Ante Tafra from Croatia began his maritime career 10 years ago as an engine cadet for an offshore company. Roles with commercial ships and cruise ships followed before Ante found an interest in yachting in 2017.
“I live near Split, a few minutes walking from the beach so I can say that the sea and boats were always my passion,” said Ante. “I am a father to a wonderful 9-year-old-son who is my biggest motivation and my mentor in Minecraft and Fortnite 😊.”
“I always had plans to try all kinds of ships from offshore, tankers, cruise ships and yachts and to stay in each sector at least for a few years,” he added. “My interest in yachts started in 2017, while I was working as a Second Engineer on a cruise ship.”
At the time, a colleague of Ante’s who had experience in yachting gave him a bit more information about the industry and Ante set about registering with crew agencies in the hope of finding his first yachting role.
Ante added: “It wasn’t easy and most shocking was the fact that a rotational position in yachting was very hard to find.”
Despite that, his colleague Luke helped him get his first job on a 140m superyacht as temporary engineer, which he did whilst on rotation from his cruise ship role.
“After that short stint I knew that my future will be on yachts,” said Ante. “My focus then was to get a few more temporary roles on superyachts to gain more experience.”
And this approach worked. After a few temporary gigs, which really boosted his, Ante is now fully employed on a 70m recently launched superyacht as Second Engineer.
He credits part of his current success to being a Legasea mentee on the initial pilot programme in 2021 when he was working as a Chief Engineer on a superyacht support vessel.
Ante explained: “I thought the Legasea programme would be a place where I could get advice and guidelines from experienced yacht crew, and I wasn’t wrong. I connected with some amazing people and we are still in touch today through WhatsApp and LinkedIn.
“The best thing about the LegaSea programme was that it gave me a chance to meet people from all kinds of yachting positions, seagoing or land-based, and to see how the yachting world really works.
“Also, regular workshops and topics related to management, leadership and communications were perhaps the most beneficial, as we never really think about that and sometimes that is more important than 10mm sockets lost in bilges or Simple Green to keep our engine room floor shiny!”
Fast forward a year and Ante has now taken on the role of a mentor, hoping to help green and junior engineers as well as commercial engineers in their transition.
Ante concluded: “My advice for both green or experienced yachting crew would be to always be good, always try to help and always be there for someone. We never manage something all alone. There is always someone that, at some stage, we needed help from and they gave it. Now it is my turn to be that someone for a friend, colleague or LegaSea mentee.”
The second intake for the Legasea Mentorship Programme is due to start in May. You can apply here, or if you’re interested in being considered for one of the scholarship seats provided through Quay Crew, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Legasea Mentorship Programme
Writes co-founder, Jenny Matthews
Legasea Mentorship is the first and only industry-wide mentorship programme designed to remove the luck of the draw of career progression, opportunity and access in yachting.
We wanted to create a space where professionals from all departments at sea and all sectors ashore, who feel drawn to taking control of their careers, could come and connect with mentors whose knowledge, experience and expertise could support them in achieving their highest potential.
After the successful completion of a 6-month pilot programme, the 2022 cycle is going off with a bang. Thanks to the support of Quay Crew and Burgess, we are able to utilise the same mentoring software used by giants like Google, Subaru and the United States Airforce.
This technology enables us to overcome some of the unique challenges in our industry:
- Half of us are somewhere out at sea most of the time
- It can be challenging to meet people beyond that of your vessel or your office
- In some environments there still lingers a culture of knowledge hoarding that can make it challenging to grow and evolve
After receiving more than 250 applications this year, we are now able to drive Legasea’s three main objectives:
Removing the luck of the draw from learning, opportunities and networking.
Members are able to join the programme as both a mentor and a mentee and can connect with other members whose profiles complement their goals and ambitions. People can also explore to connect with peers and join communities of professionals with shared interests or experiences. Once connected, the programme guides them through a 12-month mentorship experience using global best practices, tools and resources.
To supplement these one-on-one connections, there are regular workshops and online networking opportunities based around the interests and areas of growth of the members.
Bridging the gap between the shore and sea
One of the most daunting questions that loom for many crew of ‘what to do when you no longer want to be at sea full time’ is becoming more common and more talked about. Legasea Mentorship creates the space for people who would like to learn about the shore side and what opportunities may be available for them to connect with the professionals and mentors who can support this transition. This looks like representatives from a diverse range of roles and companies, as well as ex-crew who have successfully made the jump themselves and who feel passionate about supporting others to do the same.
Creating a circular knowledge economy
The more we know about the many different moving parts of our wonderful industry, the better we can each perform in our roles. Over the course of this year’s programme, conversations, knowledge sharing and exploring different sides of the same coin are all part of us collectively levelling up and finding new, innovative and well-rounded approaches to daily tasks.