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The majority of junior crew I speak to are usually very realistic about their expectations entering the industry, and even after 1 season onboard a yacht still so. However I do speak to some crew who feel they are entitled to much more after only 1 season in the industry which just isn’t the reality or deserved. 

The majority of junior crew looking to enter the industry should have the attitude that any job is a fantastic opportunity. You should see yourself as privileged to get the chance to work on a yacht as many green crew never do. You should be open to all options and realistic that your first job may not tick all your boxes but is a very good foot in the door and somewhere for you to learn the role. In fact it might tick very few of your boxes, but as long as the yacht is safe and fairly well run you should take it. Expect to work hard, be tasked with unglamorous jobs and be the majority watch taker. This doesn’t however mean working for less than standard industry salary. You should be aiming for around the 2500 Euro mark. If you have extra skills to bring to the table I.e. carpentry/boat building background this could warrant extra money. 

The position may be seasonal or even temporary with the opportunity to go permanent. In my eyes you should take any opportunity thrown at you to gain the experience you need to progress. My first season was spent on a 45m sat in the South of France covering the crews watches over the Christmas/ New Year period. It was far from glamourous and very boring, I spent Christmas Day on my own, but I worked hard, learnt as much as I could and came away with a great reference which resulted in me getting a job on an excellent 85m yacht! 

Treat every piece of day work or temporary work as a trial. You never know it could result in being offered a permanent position if you impress! Being a deckhand isn’t rocket science but listening to your superiors, fitting in with the crew and being a good team player is vital. Even if you aren’t the world’s best deckhand if you fit in with the crew and work hard you are likely to succeed. 

After one season onboard a yacht you can expect a little more from the industry but be realistic! By one season I mean 6 months. Not 2 months or helping to finish off a guest trip. I often get told by candidates they have 2 seasons experience, but it equates to 2 or 3 months of experience in total. 

If you have worked hard and come away with a fantastic reference from your first yacht you have set yourself up to hopefully pick up a nice new job and the chances are you can be a little pickier! 

Regarding salary expect to earn similar money. Aim for 2500-2800 Euros. You may be able to secure a 5:1 rotation however don’t be put off by 38+ days holiday as lots of yachts still offer industry standard leave. Whilst there are more and more roles offering 3:1, 4:2 rotations those yachts have their pick of the crew. Why would they employ a relatively green crew member with 6 months of experience when they could have someone with 1-2 years and a Yachtmaster? For 80% of crew it isn’t realistic that they will get a role like that for their 2nd job. 

The aim of your next job is to find a yacht where you can now put in a good year or two and continue to expand your skills along with progressing and working towards a Yachtmaster etc. Finding a yacht with a good training ethos in my eyes is the number one priority. Chasing a charter boat after 1 season is unlikely to work. You will not be experienced enough to keep up with the fast work pace and the extremely high standards required on a charter yacht. 6 months experience doesn’t make you a lead deckhand! 

Chief Officers and Captains love to hear realistic expectations. If your opening conversation at interview is a crazy salary expectation, or a list of wants, you will exclude yourself from being considered. Have valid and good questions to ask to show an interest in the yacht and crew rather than priority number one being lining your pocket. 

We are lucky enough to work with some fantastic clients but often candidates close the door for themselves with unrealistic expectations. More often candidates reject great jobs and yachts because a salary or leave box isn’t being ticked without considering all the other factors which make a great yacht. With the right attitude you will get offered decent yachts and should progress within once you have proven yourself! 

Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss any of the above topics 

Junior crew’s realistic expectations

About the author

Tom Rose

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