Temping as yacht crew can be tempting, but is it all it’s cut out to be?
In my opinion, temping has more pros than cons but it will definitely depend on where you are in your career, whether you are new to the industry or an experienced yachtie.
Temping as a greenie
If you’re looking for your first superyacht job, then temping as yacht crew could provide a good opportunity to gain that all-important experience that will hopefully lead to a more permanent position.
Firstly, if you’ve based yourself out of the South of France or Palma, for example, and finances are running dry, then it’s certainly a great way to boost the bank balance. Obviously day work is 100% recommended but this blog is specifically about temping for a few weeks or months.
More importantly, temping will allow you to build your crew network and skillset, experience different yachts and working processes as well as expose you to varied onboard cultures and itineraries.
It also gives you a chance to experience the sector without fully committing. Yachting isn’t for everyone and is, putting it bluntly, hard graft and pretty stressful at times.
The downside of temping at such an early point in your yachting career is that it can make your CV look a little flakey. If not explained properly, some permanent positions you apply for may assume you’re just saying it was a temp gig when actually, things didn’t work out and you left or got fired. On this point, we highly recommend not lying if that’s the case!
My advice for a greenie is some experience is better than nothing, just make sure you don’t temp for too long or for too many yachts.
Can you make a career out of temping as yacht crew?
Essentially, yes you can!
If you’re an experienced yachtie, then chances are, you’ve had a good run so far but you’re over being away from home all the time and want a better work/life balance.
Being open to temporary roles allows you to keep one foot on deck (or bridge, interior, galley, engine room etc) but control the amount of free time you have. It’s also good for maintaining your skills or tickets if you plan on returning full time in future.
Temping as yacht crew later in your career often pays better than a permanent position too. And if you prefer to mix things up, you could take up summer roles onboard and spend the winter on the slopes or doing something different.
There are a few cons – it’s unpredictable, there aren’t always enough temporary roles for crew and those that are available may not fit in with your personal plans. Plus they often aren’t advertised and are filled via word of mouth and existing relationships.
A Captain’s perspective
In terms of when temp roles become available and the benefits, former Captain and now Quay Crew consultant, Simon Ladbrooke, says:
“We used to regularly take on junior crew temporarily to cover crew accrued leave. It was great for crew morale as having a new, young and enthusiastic team member onboard was often extremely stimulating. It also gave senior members of crew the opportunity to train the newbies, giving them a sense of achievement.
“Experienced crew would be able to hit the ground running too, which made my job a lot easier. I used to use the same temp crew a lot which gave them some security and allowed the permanent crew to plan leave ahead of time.
“There are a few negatives though. Temp crew can disrupt the crew dynamic, particularly if they have a strong personality, and sometimes existing crew don’t like having to share a cabin with a person they don’t really know for a short period of time.
“In senior positions, there can also be inconsistency with work habits and how certain crew prefer to do things.
“The biggest downside from a hiring perspective is the cost for such a short period. Temps need uniform, toiletries and training etc that you don’t always get a return on within a couple of months.
“That said, temping as yacht crew is mostly beneficial to both crew and yachts and a necessity.”
Temp roles can help your bank balance, improve your skill set and fill some gaps between permanent roles. But…. Don’t do it for too long or it will damage your CV and employability. Plus make sure it’s clear on your CV that it’s a temp position and you must get a reference for each role. Without references backing up your version of events. employers will assume that some of them are permanent positions that didn’t work out.
Thanks for the pic Dani