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What Education you really need to be competitive?

Discussion in 'Licensing & Education' started by Allproyacht, Oct 10, 2016.

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  1. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    I've been heavily researching and reaching out to agencies for help on what education I need.

    I'm green to the industry so stcw 95 is a must I know. I've also been told Powerboat 2 is very helpful for a newbie.

    However, I was watching a lot of interviews with captians who said they wouldn't hire deck help without a masteryacht offshore. Which is pretty expensive and has some pre-reqs.

    So what do you honestly need to be somewhat competitive if you're green. Cause if I have to throw 3 grand down alone for classes, it sorta changes my timeline.

    Thanks!
  2. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    What is your background? Any experience? What is your objective?
  3. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    General Background:
    25, male, US citizen, clean criminal record. Currently working as an insurance brooker/agent, graduated with a 4-year in Political Science. Single. Not unhappy with where I am at, but want something more satisfying. Don't shy away from hard work. High attention to detail, especially when working with my hands.

    Water Exp:
    Green to offshore work but fresh water exp, having been the son of freshwater boat owner up to 32 feet. 6 or so consistent years (seasons) on a variety of freshwater bodies of water, taken boats through locks on the Mississippi. Enough to say I feel confident in and on the water. Only passanger on offshore though.

    Looking for:
    Something more rewarding. I'm young and single and want to take advantage of the fact I don't have roots, am willing to work hard, and eager to learn a craft. I find enjoyment knowing the fruits of my labor can pay dividends early on. The idea that daywork can be an "extended interview" motivates me, because impressing people is something I strive to do.

    Yachting is something I have had my mind on for a while, and have off and on researched since I was in college. Told myself I'd finish school, and work for a year, if I still had the desire, I would go.
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    "Something more rewarding" can be a million things and what is rewarding to one isn't to another. Are you just looking to be a deck hand or more? Beyond STCW that doesn't require more education to do it, but experience is very helpful and you have none that would apply to a deck hand on a boat large enough to hire one. A mate requires education and licensing. To become a captain is a multi-year task.

    Yes, day work often leads to the possibility of more work.

    What is it about "yachting" that interests you?
  5. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    There are some things like the potential for good compensation, especially as you aquire experience, and the travel. I also really am drawn to the idea of comradery between the crew members. Creating bonds with people, potentially life long.

    Hard work being rewarded, being able to prove myself, earn the respect of my peers and my superiors. These are things that may or may not be present at a typical 9-5, but from what I can tell are traits of the yacht service industry.

    Other than that I have always loved being on the water, always felt comfortable and always enjoyed it.

    I would look to move up, gain experience as a deck, work on certifications and qualifications so I could move up.
  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    You're like so many young people, seeing being romanced by the thoughts but not having any idea as to the real situation. STCW would be your start. Before you'll be able to get a Masters license, which is where the earnings really start, you'll need 720 sea days of time on the water. That can take you from 3 years to 10 years depending on how much work you find. Watch Lower Deck sometime. While I'd never tolerate much of what happens on the show, there are boats that many of those things do happen, and it does show you a bit of what a deck job is like. Some boats have great comraderie, but some have horrible disagreements between crew members. Deck hands generally make from $2k to $3k per month. Getting started with no experience is tough. People do it different ways, from walking the docks, to hanging around others in the industry, to living in crew houses and keeping an eye on the bulletin board.

    Ultimately, you will spend a lot on courses if your goal is to be a mate or captain. STCW is $899. Captain's license course is $899.

    For deck positions, there are other courses available such as RFPNW, but you can start as a non-qualified deck hand with only STCW.

    I assumed living in the US you'd be going after a USCG license. Powerboat 2 is RYA for small powerboats, not for professional crew for yachts. It helps as a deck training only because it prepares you perhaps to handle the tender.

    To start, you need the money for the basic courses but also money to allow you to live a while with no income or a job that you can work while hunting for a crew position.

    I would suggest you spend some time around crew to learn more about the realities of the jobs and then see if it's a career that really interests you.
  7. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    There are some 5 day crew training courses I would recommend as a start as well that teach the basics. Much of it is oriented toward interior crew though. Still they will teach you your way around a boat and things like knots and tying and flag etiquette, etc. I don't personally know anyone who has taken them so that's where i'd recommend talk to some deck hands and the schools.

    Starting with some day work is a frequent route and often depends on you just being the first one to show where a captain is very much in need. We have two stews who got their first jobs when they happened to show up when a crew member failed to show and asked if they could help. Both were scrubbing a boat down and prepping it for a cruise. One was interior but then helped on the deck after and the other just jumped in on a washdown with a grouchy captain cursing his non-showing deck hand. Before the day was over, he asked if she had her STCW 95 and then if she could help on a two week cruise starting the next day. So, although she is a stew, her first job was really more deck. Oh, turned out she was also a bit of a chef.
  8. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    Lots of good info, thank you.


    I've talked with some friends of friends who work on yachts, I have an idea of some of the less attractive aspects (tiny sleeping quarters, 16+ hour days, continously cleaning the same things).

    I definitely romantisize about the job, but I do have sense of realism and don't expect it to be a walk in the park.

    I've heard expect 2-3 months of hit of miss work before you get a permanent position as a deck. Does that sound about right to you? My plan is to come with 2 months expenses (in a crew house) saved plus 2 grand for tuition. Does that sound adequate?
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Sounds adequate but be prepared to take part time jobs if you must. I know aspiring yacht crew who worked at Starbucks or waited tables while waiting. It's all about building a resume too so keep good records and get seatime signed off on by all captains. And work to learn too. Crews on larger boats won't have much tolerance for someone who doesn't even know their basic knots or who knows nothing about cleaning smoke marks off the boat.

    Our stews (also do deck work as we have no deck only crew) got started on small boats with just a captain and them, got jobs on a charter where someone didn't show.

    Also, behave. Your interview starts when you arrive in town. Everyone is a potential reference. You go to a bar frequented by crew and get drunk, that's part of your interview. You argue in the crew house and that's part of your interview. The managers of crew houses observe a lot and their opinions are respected. Go places like diners or cafes located at boatyards for lunch. Maybe you'll strike up a conversation with a mate or captain. Oh, and don't turn jobs down even if they sound horrible. Getting the first items on your resume so you have some experience is important. Once on the boat show respect to everyone else, regardless of how they treat you as they're all your senior. Act like a beginner wanting to learn. And between trips don't go out and party and over indulge and do stupid things to alienate others. Alcohol is your enemy in starting out.

    As to the less pleasant things, don't overlook rude guests or crew or drunk guests who vomit and you have to clean it up, people spilling their drinks on the teak floor you just cleaned.

    It's not that different from any career in that you must go through a lot to get where you want to be. But ultimately it can be a wonderful career and you can meet and work for good people. Our crew is spoiled but they didn't start their careers that way. Probably the toughest physical jobs they had were on commercial boats, especially those serving oil fields.

    Ultimately as a career you can do very well as you shouldn't spend much money and so most of what you make can be saved. There is one huge negative as a career though and probably the number one reason people leave positions. That is that crewing on yachts that cruise to many places makes relationships very difficult if not impossible to build. Who wants to date a guy who won't be back home for months? Until more yachts change their staffing and go to rotation that will remain an issue. Other than that it can be fun and rewarding.
  10. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to explain and highlight some important points. I'll definitely reference this point multiple times in the future!

    I had one question about the seasons. If I am reading correctly, the spring hiring boom is to set up for the Med, meaning Spain and France, where Fort Lauderdale is the later summer for winter in the Caribbean. Is it not advised to head to Fort Lauderdale during early spring? Is it advised to save and go to France instead?
  11. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I've heard arguments both ways. Certainly spring jobs in Europe but a lot of crew over competing for them as well. In Fort Lauderdale, you have one advantage for some boats and that is US flagged vessels primarily use US crew due to the B1/B2 visa limitations of foreign crew. Now, many boats in Fort Lauderdale are foreign flagged, but since Florida reduced sales tax to a maximum of $18,000 more private vessels are flagging US. Also, while the Megayachts cross the sea and some of the yachts, many of the smaller boats stay and are used in South Florida during the summer months.

    Some will advise you to fly over. As you are on a limited budget to start with, I wouldn't advise you to spend the money flying over as well as the higher amounts for crew lodging in a country where you don't speak the language so building connections could be more complicated. Now, you might go to Newport during the spring, early summer. I don't know if that would be beneficial or not. It's not like all crew needs dry up in the spring in South Florida.

    I would wait until I felt I could financially handle it. Then I'd wait until I saved a bit more. Then I'd try it.
  12. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    Foreign flagged ships shouldn't be an issue for American citizebs, correct? You just need your passport? Or maybe I'm way off
  13. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    Nvm, I understand what you meant by the comment about foreign flags. Other nationalities have a harder time getting on a US flagged ship than an international ship.
  14. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Olderboater has some great insight. Covered most of the bases I would tell you about.
    One observation as I am trying to crew up my new boat, how many US crew are in town right now! Wondering if this is because of the TV show being aired lately. I was always trying to find US crew on my old boat, and it was tuff. Now I am trying to find foreign and it is tuff, unless you want Safr, always plenty of them.
    If you already haven't made the move yet to Ft. Lauderdale, I think it is to late, especially if you need to do STCW. My advice is wait until spring and save a bit more money or maybe come down this fall around boat show time and do your STCW and get the lay of the land for a week. Definitely come to Ft. Lauderdale in the spring, I would advise against Europe, to many non US to compete with.
  15. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    Hey! Yeah the plan is to head down around March. I'll have over 3 months expenses paid without any income by then, and then I get there with enough time fof class.

    Olderboater, that show is a hoot and a half haha. I watched a few episodes, from the oldest and newest season. I imagine a ton of stuff on that show is scripted, but you do get a good look at some of the work and the high level of detail for cleaning.

    One thing I did notice was a lot of lingo. Not so much the real general stuff like bilge, aft, ect. But maybe more minor stuff like the name of each line or a "shot" when dropping anchor. I look them up as I go, but is this something taught in safety courses, as you go, or something I should research before getting there (like a manual).

    Obviously hands on I'll be super new, but gaining as much knowledge and "book" smarts would be nice.
  16. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Well, some scripting and obviously a lot of extra people with both the production crew and the ship crew as there's an engineer I believe and at least one more crew member not seen on tv. I've never been on a boat run like that one so only go on the basis of what persons with extensive experience say. While scripted and while handpicked guests on the charters, there are a lot of truths within the show. The crew interaction is exaggerated but all the issues shown exist on some boats, even if not on the same one in one cruise.

    Just make sure you have a Plan B if you don't get a crew job in the three months.
  17. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    One thing the show made me think of was marina/port employees? Would trying to get a part time job there be something to pursue while waiting for a crew job.
  18. Allproyacht

    Allproyacht New Member

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    I picked up on the numbers thing. I think in one episode the captian says he'll split the tips 11 ways but only 8 or 9 crew were ever visible in total. I imagine this is a cast crew, and like you said, a couple extra people the captian kept from the real crew just to keep an extra eye on things.