7 Ways To Nail Your First 7 Days As A Yacht Stew.
Hear about the real yacht life, info on how to kickstart your superyacht career and tips on becoming a super stew.
A Chief Stew with 6+ years experience in the superyacht industry. I help aspiring crew confidently land their first job and teach the skills needed to be a stand out YACHT STEW.
Why you need a B1/B2 visa if you’re planning to work on a yacht which does the famous Caribbean season?
The Caribbean yachting itinerary very likely includes cruising in U.S waters (at some point) so it is necessary for all crew to be legally entering the country on the correct visas. If the crew don’t have the right visa it can lead to logistical issues for the yacht.
As we all know yachting offers a very transient lifestyle, however, there has been no specific visa created for yacht crew entering the US on boats or looking for work onboard. The B1B2 is a multi-entry visa that is considered the most appropriate visa for superyacht crew by the US embassy.
This is where it gets confusing! According to the US Department of State, the B1B2 is classified as a visitor visa. This means that it is a non-immigrant visa for people wishing to enter the United States temporarily. There is a B1 visa for those who wish to enter for business purposes and a B2 visa for those coming for pleasure or tourism, a B1B2 is a combination of the two. This visa is not equivalent to a Green Card, you cannot work on land in the US or American flagged vessels. It is also different from a C1/D visa which is primarily intended for airline personnel. To the American embassy, the yachting sector is considered a private industry therefore the C1/D visa is not always applicable.
So how do you get a b1/b2 visa?
There are two ways.
Scenario 1: You get a job on a yacht travelling to the US or Caribbean. You will use the boat papers to go hand in hand with your Visa application to the US embassy. This proves you are working on a ‘private vessel’ that needs to temporarily enter US waters. We never mention anything about the c-word to the embassy- CHARTER! As I mentioned before the industry is considered private.
Scenario 2: You apply to the US embassy for your visa appointment even though you don’t have a job on a yacht yet, or any boat papers. You have some money in your bank account and basically, cross your fingers and hope the embassy officer has had his morning cup of coffee. As I learned the hard way the biggest chance of being refused is if you are not able to prove strong ties to your home, whether they are familial, social, or economic. This proof can come in the form of bank or mortgage statements, house bills, photos of your wife or children back home… anything that will make them believe you are not planning on abandoning your home and planning to stay long-term in the USA. I don’t recommend doing it this way as it caused me so much frustration and hassle at the start of my yachting career with the US embassy.
Here are some other things to consider:
Can I still look for yachting work outside the US if I can’t get this specific visa?
Yes! The UAE, Maldives, Seychelles and South Pacific are destinations that DO NOT require crew to have a B1 visa. So there is the potential to land a job at the end of the Med season in Antibes, on a yacht that is destined for these places in the winter period.
I recommend if you’re planning to jump on the tail end of the Med season and hoping to snap up one of these job opportunities…
By the end of October, Antibes can be a ghost town with few yachts in sight. Not good for job hunting prospects.
This is also a good time to upskill and perfect that yachting CV because… let’s be real it can be fierce out there! 🔥🔥🔥
Here’s some useful links which could help point you in the right direction
I’m a chief stewardess with over 6 years experience working in the superyacht industry on boats up to 88m. I help aspiring yacht crew by propelling them with the know-how and tools to confidently break into the superyacht industry.