which welcome the largest amount of job-seeking crew members. Many yachts spend their summers in the Mediterranean operating charters or cruising privately. During these months, many additional crew will be hired to help out while yachts are on charter.
Ft. Lauderdale (USA) is the yachting hub for yacht crew, especially for beginners. Superyachts typically come to Ft. Lauderdale for repairs, yard work and crewing once they have returned from trips to the Mediterranean, East coast of the USA and the Caribbean. They often depart in early winter and early spring for cruises.
The Caribbean (E.g. Antigua, St. Maarten, etc.) is active all year round, but the busiest season will be in the US winter months (October – March) when many superyachts move south to warmer climates. However, most US based yachts pick up their crew in Florida or their home port before they leave.
The Bahamas is a relatively popular spot all year round. Because the islands of the Bahamas are so close to South Florida, it is uncommon for crew to base themselves there. Typically, crew from Florida will be flown for work in the Bahamas when necessary.
During the US summer months (May – September) many superyachts leave Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, to head to the northeast coast of the United States. Newport, Rhode Island (USA) is a very popular spot, especially for sailboats and race crew. You will find a great deal of yachting activity in and around this area, all the way down to New York and the islands located off it.
Superyacht Crew Academy recommends that all our students get this excellent book by Jennifer Errico for a complete, well written account of Working on Yachts and Superyachts. You can download the book or order the hard copy edition right from Jennifer's site and it's not at all expensive.
Jennifer worked on yachts and superyachts for over 20 years and her book is filled with tips that can really make a difference to your professional career on yachts. Even experienced crew (and maybe owners too) will benefit from this book. So if you are serious about working on superyachts - click here to open a new tab on your browser so you can order the book. Then come back to sign up for your courses with Superyacht Crew Academy.
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