Trying to get your first deckhand job? Read this…

Landing your first job in any industry is hard work, but getting a start in yachting is especially difficult. You must be prepared to face a lot of rejection, and expect to do more than just give out your CV and sit by the phone waiting for it to ring…

Tim Clarke, QuayCrew’s Co-Founder and Director, is someone who knows exactly what it’s like because that’s exactly where he started out. If you’re looking for your first deckhand job, following this advice could be the key to beginning your new career.

1. What is the number one piece of advice you would give to someone who arrives in your office (sans experience) and wants to get onboard?

There are lots of things people can do to increase their chances of finding work but there are a couple of things I recommend. Firstly, which is pretty obvious, work as hard as you can to get a job. If you have a few months to kill before you travel to Antibes volunteer your services at a relevant local business. Help clean some boats or drive some tenders. Make a lot of beds at your nearest high-end hotel. Get some vaguely relevant experience.

When you get to Antibes or Palma get out dockwalking every day and have a plan of action of where you are going and when. Making a half arsed effort by walking around Antibes, Monaco and Cannes a few times doesn’t count. Network as much as possible and treat every bit of day work you get like a trial. And of course, be professional about your job search at all times.

2. How is this type of job search different from that of a seasoned crew member?

Generally, unless you have something amazing about your CV that makes you stand out nothing will come to you easily. Agents won’t be calling you on a regular basis and you won’t have friends you can network off. You have to do it yourself, the hard way. So be prepared for lots of rejection. Expect it to be tough and mentally it will be far easier to stay positive.

3. Tell us specifically about CV preparation.

Basics are key. I don’t, as a crew agent really care what order your CV is in. If your objectives are before your qualifications or after them. It doesn’t matter in my opinion. What does matter is that your CV is well written with correct spelling and grammar. Check, check again and then get someone else to. The number of CVs I see with basic spelling mistakes is huge.

If you are green and haven’t had a job before then avoid saying you want to be a Captain. Don’t we all! You’ve never worked on a boat so something a little more realistic is appealing and don’t bullshit because you will be caught out.

Make sure you know when you worked somewhere, practice interview questions with your friends
and work out what your strengths are and then use them to sell yourself using them.

4. What courses, tickets or certifications should someone complete (if any) before starting to look for a deckhand job?

Just the basics, STCW, PB L2 and ENG 1 though having your PWC ticket is useful too. Spending thousands on a week or two long course which teaches you how to become a deckhand and covers painting, varnishing, PBL2, line handling, GRP Repair is basically teaching you very little. In 4 ½ years of recruiting deck jobs, I have not had one request for a green deckhand who has been on one of these courses. Save your money and invest it on being in France or Spain.

5. Do you suggest starting with daywork before looking for a full-time position?

Without a doubt! Daywork is where you get some experience and pick up some of the basics of being a deckhand. Hopefully you get a solid few days of work and then a great reference for the work you have done. Work as hard as you can and treat every day of work like a job interview. Daywork also keeps your bank balance healthy.

6. What are other pieces of advice you would provide to a “newbie”?

Be prepared for a lot of hard work. It will take time, effort and money to get a decent job and there are hundreds in the same boat, pardon the pun!

Be organised in the way you approach everything. Don’t just go dock walking in the easy to get to ports. Hit up the small ones and go further afield to Italy and up the coast towards some of the less glamorous yards.

Be careful with your cash. You have years and years to have wild nights out when you get a job. Don’t blow your money in Antibes on a Thursday night at the Blue Lady quiz when it could be paying for rent and food whilst you secure that elusive job.

Remain as positive as possible. If you are feeling very sorry for yourself on a daily basis then maybe this isn’t the industry for you. Finding your first job is the character test to see if you are a good fit. Not everyone is so there is no shame in coming home if you aren’t happy. And don’t forget to enjoy it all as much as possible. The friends you make in those first few months when you are unemployed will stay with you for life! Good luck.

Crew Turnover Survey

QuayCrew would be hugely grateful to clients and candidates alike who would be able to take a minute or two to fill out this survey based around working conditions and crew retention. Your answers will help us in our mission to promote better leadership and operating practices onboard superyachts!

Thanks in advance for your help – it is really appreciated!

Tim, Caroline and all the team!

Why KNOT? The knots you need to know

The Bowline

The bowline has been around for centuries. This knot is easy and effective and is compulsory for any deckhand to know. The Bowline has many uses, e.g., to fasten a mooring line to a ring or a post. Under load, it does not slip or bind. With no load, it can be untied easily. Two bowlines can be linked together to join two ropes.

 

Image credit: www.netknots.com

Written description: how to tie a bowline.

1) Lay the rope across your left hand with the free end hanging down. Form a small loop in the line in your hand.
2) Bring the free end up to and pass through the eye from the underside (the rabbit comes out of the hole).
3) Wrap the line around the standing line and back down through the loop (around the tree and back down the hole).
4) Tighten the knot by pulling on free end while holding standing line.

Heaving line knot

A Heaving line knot is to provide weight to a line so it travels further. A heaving line is generally used for mooring purposes.

 

Image credit: www.netknots.com

Written description: how to tie a heaving line knot.

1) Lay the rope across your left hand with the free end hanging down. Form a small loop in the line in your hand.
2) Bring the free end up to and pass through the eye from the underside (the rabbit comes out of the hole).
3) Wrap the line around the standing line and back down through the loop (around the tree and back down the hole).
4) Tighten the knot by pulling on free end while holding standing line.

Cleat hitch

The Cleat knot is the most common way of tying off a line. It is easy and effective. You would most likely use during mooring procedures.

 

Image credit: www.netknots.com

Written description: how to tie a cleat knot.

1) Take a turn around the base of the cleat, and then bring the line over the top of the cleat.
2) Wrap the line back under the arm of the cleat opposite the first turn, then back over the top of the cleat.
3) Wrap under the first arm a 2nd time and then back over the top of the cleat. You have now made a figure eight pattern over and around the cleat. Now form an under hand loop and slip that loop over the arm of the cleat, which pins the free end under the last wrap.
4) Pull the free end tight and you have the neat, tidy and secure Cleat Hitch.

Clove Hitch Knot

A clove hitch is an easy to tie knot. This is most commonly used for tying fenders on the capping rail. One thing you need to make sure with this not is that there is contact pressure otherwise the knot will undo itself.

 

Image credit: www.netknots.com

Written description: how to tie a clove hitch.

1) Wrap the free end of a rope around a post.
2) Crossover itself and around the post again.
3) Slip working end under last wrap.
4) Pull tight.

Cover photo credit: Pinterest

10 habits that will ensure your fellow yacht crew will hate you

Positive, supportive relationships with co-workers were cited by a recent Australian survey as the main reason (67%) people stayed in their job, ahead of even “job satisfaction” and in fact higher than “salary” consideration (46%).

We all know, however, that the 9 to 5 office world is a very different one from living and working in the confined space of a superyacht. Jealousy, hot tempers, ego and sheer exhaustion coupled with a lack of personal space can create a challenging environment on board at times. We talked to a crew member currently crossing the Pacific to find out what habits will make your fellow yacht crew love you a little less!

1. The early riser

Early productivity is great for those awake. However, sleeping crew members do not appreciate the loud tapping of keyboards, the beeping of a microwave, the encouraging voice of a fitness video, or those conversations with a cousin living in a more sociable time zone.

2. The messy one

If you don’t have some form of OCD you probably shouldn’t be working in yachting. So, if you’re always the one that leaves things lying around, forgets to put things back where they came from, or if your cabin cupboards are on the brink of explosion or your coffee mug is always on the side, then you are making everyone else’s jobs harder! Stop and think about how annoying you are to everyone in your messy wake. Basically, stop being selfish.

3. The antisocial drunk

If the line between enjoying a night out and having fun and being sociable is crossed with compromising everyone else’s night out, then you will begin to get a name for yourself. In yachting, where the social circles are small but talk is large then this can start to compromise not only your relationships with fellow crew but also your job. We’ve all been there on the odd occasion but make sure it isn’t a regular occurrence and learn to pace yourself.

4. The hoarder

Having to dodge a kiteboard in one bilge, skis blocking another, a guitar behind the cabin door or a tripod sticking out of the crew mess is far from ideal. Whilst it’s great having so many interests it’s not so great that you are taking up all of the limited space!

5. The dramatic one

Being dramatic, especially within a confined space, is an annoying habit for others to have to either deal with or try and ignore. Being overly loud about small nuisances on board can bring everyone down, especially as the season progresses and the tiredness factor creeps in for everyone. You only need one negative person on board to cast a shadow over everyone else. Don’t let it be you. If you do find yourself constantly moaning, maybe it is a good time to take a step back and appreciate what you have and gain some perspective on the situation.

6. The secret snacker

Some bad habits can annoy one particular department more than others. Provisioning for the crew is a time consuming process for either the Chef or the Chief Stew! After a hard days work, neither are likely to be impressed to find the snack cupboard empty with only the Bounty (or whichever chocolate bar isn’t liked by anyone) left! Having crew bitching and moaning because the yacht has run out of Dr Pepper or Walkers Salt & Vinegar is also particularly draining. Get over it!

7. The anti-social one

Working in close quarters can mean that sometimes you need to switch off and get away from everyone else for some alone time. Although when alone time turns into always alone time and isolation this can cause uncertainty within a crew. If you are someone who suffers when in the close proximity of others for extended periods, have a plan of action to get some me time when you next set foot onshore. Go and have a massage and lie on a sun lounger on your own for a few hours. Even better go for a run for a natural high. Don’t just hit a bar.

8. The noisy one

Whistling incessantly around the boat, learning to play a new musical instrument, singing in the shower (or anywhere), playing loud music or general loudness can push all the wrong buttons of other crew members especially when tensions are already high! Try and be considerate of others. Especially if you are musically inept…

9. The chamois dodger

Dull or unappealing jobs that need to be done are part of yachting life. Whether you care for them or not, from the deck to the crew shower, dodging these duties can mean extra work for everyone else. Don’t be that person who is always occupied elsewhere when there is a less than glamorous job that needs doing.

10. The rude one

In these confined spaces, everything is magnified hideously. Like Big Brother but with hard work and less sleep. There is no room for being rude. This can range from the minuscule like being greedy at lunch and stealing the last baguette or eating with your mouth open to the more serious like belittling others and being a bit of a bully. Being that positive person on board who is always happy is priceless and captains remember this when they are giving us your reference.

Beyond STCW: First Aid Advice from a former Royal Marines Medic

This blog has been written by a Deckhand Medic that Quay Crew recently placed. This particular candidate spent 11 years in the Royal Marines before spending 6 years as Team Medic for UK Special Forces and taking part in multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the first responder to dozens of serious, life threatening injuries and often was the sole medic on hand for hours. As part of his extensive training, he worked as a Paramedic with the Ambulance Service in the UK and spent several weeks in the Trauma Unit at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

Will a short blog make you into a medical professional? No of course not, but it might help having a systematic guide with a bit of realism added if you ever need it. Let’s face it, the last time you did any medical training was on the Friday of your STCW95 after a few beers the night before and it was delivered by Sandra, who although was lovely, she didn’t really have any experience and you were not that interested anyway, as you were more worried about the increasing M6 traffic. (Sandra is a made up lady, but we all know the type of person I am talking about.)

So where do I come in? I was asked to give a little input using my previous experience as a medic in the Royal Marines and I figured if I can write an easy guide to help you out in if the situation arises, I would be glad to help. However please bear with me as I am not much of a writer, I tend to eat the crayons.

Be it on the battlefield or on a yacht, the stages of treatment should not differ, regardless of injury. What I mean by this is, whether a person has been shot or a deckhand has crushed his hand in the anchor chain, we still go through our treatment the same (I promise it will become clearer). HOWEVER, what is helpful is, if you know what the incident is I.e. a fall from height or someone has caught their hand in the anchor chain, then before you even arrive on the scene you can start to think what injures may be associated with the incident: – Hand + Anchor = Lacerations, breaks etc. etc.

Do you understand so far? Basically, the better the information you receive about the incident, the better you can arm yourself for the mayhem that is about to ensue. We call this Mechanism of injury (MOI). Easy…right?!

You have just grabbed the medical kit and made your way to the foredeck. When you arrive, you see a rib swinging on the crane, there is a deckhand on the floor bleeding and another 18-year-old deckhand looking at you like a rabbit in the headlights. What do you do?

You follow this easy guide.
(**This guide is a very simple version of what is taught on STCW95, and is meant as something to consider only. It will not make you a medic.)
1. Danger

TAKE A BREATH!! There is no point rushing in a blind panic. Take a breath and assess the situation properly.
What do you assess? You firstly need to look at possible dangers to yourself and anyone else. That rib swinging on the crane, we should probably get it out the way. And who better to move it than the young lad in a state of shock looking at you for guidance. Give him the job and it will focus him for a short while. That’s the danger sorted.

2. Response

Is the casualty responsive or unconscious? In addition to this, has there been a response from the Bridge? What I mean by this is, is anyone else aware of the situation, is further help coming. Have you had a RESPONSE? It will put you at ease if you know someone else is on their way to help you.

3. Catastrophic Haemorrhage

Now, this is probably going to differ from what you have been taught previously. The human body requires blood for various reasons. If someone is bleeding they are losing that blood. You need to STOP the blood loss. (That’s not the bit that’s different from what you’ve been taught, it’s the next bit). Tourniquets are the quickest and most effective way of stopping catastrophic bleeds from limbs. I know there is the “fear” of applying tourniquets as people say there are lots of risks associated with applying tourniquets. I understand the argument but what’s the risk if you don’t apply one? They will potentially bleed out. Remember, life over limb! If you think the bleed is catastrophic put on a tourniquet. How do you know it’s working? Well, the blood will stop coming out and I guarantee you they will forget the pain of the injury and start complaining about the tourniquet (sometimes a bit of “tough love” is required).

4. Airway

Are they shouting at you in pain?? Perfect, their airway is clear! If they can talk/shout at you then it means they have a clear airway and have air in their lungs. However, you still need to check in the mouth and remove anything like chewing gum. They may be ok now but they may go unconscious later and choke. Check it and check it thoroughly. Remember you may be treating an elderly guest. Anything loose like dentures need to come out. There are lots of methods you can use to maintain airways but I can’t teach you that in a blog. Just make sure it’s clear for now.

5. Breathing

We need to ensure the patient has no injuries to their respiratory system. An easy and quick way is to ask the patient to count to ten aloud in one breath (in trauma we want a respiratory rate of between 10-20 breaths per minute. If they can count to ten aloud in one breath…awesome they are within those parameters).

6. Circulation

Recheck your tourniquet. Make sure it’s doing the job of keeping the red stuff inside. At this point stand up, take a step back and have a look at your situation. Are you still safe, has further help arrived? Now is a good time to quickly reassess your situation. All good? BOOM get stuck back in! Firstly you want to check their radial pulse (that’s the one in the wrist). The pulse rate should be between 60-120 per minute. If it’s weak and rapid it’s usually a sign of blood loss. Then this is where I would check for internal bleeding using various methods that I spent months practising on my then girlfriend, but a simple way is to have a look for further bleeding on the deck. Are there any major lacerations you have missed, then have a feel of the stomach, is it hard (could indicate bleeding). Then have a feel of the long bones (femur and humerus) is the muscle mass around them solid (again could indicate a bleed). You won’t be able to diagnose a bleed but you can certainly make someone aware that it’s a possibility.

7. Disability

This is where we check the responsiveness of the patient. You would of no doubt been chatting away to them anyway but a more formal way is what we call AVPU.

Alert– is the patient alert (are they having a chat with you).
Voice– Is the patient alert to voice commands (are they quiet but responding to you).
Pain– is the patient alerted to painful stimulus (patient is quiet, eyes closed but as you pinch their ear they try to brush it away).
Unresponsive– is the patient unresponsive (like it says on the tin).

8. Environment and exposure

Time to patch up any smaller wounds, splint any breaks, get them on a stretcher and out of there. There is no point sorting a patient out and then leaving them exposed to the elements. Get them wrapped up or shaded and get them to professional help ASAP.

And there you have it, you just saved their life. Time for a cup of tea before you grab that window blade and start over on windows, scuppers, and rails.

In all seriousness, it can be daunting when faced with a real casualty. Just stay calm, reassure the patient and yourself, stay within the boundaries of your medical knowledge and you will be fine. Medical training takes years to learn and a lot of practice. You continue to learn something new everyday. Have a look around your yacht and run some scenarios, it’ll only take ten minutes but it’ll be well worth it should you ever need it. As I said at the start, this blog is in no way intended to teach you to be a professional medic but will hopefully give you some tips if you need them.

 

8 management techniques that will help you hold on to your yacht crew

8 management techniques that will help you hold on to your yacht crew

Keeping your crew happy is one of the hallmarks of a great leader. Whether you’re a captain, a head of department, or part of the yacht’s management team, considering these ideas when trying to keep your crew motivated will make sure they want to go the extra mile for you.

Be a good communicator


Captains and management companies often have the big picture in mind. They know upcoming plans and have already identified the challenges ahead; however, they don’t often take the time to share that information with the crew. Keeping your crew in the dark about future yard periods, upcoming winter plans, and/or changes on board cause the rumour mill to start. Sharing this type of information with the team enforces a feeling among crew members that they count and are important to the overall success of the yacht.

Lead from the front

Obviously different roles have different responsibilities on board and a Chief Officer on a 100m MY is going to spend less time on deck than a CO on a 50m MY. But… getting stuck in on deck doing a washdown the day before the owner arrives for an unexpected, last minute visit is good for the crew to see. Getting your hands dirty when you need to shows everyone is in it together and it is a genuine team effort. It is a lot harder to do this whilst you are sitting behind a lap top 24 / 7.

Money doesn’t matter as much as you think

Motivation for team members can come in part from a salary, but a large part depends on a combination of the satisfaction of day-to-day work and the opportunity to make a valued contribution. When the opportunity presents itself and it is appropriate, open things up to your department. Ask them what they think needs doing and what should be prioritised. If it is off season and your second is off for a month, promote a couple of your department to have more responsibility for a couple of weeks each. See who steps up when given the opportunity. Again when appropriate allowing the crew to make some decisions themselves without you micro managing always goes down well. Give crew specific projects which are theirs to own and take care of.

Another way to inspire these feelings is to help each department learn about what the others are doing, creating a strong sense of team and collaboration. A sense of ownership will have them all supporting one another to achieve the best outcome.

Knowing me, knowing you

A team barbecue on the beach or dockside after a charter gives crew a chance to chill and chew the fat without moving too far or making much effort. Combine that with a beach volleyball or touch rugby competition with a nearby yacht, or take them for a day on the slopes or zip-lining through the forest and you’ve given your crew a chance to sweat off pent up energy and bond with each other. Mixing the teams up so that is different departments and people who generally don’t talk pairing up is good for building relationships too.

Brain train

Trying something new allows crew to become more confident in their abilities. Show you are invested in their growth by providing on-going training and career development opportunities and write that into their crew contracts. Allocating a couple of hours a week for training is a small chunk of your available time. It can even be after hours once or twice a week. A useful way of seeing who is career minded too and who is in yachting for the wrong reasons. Think it’s not your responsibility? It’s a bigger risk that they become bored and burnt out, so show them you value their work by helping them to grow and pushing them out of their comfort zones.

Be fair

Be scrupulously fair across the board. Whilst having favourites in your team is completely understandable and human nature it is bad news when you are leading the troops. Make sure all perks and all the unappealing jobs are handed out evenly. If you don’t you will rapidly have some unmotivated and resentful crew on your hands. On a slightly different tangent make sure you aren’t that HOD who never has a watch and has to be somewhere off the boat on a Friday afternoon.

Get them involved

Yacht crew involvement in local charity events builds great networks of support among the team and helps them to feel integrated into the local community. If you are sitting somewhere post season for a break, work on a beach clean-up or see if your local marina or yacht agent has any programs you could give a hand to. Everyone entering a 10k race or something similar and raising as much cash as possible is always good too.

Ease off the throttle

Yachting can be incredibly hard work and pressurised with very little down time so you can’t work people at 100% intensity, 100% of the time without people breaking down. Take whatever opportunities you can to give crew time off. Whether that is working extra hours to give everyone a day off or some form of rotational system the more time away from the coalface crew get, the better they perform and the happier the yacht will be generally. If everything is done on Wednesday and the boss arrives Friday then give the crew Thursday off. Don’t invent jobs to be done or redo things just for the sake of it.

There is nothing ground breaking in any of the points above and some of it is probably screamingly obvious. But hopefully, it is a gentle reminder of some basic management ideas which may make everyone’s lives easier and more productive. Good luck.

The written reference is dead

At Quay Crew, we are responsible for scrutinising candidates CV’s, qualifications and verifying that the information provided is true and accurate.

We dig deeper to understand our candidates

The only way to determine a true picture of someone’s personality, attitude and previous employment abilities is to seek a verbal reference from the employer though many still seem to rely on written references. This type of reference is great for useful things like making fires or for the Crew Agents who like to send CV’s without doing their due diligence. However, it isn’t until you pick up the phone and speak to people who have worked closely with the crew member that you start to paint a picture and get a proper idea of a candidates history, their strengths and more importantly their weaknesses.

Written references are only part of the story

When finishing employment on a yacht it is standard practice to ask for that all important written reference and in most cases, a reference will be provided. This is likely to be from your Captain or Head of Department confirming the dates of employment, the position held and possibly a small paragraph about how great the crew member was at their job. Unfortunately there are few Captains/ Chief Stewardess’ who would write a truly reflective reference for a crew member who had been less than satisfactory, not only because they would then have to hand the paper to the crew member but also with UK law, amongst others, a ‘bad’ written reference, however truly reflective, could end up being used in court citing the Defamation Act of 2013.

We will send people you want to meet

At Quay Crew, we may not always get the first CV in your inbox but we will make sure you get the right one. We believe that the only way to determine whether a candidate is good enough to send you is by taking the time to speak to previous employees directly, which takes a little longer than checking a written reference.

In Yachting, reputation is everything and just because a piece of paper suggests a good fit doesn’t mean they will be!

#QuayCrewQuality: 6 Things that Make us Stand Out

Here at Quay Crew, we love what we do. Nothing brings us more pleasure than placing that perfect candidate on board and creating meaningful long-standing relationships with owners, captains and crew, all central to our mission to be the strongest crew agency in the yachting industry. What else makes us stand apart from the rest?

We are not only ex-crew but also so much more

Collectively we have over a decade of experience working as crew, but we also come from years of professional recruitment experience in other sectors of business. In addition to Tim, who spent six years working in the London financial sector (after stepping ashore), Sam managed a recruitment team of four focused on Office staff from Admin to Marketing and everything in between and has more than four years of recruitment experience. Coming from diverse professional backgrounds provides us with the knowledge, tools and talent management skills to support complex organisational needs for the successful operation of the yacht.

Quality over quantity

Your time is money. So you will never receive 12 CVs from us to sift through to fill a specific crew position. We do not execute database mining but use a methodical evaluation and vetting process by activating all of our recruitment channels while also providing a high level of discretion. As is the case often for speciality crew positions, the most sought-after candidates are not necessarily looking for a new job. Our direct and personalised approach is designed to identify high-performance candidates that will meet your specific needs and who will create a lasting impact on board.

We will talk to references, all of them

A recent survey from CareerBuilder examined more than 2,500 recruiters and found that over 50% of candidates have been caught lying on their CVs. What was the most common culprit? Exaggerating on their skills and capabilities. We are experiencing a crucial moment in our industry where the health and safety of all on board is paramount to the future of yachting and far too many rely solely on a CV or written reference to evaluate a candidate’s skill set. We speak to every single employer of a candidate to ensure each has a practical and genuine understanding of his or her role and responsibilities.

We want to meet you

Ours is a business that thrives on great relationships and there’s no better way to cultivate this than meeting you. While it may not always be possible due to geography, our goal is to meet, in person, all of our candidates and clients. It’s a well-known fact that job seekers are feeling the pressure to get make sure their CVs stand out with many being evaluated in five minutes or less. We know you wouldn’t hire someone after a quick review of their CV and neither do we. So feel free to reach out to us, set up a meeting, or stop by, so that we can get to know you and your specific needs better.

We’re in this for the long haul

A quick win is wasted on us. We will not send candidates off to boats that aren’t the right fit for them, and equally, we won’t convince clients to take on a crew member that we know isn’t going to be the right fit for their vessel. This has cost us a few placements in the past, but we are in it for the long haul and are dedicated to ensuring that all of our candidates have long, successful careers and that those recruiting know we won’t let them down.

We will give you more

We don’t just send CVs. We provide comprehensive recruitment services that include market intelligence analysis and crew retention support. When it comes to supporting you with your crew requirement needs we have a large amount of knowledge to share from our own experiences and are dedicated to ensuring we are putting together the right candidates with the best yacht.

Why specialist yacht crew can bring the ‘wow’ factor to your charters

Speciality yacht crew positions are often some of the hardest roles to fill on a superyacht, yet are of vital importance to the happiness of the boss and his guests. Neglect to recruit for these positions properly, or leave it to the last minute, and you could end up with unhappy guests- and we all know what kind of a headache that can be!

Just as you wouldn’t entrust a professional candidate-search in the business arena to the classifieds section of a newspaper, don’t expect a halfhearted Facebook post to answer the call when you’re looking for someone with unique talents. Here a professional, experienced yacht crew agency who has developed relationships with other industries to source candidates with transferable skills is key.

So what type of job onboard counts as ‘speciality crew’?

1. A Paramedic or Nurse

Quay Crew

Especially on larger yachts, having a crew member onboard who is a certified nurse with first-response training, or hospital and paramedic experience can enhance the health and safety of both guests and crew onboard. Following the spate of recent accidents onboard involving crew, having someone on the scene who has saved lives in their previous career is invaluable. In addition, they also provide peace of mind to yachts that partake in diving and extreme water sports in remote locations. As an example, we recently placed a UK Special Forces medic into his first superyacht role where he is flourishing. Because of the relationships Quay Crew have carefully nurtured in this sector, we are able to find the most highly skilled candidates who have relevant hands-on experience of keeping seriously injured people alive. They also prove useful on the security front every now and then as well!

2. Personal Trainer

Health and wellness is a part of our day-to-day lives that normally goes out the window on vacation. But with owners taking their health more seriously and spending more time on board with their families, having a crew member qualified in personal training, yoga, Pilates or boxing will make sure the guests come off the boat looking just as good as when they stepped on board. Liaising also with chefs, nutritionally aware yacht personal trainers can provide a 360-degree wellness program on board. Keeping the crew in shape during their limited downtime has its plus points as well.

3. Watersports Instructors

We are increasingly seeing requests for qualified kitesurfing and wakeboarding instructors. A key challenge is how to find them and get them ticketed and certified to be onboard while making sure they understand the majority of their job involves scrubbing and cleaning! A great crew agency not only does all the research and vetting but also has the contacts to find these guys. Again we have fostered relationships within this sector to make sure we are able to find the top people!

4. Hairdressers

The salty sea air can be a real devil when it comes to keeping your barnet beautiful all day… Guests won’t be able to thank you enough for hiring an onboard stylist to coif them to perfection before they walk down the gangway for a night out. As yachts are getting larger, we are seeing more and more dedicated beauty rooms appearing onboard and these superyacht salons are probably some of the most well equipped on earth! A dual stew/beauty role is highly sought after, with some candidates transferring from professional salon careers, and others coming from the cruise ship world.

5. Massage and beauty specialists

There is a real shortage of really good yacht massage therapists. Unfortunately, various training establishments are turning out masseuses with massage qualifications after a week long course. Don’t take a chance by hiring someone like this. With larger vessels equipped with their own treatment rooms for therapists, these are key personnel that can make or break a charter’s success. Wouldn’t the boss rather have hands he can trust working out that kink?

At Quay Crew we are always looking for jobs for yacht crew with other strong secondary skills, be that carpenters, boat builders, videographers, drone technicians or sports coaches as they are bringing something else to the table which adds value.

To find out more why Quay Crew are the agency to help you with all your specialised crew requirements, simply click here to contact us.

French Social Security Laws: what you need to know.

Regardless of whether you are a yacht owner, a new crew member or a seasoned professional, the latest piece of French Social Security legislation for Mariners is something you need to get up to speed with.

Potentially one of the largest changes-in-law to affect the yachting sector in years, it has been a major subject of discussion in management offices and crew messes up and down the coast this year. The new laws are due to come into force on July 1st, meaning that if you’ve not made preparations already now is maybe the time to start panicking!

The legal stuff

Decree no 2017-307 of 9 March 2017, which comes into force in France on 1 July 2017, sets out the obligations for both yacht owners and yacht crew in respect of Standard A4.5 (paragraph 3) and Regulation 5.3 (Paragraph 1) of MLC 2006. France is essentially bringing its own laws into line with what is set out in the Convention and is one of the first nations to do so.

So, what does this mean? Well, the official MLC line in question is as follows:

5.3 (1) Without prejudice to the principle of each Member’s responsibility for the working and living conditions of seafarers on ships that fly its flag, the Member also has a responsibility to ensure the implementation of the requirements of this Convention regarding the recruitment and placement of seafarers as well as the social security protection of seafarers that are its nationals or are resident or are otherwise domiciled in its territory, to the extent that such responsibility is provided for in this Convention.

What this essentially amounts to is an obligation on the behalf of ship owners and seafarers to make some sort of social security contribution when stationed in France for over 182 days in a year- either to the French system or to their home systems. This kind of makes sense on an ethical level and is a bit of a kick up the backside for those crew members who don’t have their taxes in order and who wish to remain working on the Riviera.

However, the main issue for yachts operating in French waters is that this is very much a ‘one size fits all’ approach to a niche industry which is as diverse as it is glamorous. Each yacht’s operating policy is different from the next, and the multitude of nationalities which can make up a single yacht crew could cause a real headache for anyone trying to understand the implications of this new social security requirement.

Who is likely to be affected by this?

The PYA, Hill Robinson Yacht Management and a whole host of other French yachting businesses have been working tirelessly to make sense of these changes and to prepare the industry for the coming months.

First, it’s important to understand just how applicable to the yachting industry this legislation is. It is generally recognised that crew and yachts will be subject to these changes in France if one of the following situations occurs:

A. The yacht spends ‘significant time’ in French waters over a calendar year; significant being defined as more than 181 days (remember that!)

B. If the crew member is a French Resident, which is a little more applicable to yacht crew than it sounds. To put it (quite) simply, you are a French Resident if one of the following applies to you.

Your home is in France – which generally speaking applies if your family home is on French soil, meaning French workers with a spouse or children at home in France can still be taxed if they work abroad. Captains – take note!
Your principle place of abode is in France. If you spend the majority of your time (over 181 days in a calendar year) on French soil, even if it’s in a hotel, or on a superyacht at anchor off Villefranche, this rule applies to you.
You engage in a business activity constituted in France.
You have a Centre of Economic Interest in France. This could be your main investment activity or perhaps apply to you if France is the place you generate most of your income.

ENIM: Who are they and what is their role?

ENIM is the French Mariners Social Security Organisation, a kind of trade union for seafarers, and is spearheading the move towards better social security for French sailors. The scheme is designed to cover members of ENIM for eventualities such as maternity, accidents, death & disability, which for some French nationals in the commercial maritime sector is an attractive proposition. The blanket coverage of these laws across the wider marine sector means that the yachting world in France is going to need to adapt for the benefit of the larger body of sailors hailing from La Republique.

The requirements of ENIM are similar to any social security scheme you would find across the globe. Employers should submit pay declarations and the related contributions at the end of each month, and new employees are to be registered with the scheme upon commencement of work in France, with proof of nationality submitted accordingly.

How will the ENIM charges work?

No one is entirely sure…yet. The exact percentage to be levied and paid by employers and employees has yet to be announced, but it is presumed that they are likely to be calculated on average salary bands across crew rankings. (Captain, mate, deckhand etc.)

The process that yachts will have to follow, however, has been sketched out recently during talks held at the very official-sounding “Tri Association Seminar”, held in Monaco in May (which was somewhat ironic, as of course Monaco will not be affected by any of these legislation changes).

Captains, owners and yacht management firms have been advised that the following sequence of events will form the ENIM submission process:

1. The employer will need to provide crew details, including the salary of those who are residents of France.
2. ENIM will calculate the monthly contribution and multiply it by six and this will be security deposit to be paid by the employer.
3. This process will be repeated every six months, with leavers and joiners being taken into account.
4. Statements need to be submitted on 25th of each month.
5. Late payment of contributions will incur a 0.5% penalty for each day of delay, calculated on the full contribution owed. Ouch!!

Is there a way to avoid being registered for ENIM?

Potentially.

If you do qualify as a French resident, but are registered and contributing to another social security or national insurance scheme in your home country, then you have an obligation to (and you should) declare it to ENIM before July 1st. You’ll need to provide proof of regular NI payments over the course of a few months: and while we don’t think you can register last-minute and pay a single contribution in order to gain an exemption, we would be interested to hear if anyone has been able to do this successfully (of course, if this is your approach to managing your taxes then it’s probably best to remain quiet!). On the other hand, some sources seem to think that proven history of NI contributions is less important, and you are only required to opt to pay into one or the other by July 1st.
What we do know is that “this offer has been extended to seafarers who are currently making social security contributions to an official agency of another country (which is an EU Member State or a State which has a bilateral social security convention with France).” These seafarers will not be asked to make contributions to ENIM.

Perhaps more cryptically, EU social security harmonisation across member states means that, if another EU scheme is already in place and being correctly complied with, the new decree would now supersede it. If you don’t know if that applies to you or not right away, the odds are that it probably doesn’t.

What are the real-world effects of this legislation going to be?

Well, first and foremost if you’ve missed the July 1st deadline for getting your tax affairs in order then you will need to register for ENIM immediately before deciding what to do next.

The yachting industry in France has been extremely vocal about the obvious economic impact of this legislation across the local sector, as it is likely to reduce the number of yachts basing themselves in France, and thus have a knock-on effect on local yachting businesses. It may also, of course, make yacht owners and captains less keen to hire French crew or indeed French residents- which could directly impact the way agencies like us operate as we vet candidates for our clients. Antibes is (currently) the centre of the crew-agency world, but it would make for strange times indeed if experienced local candidates suddenly became few and far between…

You might also think that Italian and Spanish yachting businesses have been rubbing their hands together at the news, and we are seeing large yachts gravitating towards places like Barcelona and Genoa in recent years, but it is likely that this change in France will expand across the EU in the not too distant future.

The legal challenge to ENIM, which has been bought by Hill Robinson Yacht Management and Ince Law, is unlikely to achieve a favourable ruling in the short term, and therefore it may be some time before the social security system adapts itself to the yachting sector.

Are there any benefits to the changes in law?

In chairing the Monaco Tri-Association seminar between the PYA, GEPY and Italian Yacht Masters associations, Norma Trease raised a valid point: the point of ENIM is to bring social security benefits for professional mariners into line with those enjoyed by shore-based employees in France and in nations further afield. Crew members who are genuine French residents would enjoy real, tangible benefits such as health care, maternity cover and improved employment rights under the provisions of the scheme. As mentioned earlier, it’s likely that this law will become the norm across the EU in a matter of years – so from an employee’s point of view it would be beneficial for everyone if this became the norm, rather than a thorn in the heart of the industry as it seems to be viewed as for now.

Perhaps the sudden, urgent, requirement for better management of financial affairs might prove useful to crew members who traditionally have buried their heads in the sand as they’ve travelled the world ‘tax-free’, without consulting any professional crew tax advisors on what the best way to handle their money might be.

It may also be the case that those experienced crew seeking work, who have taken the time to address the tax issue and can prove that they have their tax affairs in order (whilst making social security or NI contributions) could immediately be appealing to a potential employer looking to fill a position…

I feel depressed, what’s next?

In summary, the real thing to consider here is that this legislation is in a very early stage of implementation, and developments are announced almost every day. If you think that you might be affected by the French Social Security changes, then you should keep abreast of what’s going on and make sure you are following the advice of professional tax advisors like CrewFO, or the dedicated financial experts at your yacht’s management company. After all, there are only two constants in life: death, and TAXES!

NOTE: The information provided in this article is a guide only and its contents do not constitute legal or tax advice.