If you are looking to join the superyacht industry here are some useful tips to help you prepare yourself for becoming a great crew member.
Working long hours, hard graft, lots of moving around and heavy lifting will take its toll if you are not fit. Not to mention working in 30c heat with intense humidity. Try and prepare yourself for your new role by getting yourself in the gym. Work on cardio as well as some light to medium weight lifting. This will pay off hugely when you join your first boat and want to put a solid stint of graft in to impress your new chief officer/captain. Carrying a 60m mooring line from bow to stern isn’t easy if you are carrying the extra weight yourself!
Anything extra you can bring to the table will always make you stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s DIY or maintenance skills to watersports or carpentry these will be an added skill or experience you can bring to the table on your new boat. Not only will this look good it will help you to secure your first role. Look for local marine companies back home or boat yards where you can get some extra work in at the weekends and pick up relevant skills. Most water sports companies are busy at the weekends and quiet in the week. See if they have any spare shifts. Learning how to tow, or to set up kit will be beneficial. Volunteer if necessary.
Smoking is fairly frowned upon by many employers/boats etc. Some won’t care but plenty do. Save yourself getting cancer, stinking of smoke and having empty pockets and give up smoking before looking for your first job. If you drink and smoke heavily you are also far more likely to catch one form of skin cancer (SCC) on the face. Not only will giving up help with fitness and cash flow but when you finally make it to sea you won’t be thinking about your next cigarette. Your hangovers will be less traumatic too.
Again not only will this help with your fitness and overall condition, laying off the booze will help you to concentrate, be more active, more efficient and you will be saving money for when you are looking for work.
Before making the move into yachting considering cutting down on costs at home to ensure you have enough cash to last you when looking for work. Move home with the parents, sell the car you won’t be driving for months on end whilst working away. Even changing your social habits will help you to save cash. It’s hard but trust me you’ll be grateful once you spend a couple of weeks in the South of France where everything is expensive! The longer you can financially survive the more likely you are to get a job. So make those sacrifices before you come.
I have had a few cases over the last 6 months where would be crew looking to make their way into the industry have gone out and spent a fortune on courses such as STCW, PWC and PBL2 only to fall at the final hurdle when getting a medical. Certain illnesses and conditions could mean you are unable to work at sea. The best way to rule this out is to get your ENG1 first. This way you know you are able to work at sea and the money spent on courses isn’t a complete waste.
If you rely on your parents or partner to cook for you all the time, chances are you will starve to death when you go to look for your first job. Learn how to make basic, cheap and bulk meals. Not only will you save money but cooking for yourself is quite rewarding. I lived off burger and chips for about a month solid when I first started out. Not because I couldn’t cook but because I was lazy. It cost me a fortune!
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