It's that time of year when new crew are out pounding the docks, hoping to secure a much sought-after yachting position. Here are some dockwalking and dayworking tips to hep get and secure your spot on board:
- Make sure you're prepared BEFORE you hit the docks! Take the time to do a proper resume or hire us to do it for you. This is by far your most valuable asset. Check out our easy-to-follow template: http://fivestarcrew.ca/img/resume-template.pdf
- Have business cards (complete with your awesome photo) on you at all times.
- Bring resumes in neat folders or sleeves to help get them to a Captain's desk. This shows you value your paperwork, especially if it contains something that looks like the resume template above!
- Have your STCW'95 Basic Safety Training and ENG1 Seafarer Medical certificate under your belt. For larger yachts, these are almost certainly required.
- If your phone rings, answer it! Many jobs are lost over this simple fact! If you are dayworking, check your messages during breaks and call back asap. Jobs can be won and lost in minutes if someone else answers before you do!
- Wear a white collared shirt (polo) or a blouse (ladies). For shorts or skirts, make sure they're khaki, blue or black and for shoes, deck shoes or neat, plain flip flops are a great choice.
- Leave your skateboard at home! Great transportation but unfortunately, it looks unprofessional on the docks.
- Bring daywork clothes (clothes you can get dirty) in a backpack. Sometimes boats hire for the day right then and there and you should be ready to go.
- Bring a notepad! Write down yacht names and try to get the name of anyone you speak to on board. It's easier to come back when you have the name of someone to ask for, tomorrow. Write down your interaction with any yachtie so you remember the next time you're walking down the dock. Or to remind you to go back to certain yachts and for whom to ask. This will prove to be super helpful..
- If you see flowers on the aft deck or crew in formal uniforms, do not approach the boat! They likely have guests on board and will not make time to speak with you. Respect those working hard that day!
- Go back to the same places more than once. Crew turnover happens a lot at this time of year and things may change on a yacht, daily. Again, make notes. "I came by yesterday and spoke to Eric. He said you might need some extra help and asked me to pop by today. Is he available for a minute? My name is Hannah, by the way!" This shows you have initiative and are organized.
- Be confident in your approach. Talk loudly enough and say something other than, "I'm looking for daywork". Perhaps introduce yourself first then tell them of your intentions. "Hey I'm Max! I'm pretty new to the industry but I'm keen to get going as a Deckhand. I've got a few courses and some daywork under my belt and I'm looking for more work and ultimately a full-time position. Do you know if you guys need an extra set of hands? I'm super reliable and can take direction well." Move your sunglasses to the top of your head (always make eye contact) and have business cards and resumes ready.
- Saturday and Sundays can be days off for crew - if there is no one on deck at 8am, keep an eye out, but it's likely the crew is not working that day. Respect their privacy and do not approach them if you see them leaving the boat in plain clothes.
- If you're out at a pub, bring your business cards! And remember, getting smashed (fall-over drunk) will earn you a reputation as you can guarantee some of the other patrons are existing crew. If they see you approach the boat the next morning (maybe looking a little green), you can guarantee you're not going to be a first pick for dayworkers/crew.
- NEVER NEVER EVER insist on working for free!! Your time and effort is worth something and you may never reach your maximum potential if you start by cutting corners! These yachts are owned by wealthy individuals, families and companies and having eager, young hands on deck (or on the interior) is worth something. As well, you will contribute to degrading the industry - why would anyone get paid if you're willing to 'work' for free?? Besides...how are you going to pay for your crew house if you go home empty-handed at the end of the day?
All the best to all the Newbies out there! If you're serious about getting going, read this page for more tips and solid info: http://fivestarcrew.ca/newbies