FAQs and Expert Tips

for a successful career in the Superyacht Industry

Learn from the Experts

1. How do I start looking for work in the superyacht industry?

  • Research the industry - Use the Internet - check out websites about superyachts and learn as much about the superyacht industry as you can.
  • Make a plan – Start your written superyacht career plan with a summary about what your future employers will expect from you and what you expect from this new career. Include definite steps towards achieving your goal along with a time-table. Be realistic and base your plan on what you can discover from the Internet.
  • Prepare a Resume/CV - You can research how to prepare a Resume on the internet. The Resume will “sell” your abilities to potential employers. You must include your last 10 years of work or schooling and the position you are seeking. Employers will want to see explanations for any gaps in employment and reasons for leaving your previous positions. This is an industry based on “commitment”, so individuals that have long term employment backgrounds will want to emphasize their loyalty to employers.
  • Register with crew agencies…. there is usually no fee to register or for placement. Employers are responsible for paying a placement fee once they have hired a crew member.
  • Interview - Once you have registered and submitted all of your information you may be contacted by the crew agencies to sit for a personal interview.
  • Check In - Most crew agencies require a weekly “check-in” from crew members in order to keep your file active. They also require a “CHECK OUT”. This means that if you have secured employment through another source, you must contact the crew agency to advise your status. Crew agencies are very important to you so it is always in your best interest to keep your agents informed of your ongoing job search and successful job placements.

2. What will give me an edge over the competition in the superyacht industry?

  • Get Professional Certification - Having a qualification is an invaluable quality when looking to get a head-start in the superyacht industry. Further, it is essential to hold an STCW95 safety certificate!
  • Network! - If there’s any word more important in yachting than “Networking”, it’s a hard one to find. Regardless of what city you may be staying in, talk to people, walk the docks, check out websites, meet people in class, gather information and keep track of who you meet. An active crew member is a smart one. Never spend your day in a hotel or crew house. Spend every minute tapping your resources!
  • Be Professional - Your professional appearance and demeanor will take you a long way in this business. Whether interviewing, dock-walking or day-working, always take the time to look professional.
  • Commitment - It is also important to remember once you do get a job, be prepared to make a solid commitment. Longevity looks great to potential employers. Some very important things to remember when starting on superyachts are:
    1. It’s not a vacation
    2. It’s not easy
    3. You’ll be expected to work long hours
    4. You’ll be expected to live in small, tight crew quarters
    5. You’ll be expected to offer “service with a smile” and to be polite at all times
    6. You will be expected to travel and be away from home for long periods.

HOT TIP: Use superyacht blogs and forums, like the Superyacht Facebook Site to chat with experienced crew members and get their opinions and advice!!

3. What is STCW95?

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:

  • Personal Survival
  • Fire Fighting
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Personal Safety & Social Responsibility

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.

4. Why is it so important to hold an internationally recognized certification?

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.

5. I already have hospitality experience, so why do I need any further training to be a steward/ess on a superyacht?

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.

6. What skills do I have that would be useful on a yacht?

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:

  • Cooking (not necessarily gourmet, just a love of cooking, preparing simple dishes, and being familiar with a kitchen)
  • Nanny / Baby sitting / Au Pair
  • Formal service training / Silver Service / White Glove
  • Bartending
  • Carpentry / Woodworking
  • Mechanics
  • Painting - especially varnishing and woodwork upkeep.
  • Diving / Water sports
  • Sport Fishing - and this is a VERY highly technical activity - not just heaving a line overboard.
  • Experience in a Hotel, Resort, Cruise Ship, Restaurant or Estate
  • Emergency medical training
  • Masseuse / Esthetician license
  • Helicopter pilot

7. Where would I live when looking for work on a superyacht?

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!

8. What positions are available on superyachts?

Depending upon the size of the yacht, you will find any variety of positions. The most common positions that crew are hired for are:

  • Captain
  • First / Chief Officer
  • Mate / Bosun
  • Deckhand
  • Chief Engineer / 2nd Engineer
  • Chief Steward/ess / Purser
  • Junior Steward/ess
  • Deck/Stew
  • Chef
  • Sous Chef / Crew Cook / Cook-Stew

9. How do I apply for a job through Superyacht Crew Academy ?

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 …

  1. e-mail us your resume/CV with a short cover note explaining who you are and your current situation.
  2. The crewing staff at SCA will read your resume and determine your suitability for available positions.
  3. If you match the requirements, SCA will pass on your resume to the Captain or owner who may then contact you regarding the position. If nothing is available at the time, SCA will keep your resume on file and as soon as something becomes available, we will put your resume forward.

10. How long will it take me to find a job on a superyacht?

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.

11. What kind of pay can I expect?

Many variables are taken into consideration when determining the salary for each position, such as:

  • Your Work experience
  • Training, licenses and certificates
  • Size of the boat
  • Job description (the yacht may actually employ you for more than one position)
  • Whether the vessel is for Private or Charter use - or both.
  • Benefits and perks offered by the employer (Insurance, Vacation)
  • Full time or Temporary employment
  • Individual program of the vessel and owner’s budget

HOT TIP: Have a look at the crew salary guide (most positions will be tax free depending on your citizenship).

12. How long can I expect to stay onboard?

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.

13. What and where is yachting “season”?

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.

Europe

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.

Americas

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.

Working on Yachts14. Get the Working on Yachts Book

 

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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