Yacht Jobs: How to Become a Stewardess or Deckhand

 

This guide is all about entry level yacht jobs, what they’re like, and how to get hired as  a stewardess, deckhand, or deck stew with no prior experience.

Over the past decade I’ve worked all types of different jobs, but I would have to say my favorite by far has been working in the yachting industry.  If you’re a young able-bodied person, and you follow the right steps, you have a chance at getting a job on a yacht.  It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.  While I don’t consider myself an expert by any means in the wonderful world of yachting,  I know what it takes to get your first full-time job, and keep it.

When I refer to a “yachtie diva” in this guide, I’m referring to someone who is completely clueless, like I was, when it comes to any thing having to do with yachting.  Many people refer to yachtie newbies as “green,” but when I was starting out,  I was the GREEN QUEEN. You can read manuals and take courses all day, but it’s not going to do you any good if you cant even open doors, turn on lights, or talk on your “walkie talkie.”

So this guide is for all of you aspiring yachtie divas out there, who like me, need to spend a lot more time learning about the more basic aspects of life on a boat.  I’m going to walk you through step by step, and take it down to a level that we divas can readily understand.  Besides helping you get hired, I’m going to focus on how not to get fired because there’s a lot of mistakes you can make early on in the game.  I know because I made just about all of them. So learn from Bake’s mistakes so you don’t look so dumb in front of all those yachtie hotties like I did! 🙂  This is not an extensive guide to everything you need to know about yachting, this is just to get you on a boat, and help you through your first couple of weeks on board…The three phases of yacht life:

Getting Inspired

Getting Hired

Not Getting Fired  

 So let’s see if you’ve got what it takes to become a yachtie~

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! YACHT JOB HANDBOOK FOR NEW CREW COMING NOVEMBER 2017.

  • I will be launching a brand new ebook this fall, with loads of valuable tips, tricks, flicks, and pics to help you get inspired, get hired, and not get fired working on a yacht. This guide is going to be EPIC, stay tuned!
  •  I will also be launching a new website: bakermanning.com
  •  This site will feature content that focuses on the yachting industry, lifestyle, and how to get a job.
  • Be sure to sign up to my email list for updates, and don’t forget to tune into Bravo TV every Tuesday at 9:00 pm to watch me on Below Deck!

Overview:

Phase 1: Getting Inspired

  1. Pros of Working on Yachts
  2. Cons of Working on Yachts
  3. Entry Level Jobs
  4. Types of Work
  5. Work Detail
  6. Entry Level Pay, Salary, Benefits
  7. Types of Boats
  8. Living Onboard
  9. Yachting Seasons
  10. Sample Job Listings

Phase 2: Getting Hired

  1. Time to Make it Happen
  2. Go to a Yachting Hub
  3. Take STCW-95 / ENG1
  4. Create a CV
  5. Begin Networking
  6. Look for Day Work
  7. Start Interviewing
  8. Continue Education (Optional)
  9. List of Great Yachtie Resources
  10. Maritime Academies
  11. Crew Housing Options
  12. Crew Agencies
  13. Crew Events
  14. Sample CV

Phase 3: Not Getting Fired

  1. Initiation Phase… Do You Have What it Takes!?
  2. Moving On Board
  3. Be a Good Crew Member
  4. Be a Considerate Roomie
  5. Just…Try Not to Screw Up
  6. Things To Do During Downtime

*Part 2 of this guide is a special tutorial for us yachtie divas/ green horns.  If you are still curious after reading this guide, check out Yachtie Jobs and Training Guide for even more info and some video tutorials.*

Phase 1: Getting Inspired

What Is It Like to Work on a Yacht?

 

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You work and live aboard a luxurious mega-yacht.  Wherever the yacht goes you go, and it’s usually somewhere sick.  While you get paid to travel to beautiful places, it’s not all glamorous.  It’s hard work!  If you get down with the “work hard play hard” mentality, you’re a good candidate.  If not, don’t quit your day job…

Pros of Yachting:

  1. Personal Growth
    • Learn a whole new set of skills and knowledge about the nautical/boating world.
    • Become a much more adaptable person, You learn to deal with a variety of different personalities living together in close quarters, and you have no control over your circumstances.
  2. Meet Really Cool People
    • Yachties come from all over the world.  The type of people who can stick it out in the industry are the kind of people you want to kick it with.
  3. Get paid to Travel
    • You’ll go to some of the most beautiful and exotic places in the world.  Many of which are only accessible by boat.
    • Pretty much all of your expenses are included – rent, food, electricity, water, internet, and other small necessities are free.99!
    • You can save lots of money, unless you spend it all on partying 🙂
  4. Live on the Water
    • If you’re the kind of person who loves salt sand, and the oh-so blue~tiful water like me, you’ll be in heaven.
  5. Live in a Floating Palace
    • Although the crew quarters aren’t exactly spacious, the views are nice 🙂  Not to mention the boat will most likely be parked at a sweet spot that’s right in the center of town where it’s happenin’, or else anchored somewhere remote and beautiful. 
  6. You’ll Have Unique Experiences
    • You never know what kind of adventure you’ll have on your days off, or even while working for that matter.  You may find yourself watching the sunrise in perfectly calm water 200 miles off shore,  snorkeling and spear fishing in the Bahamas, or at a full moon party down in the Caribbean, with a new (rowdy) group of friends from all over the world. 
  7. Get Fed All Meals by a Talented Chef 
    • Most boats have a full time chef on board that cooks for the guests as well as crew.
  8. Develop a Higher Presence of Mind
    • Most of us wander around all day with an endless stream of thoughts in our heads.  Planning our future activities and meals, texting friends, or glued to our smart phones.  When working on a yacht you literally lose control over all of these aspects of your life.  This allows you to focus more on the most important thing, the present moment.
    • A lot of the tasks you’re given on a yacht can be pretty intense.  You may be climbing all over the boat, and dangling off the side.  You are dealing with some really valuable equipment that you do not want to handle lightly.  You can easily injure or even kill yourself, and other people if you aren’t mindful. It forces you to be present. 
  9. Increase in Balance, Stability
    • Maneuvering around on a boat requires some skill, especially when the ground is moving underneath you.  You will learn how to jump around without even touching anything, (no fingerprints!)  You’ll also learn to walk around the entire boat noiselessly, like a little fairy, (hopefully!)
  10. Become More Physically Fit
    • Unless your chef cooks delicious fattening food everyday 🙂  On a normal day You’ll likely be moving around nonstop for hours on end, it’s a good workout.
  11. Mingle With the Rich and Famous
    • You’ll get a little glance into what true ballers like to do when they’re on vacation. You will get to participate from time to time in their excursions as part of the job.  They may be extra friendly and invite you to join them when going out and about, but use your best judgement before accepting the invitation.  Normally it’s advised to keep guest relations separate.
  12. Learn to Live Minimally
    • You’ll most likely be sharing a tiny cabin with another person, which will force you to minimize the amount of clothes and other unnecessary clutter that you bring on board.  You’ll realize that you don’t need nearly as much material items and space as you’re used to.
    • Often times you’ll be moving around from place to place, and possibly overseas with no internet or cell service.  You’ll stop spending so much time texting, watching TV,  and surfing the web, and more time outdoors.
  13. Increased Appreciation for Nature and Beauty
    • Rather than waste time indoors in your tiny cabin, you’ll explore all of the beautiful places you’re surrounded by.  You’re “office” will always be located in some kind of beautiful nautical paradise.
  14. Increased Appreciation for Time
    • At times yachting can be long days, and hard work.  However, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and when you do get a break, you really appreciate  it and feel like you’ve earned it.
  15. Good Discipline and Work Ethic
    • As a crew member you can expect a very regimented and laborious work schedule. You will be part of a team, or crew, which will motivate you to do well on everyone’s behalf.  
  16. Develop an Eye for Detail
    • You may turn a little OCD after spending enough time on a boat. You’ll begin to see even the smallest imperfections on any surface.
  17. Become Clean and Organized
    • Because you’re sharing such a small space with so many people, you naturally get in the habit of always picking up after yourself and leaving things tidy.
  18. Completely Surrender Yourself and Live in the Moment
    • You have no control over where you’re going, how long you’re staying, even what you’ll be eating.  You learn to just let go and let it happen without even thinking about it.~

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Cons of Yachting What storage below decks on a yacht looks like

Cons of Yachting:

  1. You must be willing to drop everything and move onto a boat.  It is a full commitment and once you’re in, your life revolves around the boat, the owners,  and the guests.
  2. You should be willing to commit to a full year in the industry in the beginning, before you can expect any vacation.
  3. You will most likely share a tiny cabin with another person and you will have little to no privacy, and not much space for your belongings.
  4. You will be living in tight crew quarters with anywhere from 2-12 or more crew members.  It may be very busy and noisy all of the time.
  5. You don’t get to choose your roommate, crew, or the yacht owners, you may not like or get along with some of them.
  6. You can’t treat the boat like your home, you can’t invite friends over, leave your belongings everywhere, etc.
  7.  It’s not the best job for people with a family or children that they are responsible for.You will most likely have to sacrifice family obligations, and holidays etc. while working full time. 
  8. It’s an adventure that you will have to embark upon alone.  It is rare you will find work on a boat for you and a friend, although a couple can sometimes get hired together.
  9. You can lose your job at the drop of a dime for all types of reasons.  The owner could decide to fire everyone, the boat could get sold, you could screw up, or the owners may simply not like you.  There is no protection from getting fired in the yachting industry.
  10. It can be very long, physical work that requires strength and stamina.  Some of the tasks you will have to do are not so appealing.  You’ll be cleaning toilets, crawling around in tiny spaces, lifting heavy things, dealing with lots of chemicals, and getting wet, and dirty.
  11. You may have to work 12 hour + days, for weeks on end if you work on a very busy boat.  You may get very little rest during these trips.
  12. You may have to take long voyages offshore for several days which can be physically and mentally draining, especially if you’re prone to sea sickness.

Entry Level Jobs for Divas: 

  1. Deck/Stew
    • This is my top choice, you get to learn all of the basics of the boat and you get to work both inside and outside, where ever you’re needed most.   
  2. Deckhand
    • This would be my second best choice, once again because you spend most of the time outside, and it’s very physical so you get a good work out.
    • You basically have to make sure the exterior of the boat looks brand new at all times, which can be a lot of work. You also have a lot to do with all of the preparations for leaving and arriving to port, as well as any of the water sports or other toys that come along with the boat.  A more detailed description of your duties can be found below.
  3. Stewardess
    • This is the most common job for girls.  You do a lot more work dealing directly with the guests. You will be in charge of serving them food and drinks, making arrangements for their entertainment, and keeping the interior of the boat in pristine condition among other things.  
  4. Chef/ (or Cook)
    • Most boats have a full time chef on board who prepares food for the entire crew as well as the guests.  A lot of time these chefs will be very experienced but some (smaller) boats will hire you on even if you’re not.  Some people say this position can be the most tedious on board on certain boats.
  5. Stew/Chef & or Deck/Chef (or Cook)
    • Some boats will combine jobs, such as a stewardess or deckhand also being the chef.

 

Types of Work

  1. Day Worker
    • This is common when you’ve just finished your STCW and looking for experience.
    • You typically find an hourly based job on a boat that only needs assistance for a day or maybe even a week or two, but it is not a full time position and you likely will not expect to live on board while doing it.
  2. Temporary / Part Time
    • This may be for a longer period than a day working job, like a week- a month or so.  You may or may not stay on board while doing this, it all just depends.
    • Often times these jobs can turn into a more permanent position if you do a good job and they have an opening.
  3. Full Time
    • This is a commitment in which you will likely be living on board, or in the crew house, and expect to work on the boat regularly for at least a season.  
    • There will probably be some type of contract, and you will agree on salary, and other things like vacation time, etc.
  4. Free Lance + Delivery
    • Free lance  jobs are more easy to obtain once you have a few seasons/years of working on a boat.  This means you will work on a boat temporarily for a period of time. These may be anywhere from a day or two to a month or two.  I prefer to free lance because there’s no long term obligation.
    • A delivery is when you are simply moving a boat from one place to another.  Usually there are no guests on board and you’re just going from point A to point B.  It may be anywhere from a few hours, to a few weeks.  These are also a great way to earn some money real quick without the hassle of a full time boat commitment.
    • I recommend getting at least a years experience, ideally on one boat, so that you can try out free lancing and see if you like it.  (I love it 🙂

 

Work Detail 

You’re Tasks will vary from day to day, it depends on what the boat is doing:

  1. Trip Preparation/ Provisioning
    • This means you are getting ready for a trip with guests coming on board.  The boat will most likely by traveling or “getting underway” soon. The duration of the trip could range from just a few hours, to a few months.  Provisioning means you and the crew are getting all of the necessary items, food, cleaning supplies, etc. that will be necessary.  Sometimes the boat will be in remote areas with few stores and resources so the boat may stock up on months worth of supplies.
  2. Guests On Board
    • Now the guests have arrived, it’s showtime!  You will be working around the clock to provide them with 5 star service and make sure that floating palace is looking so fresh n’ so clean alllll day! This is typically the most stressful part of the job. As an entry level crew member you will probably be assisting the head stew and other deckies, with whatever they need.  Just smile and do what you’re told and try not to get in anyones way.
  3. Post Trip Turnover
    • Guests have all just left, (thank goodness!)  But now you have to work just as hard to get the boat back to pristine condition.  You and the crew will basically detail, or thoroughly clean, every square inch of the boat back to perfection, inside and out.  It will seem like noone has ever stepped foot on the boat before.
  4. Getting Underway
    • Now the boat will turn into a different creature as you must stow (put away) every thing and prepare for what could be a long voyage across rough waters.  You will prepare the boat by making sure everything is put away properly, all doors, hatches, and drawers are latched shut.  Cushions are put away, and all deck furniture is covered and tied up, etc.
  5. Underway (No Guests on Board)
    • This can be very enjoyable or quite the opposite depending on many things.  If you’re prone to sea sickness you may want to take motion sickness medicine although it can make you sleepy.
    •  For long voyages each member of the crew will stand watch, and aid in driving the boat, keeping a lookout for other boats and debris, doing engine room checks, etc.
    • As a yachtie diva you’ll be given minimum responsibility but you will still most likely be assisting with the watch which will have a schedule.  You may be on watch for 3 hours, and then have 6 hours off, or it could be 2/8, 4/7, any number of ratios depending on the length of the trip and size of the crew.
    • When you’re not standing watch you are probably free to do whatever you want, sleep if you can.
  6. Coming into Port
    • This can be intense as you have a lot to do in a short amount of time, especially on deck.
    • As the boat approaches port, you must prepare by setting up the dock lines, blowing up and putting out fenders, unhooking the tender, and many other things. All of this is usually done within 10- 15 minutes before arriving.
    • Once pulling up you will help throw lines, position the fenders against the pilings, etc.
    • Once the boat is tied up at the dock, you will need to wash it thoroughly among other things.
  7. Serving Watch (On Land)
    • This is one of my least favorite parts of the job.  Due to insurance reasons most bigger yachts require that a crew member is physically on board at all times.
    • Most crews will divide the time in 24 hour increments.  For example, if there are 7 crew, one person has to stand watch for one whole day, per week.
    • You may have Monday Watch meaning you are on board all day that day.
    • There are a series of tasks that go along with it such as:
      • Putting up and taking down the flag.
      • Checking lines and fenders.
      • Locking and unlocking doors in the am and pm/
      • Doing a walk through of the entire boat throughout the day to make sure nothing’s amiss (wetness, smells, etc.)
      • Turning lights on and off. etc.
  8. Typical Maintenance
    • There will be periods of time when the boat is just chillin’ and not preparing for an upcoming trip.  During this time there is still plenty of work to do!
    •  This part of the jobs involves lots of cleaning, polishing, waxing, scrubbing,and re-organizing all parts of the boat.
    •  As a yachtie diva you will be given the most mundane of tasks that the other crew are over qualified and don’t feel like doing.
    •  It’s all part of the fun, just listen to some good tunes and audiobooks and try to be the best polisher ever! 🙂

*Below I will post a lot more examples of tasks you can expect to perform during each of these phases.


Entry Level Pay/Salaries/Benefits 

  1. Day Work
    • Usually pays by the hour, often times it’s cash and tax free.  Expect between $12-$15 an hour.  Try to get as much day work experience as you can while job hunting.
  2. Full Time
    • Ranging from $1,500.00- $2,500.00, maybe up to $3,000.00 per month.
    • As an entry level employee you aren’t going to start off with the best pay, but if you do a good job there’s a good chance you will continue to earn more if you stick with the same boat.
    •  Also, don’t forget you have little to no living expenses when you’re living on board so you can factor that in as well.
  3. Vacation
    • Lots of boats will offer 2-8 weeks-  of paid vacation, with a year contract.  Many will even pay for your airfare both ways.  All boats are different!
  4. Other Included Perks:
    • Most boats provide you with all meals + groceries, and usually even a chef to cook it for you, usually in the form of a family style meal.
    • As a full time crew member, you live on board for free so you don’t have any bills such as rent, electricity, water, internet, cable, etc.
    • Many boats will pay for maritime classes, certifications, and licenses for you if you express interest and longevity.
    • Some boats even provide you with benefits such as health insurance,  401k, etc.

 

Types of Boats

Types of boats you can find yacht jobs on 

  1. Small Yacht vs. Big Yacht
    • Smaller yachts are anything from 60-100 ft. long and usually only require 2-4 crew. Often times crew on these boats will share duties, such as deck/stew/chef etc.  These boats may have a more laid back atmosphere in general, or could be extra labor intensive with few crew and a lot to do.
    • Big yachts can range from 100 ft – 300 ft + and can have as much as 12 + crew.  These yachts can have a more rigorous schedule and be more hectic, but of course can also mean you earn more money.  You may have a more defined role of what you are expected to be in charge of, where as smaller boats may share duties.
  2. Motor Yacht vs. Sailing Yacht
    • Sailing yachts can have a more laid back  atmosphere, but also more labor intensive, and may not pay as well.  It’s harder to get an entry level job on a sailing yacht if you have no experience sailing whatsoever.  Motor yachts obviously have no sails and are propelled by engines.  If you have no boating experience I suggest you look for jobs on a motor yacht (first.)  
  3. Charter  vs. Private
    • Private yachts are generally only used by the owner and their family and friends, whereas the owner of a charter yacht will let other people rent it out for a period of time. On a charter yacht the guests may be different every trip. 
    • Charter yachts tend to be busier, move around more, but also pay better than a private yacht which may be used a lot less.  
    • Crew on charter yachts typically earn tips after every trip which can be a lot of extra cash in your pocket.   
    • On a private yacht you may earn less money and move around less, but you also often times have a lot more free time.
    •  If you’re getting into the  industry for the experience rather than the money, I would try to find a job on a private yacht with a laid back schedule.  You will have much more time to enjoy yourself and explore.
  4. Overnight vs. Day Charters
    • Another option is working on a boat that does strictly day charters, in which case you wouldn’t live on board, but you would have a regular work schedule and do day excursions.  

 

Living on Board

Sleeping berths on a typical yacht



  1. Crew Quarters
    • Most yachts have a (small) area, usually in the front or bow of the boat, that is designated for crew.  This may consist of a common area, a small galley (kitchen,) and also all of the crew cabins.
    • Crew don’t typically hang out in the parts of the boat where guests chill, even if there are no guests on board. Also, guests don’t typically come in the crew quarters either.
    • Crew cabins (bedrooms) are nowhere near as nice or big as the guest cabins or staterooms.  You can expect to share a tiny cabin with at least one other crew member, although in some situations you may have your own.
    • You normally have no say in who your roommate is, or whether they’re the same sex or not. 
  2. Crew House
    • Some boats may have a crew house that is nearby that they rent out for the crew to stay in. Especially if the boat is in a maintenance or yard period. This would probably be preferable to having to live on board but I’m sure it all depends on the situation.
  3. Cabin/Head
    • The crew cabins and heads are very small, and are usually located below deck in the bow of the boat.   There’s usually a bunk bed, a small closet space, a TV,and a small head (bathroom.)
    • You should be considerate of your roommate and try to keep your area clean, organized, and not to be loud while they are sleeping.
  4. Rules
    • Although you’re living on board full time, you can’t expect to treat it like your home.  In my experience we couldn’t bring any friends or family on board the boat unless we had permission from the captain to do so.
    • Some boats don’t allow you to drink alcohol on board, these are called dry boats.  You will likely learn during the interview process if the boat is a dry boat. All boats have their own rules, be sure to learn them and abide by them.

Yachting Seasons

Most yachts migrate to the same places depending on the seasons.

  1. Winter/Spring
    • Most boats tend to migrate down to the Bahamas and the Caribbean between the months of October-May.  Then they will likely stop in Ft. Lauderdale, and get geared up for the next season.
  2. Summer/Fall
    • During the hot summer months/ hurricane season all of the boats like to migrate up north, mainly to New England between the months of June- September, and then once again they head back down to Florida (generally.)  
    • The Mediterranean is also very popular in the summer time.

Sample Job Listings 

Sample screenshot of yacht jobs available 

 

  1. These are pulled off of the website Daywork123.com which is a great resource for finding work.  I recommend scanning through all of the listings daily to get a feel for what people are looking for:
    1. Seeking a solo American or green card holder stewardess for a private/charter 110ft motor yacht. A minimum of one season experience, excellent people skills required and be a self-starter. Start in Ft Lauderdale ASAP and rest of the summer will be spent in Maine and points south, winter in Caribbean. Fun program for the right individual, this vessel travels off the beaten path and with a focus on adventure.
    2. DECK/STEW needed for a private 130′ yacht. position is 80% deck/20% stew. AMERICAN preferred due to tax purposes, also female preferred. please have some experience as far as wash downs, lines/fenders, and interior duties
      such as laundry/beds-heads etc. Temp position starting July 1 until October. Itinerary is TBD but for the most part Greenwich, CT, Newport, Sag Harbor, etc. private with some corporate day and weekend trips. great program, fun yet responsible crew, awesome captain! send cv’s to…
    3. Looking for a solo stew from June 15- July 1 (approximate dates). 6 guests / 4 crew. Leave from Ft Lauderdale to the Bahamas OR to Turks and Caicos (tbd). Very laid back, family boat. Would like someone with a bit of experience,but a great, happy attitude is more important.

 


 

Phase 2: Getting Hired

Basic training for getting your yacht job


Time to Make it Happen!

 

  1. Decide when and where you will take your STCW-95 (required certification.)
  2. Save up some $$, I would recommend $2,000.00 – $3,000.00 (Not including airfare or travel expenses.)
    • $1,000.00 to cover the cost of your STCW
    • $1,000.00 to cover cost of living for a few weeks while job hunting.
    • $1,000.00 as cushion in case it takes longer than expected to get a job.
  3. Book a room in a crew house to stay in while taking STCW, and job hunting.
    • A crew house is very cheap accommodation that is designated for people who are in the yachting industry, and looking for work.
    • It’s very similar to a hostel.
    • All crew houses and yachting schools, agencies, business, (and bars!) are all in close vicinity to each other in Ft. Lauderdale.  You can easily walk, or better yet bike, to most places around SE 17th st.
  4. Figure out if you prefer to drive or fly to the destination.
    • It is useful to have a car but not necessary.  If you DO decide to bring a car, and then you get a job, you can always leave your car and any extra luggage in storage for months at a time (which is what I did.)
  5. Figure out if you will need special work permits, or visas, and be sure to have them before you depart, as well as a passport.
  6. Pack your bags and head on out!

~Click Here for a Complete List of Packing Suggestions~ 


 

Go to a Yachting Hub

 

  1. By far the most popular town in the U.S. for finding work on a yacht is Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
    •  If you have the money and resources I would definitely recommend moving there when you’re ready, to begin the process of finding a job.
    • Also as mentioned above, the Caribbean and Bahamas are poppin’ in the winter, and New England and the Mediterranean in the summer.
  2. Try to go in between seasons when there are a lot of boats in port and jobs available.
    •  Ft. Lauderdale is a good place to find work in either April/May or October/November
  3. There are also extra jobs during boat shows.
  4. Moving to a yachting hub isn’t mandatory, but advised.  It will be way easier to find a job if you are where the jobs are.
  5.  If you have a  contact in the industry, hit them up! This can be very helpful.

 

Take STCW-95/ ENG1

  1.  STCW stands for Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping.  
    • It’s a 5 day course (typically) that costs about $1,000.00
    • It’s a cool class and very necessary, lot’s of survival techniques and first aid in case of emergency.
    • Most boats will require that you have completed this course, and it will really increase your chances of getting hired.
  2. You will also need to pass a seafarers’ medical exam, which is pretty much a quick doctor check up/physical, in the U.S.
    • it’s commonly called an ENG-1, It’s around $100, and is also required by most boats.

 


 

Be Sure to Have Proper Working Documents


  1. Before you can begin working on a boat you will need the proper and relevant documents:
    • STCW-95
    • Medical Exam
    • License or Passport
    • Proof of Work Eligibility , or Visa
      • If you’re American, you can work on any American flagged boats (meaning they are registered and pay taxes in the U.S.)  However if you wish to work on a boat that is flagged elsewhere you may need the proper work visa.
      • Be sure to ask the crew agents or captains for more details about this.

 

Create a CV (Resume)

  1. Create a CV (Resume)
    1. Have a nice professional photo of yourself to add to it.
    2. Try to keep it to just 2 pages long.
    3.  Here is my CV from 2013, after I had worked a couple of jobs:  YachtResumeBM
      • I recommend copying and pasting my CV, and filling it out with your own information.
    4. If you have no previous experience in yachting, add any relevant skills that pertain to yachting such as:
      • Boating Experience
      • Watersports
      • Hospitality & Tourism
      • Food and Bev
      • Bartending
      • Nannying
      • Yoga or Massage Therapy
    5. It couldn’t hurt to have business cards made to hand out.  People are more likely to hold onto these if you see them out and about, rather than a CV. 

 

Begin Networking 

  1. Crew Agencies:
    • There are several in Ft. Lauderdale.
    • Ask around to see which ones are the best, and sign up with all of them. There are a list of crew agencies below that I used myself, and seem to be very popular. 
    • It is completely free to sign up with these agencies, you should never be charged.  If they do end up placing you on a boat, and the job works out, the boat will pay the fee.
    •  Most of them begin with you  creating an account on their website and filling out lots of personal  information about yourself and what type of job you’re looking for.  
    • Some of them may want you to come in in person and talk to an agent which you should definitely do.  Be sure to set up an appointment.
    • Dress appropriately, be honest, and act confident.
  2. Crew Events:
    • Usually there are several meet and greet type of events going on throughout the week, especially in between seasons.  
    • These events usually include alcohol and parties, go figure, just try not to get too swervy in front of a potential captain.
    • Bring a few CV’s or even better, business cards. 
    • There are a few resources for finding crew events down below.
  3. Crew Houses
    • A lot of people will post jobs, or even call crew housing for day workers.  
    • You will also be surrounded by lots of other people who are job hunting and you can all help each other out.
  4. Marinas/Docks/Yards
    • If you’re American you can legally “walk the docks,” meaning you can go to marinas and ask boats if they need help, as well as give out your CV, or business cards.  This technique might be a last resort but it’s always an option.
  5. Social Media

 

 

Look for Day Work 

  1. I definitely recommend day working for a week or two before looking for a full time job.
  2. You may go into the industry thinking you want to work one job, like a stewardess, and after day working realize you prefer to be a deckhand.
  3. Shop Around! Try to test out different kinds of boats and jobs so you get a feel for each one:
    • Big vs. Small
    • Charter vs Private
    • Deckhand vs. Stewardess
    • Big Crew vs. Small Crew
  4. Proper day working attire is just like a crew outfit- polo shirt, khakis, and boat shoes or flip flops.
  5. Ask prior to working if they will provide you with food or not.
  6. Some will provide you with transportation but expect to get there on your own. (Don’t be late!)
  7. Sometimes crew houses can arrange transportation for you for cheaper.

 

Start Interviewing for Permanent Positions 

Hopefully by now, after signing up with multiple crew agencies, and attending several networking events, you have some interviews lined up!

  1. Act Presentable
    • Be prompt.
    • Be confident about your abilities, and what you’re looking for.
    • If the interview is in the morning, don’t party too hard the night before.
  2. Interview Attire
    • Dress like typical crew on a yacht.
      • Polo Shirt
      • Khaki Shorts
      • Boat Shoes
    • Look clean cut, no shaggy/colorful hair, body piercings, or visible tattoos.
  3. Be sure to bring your CV, as well as other certificates and documents.
  4. Don’t ask too many questions about time off, and vacation.
  5. Although you can’t be too selective, don’t accept a job if it doesn’t feel right. 

 

Continue Education (Not Required or Necessary) 

  1. You can take courses geared to training stewardess’s and deckhands.
    • Silver Service
    • Bartending
    • Boat Handling
    • Flower Arranging



Great Yachtie Resources For Ft. Lauderdale

 




Maritime Academies that offer STCW courses:

  1. Maritime Professional Training*- This is the school I used and highly recommend
  2. International Crew Training (ICT)
  3. Sea School Ft. Lauderdale
  4. Professional Yachtmaster Training USA (IYT)

 


Crew Housing Options

  1. Smart Move Crew Accomodations
  2. Neptune Group
  3. Mary’s Crew House
  4. Sea Park Crew House
  5. Camille Accomodation
  6. The Chocolate Hotel and Hostel
  7. Nautic Crew World Wide
  8. Or try Couchsurfing 

Crew Agencies

  1. Kristy Fox* She is a great independent agent who placed me on my boat permanently
  2. Crew Compass: Brand new app that connects crew with local captains, jobs, and freelance work for free.
  3. Luxury Yachts * They also found me a couple of day working and temp. gigs.
  4. Elite Crew International
  5. Crew Finders International Incorporated
  6. The Crew Network
  7. Northrop and Johnson
  8. KCGH Yacht Recruitment
  9. Crew Today Professional Staffing Agency
  10. Day Work 123  *This agency is more geared towards Americans and people who have visas and can legally work in the US, If you do not, I recommend one of the other options.
  11. YOT SPOT
  12. YaCrew
  13. JF Recruiting

Crew Events

  1. World Wide Boat Show Calendar
  2. Dock Walk Events Calendar for Captains and Crew
  3. Triton Events Calendar for Captains and Crew

Sample CV (MY Resume)

YachtResumeBM


Phase 3: Not Getting Fired


 

Initiation Phase.. Do You Have What it Takes?!  

Getting a Job is easy enough, but can you actually stick it out?  The first couple of weeks will either make or break you.  You are going to have to work extra hard to prove your worth.  You’re going to have to deal with the fact that you’re going to look and feel like a complete idiot for a while.  Toughen up, don’t take things personally, and try your best!

  1. Bring Your A Game!
    •  Boats are willing to hire on green people, and many actually prefer it.  To really learn your way around a boat can take months.  You are having to learn a whole new language, a whole new set of skills, a whole new way of life basically.
    • This kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight, so be prepared to stick with it. You’re going to have to put forth a lot of effort to progress in this industry.
    • Do everything to the best of your ability.  As long as you prove that you are willing to work hard and to learn, they’ll work with you. They realize that you are going to be completely clueless so don’t get too intimidated or discouraged in the beginning.
    • However, if you don’t take things seriously especially in the first couple of weeks,  they won’t waste more time training you, and you may find yourself back on the job hunt.  There are plenty of other eager green queens out there to take your place.
    • Follow directions exactly as you’re told.  Don’t try to offer up a new technique even if you think it’s better or more efficient,( at least in the beginning.)  They like to hire on green people because they want you to do things their way.  Often times it’s easier to train a freshie from scratch, rather than an experienced person who doesn’t want to change their old methods.
  2. The Struggle Is Real
    • You’re going to feel like a complete idiot, multiple times a day. At times you will also feel awkward and lost.  Be prepared to feel like a little kid again and to ask a lot of questions. ASK ASK ASK, if you are unsure about ANYTHING!
    • Every day you will be confronted with at least 20 new words, concepts, and techniques that are completely foreign to you.  Your brain will turn to mush before 10:00 am. Even seemingly simple tasks such as opening a door, or flushing the toilet, will require serious critical thinking skills.
  3. Toughen Up
    • Don’t take things personally.  Some of the crew may not be as friendly or helpful as others.
    • Don’t get intimidated or embarrassed if you screw up or look stupid in front of everyone.  They know you’re a rookie and they don’t expect you to be perfect.
  4. You Have Surrendered Your Life to the Almighty Boat Gods
    • Almost every aspect of your life is now out of your hands. Where you’ll go, how long you’ll stay,  what you’ll do, who you’ll be with, even what you’ll eat is no longer up to you.
    • Just let it be! Enjoy the freedom and go with the flow.

 

Moving on Board

  1. Now it’s crucial to learn your way around the boat:
  2. For a quick flick explaining interior and interior sections, refer to my Yachtie Diva Training Guide 
    • Exterior Sections
    • Interior Sections 
    • Vocabulary and Lingo (Coming Soon)
  3. If possible, ask to see your cabin before moving in.
    • Check to see how much space you have for your personal items.
    • How much closet space do you have?
    • How much space is in the bathroom for your toiletries?
    • How can you maximize space, and organization? Check the Yachtie Packing List for organization ideas.
      • Acrylic Cases
      • Drawer and closet dividers 
      • Special Hangers
  4. What personal items are already provided by the boat, or does your roommate already have?
    • Hair dryers and curling irons
    • Shower supplies etc.
    • Towels, bedding (these are usually always provided)
  5. Start Paying Attention to Everything
    • What is the work schedule? When is lunch, dinner, etc.?
    • When is it ok to take a quick break and for how long?
    • What should you wear?
    • Where is everything located?
    • How do things open, close, turn on & off?
    • What are the general rules?

Be a Good Crew Member


  1. Work Extra Hard, Be Proactive
    • Be on deck and ready to go 5 minutes early every morning.  You should be the first to start, and the last to finish each day unless you’re dismissed.
    • Never ask “are we done yet?”  Instead you should ask, “what’s next?”  At the end of the day you should go around to every crew member and see if they need help with anything before you assume you’re finished.  
    • Every day will likely be a series of different tasks to do. Keep a journal,  take note of each one and what supplies  and processes are necessary to get them done.
    •  As the newbie you will be the assistant to everyone, they’ll be asking you to go fetch things all over the boat.  Look around, open drawers and cabinets, begin remembering what everything is called and where they’re located.  You should eventually be the person to set everything up, and put everything back (in the right place,) once you know your way around.
    • Continue studying off the clock.  Practice tying lines and knots, read diagrams, learn and use the lingo,  look through the stew or deck manuals, mess with your radio or VHF.  
    • Most boats have a Chapman’s Manual on board.  This is basically the bible for boat handling, flip through it. 
  2. Be Tidy and Tedious
    • Every single thing on a yacht has a home, or a proper place to be stowed.  Be sure to always put things where they belong after completing your task.  Never leave tools and supplies lying around the boat.  Clean them when you’re done with them if necessary.  Merry and restock cleaning supplies if necessary.
    • Get into a habit of always putting a towel down when working with tools and cleaning supplies to prevent them from scraping or harming nice surfaces.  Even if it doesn’t seem necessary, just do it.
    • Start paying attention to fine details.  You will begin to notice small imperfections, dirt, dust, rust, and other things out of order.  Your job is to make sure these things don’t happen, or that you fix them if they do.  
    • Do a walk around after each task.  Go to every area of the boat you’ve just been working in, check to make sure your work looks good, and there’s nothing you missed. Check from different angles and viewpoints, this makes a big difference.  Look for any random materials you may have accidentally left lying around.  This walk around is crucial!
  3. Always Have a Good Attitude
    • You are at the bottom of the totem pole, everyone is your boss.  As a newbie you will be given the most mundane tasks.  Be sure to do all of these things with a smile on your face.
    • Follow directions and do everything exactly as you are instructed to.  If you aren’t sure about something, ASK!  
    • Always try to be a source of positivity for everyone, and do whatever you can to help them and make their jobs easier.
    •  At times the job can become very stressful, try not to let it show if you are frustrated.  

Be a Considerate Roomie

Learn to move around the boat soundlessly.  The crews quarters can be tight, you’re sharing a tiny space with several people.  Try to be as considerate as possible.  There’s nothing worse than getting jolted awake by a loud noise when you’re trying to get precious sleep.  

  1. Cut down on the noise in general, but especially when you’re roommate is sleeping:
    • When entering or leaving the cabin or bathroom, turn the door knob and open the door slowly, and don’t slam the doors shut.
    • Don’t talk on the phone, watch T.V. too loudly, or leave it on all night.
    • Try to set a pleasant sounding alarm, try to turn it off immediately, and try not to press snooze 20 times.
    • Don’t be so noisy in the bathroom, clinking around toiletries, setting things on the counter, and closing and opening drawers.
    • Other loud noises in the middle of the night include doors and drawers throughout the cabin and head that magnetically click shut, and the loud toilet flushing.  My roomie and I would avoid closing drawers all of the way, and wait to flush the toilet until the morning.
    • If the laundry machine is in the crew quarters, don’t start washing clothes super late.
    • Be aware of the noise you make with silverware and dishes.
  2. Try to avoid turning on bright lights (when your roomie is sleeping)
    • You can use the dimmer, or just open a closet and use the closet light rather than the overhead.
    • If you  know you’re waking up earlier or coming in later  than your roomie, have a change of clothes in the head (bathroom) so you can get ready in there without disturbing them and rummaging through the drawers and closet.
  3. Be Neat and Tidy
    • Don’t leave your belongings lying around in view.
    • Always make your bed, and help keep the cabin, closet, and head clean.
  4. Knock before entering the room
    • Don’t just barge in.
  5. Extra tips if you’re having trouble sleeping:
    • Download an app on your phone that has sleep meditations, or ambient noises, and listen to them w/headphones to decrease noise from the crew mess. I use an app called Omvana.
    • Drop a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow and/ or your wrists and temples, it can help you fall asleep.

Just.. Try not to Screw Up

Common Ways Newbies Screw Up, Look Stupid, or Get Fired

 

  1. Dinging up and Scratching the Boat
    • Metal Poles and Squeegees:
      • Knocking them around while walking.
      • Leaving them in places where they will roll off or get blown over.
      • Losing control and scraping the fiberglass while drying or washing.
      • Not latching the shammy  mop or brush to the pole properly and it flies off.
      • Improper tilt with squeegee on windows.
    • Vacuum Cleaners
      • Not using soft brush on soft surfaces.
      • Banging around while vacuuming or transporting the vacuum.
    • Being Careless
      • Dropping heavy tools.
      • Bumping into things.
      • Knocking things over.
  2. Ruining  or Scratching Varnishes, Finishes, and Soft Metals
    • Scratching them  by carelessly moving heavy items that are sitting on top of them,( like a centerpiece on a nice wooden  table.)
    • Using harsh or improper chemicals on them.
    • Using Harsh Materials to clean them
      • Tooth Brushes
      • Non micro-fiber towels
      • 3m pads
  3.  Spilling Cleaning Supplies or Chemicals
    • Not putting the tops back on, and leaving them out, and elevated, in a windy area where they can easily get knocked or blown over.  (This happens all the time.)
    • Not using a work towel underneath your supplies at all times.  This can prevent a lot of  messes and damage.
    • Leaving dirty rags laying on something they can stain.
  4. Slamming or Breaking Doors  & Hatches
    • Not shutting things properly so they fly open.
    • Putting too much weight on hatches and drawers so they break.
    • Not opening or closing them properly.
  5. Being Clumsy
    • It always seems like when you’re trying your hardest not to be, you’re worse!  Just be mindful when handling fragile things.
  6. Not putting things back where they belong
  7.  Not making an effort to learn, and having to be trained over and over again on the same tasks.
  8. Not paying enough attention to detail
    • Doing a half ass job.
    • Not cleaning up after yourself.
  9. Not Owning Up to Your Mistakes
    • Things happen all of the time, as long as you let someone know ASAP, they can usually be fixed.
    • There’s no point in trying to hide it, deny it, or cover it up, it will be discovered eventually.
  10. Not taking the job seriously
    • Not being prompt.
    • Disappearing throughout the day or taking too many breaks.
    • Not keeping up with your appearance, and your uniform.
    • Partying too much, (especially in the first couple of weeks!)
    • Being lazy and slow, not being proactive.
    • Not attempting to learn and utilize the proper boat terminology.

Things To Do During Downtime

If you’re standing there awkwardly looking for something to do, here are a few ideas:

  1. Clean Crew Mess
  2. Clean Out Fridges
  3. Clean Your Own Cabin or Head
  4. Turn Laundry, Iron, or Fold Napkins
  5. Wipe Down Metals w/Shammy on Deck
  6. Take Inventory &/ or Restock Fridges
  7. Take Out Trash
  8. Dust
  9. Clean Out and Organize Storage Lockers, Closets or Drawers
  10. Read Directions on Cleaning Supplies For Future References
  11. Wash Shammies and Dry Gear
  12. Ask Everyone on Board if they Need Help W/ Anything
  13. Hide in the Stew Closet & Pretend to Organize Things 🙂
  14. Learn Your Way Around The Boat
  15. Read the Boat Manual
  16. Practice Tying Lines
  17. Wipe Down Surfaces

Mixes, Audiobooks, and Podcasts to Listen to While Working

  1.  Funky Jamz
  2. Sick Beats
  3. Rap Muzic

Podcasts:

  1.  4 Hour Work Week Podcast
  2. Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast
  3. Smart Passive Income Podcast
  4. Bullet Proof Radio

Alright Homies! I Hope you found this guide useful.  I’ll be updating it with even more resources in the future.  If there’s anything else I didn’t cover that you’re curious about, please leave a comment below.  Also, Check out the post “Yachtie Jobs and Training Guide” for some quick tutorials for all of you first timers out there who have never stepped foot on a yacht before.