Do You Have The Experience To Work On Superyachts?
When hiring staff for superyacht jobs, is it more important they have the right education or the right training and experience?
It's not a trick question, and it also may not be an easy one to answer. Competence can come with a variety of backgrounds, experience and formal education.
If you're recruiting people, is it specific superyacht experience you prefer over a person with a college qualification? How about someone with a mix of the two?
With the wide variety of qualifications at the disposal of superyacht crew, a degree is probably something that's missing from most "yachties" CV's.
To put this in perspective, there were 12 crew on board one of my 50-meter yachts, yet only two have college degrees.
The crew are more than competent at their jobs. The first mate and captain have raced in the America's Cup sailing championships on more than one occasion and collectively hold more than 60 years' yachting experience. Neither has a college degree.
So are college degrees really essential for competent crew?
The answer, of course, is a subjective one. Personally, I have a college degree in business computing. As a superyacht crewmember, it's highly unlikely I'll ever use anything I studied in the classroom.
After all, it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or a business computing analyst) to wash down a yacht or polish a capstan.
But you could argue that my life experiences while in college prepared me to be more competent in any job. The skill of working as part of a team during sports activities, for instance, comes in handy when working together toward a common goal as crew.
Patricia Alexander-Bird of Intra Marine Consulting, a crew recruitment specialist based in Barcelona, Spain, said captains and the yachting industry at large place considerable value on college degrees. In many ways, college degrees suggest competence.
"Competence implies having the necessary skill or knowledge to do something, and in many jobs a degree will be an essential part of the recruitment process," Alexander-Bird says.
Having a degree is certainly no impediment when job hunting and a candidate with a degree will have demonstrated his ability to work hard and achieve a goal. Additionally, the life skills acquired during four years spent at too U.S. are often necessary to mature young people into competent crew.
Alexander-Bird said captains seeking competent crew are usually looking for a combination of formal education, common sense and training.
"A captain will be looking for a well-rounded crew member who can demonstrate his or her ability to do the job," she says. "This can happen through experience and industry qualifications combined with a willingness to learn and be a good crewmember with the right attitude.
"College and university degrees have their place and may be useful for certain positions where knowledge of accountancy or other specialist topics are required [like silver service]," she continues.
"But in our opinion a degree is not essential for crew competence." Jonathan Porritt, first mate of M/Y My Little Violet, says the value of college degrees in the yachting industry should not be underestimated.
"It's a benefit for any potential crewmember to have a degree as it shows that they have endured three to four years of study, which gives an impression of staying power and dedication," he said. "It also shows that they are educated and [have] the ability to learn and grow within a structured environment."
Steve Maynard disagrees. Maynard, an outspoken Australian first mate who has been working in the superyacht industry for nine years, offers his colourful opinion.
"College qualifications aren't important," he said. "Land-based college degrees simply demonstrate that you spent three years partying."
Crew who bring with them IT, engineering and electrician or plumbing degrees can come in useful on today's sophisticated yachts. But at the end of the day, there really isn't any substitute for experience.
"When applying for jobs on superyachts, experience is what makes crew competent," Maynard says.
Matt Brown is an ex-superyacht deckhand and best-selling author of "The Beginners Guide to Working On Superyachts!". Claim Matt's popular free book TODAY which shows you how to get a job on a superyacht, quickly & easily. Available at: =>