The challenges as a Superyacht Officer can vary greatly within the yachting industry and sometimes it can become a game of chess looking for your next step on the ladder!
We actively encourage all of our candidates to progress within their careers as far as they wish to go, in the direction they wish to head, but sometimes this isn’t as straightforward as it seems and a tactical move now may open up more opportunities in the future.
Now, more than ever, candidates need to think about the current market. Fresh off the back of a global pandemic and with the current geopolitical situation affecting a lot of people, you may want to think about adjusting your trajectory to achieve a long-term goal. Like taking a step down in size to take a step up in rank or vice versa.
Up or down
When you are at a crossroad of stepping down in size of vessel in order to progress in rank – here are a few things worth considering as a Superyacht Officer:
- Gross Tonnage
- Length Overall (LOA)
- Operation of vessel – Private/Charter
- Build / how prestigious is the yacht & program
- ISM – Mini or Full
- Reputation of yacht
- Role focus and responsibilities
- Crew structure
For example, if you’re a 2nd Officer with a time for time rotation on an 80m+ Dutch yacht, you are in a great position. Lots of time off, prestigious program etc. However, it is going to be challenging to secure a time for time rotational Chief Officer role for your first Chief position, so you are going to have to compromise somewhere.
I would suggest a full time Chief role on a 60m+ yacht would be a good stepping stone in your career. For clarity, I am talking about committing for two years in this role before you look to go elsewhere.
On the opposite side of coin, if you’re looking to step up in vessel size and take a lower rank position you will want to think about all of the points above as well as team size and structure, guest interaction and progression opportunities.
A big one is whether you are able to take orders/direction? Can you do it with humility? No “On my last yacht, I used to…..”
If you have predominantly spent your career on yachts which are sub-500gt and mini ISM as Chief or Mate and you want to go larger, then some sacrifices will need to be made. I would suggest dropping to 2nd Officer, on something over 70m. If you can find an opportunity like this it would be an excellent career move and really increase the chances of you getting rotation in the future.
Do NOT be tempted to go the OOW Unlimited route assuming you will AUTOMATICALLY get an Officer role on something over 3000gt. It’s possible, but not a guarantee and everyone needs to prove themselves.
Set your own path
Within the Superyacht Officer role, there is so much diversity and there are many pathways that can be taken to find the perfect position. There is no one way to do it. So, each opportunity has to be considered, assessed, and given a fair evaluation.
That being said, there are clear size breaks that do come up in a yachts search. These are usually based around general operations of vessels in a certain size range, or at least others’ perceptions of the operations.
Although I will always accept and aim to adhere to a restriction on a brief from a yacht, I will encourage them to consider candidates on a case by case basis.
There are also variables that, although you can approach objectively, can only really be evaluated once you’re actually onboard working in the role. These are more based on you and your character. For example, are you good in larger groups or do you prefer a closer-knit team?
Another thing to be aware of and keep in mind is to be careful of jumping positions. Be vigilant not to become too attached to a title when you’re really looking for a sound and watertight knowledge base. A skill set that won’t let you down when you, and others around you, really need it the most.
The long and short of it is, if it’s the right role for you, it’s the right role. Keep sight of your end goal and try to look at the bigger picture.