Thanks to my job, I’ve been able to live in and explore some of the most beautiful and remote spots in the world. Some of those places can only be reached by water and only a small percentage of the population will ever get to see them. But, none of this comes easy. Working in the yacht industry takes hard work and dedication but comes with some massive payoffs.
-STCW10 (Basic Safety Training)
I worked on the private islands in the Whitsundays Queensland Australia for over 4 years. I started out as personal trainer on the fitness club then cross trained into front office reservations, housekeeping, and food and beverage. I’ve also done hostess work on luxury boat transfers.
All of this accumulates to 11 years in the industry and a keen insight to what boats are looking for in their crew.
The job possibilities on a yacht are diverse. Since a boat is it’s own independent entity, they need everyone from laundry to engineers, deck crew to stewardesses, personal trainers to chefs and just about anything in between. Depending on the size of the yacht, you could be expected to balance many roles or do one specific thing each day. To reduce the information overload,
I’ll focus on stewardess roles, specifically for newcomers to the industry.
Currently I’m a chief stewardess on a private mega yacht. Meaning I’m in charge of everything that happens in the realm of service and housekeeping. Working on a yacht also means living on a yacht so another part of my job is keeping my team energized and working well together.
Everyone who is new in the industry is known as a “green stew.” Most of the people I hire are at least 20 years old but I’ve known people as young as 18 to get hired. So long as you have you STCW10 and ENG1 Medical, any other type of training is not mandatory.
If I’m looking for a green stew she just has to have the right attitude and a great work ethic and we will train her to fit her role.
After completing the two requirements, you’re ready to make your Yachting CV. A Yachting CV is like any normal CV however very professional and short and sweet. Your CV must be only 1 page so it’s important to use that space wisely. Start with a personal paragraph, like a cover letter but much, much shorter. Highlight your personal information, local contact information and even things like visible tattoos and piercings. You must include a headshot. It’s best if the picture is high quality, you wear a collared shirt, your hair is out of your face and you have minimal makeup on. It’s best that the captain or chief stew can imagine what you’ll look like on their boat easily.
The yacht world is very professional and has a keen eye to detail so your CV should represent that.
There are so many additional certificates you can add on your CV to make yourself extra competitive but again, these are more important for a management role or if you’re aiming to work in something specific, like the spa.
A majority of green stews will need to interview for jobs in person. It’s best to be able to visit your potential new workplace so you both can get a feel for everything. However, I have been offered many jobs via Skype interviews and have been flown from the other side of the globe.
Hiring can happen year round but most jobs are best found during “seasons.”
Based on location, the season can change.
In Europe and the Mediterranean, the yacht season is May-September but hiring can start in April. A big hub for job hunting is Antibes, France. It’s possible to even get your requirements done here while you start learning first hand about the industry, although it can be more costly than other places.
It’s also possible to find jobs in the northeast of the U.S during the same season. This can be a great opportunity for U.S nationals and those with relevant visas. A hub for hiring here is Newport, Rhode Island.
If you’re looking to get started later in the year, you can head down to Florida to get a job for the Caribbean season. This season is around October-April. Most people head to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami for job opportunities. If you don’t have a U.S visa or passport, it might be best to get hired in Europe and hop on a boat doing a crossing (Med to Atlantic Ocean) between seasons. If you’re a great member of the team, they’ll help get your visas sorted.
It’s also possible to get hired in the South Pacific also but it’s not as common. It’s best to look for crew positions in Fiji in August-October.
But if you find yourself in a big harbor town, ask around. You could be pleasantly surprised!
Although there are opportunities across the globe, getting a job on a super yacht is very competitive. It’s a great lifestyle for the right person and a lot of people are looking to join the industry.
When I hire, I look for some specific qualities in candidates:
*You must be a hard worker.
*No bullshit attitude and no drama.
*Ready to take on tasks you may not want to be doing.
*Be a good listener and have incredible eye for detail.
*Be respectful of others. Remember you all work eat and play together day in and day out.
*Be willing to be at sea and away from family and loved ones for weeks and maybe months at a time.
*Be committed. No one likes a crew member who does not contribute 100%.
*Bonus: Have experience in high end hotel operations or hospitality
In interviews, you have every right to ask as many questions as you want. It doesn’t just have to be right for the employer but for you too! Don't be afraid.
There are amazing perks to working on a yacht once you’re hired. All meals, accommodation and toiletries are provided for you. Most of the time you will live and work within the confines of the yacht. Most crews are lovely so just be yourself and make some wonderful friends. Plus, you’ll get to travel to some incredible places. All boats are different with their time off though, so how much time you’ll get off to enjoy the scenery depends.
Because everyone is together 24/7, people can get stir crazy.
Always speak up if you feel something isn't right but at the same time don’t bitch. It gets you nowhere and ruins a good team. If you have a problem speak up! Don't bottle it up and become miserable.
Your captain and chief stew should always be supportive of you. But at the same time, you should always be respectful and mindful of them and the rest of the crew at all times. Respect the entire boat and other peoples working environments. If you want to work your way up the ranks you need to put in the hard yards and trust me it will pay off.
The yacht life isn’t for everyone but for the right person, it’s amazing.
A lot of people in the industry work hard for half a year, save up and spend the other half resting and enjoying a nice, long vacation wherever in the world they prefer.