This is what could make or break your yachting career

This article is primarily directed at junior crew in their first year or so in the industry. It is also aimed at people who want to make this industry their career. If you are only in it for a year or two and a great time then disregard everything below and do whatever you fancy. However it is applicable to everyone and hopefully there is some useful stuff in here about temp roles, time out of work and it may make you smile once or twice! With that out of the way…

Longevity is the single most important thing you can do to make yourself as appealing as possible to yachts. Demonstrate longevity on your CV and you will have far more options open up to you when you do eventually decide to move on. So many crew leave jobs far too easily, far too early for really minor reasons.

1. The boat isn’t travelling enough

Sit in La Ciotat or whichever delightful port you are in for the winter, suck it up and get a dual season yacht next time when you have a year of experience on your CV. Hopefully you are near a mountain.

2. I want to work on a busy charter yacht

Don’t we all! Everyone wants to earn 20k a season in tips. Well guess what? 95% if not more don’t. So that means there aren’t enough to go around and you probably won’t get it so stay put.

3. I’m underpaid

If you are earning somewhere around €2,500 p/m with a season’s experience you aren’t being underpaid. You just need to get on with it. If you are being paid say €2,200 p/m with a season’s experience then yes that is underpaid. But you’ve done one season already, so steel yourself mentally, do another and then you will have a year on your CV and be far more desirable!

4. The boat is too hard work

Ah, poor you. You will learn a lot on a busy boat in a short time frame which is great. You also won’t get so much of a chance to blow your money on ill-advised nights out on shore. Some boats are constantly hard work. All boats will be hard work for at least a few weeks every season. If you can’t cope with that then maybe you need to reassess if yachting is for you. One last positive… Your next yacht will be a walk in the park in comparison!

5. I want to be with my partner

Everyone does but again, there aren’t enough roles on couple friendly boats for this to work. Most couples end up compromising hugely to be together and this brings its own challenges. Find a good yacht individually then get your partner on there.

There are many more reasons but these are the main ones. It is very easy to leave and far harder to stay if everything isn’t perfect. But all yachts have one or two issues with them. There is no such thing as a 10/10 yacht. So don’t go looking for it. To use a cliché, the grass isn’t always greener.


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What is longevity?

If you are junior crew in your first role then I would say you need to do at least one year, ideally 18 months to 2 years. That will really set you apart from the crowd which is the aim of this. If it is a seasonal role then you need 18 months in your next job I think. Then you have had 2 jobs taking 2 years up of your career so an average of a year each.

Once you have been in yachting a few years and have decided it is the career for you then you need to be staying longer. In the industry 5 years and worked on 5 boats? That looks pretty average to me, unfortunately. Factor in you have probably had a year off over that 5 years when you have been in between jobs and it looks worse too. Once you move up, you need to commit for longer periods of time, eg 2 years a job if not more. This is what will make you stand out from the crowd and make the chances of securing that dream rotational gig much more likely.

Why should I stay?

The longer you stay on one yacht the more likely you are to be internally promoted which always looks great on your CV. If you have been internally promoted then you are clearly doing something right to get given that role. Even if you don’t get promoted, the longer you stay the more responsibilities you will be given.

The crew that get multiple offers and get snapped up by great yachts are the ones that have demonstrated commitment to their career and stuck it out. Suffer in your first year in yachting a little and then if you do things properly you won’t have to suffer again for the rest of your yachting life. To sum it up, if you build a solid foundation for your career lasting 12 to 24 months then you are setting up yourself up to have an amazing career.

Gaps in career

Some gaps are unavoidable and beyond your control. However, plenty aren’t. If you have done 1 season or 1 year in the industry, saved up hard and are now planning on living the high life for 6 months or longer don’t. Working for a year and then having the best part of a year out isn’t a good look, although I can see why it would be very tempting. Do 2 years (on 1 boat obviously) and then travel for 5 months. Don’t go for longer than that. Also, factor in, it will take you a month or two to find the right job.

If you leave yachting and then come back having had 1, 2 or more years out then you are in essence starting from scratch. Whatever the reason is (I hear a lot of fiction about this) you can no longer walk into your previous role on a decent boat commanding the same salary and perks as you were on 2 years ago. More often than not you will have to take a hit of some kind. That will most likely be in the form of the quality of the boat. So be a little realistic.


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Temp Roles

These are great for boosting up the bank balance and providing you with some exposure to how a yacht does things. As a green member of crew take whatever you can to get some experience and to get a good yachting reference.

However, if you’re seasoned crew too many temp roles makes your CV look bad as it looks like you have jumped from yacht to yacht. People scan CVs very quickly and form a judgement in seconds and lots of jobs on different yachts isn’t appealing. For a cynic like me, I will think some of them are permanent positions which haven’t worked out. Make it very clear on your CV if it is a temp or relief position and avoid getting caught up in the temp role cycle.

Hopefully, this helps some of you make some decisions on your future career decisions. Best of luck!


Featured image credit: matadornetwork.com


From 2006 to 2007 Tim was lucky enough to spend two years as a deckhand on MY Sai Ram and MY Leander, two excellent charter yachts. Quay Crew was formed in 2013 and is proving to be a great success: Tim covers the deck department predominantly working on Captain and Officer roles.

+44 (0) 7760 202610 | +33 7810 12245 | tim@quaycrew.com

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