Crew FAQs

Do yachts hire people with no experience in yachting?

Yes! Definitely! The most common entry-level positions are:

  • Deckhand 
  • Steward/ess 
  • Cook

Depending on your previous work background, it may come in handy and fit well into a role as a yacht crew. There is a variety of responsibilities for an entry-level position, some of which are:

  • cleaning 
  • polishing 
  • laundry 
  • cabin preparation 
  • detailing the interior of the vessel 
  • food service 
  • drink service 
  • painting 
  • varnishing 
  • detailing exterior 
  • wash-downs 
  • line handling

Should your background meet the requirements of the Owner or Captain, it will raise the chance of you acquiring a job.

What are the minimum qualifications I need to get into the yachting industry?

The minimum requirements are to obtain your STCW ’95 and the ENG 1 Medical Certificate

 

What is STCW 95?

The Standard of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW ’95) is a legal minimum requirement for familiarization and basic safety training for anyone looking to work on board a vessel over 24m. The STCW covers 5 Core Elements:

  • Personal Survival Techniques
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting
  • Elementary First Aid
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
  • Proficiency in Security Awareness

Personal Survival Techniques (STCW A-VI/1-1)

Also known as Basic Sea Survival, this module is a 1.5 day course with two segments. The first segment consists of a day in the classroom covering emergency situations, evacuation, survival craft and rescue boats, personal lifesaving appliances, survival at sea, emergency radio, and helicopter assistance. Which is then followed by a written exam. The second segment are practical exercises which are subject to ongoing assessment by the instructor, it will be spent in a swimming pool performing the simulation of abandon ship procedures.

Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW A-VI/1-2)

This is a 2 day module with practical exercises, trainees will fight and extinguish actual fires using personal equipment, and instructions taught by licensed and certified fire fighting professionals. In depth, this segment covers shipboard fire fighting organization, elements of fire and explosion, types of ignition, fire and smoke detection, breathing apparatus use and automatic alarm system familiarization.

Elementary First Aid (STCW A-VI/1-3)

This is a 1 day combination of approximately 7 hours of theory and practical training covering basic First Aid and life-saving skills (CPR) in marine situations. The course is followed by a written exam.

Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (STCW A-VI/1-4)

A one day course which consists of a variety of topics, followed by a written exam. An introduction to accident prevention and safety procedures including alarms and signals. It also covers working relationships on board, health and hygiene, drugs and alcohol, shipboard management structure and responsibilities, emergencies and safe working practices, with enhanced coverage of communications, control of fatigue, teamwork and marine environmental awareness issues.

Proficiency in Security Awareness (STCW A-VI/6-1)

A half day course in the classroom providing knowledge, understanding and proficiency to personnel intending to work on ships who will not have any designated security duties. Covering topics such as; maritime security key threats, recognition and awareness of threats, plans and procedures for combatting threats, drills, communications and reporting.

As of January 1, 2014 this section is an update to the STCW Code mandated by the 1010 Manila Amendments, by all personnel employed or engaged on-board ships to which the ISPS Code applies.

What medical certificate do I need?

In accordance to the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency), “every seafarer on a seagoing ship is required to have a certificate of medical fitness”. Normally, this certificate would be the ENG1 Medical Exam set by the MCA, which is a relatively quick and unobtrusive examination to minimize or prevent potential hazards at sea. Doctors will establish whether or not you have any medical conditions that might cause you to be unable to perform certain duties at sea.

Most Doctors conduct the exam slightly differently, and so some peoples experiences can last a quick 20 minutes or up to an hour. Some of the areas you can expect to go through are:

  • to cover your medical history
  • to be weighed and measured
  • asked to provide a urine sample
  • tested on your hearing and sight (for distance, colour and near vision)
  • to be given a physical examination

Since the ENG1 is a pre-requisite of the STCW ’95, you will need to have completed and passed the full medical examination and receive an ENG1 Medical Certificate by an MCA Approved Doctor. If you pass, you’ll get your certificate usually on the day of your exam, which is valid for a maximum of 2 years.

MCA Approved Doctors in the UK – Click here

MCA Approved Doctors outside the UK – Click here

What skills do I have that would be useful on a yacht?

For those who are new to the industry, emphasize on your current skills, experience, and focus on what characteristics you have that may be useful to the job you are looking for. There are a variety of skills that can help with your application, such as:

  • Bartending
  • Experience in Hospitality (Restaurant, Hotel, or on any other ship)
  • Silver Service, White Glove or any type of formal service training
  • Carpentry, woodwork, or painting
  • Diving and water sports
  • Mechanics
  • Personal Training / Masseuse

These are only to name a few, the list goes on. There are plenty of Academies and Training Centers that run a variety of courses and certifications which will further your chances of landing a job.

How old do I have to be to work on a yacht?

The MLC states that the minimum age to work at sea is 16 years old, with some restrictions. However, a number of Crew Placement Agencies prefer crew to be a minimum of 18 years old.

Do I need a passport?

Yes, you will need a valid Passport to travel to and fro. As well as to obtain certain visas needed depending on the itinerary of the yacht.

What visas do I need to work on a superyacht?

USA (B1/B2 Visa)

This is a specific, non-immigration visa valid from between 1 – 10 years depending on which Passport you hold. It is essential to obtain a B1/B2 visa if you are a non-American crew member looking to work on an international flagged yachts cruising or in US waters, as the vast majority of yachts will, at some point, visit the waters of the US.

It is a multi-entry visa which allows you to work on foreign flagged vessels cruising American waters, however it does not allow you to work on land or on American flagged vessels.

In some cases, the Captain will give you a letter on yacht letterhead to support your application. If you are applying without employment, this should still normally be a simple process.

Europe (Schengen Visa)

The Schengen States are 26 European countries who have signed a treaty allowing holders of a Schengen visa to travel freely between them. Yachts will almost certainly involve you entering and travelling around the Schengen States, so this is also an essential visa to obtain, from the Embassy of the Country you will be first visiting.

List of countries whose nationals need to obtain a Schengen Visa – Click here

Is there a right time of the year to find work on a yacht?

Yachts are based and cruise all over the world but the following are the typical seasons. And even though we place crew all year round, the busiest times for crew turnover are normally at the end of each season. You will definitely have a higher chance of being hired if you are based in one of the yachting capitals.

The Summer Yachting Season is the main European or Mediterranean season, which begins around April – October. Prime time for crew to look for work are in March/April. Some of the primary countries that yachts cruise to for the Med are: France, Italy, Spain, Greek Islands, Croatia, Montenegro, and Turkey.

During the actual Summer Season from July – September, there can still be heaps of temp and day work jobs to be found.

The Winter Yachting Season is the Caribbean and Florida season, which begins around November – March. Prime time for crew to look for work are in October/November. Some of the primary countries are: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Antigua, St. Barts, British Virgin Islands, U.S Virgin Islands, Barbados, Cuba, Dominican Republic and more (there are too many islands out there to list!).

What is the MCA?

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) of the United Kingdom is an organization which manages the safe manning and qualification levels that apply to commercial yachts that carry the ‘red ensign’. Apart from those under the US Coastguard rule, the majority of international yachts are under the MCA.

What is MLC 2006?

The ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for Seafarers. The Convention sets out seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work on a wide range of subjects, and aims to be globally applicable, easily understood, and enforced. It has been designed to become a global instrument known as the “fourth pillar” of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Read the MLC 2006 Frequently Asked Questions

What are general Terms of Employment on a yacht?

Most yachts will ask you to sign crew agreements, non-disclosure agreements, or a thorough job description agreement. Crew are normally paid on a monthly basis and are rarely paid overtime, you will have to expect working long hours on a superyacht. Plenty of yachts offer benefit packages which can include health insurances, paid vacations (ranging from 2-8 weeks per annum), permanent or rotational schedules, paid flights to and from the yacht, and in some cases education allowances. You are responsible for all employment related negotiations, once you have been placed through a Crew Placement Agency.

If my CV is suitable, when may I be given details of a job to consider?

You may hear back from us in days, weeks, or even months. It will depend on the circumstances, such as, whether your qualifications and background matches a clients requirements, the number of candidates similarly qualified, your availability, your personality, etc.

Jobs come in regularly, make sure you stay posted on our job listings. And if you require any changes after submitting your CV, you are more than welcome contact and inform us of your career and certification progress, changes on your CV if needed, change in your availability, or to ask for advice, etc.

Am I guaranteed to get a job?

No, not always. Most successful candidates find a position within a few weeks, if the job market is tight it could take a several months. The Superyacht Industry is an incredibly popular industry to get into, which makes the competition high. There will be plenty of great candidates trying to land the same jobs as you, so you must ensure you are doing everything you possibly can to increase your suitability for your dream job. Whether it be experience, furthering your qualifications, or a strong history of longevity etc.

How long will it take to find a job?

This is not an easy question to answer. Yachts are constantly looking for crew, and in many cases it is about being in the right place at the right time. Employment can take days, weeks, or several months. It will depend on you, the job market, and luck. Keep in touch with your crew placement agents and check your Job Listings page frequently.

What else do I have to do after registering?
How do I make my interviews successful?

First impressions are . It is important to make an excellent first impression.

Some of the things to keep in mind are to:

  • Make sure you arrive on time, or a little early.
  • Dress in professional yachting attire and be well presented.
  • Bring copies of your CV, licenses and references.
  • Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, make eye contact, and speak with confidence
  • You are interviewing for a job where you will work, play, and live in a relatively small space with the same individuals every single day, so it is important to be yourself, and to be honest about you experiences and abilities.
  • Be clear about your career objectives and how they apply to your career path.
  • Focus on the job and it’s requirements – not the benefits.

Some of the things not to do during interviews:

  • Don’t chew gum, or smell of cigarettes
  • Don’t wear excessive jewelry. Keep it simple.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • If you do have tattoos, keep them hidden.
What are the working hours like?

There is no typical day onboard a superyacht. Workload and work changes depending on the season, whether you have guests on board and any maintenance issues. The yacht needs to be kept in immaculate condition and the crew always needs to be prepared for any situation, it requires never ending upkeep.

In the low season or in between charters you can expect to work from about 8:00 – 17:00. The crew rotate each doing a watch one night within their individual schedules. A watch is to ensure someone is always on board the boat in case of an emergency and for security purposes. In the low season you usually get weekends off.

In the lead up to and during charters and guest trips you work as much as is required this can be anywhere from 10-18 hour days.

In season, days off are usually far apart, if you do have enough in between charters and guest trips the Captain will usually give you at least a day or two off whenever possible. The perk being you could be spending those days / nights off exploring the ports of some of the most beautiful places in the world!

If you are a permanent crew member you should also be entitled to about 4 weeks holiday a year, this may vary from yacht to yacht, sometimes you may be given additional time off if your boat is crossing between seasons.

What salary can I expect?

Salary guidelines are dependent on position, experience, qualifications, yacht size, and whether it is a Private or a Charter Yacht. As an entry level candidate you can expect to be at the lower end of the pay scale, however the good news is that your salary will undoubtedly increase as you gain experience and longevity in the industry.

You can go through our general Salary Guidelines here

How much holiday do I get?

It will depend on type of employment, whether it is a rotational, seasonal, temporary, or permanent position. For a permanent position, the minimum is 2.5 calendar days per month of employment, however this will vary depending on the yacht.

What accommodation is available in Antibes whilst I look for work?

Most crew will stay in crew houses. It is fairly reasonable, great place to get to know fellow yachties, and will get you a step closer to networking and finding jobs. There are plenty of crew houses, some of which are:

  • The Crew Grapevine

Email: info@crewgrapevine.com

Number: 33 (0)6 16 66 28 43 or 33 (0)6 19 03 26 52

Website: http://www.crewgrapevine.com/

  • The Glamorgan

Email: glamorgan@orange.fr

Number: 33 (0)4 93 34 42 71 or 33 (0)6 25 16 54 57

Website: http://www.theglamorgan.com/

  • Bel-Air Crew House

Email: bel.air.crew.house@gmail.com

Number: 33 (0)6 98 15 09 22

Website: http://belaircrewhouse.freshcreator.com/

  • The Crew House

Email: the.crewhouse@yahoo.com

Number: 33 (0)4 90 92 49 39 or 33 (0)6 28 58 66 26

Website: http://www.thecrewhouse.fr/

  • Debbie’s Crew House

Email: deborah,banks@wanadoo.fr

Number: 33 (0)4 93 74 41 40 or 33 (0)6 32 38 75 28

Website: http://debbiescrewhouse.com/

Should I register with agencies?

Yes, most definitely. Apart from dock walking, or searching online, registering with agencies will help you find a job. Agencies will have ongoing job listings, some of which might be suitable for you. A good agency can give you advice on your CV and any other advice that can maximize your chances of getting a job.

Is my crew agency reliable?

Just like SuperYacht Rotation, placement crew agencies must:

  • Keep an up-to-date register of all their seafarer placements
  • Keep up-to-date lists of ships and company contact details where their seafarers are placed
  • Inform you of your rights and duties under an employment agreement and give you enough time to examine it before you sign up
  • Give you a copy of the employment agreement
  • Make sure their agreements comply with applicable national laws and CBAs
  • Check your qualifications for the job
  • Make sure that the shipowners or companies they work with are financially secure so that you don’t get stranded in a foreign port
  • Have an effective complaints procedure in place
  • Have an insurance system in place in case they need to compensate you for any failure to meet their obligations under the recruitment and placement service, or if the shipowner fails to meet their obligations under the SEA

As a matter of good practice they should also:

  • Employ staff with relevant knowledge of the maritime industry
  • Respect your right to privacy and the need to protect confidentiality
  • Ensure that they can respond promptly and sympathetically to requests for information and advice from your family while you’re at sea – at no cost to you or your family
  • Keep up-to-date lists of contact details in case of emergencies
  • Inform you of any relevant shipping company policies, eg. dry ship policies where no alcohol may be consumed onboard
  • Check that the labour conditions on ships where they supply crew comply with all applicable CBAs, laws and regulations

 

What if I have a Complaint?

In line with the Maritime and Labour Convention MLC 2006, all crew members should have access to an on board complaints procedure. This will give you contact details of the responsible person from the Flag State and from your country’s administration. And the person on board to whom you can go for assistance in making a complaint.