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Crewing on yachts

Discussion in 'Yacht Crews' started by hat4349, Jan 22, 2008.

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  1. hat4349

    hat4349 Senior Member

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    I have always wondered how one got started doing this and if it is a natural progression to work ones way up to captain. I realize it takes a lot of work and study to do that but wonder what makes one pursue a career in crewing.

    I have always worked at a land based job and as I approach retirement wonder what it would have been like to take that avenue. Any comments people with experience have I would love to listen to.
  2. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    While this may only be vaguely related to what you are considering, hat4349, it is nonetheless worth considering.

    On a blustery day out in Biscayne Bay many years ago, some intrepid sailors endeavored to make their poky "racing" Tartan 37 run around the buoys as quickly as her owner wished.
    As the sunlit spray splashed across the decks, adding some pageantry to the ongoing grunting and cursing and sheets being winch-ground in to the tightness of piano strings, the owner mused wondering "what the poor people were doing that day".

    We all replied in one voice, "They're crewing, Jim."
  3. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    ROFLMAO! :D
  4. hat4349

    hat4349 Senior Member

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    I had a friend at a marina I was at a couple of years ago that lived on his Hatteras 53 and that is what he used to say whenever we went out. I wonder what the poor people are doing today, since those of us aboard where usually enjoying the surrounding or beverage we didn't say crewing. The I guess that is the difference between so called "crewing" on power and true crewing on sail. But I was wondering more about the pros, not those of us involved in the Wednesday night, or what ever night, races.
  5. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    The Pros of working a large motor yacht:

    The women you see and meet all over the world

    I love not knowing where I may end up on this big beautiful planet at any given moment. It makes it so adventurous. My passport has stamps from countries I would had never in my life thought I would see

    The friends that you make while working with others and you stay in touch with them after wards and hear wild stories from all over the world

    The thrill of success when faced with difficult challenging situations and you over come them with solutions

    Seeing that distant island off in the horizon coming closer that you never been to before, knowing you will shortly be exploring and learning there ways of life... and seeing how beautiful there women may or may not be

    Having the opprotunity to teach younger people who have passion for the seas

    Learning and working with the new technology that seems ever ending and changing in todays world

    Being able to buy any tool you want or need for the boat (well for engineers anyways) and stock up this big huge tool box like most men can only dream of doing

    Meeting some very powerful and Influential people that are on the top of there game..if you are going to be successful, you need to be around other successful poeple

    Did I mention the women that always seem to be around yachts?
  6. The Reverend

    The Reverend New Member

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    Some advice from an 19 year veteran of some of the best yachts around:-

    Breaking into the world of yachting by no means is easy however with a little persistence it can be done and the rewards are fantastic.
    The STCW95 is a great start - all properly run large yachts now require this certificate.
    This will give you a head start over other candidates looking for work and shows you are serious.
    Most importantly you need to get out and meet people (I cannot over emphasise this) Many jobs are still through word of mouth and and all crew mix and know each other.
    This means going to the yachting centers Ft Lauderdale in the winter Antibes France in the spring.
    Prepare a CV/resume and visit the crew agencies they need to see your face and judge your suitability (If you have pink hair or visible tatoos etc.- forget it) Captains are looking for smart presentable people who will not complain about having to wipe the varnish for the 20th time that day even though it looks okay.
    Look for the agencies that have bases in Ft Lauderdale and/or Antibes that specialise in yacht crew they can give you good advice which you should heed -they are the experts!
    You need to hang out in the yachting centers and be prepared to daywork this means walking the dock every day talking to the crew and asking if they have or know of any work.
    Don't expect to get a job as a dive instructor on a yacht many yachts have instructors however this is a very minor part of the work on any yacht. You are a beginner you have to start at the bottom!
    You may find it very very difficult to find a couples job as inexperienced crew you would be better off looking for work as a single person to start with.

    Basically: -
    Be polite.
    Be keen.
    Be presentable.
    Be persistant.

    Good Luck! and keep us posted

    (C4engs post no5 was spot on!)
  7. jwash

    jwash New Member

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    Wow, i am considering a change in career now! If I wanted to do a short term stint on a motor yacht, would one season be acceptable or are crew expected to stay the whole year? Also how long do the qualifications take to do and cost?
  8. TSI AV

    TSI AV Senior Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Many thanks to: C4ENG, The Reverend. Great info and it gives some wind into sails !

    I'd like to touch one more "subtopic" here, which is may be a sensitive one:

    How is it about nationality ?
    I mean, is everyone welcome ?

    Could be great if someone could share opinion/experience here.

    P.S. Should this discussion move to "CREW" ?

    Best regards,

    Andrei
  9. YachtForums

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    Done... :)
  10. The Reverend

    The Reverend New Member

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    Some further Info

    Please note the following post is about the larger world cruising yachts and is a generalisation there are exceptions.
    Some nationalities will find it easier than others to find work. Although there are some racial/religous/nationalty issues with owners, most reasons are due to the practicalities of visiting foreign countries the issue of entry visas and permits etc.
    Eastern europeans (non EU and Russian) in particular will find it difficult. American yachts that visit the U.S. only have American crew.

    Most importantly you have to get on with people

    As a crew member you will need to mix with work for and accept without question people of many different races backgrounds and religions (for me this personally this is one of the things that makes the job so great)
    You will need to speak English many of the significant players (MCA, , Lloyds, Red Ensign, Brokers, Charter & Crew Agents etc.) primarily use English.
    It is possible to do just one seasons work ( more likely on smaller less than 35 Metre boat) but it is not as easy. Captains nowadays are looking for professional committed crew.
    The days of spending the winter snowboarding in the Alps then turning up in Antibes to find a job on a yacht for the summer are all but over.


    Common mistakes I find from 'newbies' looking for work include:-
    Ignoring advice given to them from experienced crew and agencies etc.
    Expecting their non yachting experience or qualifications to somehow get them a senior position.
    Being scruffy/badly presented.
    Getting Drunk/partying too much. (future crew are watching you they don't want share a cabin or crew mess with drunkard)
    Expecting the job to be hanging out in cool places partying with guests.
    Poorly written C.V.'s

    Things that help:-
    Having some kind of professional training or skill.
    Previous long term commitment to a job or education.
    Yachting or boating background or hobby.
    No relationship commitments.
    Treating this as a serious job and career opportunity.
    Positive attitude.



    Don't forget despite all the appearance of glamour jobs on yacht is VERY HARD WORK -long unsociable hours Boring repetitive tasks,long periods without time off and difficult living conditions.
  11. hat4349

    hat4349 Senior Member

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    This is all very interesting, after being in the IT world for over 30 years it is nice to hear others can have some routine boring duties. When you visit ports do you get time to sightsee and take in local things or do you wind up being tied to the yacht by duties? It seems like with anything else you definitely have your ups and downs to the job.
  12. Garry Hartshorn

    Garry Hartshorn Senior Member

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    Having read the posts by "The Reverend" and "C4ENG" I agree 100% with their views and experiances. Having spent a few evenings many years ago behaving like a drunken sailor and having the tatoo's to prove it, ( 20+ years ago when I was a Seaman / AB in the Navy ) I can honestly say it has been a huge obstical in my yachting career. That said I am fortunate that they are seaman like tatoo's and the owners that I have worked for over the years seemed to take comfort not in the tatoos but in the fact that they knew or percieved that I was a seaman to the core.

    So to all thos aspiring young crew who want tatoo's you can have them but you also have to learn all the old school seamanship skills and that takes a little longer.
  13. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    Not everything to do with Yachts is status quo and regimented, it's been frequently observed in my port of call, that when Yachts come across the Pacific from Asia to our shores, the first order of the day is mucho Ale and young Ladies below deck.

    *(disclaimer) May or may not be Captain's orders. Commands may vary from ship to ship. All Ladies were willing participants and highly paid. All empties were recycled.
  14. The Reverend

    The Reverend New Member

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    HAT Going back to your original posted questions.

    Yes full time profesional crewing is an unusual occupation it is with doubt a lot of fun however there are some negative sides to it
    During my career I have met and spent time with some the richest most infuential and famous people on the planet.
    I have visited some amazing places and seen things most people can only dream of.
    The down side is it is often difficult to discuss these experiences with people outside 'the industry'
    Most people cannot relate to it or just think you are telling stories. There are also confidentiality issues.
    If asked by someone whom I've never met what I do for a living I often find myself telling them initially 'I work on a ship'
    Another negative is that it can be very difficult to maintain any kind of personal or family relationship.
    The amount of time off you get can be very limited (although this has improved a lot in the last few years for senior officers)

    As far as getting into yachting there is no generalisation how people get into it. everyone has a different story
    Some come from the Merchant or Royal Navy others follow a friend some just happen to be in the right place at the right time.
    To get to the top as a Captain or Chief Engineer does require a serious commitment financialy,studying and gaining experience.
    As a rough generalisation it takes about 10 to 12 years from starting your career to getting a command of a reasonable yacht even then
    a Captains jobs can dissapear very quickly through the whim of an owner or if a yacht is sold.
    Outside deck and Engineering career progression is somewhat limited
    Sterward/ess can progress to Chief Steward/ess or pursers.
    Chefs tend to stay Chefs but can make a good living as a personal chef for a person or family or freelance work.
    As far as getting ashore yes we do when there are no guests onboard although the vast majority of yachts tend to go to the same areas each year there is the opportunity to explore go shopping or in C4engs case chase girls!

    After many years I still love the job!
  15. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Will this still apply after you have been back in control of a desk for another 12 months?
  16. JHA

    JHA Senior Member

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    To pose a question on the flip side of this subject; How does one get OUT of this industry? I met my wife (a chef) a few years back. Now when we are getting ready to settle down, start a family etc... we find there is not a whole lot of options for a yacht captain in the "real world". I don't want to go down the broker road, and I've never had a non-maritime job. The kicker is the salary we receive as captain / chef. When a "well paying" job in the real world is 50k-60k i realize that we have it too good on yachts and it becomes very difficult to form an exit strategy.