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How to ups kill

Whilst as a society this is a challenging time, this is actually an amazing opportunity if you are a green member of crew. Assuming you can’t work, you have a lot of time on your hands over the next couple of months and there is so much you can do to make yourself more employable. When you are asked in interview what you’ve been doing you can actually say something impressive about a skill you have mastered.

These suggestions will actually benefit you, but it is up to you to actually do it. For clarity, watching a video or practicing making the bed once actually achieves very little. You need to choose what you are going to concentrate on and then focus on it. If it is practical, then practice and practice it some more. If it is theoretical then learn it to the best of your ability and consistently test yourself. You haven’t learnt something unless you can do it perfectly every time. You are better off learning how to do 5 napkin folds 50 times each than 25 napkin folds 5 times each. Concentrate on mastering something before you move onto the next thing.

Some of these suggestions will probably seem unbelievably basic and simple but I absolutely promise you that the vast majority of the green crew reading this, can’t do the things below to the standard required. I can also promise you that the vast majority will watch a couple of videos and then go back to Netflix and ‘Tiger King’ [fairly understandably, it’s brilliant haha!] To steal a somewhat cliched quote ‘It’s never crowded on that extra mile’.

So get practising and learning and you will stand out from the crowd when you are interviewing.



Lots of green deckhands come into the industry with no maritime background of any description and lack the basic skills which going on a ‘deckhand’ course for a week won’t remedy.

I expect, as a minimum a deckhand should be able to do the basic knots with their eyes closed. The basic knots are simple but when you have to tie a fender to something quickly and the pressure is on it is easy to forget how to do it. I would practice, practice and practice again until they are all second nature. This is a great video, easy to follow and which covers most of the basics.

Not every deckhand entering the industry can have a Yacht Master under their belt. However, you all should have a good handle on Col Regs (International Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea) and buoyage. This is knowledge you will need as you progress through the industry so why not start learning it now. The playlist below has been done by sailors going from the basics up. Great animation as well.

Col regs:


I would expect every green deckhand who sees this blog to know everything in the videos and playlists I have shared. That’s not an unreasonable level of learning in the time frame you will have off and it will help you stand out from the crowd. Test yourself too.

You want to be able to say in interview I know all the Col Regs and be able to answer any questions.

Varnishing & Painting

This is a great video on the basics of finishing woodwork. Whilst you won’t be expected to varnish or paint on day one having some practical knowledge is a good thing.

Meanwhile, this is a great channel for painting.


This playlist has a lot of videos with information on products that you would use on a yacht and some how to vids as well. This covers gel coat repairs, polishes, teak 2 part cleaning and many more. They are trying to sell their products but there is some good content in there so you can see how the basics are done.



We’re aren’t going to go into how to push a Dyson around but we are going to cover beds! Making beds probably seems very simple and possibly you think we are teaching you to suck eggs. Trust me, it is a lot more challenging than you think to get it to yacht standard. Plus it takes a lot more time than you would think to. The tutorial below shows you some good basics. Now you need to strip and make your double bed everyday for the next few weeks and make it look perfect every time. It will be creased so you have to iron it so it looks immaculate afterwards. Time yourself and try and be quicker every day. Why?

Because when you are making a bed on a yacht it will be in a tight time window whilst the guests are having breakfast. You may also have to get the bathroom looking immaculate too. So time is of the essence and the pace you work at is one of the things which differentiates an average stew from a good one. This channel has a load of videos on making beds plus decorations for tables etc. You just have to search for them as they have uploaded a lot of videos!


Whilst we aren’t encouraging you to leave the house specifically for flowers, a lot of supermarkets sell relatively cheap bunches. Next time you are food shopping pick up 2 or 3 different bunches and get stuck into some flower arranging practice at the kitchen table.

A couple of hours of solid practice with this will make you competent relatively quickly. This guy is brilliant and covers every kind of flower arrangement imaginable plus table decorations too.
Watch this channel

Napkin folding

Again this is something which is really easily practised at home. Perfect a selection of these and its one less skill a Chief Stew doesn’t have to show you from scratch.


There’s nothing particularly complicated or ground breaking in here but some solid service basics which should help.


This channel contains some good info on making the classic cocktails. Whilst there are hundreds of different versions of every classic and your owner will probably have a particular way he likes his Espresso Martini, the techniques and the process shouldn’t change. Just the ingredients and the ratios which you can learn when you join the yacht.

In the interim you can learn the cocktail making techniques.
Watch this channel

General tips for the interior

This video contains a selection of tips from various Chief Stews relating to the interior.

The information above isn’t exhaustive, there are other things you can learn eg wine knowledge, towel folding etc but it does cover a lot of the basics. Good luck guys.

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About the author

Tim Clarke

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