#1: It is like NO other industry
- In what other jobs would you get to experience a completely different lifestyle hands-on, and get to mix with celebrities? Okay, you’re not living the life of the wealthy guests, but you are able to experience the lifestyle, and depending on the owner, you will often have access to the equipment and luxury facilities onboard for your own use when there are no guests. Hello jet skiing in south of France!
- Expense free living – Let me explain uniform, medical, toiletries, accommodation, insurance, visas, food and drinks. It depends on the boat you are on however most of the time this is just some of the added bonus’s of working onboard
- Captain is king and whatever he says goes, if he says he would like his cabin cleaned daily the interior team does it, if it’s no drinking whilst you are on the boat you do it, if it’s a you must be back on the boat by 9pm you most certainly are home by 9pm.
- It is a somewhat superficial industry in the sense that you generally cannot be heavily overweight, some yachts are strict on who they employ. There is one particular yacht which has a reputation for employing stewardesses under 60kg, a certain height, have blonde hair and cannot speak Russian. This isn’t to say you have to be extremely slim to work onboard, you just have to be a healthy weight as the job is physically demanding and you must be fit for sea.
Crew members are generally an extension of the yacht they work on. As you can imagine yacht owners want to be well represented with well dressed staff who look smart and respectful. Sailing yachts can be more casual with some known not be as strict as motor yachts.
Check out “A Day In The Life Of A Yacht Stew” for more insights
Key Point #2: You must be fit for sea!
- You are required to have a current certificate called a ENG1 which is a medical fitness certificate before you step foot onboard. This can be obtained from your country of residence. This is just a medical exam to test your reflexes, balance, eyesight, hearing, urine and a few other general health tests.
- There are random alcohol and drug tests onboard. This is to ensure all crew members are fit for sea and can perform. It is well known in the industry which boats are renowned for drug and alcohol tests. Know your limits…. I was joining a new boat with another new stewardess a few years ago and she refused to take a drug test as I later found out she went a little to hard at her going away party a day before she left her home country… safe to stay she was quickly escorted off the boat with flights booked back to New Zealand within 24 hours. Captains can get heavily fined and lose their license for drugs onboard, so it is important crew understand the implications.
- Smoking – must include on your CV, most boats employ non-smoking staff. There is very limited boats which allow you to smoke onboard.
Key Point #3: You work whenever work needs to be done
- You work whenever work needs to be done, both without guests and when guests are on board.
- This could mean 7 hour days or 20 hour days if need be. But not to worry guests aren’t on board all the time and whilst each yacht differs most have a standard 8 – 5 working day Monday to Friday without guests on. Yes you do get weekends, long weekends and time off. You will be able to experience where you are sometimes (tropical paradise yes) but not always, the industry can be very demanding and will push your limits immensely. However it has truly made me a more stronger physically, emotionally and mentally. Working for sometimes 3.5 months everyday at a time during the season pushes you, however it is nothing you can’t handle! However it’s important for me to note that you should not attempt yachting if you can’t take orders with a smile despite how ridiculous they are. Day in Day out you need to be professional and when the time comes and you are entitled to time off you forget about the working part and become truly grateful for the incredible opportunities you are presented with.
Key Point #4: There is no guarantee you will get a job on a yacht after you complete your courses
- You need to do the hard yards first, this means getting into the yachting hubs and networking. This can be in the form of dock walking handing out your cv, meeting professionals in the industry and going to meet the yacht crew agencies face to face to show them you are committed, polished and professional.
- The industry is competitive and you need to be consistent in showing up because you never know who is hiring!
- You need perseverance and patience as it can often be weeks or months of living in the yachting hubs before you secure a job. This is why it is easier if you have some savings to support yourself while you are working towards getting a job onboard.
Key Point #5: It can change your life
- You experience some of the most incredible places people only dream of, you’re literally anchored a stones throw away from the most sought after travel destinations in the world. Don’t get me wrong you don’t get to experience all places you go but the ones you do get to make up for it! I remember being anchored in the Maldives with no guests on being able to snorkel everyday after work, watch the sunset over the water with some of my crew members who are now some of my closest friends and it was a pinch me moment. I literally am being paid to be here.
- You have the ability to save a LOT of money and still enjoy your time whether it’s dinners with the crew in Monaco, skiing in the French alps on weekends off or taking a trip to Colombia from the Caribbean. You can save with the benefit of an expense free life!
So overall there is the added bonus of being able to meet friends from all over the world. South Africans, English, Americans, Aussies and Kiwis make up most of the industry! However there’s plenty of other nationalities. You will quickly notice your relationships wether they are friendly or partners are fast paced… you live, work and play with these people every day. You discover more about a person in a smaller time… like speed-dating. And now you have friends for life all around the world to visit.