Dec 02 2018

New to the Superyacht Industry?

Are you new to the Superyacht Industry?
Wondering where to start?
…It starts with you!

This is the first in a series of blogs we will be sharing on different aspects of the Superyacht industry.  If you’re particularly interested in a specific topic, drop us a line and we can look into it together, also if you have relevant content you’d like to share with the community get in touch, we’d be happy to collaborate.

Ok, first things first. Let’s start with the key component to making all of this possible, the people.

You may have decided to take the necessary steps to discover what’s required of you to get yourself on board a Superyacht, or perhaps you’re just curious to what it’s all about at this stage… Everyone’s aspirations and paths are different, so I will provide insights from my own experiences that will hopefully shed some light on this unique industry & help you move forward with your journey.

Do YOU have the desire to travel and explore?

If there is one thing that has defined human nature throughout history it is our irrepressible impulse to move. To discover and cross new frontiers, to adapt to new environments, to appease the same unquenchable curiously which prompted our earliest ancestors to swing down from the treetops and start exploring the jungle floor approximately six million years ago.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”

At the start of the 21st century the human desire and opportunity to travel the world has grown exponentially. Never before in history has travel been so accessible to so many and by using the latest technologies we are now able to connect, collaborate & plan incredible adventures with people all over the world.

There is no right or wrong way to travel per se , well, maybe there’s a wrong way but I often see a regular pattern unfold with regards to travel & it is this; Get a job, save as much money as you can and then go travelling for as long as that money will last you. No doubt you’ll have a good time using this approach but have you considered alternative options?

…So, you might be wondering what are these alternative options?

Well, it’s no secret that people have been using the ocean as a means of travel, adventure and earning a living for aeons. The caveat to life working at sea is that you must realise & accept this is NOT your typical 9-5 lifestyle nor is it a holiday, it requires discipline, commitment and a strong work ethic.

The places you can visit?

The world is a playground for anyone who wants to explore. Having adventurous parents who worked all over the world I’ve had the privilege of travelling since I was born & I’ve been travelling independently since the age of 17, visiting approximately 88 countries at the time of writing this blog.

Even as a seasoned traveller, I am still utterly fascinated with travel and as the saying goes, it’s not about the destination but the journey.  A career in yachting can take you to places such as:

The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean is a yachting mecca! Cruising along the Mediterranean is a destination favoured by many for decades. It’s iconic for it’s bars, rustic restaurants, luxury spas & party destinations. It is home to a couple of the world’s hottest beach clubs and luxury hotels. Some of these iconic places to visit are:

  • Mykonos, Greece
  • Ibiza, Spain
  • Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • St Tropez, France
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Corsica, France

The Caribbean

The warm waters, sunny weather, tropical climate and its many islands have enticed many visitors to the Caribbean. A few of the best places to visit are:

  • British Virgin Islands
  • St. Lucia
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Maarten
  • Cayman Islands
  • Antigua
  • Barbados

The Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Ocean is perhaps a cruising destination for the more adventurous Superyacht owner and crew as it is the largest and deepest of the Earth’s oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia & Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

The Pacific’s dream destinations are:

  • Maui, Hawaii
  • Kadavu Island, Fiji
  • Tahiti , French Polynesia
  • Victoria, Canada
  • Trujillo, Peru
  • Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Cairns, Australia
  • Okinawa Islands, Japan

Indian Ocean

I spent 7 months sailing this ocean and highly recommend visiting. The Indian Ocean is blessed with warm tropical climates and exotic islands. If pristine beaches and scuba diving is your thing, then this ocean can be heaven on Earth. Just to mention a few of the incredible places to visit:

  • Seychelles
  • Mauritius
  • Maldives
  • Sri Lanka
  • Madagascar
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand

A Shared Experience

I have great childhood memories of all the different places we lived and the different cultures we experienced. It still amazes me that some of my best childhood friends didn’t speak a word of English & I didn’t speak a word of their language. However, with the right attitude, not even language is a barrier for great relationships to develop. In yachting you will meet many different cultures and nationalities and an open mind to is paramount.

At 18 years old a burning desire to travel sparked within me, I knew there was something out there calling me to go explore. After the “travel seed” is planted it’s almost impossible to ignore.

I’ve found that when you manifest an idea it’s generally not long before like-minded people start coming into your life from all directions & new opportunities start to present themselves. The question is, will you see them? And more importantly, will you act upon them? #CarpeDiem (“Seize the day”).

I’ll share one example of such an opportunity.

I was 17 years old and unexpectedly met of a group of sailors who regularly took part in yacht races around the British Isle. I met them at a scuba diving event and we talked about many things, one topic of conversation was sailing and life on the water, after a very interesting chat they invited me to take part in the infamous RORC yacht race across the English Channel and into St. Malo,; a beautiful medieval port & fortress in Brittany – At this point I’d never been on a sailboat, let alone raced one, but seeing the opportunity and being rather excited about it, I accepted their invitation. It turned out to be an extremely challenging event with a fierce competitive edge across the top performing racers. Weather conditions deteriorated quickly, with wind forces reaching Force 8-9, I contemplated life and my decision to take part. I’m going to be straight with you, for a greenhorn like myself, it was unpleasant, it’s the only time I’ve been seasick, but looking back,  I now realise, it’s these challenging times where we’re forced out of  our comfort zone   that self-development and personal growth Really happen.

I’m eternally grateful for that opportunity and experience, it taught me so much about the importance of teamwork and comradeship. It was after this experience I decided to go all in and build a career in yachting.

My advice to anyone starting out is to get as involved as much as you can, embrace challenges and new experiences.  If opportunities don’t present themselves right now, go seek them out. We get in life what we have the courage to ask for and such opportunities rarely come knocking on your door.

The Challenges

Every business has guidelines and work ethics that regulate & influence how decisions are made in order to achieve specific goals. It is no different in the Superyacht industry. This industry is not just about travel and fun. There are strict international maritime regulations that yachts must adhere to and strong work ethics to abide by if you want to be successful. Your work ethic will impact your job and progress as a seafarer. When asked by new crew about tips or industry insight I often advise them to separate themselves from the herd, don’t be the first into the crew mess at lunchtime or be the last back to your workstation. Leave the phone in your cabin, unless you truly need it for business. Those that embrace these small disciplines progress quicker and become a valuable asset to any team.

A few key attributes that successful crew possess;

  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Good stress tolerance
  • Attention to detail
  • Listening skills
  • Composure
  • Initiative
  • Independence
  • Persistence
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Punctuality
  • Avoid crew politics

Fortunately, if these aren’t your strongest attributes, you can develop them over time. Your work ethic will set the standard for your career and how you will handle challenges. I strongly recommend taking additional steps to further develop your personal and professional growth.

Decision Time & How to take “should” out of your decisions

If you’re just starting out ­you may be considering a change from your current job to a role in the Superyacht industry.  Making a career change can be one of the most challenging decisions a person can make. Both practical and emotional issues can create barriers. For some this decision can prove to be more difficult, especially if you’ve been following a particular path for a long time. With a change late in your career you will have to consider problems with financial support and obligations. It’s not uncommon to be out of work for a few months whilst trying to secure your first position. It took me about 2 months to land my first permanent role after arriving in the south of France (which is not cheap), so make sure you factor this in.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating a career change:

  • Does the change fit your vision – the goals you set are stepping-stones to your vision, the person & achievements you see for the future.
  • Fits your personality – I’m going to be straight with you here! The yachting industry is not for everyone; I’ve highlighted why already.
  • Enrich your relationships – The yachting industry is a transient industry, people come and go but you will meet people who you remain in contact for the rest of your lives.
  • Fits your skillset – the four main departments you can explore are deck, engineering, interior and galley. On larger yachts you have more options to specialise, although they often double up. For example, stewardess and masseuse.  You’ll be at an advantage if you bring your current skillset and experience on board.
  • Schedule – does the yachting schedule and time away allow you to balance the things in your life that you value? You must be truly honest with yourself when considering your work life balance. As mentioned earlier, you can be away for prolonged periods.
  • Income – superyacht crew salaries are very attractive and come with a number of additional perks. However, everyone’s financial needs are different so check it aligns with your financial responsibilities, family and lifestyle.
  • Personal growth – I would advise everyone to choose a career that allows you to grow, stretches your skillset and creates opportunity for increased responsibility. I believe the yachting industry offers all of this and as time goes on and the industry matures the roles are becoming more professional across all departments. Outside the spectrum of work you will experience personal growth from the unique experiences and the people you meet.

I hope you found this initial article interesting and provided some insight to the Superyacht industry. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Leave a Reply