HOW TO BECOME A YACHTIE
Welcome to becomeayachtie.com. You are now one step closer to working on a superyacht and I'm sure you are eager to learn how you travel the world and get paid, really well, to do it. But first, a little bit about myself, just so you know you are on the right track.
I joined the industry as a young South African in 2012. I sailed from Cape Town, South Africa all the way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a 46-foot catamaran with 2 other people. A voyage which took 48 days to complete. A voyage I also feel emulates my commitment to getting into the industry. I deeply desired to be able to travel the world and to get paid (really well) for it.
During my years as a yachtie, I have worked on multiple private & charter yachts and have done seasons in The Mediterranean, The Caribbean, The Bahamas, The East Coast of the United States and Canada.
I understand how intimidating it may seem to leave the comfort of your home life and your boring job in search of something new and amazing. Trying to find out how to get into the yachting industry is daunting enough and I’m sure you have any questions: Where do I go? What courses do I need to do? What visas do I need? How much is it going to cost? Where do I live while I’m looking for work? I answer all of those questions and so much more that you didn’t even think you needed to know. Like how do I go about getting a visa for America if I don’t have a job? What bank account do I need? Can I get a job with my girlfriend/boyfriend? How do I get daywork? What is daywork?? What can I expect in an interview? What crew agents should I speak to? Which Facebook groups should I join? How long do I have to find a job before I need to leave the county? The list of questions goes on and on and yes it all seems too much. You don’t need to look much further - all of your questions will be answered right here.
Let's get into it and find out what is included in this book and by the end of this content description, if you are serious about becoming a yachtie, I have no doubt you’ll be convinced you need this guide on how to get your first job in super yachting.
This 80-page ebook is brutally honest, full of wit and offers step-by-step guidance on how to, not only, get a job on a superyacht, but what it takes to get there and how to establish yourself as the best crew member possible. It is backed with 8 years worth of personal experience in yachting as well as input from multiple peers within the industry. Including highly experienced and respected stewardesses, engineers, chefs, captains and chief officers. There is no shortage of experienced guidance and advice in this book.
In the introduction, I talk about the first 3 things you should consider before embarking on your yachting journey:
Money, Time and Relationships.
Money: Do you have enough? Getting into yachting is not cheap. Courses, flights, visas, clothes, accommodation, food and travel all add up.
Time: It could take months before you find a permanent job.
Relationships: There is a good chance your relationship won’t last with yachting involved or at the very least be put to the test.
In this section, we have a close look at these considerations and how to deal with them.
COURSES & CERTIFICATIONS
You won’t even step onboard a yacht without certain certifications to your name. In this section, I discuss what certifications & courses are mandatory and I dive into what other courses might come in handy. Which department you want to work in will depend on the extra courses you should think about taking.
The different departments onboard (on a basic level) include:
The interior department (Stewardesses)
Exterior/Deck department (Deckhands/Officers etc.)
Galley department (Chef)
Here we look at each department, what tasks are involved in each and I give guidance on which courses my team of experienced yachties and I think are worth doing before joining the industry.
WHERE SHOULD I GO?
Here I discuss the main yachting areas to consider going to. Your choice will depend heavily on the time of year. Yachting has seasons. You don’t want to be caught out in the wrong area waiting for the boats to come back. This will waste not only time but money.
Here, I talk about the different seasons, how long they span and when would be the right time to arrive in each area.
This is an important topic and not one any of the yachting schools, Facebook groups or agencies will give you detailed advice on. Without the right visas, you won’t even be able to leave your home country (depending on where you are from).
In this section, I will give you advice, not only on the different visas you need but how you can make the visa application process a lot easier by dealing with the embassies in the right way.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Before heading out into the unknown it would be beneficial to set yourself up as best you can. Here I discuss the different things you should handle before leaving, including:
Accommodation. Why you should strongly consider staying in a crew house. There is a list of links to all the major crew houses in the appendix.
CV/Resume’. Why it’s so important as well as what to include and leave out. The appendix includes CV/Resume’ templates designed for new yachties which are FREE for you to use.
Clothing. Yacht crew generally have a particular image and it’s important to fit that mould when first joining. I talk about what clothes you can take with you to help look the part.
Bank Accounts. Here I talk about the options you have with regards to banking.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
This section starts with your arrival at the airport. Going through Customs & Immigration can be rather intimidating (particularly in the US) and you need to have your facts straight otherwise you could find yourself on the next flight home.
I give advice here on what to say and do to make your arrival go as smoothly as possible without being caught out.
Many aspiring and even experienced yachties have been pulled aside and even sent home for not having their stories straight. This is advice you want to hear.
Other topics in this section include:
What to do to settle into the crew house.
Where and how to get your phone setup.
The best ways to get around.
How to deal with crew agencies.
The benefit of business cards and what they should include. FREE business card templates are included in the appendix.
How to set yourself up for daywork as soon as possible.
Here I talk about the importance of social media in yachting and how it can benefit you in your quest to becoming a yachtie. The appendix includes links to the most active yachtie Facebook groups. Joining these groups will open up the world of yachting for you tenfold.
Daywork can be described as temporary cash-in-hand work. It can keep you going while you’re looking for that killer permanent gig but ideally, it is not what you want - you want the travel, the camaraderie and of course the big bucks. Don’t be fooled into thinking that daywork will be easy to come by either - You need to put yourself out there and not only look the part but act the part. Daywork should be treated as a trial run for a permanent gig. Too many new crew take it lightly and end up dayworking for a year or more.
In this section, I give a full guide on how to put yourself in the right position to, not only, attain daywork but how to make a good impression and how to possibly get a permanent job out of it.
CREW HOUSE LIFE
This section explains how you should conduct yourself whilst living in a crew house. What to do and what not to do. A bad reputation coming out of the crew house could damage your yachting career before it has even begun.
Networking is definitely the best way to find work but it can be a delicate balancing act between having a good time (which yachties looove to do) and making a good impression on people. You want to give the right impression to potential colleagues and superiors.
In this section, I give strong advice on how to conduct yourself, whom you should speak to and where the local yachtie hangouts are - There is a list of the world’s main yachtie hangouts in the appendix.
Boat show time is a great time to be around as yachts involved in the show are looking for dayworkers and even new crew.
The appendix has a list of the worlds annual boat shows including dates and locations.
Interviews can be incredibly intimidating, regardless of the industry. But with the surplus of yacht crew in the industry, there is never a shortage of qualified applicants for any job posting. In this section, I will give you advice on how you can be a cut above the rest, what questions to expect and what questions you should ask. A must-read for anyone interviewing for a job on a yacht.
Being hired onboard a superyacht brings a whole new set of challenges and will show you a world you have never experienced before. Working and residing with people in close quarters for months on end is tough at the best of times.
Add in crew politics, sexual tension, testosterone, hormones, drugs, alcohol, tough management, exhaustion, cabin fever and a shitty boss…you have quite the recipe. And for someone who’s never “navigated those water” (pun intended), it can be an exceptional challenge. Plenty of experienced crew still struggle with basic principles regarding being a decent crew member.
This section, I feel, is an incredibly important read. I give extensive advice on what you can and should do to make your time on board a yacht as easy-going and smooth as possible.
Yachting all boils down to entertaining guests onboard and this presents a whole different set of rules on how crew members should conduct themselves. Essentially, if you cannot handle dealing with guests, maybe yachting isn’t for you.
The pace of the job picks up and your entire life will revolve around the yacht and your guests. Your involvement with guests will vary depending on which department, your position onboard as well as the size of the yacht.
In this section, I give a set of rules that one should follow to help you manage the guest-on experience as best as possible.
The subject of tax can be a bit of a “grey area” in the yachting world. The international nature of the industry can make it rather confusing on what one should do tax-wise. One thing is for sure though, you do not want to get caught out by the taxman.
This section gives advice and insight into how one should deal with taxation as a crew member on a superyacht.
Regardless of the position, you have onboard or which department you are part of - If you work on a boat you should know how to tie a few knots.
This section explains which knots are most important and what you can do to become efficient in tying knots.
You may feel yachting is a temporary gig and it is for most crew as the lifestyle becomes more demanding. It is important to keep a level head and think of what comes next.
I give a little insight here into why this important and why I say most crew feel it is a temporary lifestyle.
The contents of the appendix alone are extremely valuable to not only aspiring yachties but experienced ones as well.
The appendix includes:
Clickable links to the top crew agencies in the main yachting areas.
Clickable links to the top crew house accommodations in the main yachting areas.
Clickable links to the most active yachtie Facebook groups around the world.
Clickable links to the top schools around the world.
A list of all the top yachtie hangouts in the main yachting areas.
A list of the world’s annual boat shows and dates.
A comprehensive list of yachting terminology.
FREE CV/Resume’ templates.
FREE Business card templates.
FREE Cover letter template.
Typical Interview questions to expect.
Questions to ask in an interview.
Great advice from a number of experienced superyacht crew.
I wish there was a guide book like this when I was looking at becoming a yachtie. It would’ve saved so much time and frustration for not only myself but for the multiple people trying to help me. If you don’t yet know the frustrations of the back and forth emailing, phone calls and text messages, you will soon if you don’t follow a step by step guide such as this.