Working on a superyacht
Whether you jump on board for a season or two or are embarking on a new career, jobs on these luxury boats open up a world of excellent wages, great adventures, global travel and a whole lot more.
Crew on yachts live aboard, pay little if any taxes, earn very good salaries and explore parts of the world that usually only the jet set are privileged enough to enjoy.
After training with an RYA sailing school in Sydney, 24 year old Erwin Plaine has developed his career in the superyacht industry. He now spends nine months a year working on board luxury super yachts and his three month holiday on the mountain snowboarding.
"Before my RYA Yachtmaster course I spent a season working on a 130ft superyacht in France. Towards the end of my contract I was starting to look for work on other superyachts. The industry standard qualification seemed to be the Yacht master certificate and STCW95 tickets. All the crew agencies were asking for these certificates so I decided to train to become a Yachtmaster [http://www.flyingfishonline.com/sports/yachting/489.asp]."
The training was excellent, I found everything really helpful. The theory was especially useful as I didn't have much experience with complicated things like calculating secondary ports, tidal height and running fixes.
"The skippering practice also really helped to build up my confidence and knowledge before the exam. I made some great friends on the course and some international contacts."
Since receiving his commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster Certificate and updating his CV with recruiting agents, Erwin has received a number of job offers from yachts all round the world. "Now it's up to me to pick which one is the most interesting and follow up with an interview with the captain."
What training do you need to work on a superyacht?
All crew, from entry level positions like deckhand, steward and stewardess and chef and crew chef should have STCW'95 BST and they should also have the ENG1 Medical certificate.
Where are superyachts berthed?
Superyachts are found all over the world but there a higher concentration in some areas, namely the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. However as more and more of the vessels are built, owners are becoming more adventurous, travelling globally with superyachts found in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the South Pacific and the West coast of America. You still get relatively few in Africa and South America.
Superyachts are vessels, motor or sail, that are over 24 meters in load line length or 3000gt or over.
Is there a demand for crew?
Right now the superyacht industry faces a crew shortfall of at least 3000. This is only captains but crew like deckhands, bosuns, purser, steward and stewardess. Engineers and chefs in particular are also always hugely in demand.
What do you mean by good crew?
It's a myth that joining a yacht as crew is simply a paid holiday and an easy way to travel. There is a lot more to it than that. Good crew have the right training but more importantly the right attitude with a good work ethic.
Is it easy to find work?
Providing you have the right qualifications, the right attitude and know where and when to start looking, you should not find it hard to find a job on board.
What sort of jobs are there on board?
At entry level, you can find deckhands, stewardesses and stewards and chefs and assistant engineers, then as you move up the ladder you can find bo'suns, third, second and first officers and Captains, you can also find chief stewards and stewardesses and pursers.
When it comes to choosing what job you could consider going after you should play to your strengths, just because you are female it doesn't mean that you can't be deckhand or assistant engineer. Equally many chefs and stewards (interior crew) are male.
Crew Training - invest in yourself
Gone are the days when you could simply jump on a yacht and sail around the world learning as you go along. Particularly when that yacht is worth tens of millions and the people it carries are multi billionaires, pop stars, businessmen, politician, formula one teams, sports stars and the like.
With an investment like that to care for, these luxury yacht management companies look for people who are prepared to invest a little in themselves, people who want to go one step further and be a cut above the rest.
However with the phenomenal shortage of qualified crew within the superyacht industry it is still a 'candidates market'. You will find, with a little of the right investment in yourself, your stake will be massively repaid. It will take, on average, around two weeks to earn the cost of your STCW course.
"One of the best things about my career in the yachting industry is that I get to work outdoors and enjoy seeing so many beautiful places that aren't necessarily accessible by road. " explains Erwin "I love to travel and this is a way to so while still working and earning a decent wage."
George Houghton writes article on Flyingfishonline and for more information about sailing school and learning in Sydney he recommends you to visit: http://www.flyingfishonline.com/sports/yachting/489.asp