UKSA News

How to get a job on a superyacht

Published 07/06/2022

Recruitment in the superyacht industry

Recruitment in the superyacht industry goes through peaks and troughs. There are good times when the jobs are flowing and other times when it’s a bit harder to find work. As newbie crew in the industry, getting your qualifications and being ready for the start of the Med season will make it easier as there will be many more jobs available to you.

It’s possible for crew with no experience to get work and this depends on the individual and how much effort they put in to their CV and how proactive the person is. I have seen people with no experience but the right attitude find work and go on to have a successful career in the superyacht industry.

Forget about the B1/B2 visa, it’s virtually impossible to gain a visa without securing a job, so focus your job search closer to home. Visa rules have changed since the UK left the European Union; this is also making it harder to dock walk as we don’t have the right to work in Europe as we did before. Put as much effort as possible into your CV and networking.

Top Tips for getting work on a Superyacht

  • Spend time working on your CV, make sure you have checked spellings and that you are really selling yourself to potential employers
  • Always send a covering letter/email along with your CV
  • Spend time signing up to crew agents and answer all questions and complete your profile, follow up with a phone call. If the crew agent suggests you change something on your CV do it, they are the experts
  • Research the industry, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into, don’t believe all the hype from a TV show
  • Check your social media, make sure that any pictures from your past don’t harm your chances of getting an interview
  • Get yourself vaccinated, travel rules are generally still saying you need to be vaccinated to travel between countries, being on a superyacht means you could be travelling constantly
  • Be polite when interviewed, dress smartly, and ask questions (but don’t ask about how much money and holiday you will be getting, they will tell you this at some point.)
  • Sign up to Nautilus International (free for all UKSA alumni).  They are your trade union as seafarers amd will be there for you if anything unfortunate happens.
  • Store your certificates in a good quality folder, scan copies of all these documents, including your certificates and passport and have this available in the cloud or USB stick

Do’s & Don’ts of working on superyachts

DO

  • Buy some good, polarised sunglasses – and a second pair for when you drop your first pair overboard
  • Make sure you are looking smart, good haircut
  • Listen to instruction from others onboard
  • Work hard
  • Accept constructive criticism
  • Clean up after yourself and make your bed
  • When you have an opportunity to sleep, SLEEP!
  • Enjoy every moment of working, cherish the places you visit and the people you have met along the journey
  • Be respectful of junior crew as you move up the ladder, everyone must start somewhere
  • Ask for permission before boarding a vessel for the first time
  • Wake up early
  • Keep fit
  • Carry your certificates in your hand luggage while travelling, you don’t want to pay for reissues when they get lost
  • Make sure you are following the correct tax laws and completing tax returns. There are many companies out there with experience in helping you do this
  • Stick at your first job for a minimum of one year
  • Volunteer for any job onboard however bad it is, it will not go unnoticed by the Captain

DON’T

  • Be late
  • Whinge or moan about hard work, it’s hard work working on a superyacht
  • Overindulge in the evenings ashore. It is not feasible to burn the candle at both ends and do a good job at the same time
  • Be lazy
  • Create drama
  • Walk on the yacht with shoes
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t take drugs
  • Spend all your money on drinking or going out, have a plan and work towards that goal
  • Don’t take one person’s view of the superyacht industry as gospel, every person will have a different experience. Listen to people but experience it for yourself and make up your own mind

The superyacht industry although worldwide is still a very small industry. Word gets around, so make sure you are working hard and not always going out and making a fool of yourself at the pub.  This is the quickest way of losing your job and makes it extremely hard to find your next role in the industry.

Working on superyachts can be a very rewarding career both in monetary terms and for the memories and experiences you will have.

Enjoy yourself and stay safe.

James Potipher
MCA & Superyacht Cadetship Manager

Useful Links

Careers in Superyachts and Yachting