It's that time of year again! That time of year when the industry is once again flooded with new crew wanting to obtain a first position on board a yacht. We have some great tips for you - and some great information to share that will put you ahead of the crowd. Follow along and you will succeed :)
1) If you're not in a yachting hub, pack your bags, get your visas and get yourself to the closest (or busiest) yachting hub you can find. Where is this, you ask? The next big yacht show is scheduled for November 3-7, 2016 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. After that, yachts generally head to the Caribbean for the northern hemisphere's winter months.
2) Get your STCW'95 or STCW 2010 Basic Safety Training course. This is almost a requirement these days to enter the industry. Very few yacht jobs will hire you without it (mostly smaller, local to a port, yachts). Get your ENG1 seafarer's medical certificate. Many yachts require this by law and it is also considered a minimum standard these days. As well, you require these to register on Five Star Crew! Another course to consider is generally called, 'Security Awareness'. This is an entry-level course and many yachts now require it. These are some basic barriers to enter the yachting industry....
3) Read the 'Newbies' section on Five Star Crew. The link is here: http://fivestarcrew.ca/newbies - this page will explain, start to finish, how to get in to the industry. Take your time. Read it carefully. One thing you should know about yachting? It's about being ridiculously detail-oriented. We're talking OCD-level. Start with your reading skills. You will be working for very wealthy individuals and families and they did not become wealthy by being lazy or sloppy. Working for them requires you to be at the top of your game at all times.
4) Spend TIME on your resume! It should portray you as a professional and have accurate information. Our resume template is a very easy-to-follow guide. Take your newly-found OCD skills over to creating the most amazing resume! Get help if you're not computer-literate. Our resume template is here: http://fivestarcrew.ca/img/resume-template.pdf
5) After this, get off the computer and go shake hands. Knock on hulls. Practice what to say to any crew you meet on deck so they will respond the way you want them to. Write down every interaction! Why? Because you should be going back to visit the same boat next week (and remember to do so!) If they remember you from last week and you've portrayed yourself well, they might remember you when they have some work pop up! Imagine walking up to a yacht (looking for deckhand work) and saying, 'Hi, I'm Mary. I came by last week and spoke to your Chief Officer, John. He told me to come back this week to see about daywork. Can I speak to him for a minute?' - depending on how busy the day is, you can almost be sure that crew member will check in with Chief Officer, John...
6) Tell every yachtie and industry-professional you meet, you're green and you're keen! You're looking for daywork and ultimately a permanent position on board a yacht. Get to know the vendors - they deal with the yachts every day and sometimes leads go through them. Check in with the owners/operators of your crew house as well.
7) Keep your nose clean! If you're hanging out at the local yachtie bar, please drink responsibly! Current crew may see you falling down after too many drinks. When you stop by their yacht the following day, you can be sure they'll smile but promptly throw your resume in the bin. Maintain your reputation on and off a yacht. This industry is VERY small and word travels fast.
8) If you do apply to jobs online, do not waste your time asking everyone who's posted any job, other than what you're looking for, if they need you! I call this, throwing darts, and you're wasting everyone's time; this is more than annoying for the receiving party. The jobs posted are for exactly what they need. Including certificates and licenses. If they ask for you to have your Yachtmaster, PLEASE have your Yachtmaster already! You are absolutely wasting your time (and theirs) by applying to a position that requires it if you don't already have it. The yacht likely needs you to be licensed by law, flagstate regulation, insurance stipulations, etc.
9) If you do apply to jobs online and you're new or new-ish to the industry, stick to applying to local jobs only. If you're in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA and someone is looking for a Stewardess with little experience in the South of France, you can be sure they will hire from the Med. There will be virtually hundreds of candidates either walking by the yacht or applying and you'll only be wasting your time. They will generally not fly new crew in to a yacht, unless the yacht is in a very remote location. In which case you should be near the closest port to the yacht to apply.
10) Maintain a professional image online. If you're a member of social media groups, make sure you keep your foot out of your mouth and your goals your priority. There are many many posts that spiral out of control and it's easy to jump on the bandwagon. Try staying away from negative-spiraling posts and you may find you're better off in the end.
11) Most importantly, stay positive! Hard work pays off! Work hard, listen well when you do get daywork and learn the boundaries of the position. Do exactly what you're told by your officer in charge and you'll get along very well.
Follow these tips and you can be sure you're ahead of the hundreds of new crew that try to enter the industry every year. Many new young crew get caught up in being away from home and partying too hard. Sure this is fun for a while, but this won't get you very far in the few short months you have (of funding or visa time) to find a permanent position on board a yacht. There are more new crew than ever before and know many go home each year without a position.
All the best to new and experienced crew, alike, in your new-job search! Stay tuned for the launch of our Hire Crew search functionality where Captains can find you in our detailed searches! Get your registrations in and log in often to stay on top of search results.