50 TIPS TO MAKE YOU A BETTER YACHTIE!
Credit to Captain David Pott and The Crew Grapevine Antibes for these insightful tips for new and seasoned crew…
Everything is possible, there are a wide range of personalities owning these yachts requiring an equally wide range of crew to meet their needs. Every year crew arrive here having risked everything to get this far and have their dreams trampled by narrow minded crew agents. Remember that the industry always needs new crew, (30 thousand new crew needed in the next 3 years to keep up with expanding fleet and departing crew).
Old fashioned Manners are crucial. In an industry where everyone lives at work. If you are not the person that everyone would want to take home then you will struggle. Executive crew choose to employ or not to employ crew based who they would want to live with.
Be prepared to change / evolve. Changing your life will involve more than just a geographical shift. Most arrive here expecting to learn about yachts, knots, service etc. But before you even get that chance, it will probably be yourself that you learn most about. Be mature, self-observant, self-critical and open to change. It’s amazing how often I watch people fight change for months until they run out of money, then only once forced with the immediate prospect of failure do they confront their shortcomings.
Be ready to be moved way outside of your comfort zone.. Every year plenty of crew turn up here coming from various other industries with their sense of self-esteem well defined by who they think they are and the status of what they used to do/be – (mostly guys). Only to crumble as they are get left behind by others. Yachting will force you to grow by constantly shifting the goal posts and constantly moving you out of your comfort zone… If you allow yourself to be improved by this, then you will end up a much more resilient person.
You are ALWAYS on show. Behave and dress appropriately, all day, every day – including after hours. Always bring your A-game. Its stunning how small the circle of yachting is.
Be Patient / Be realistic. The stories (found online) of anyone getting a great new yachting career inside two weeks are somewhat misleading… yes it happens, but not to everyone. Even with Crew Grapevine behind you, more realistic is 3 months of intermittent jobs, sometimes up to 12 months of intermittent cash flow, and frequently a long stretches of uncertainty in between. The pattern is (typically) green chefs, green engineers and stewardess will take 2 -5 weeks to gain employment. Green stewards, and green deckhands typically more like 6 – 12 weeks.
Personality is King – assuming you arrive here with no or little yachting qualifications or relevant experience , then your personality will be your biggest asset. If you are naturally shy then you should stay home, if you enjoy living among the exuberance of single 20-35 year olds then you should be ok. But don’t mistake being the loudest in the room with the most likely to succeed.
Get / Stay in shape. for whatever reason appearance is exaggeratedly importantly in the yachting sphere, this is true for guys as well as girls.
Be super tidy and super helpful – these are deal breakers.. If these are not part of your DNA then figure it out, on every level. Every day you will be surrounded by people who will have an impact in your future, and it will not be obvious who. If you are messy / unhelpful then you will be left behind.
Be humble / grateful – Leave your sense of entitlement at home. IF you are lucky / deserving you will meet strangers who have more hope for and impact on your future than people you have known your whole life. It amazes me how many new crew forget to credit those that give them life changing breaks. A thank you, a card, a bottle of wine, bunch of flowers goes a very, very long way.
And when you get onto your first boat….
Always scan and email your certificates to yourself in PDF format (Yahoo, Gmail or other provider and save in a folder called Yachting Docs for easy access)
Save all scanned documents to a memory stick and hand to your Chief officer on arrival to a job (It makes his life easier)
Always ask for your SEA contract to be emailed to you to read before joining a vessel.
Always try get a written reference from your Captain or head of Department before leaving a boat.
Don’t screw the crew!
Make sure you top up the kettle after you make yourself a coffee or tea as switch it on to boil for the next person.
If you open the dish washer and it is full don’t close it and run away… take the 3minutes to unpack it.
If you have the bad habit of smoking be the guy who takes the garbage out when he goes for a smoke!
Offer to help crew that seem down, we all have bad days and your fellow crew members can help turn your day around.
If you plan on going out on a bender following a stressful charter rather book into a hotel and don’t come back to the boat drunk!
Be careful drawing money late at night especially after a few drinks… you’re a target for muggings.
Beware that sleeping on a train with your mobile phone out … it will more than likely result in it getting stolen.
Always great people with a smile and a firm (non sweaty) handshake (it goes a long way)
Pop into the Blue Lady in Antibes to network (don’t drink to much as there will be a lot of senior crew watching you)
For a cheap ride from the Airport ask for the bus 200 it will take a scenic route to Antibes (50min) ‘1.50!
Uber works well in France so use Uber to save cash on short cab rides. If you aren’t already on Uber – download it and to get your first ride free use this code: samanthap417 J
Always pay for your ticket on the train – if you get caught without one it will be both expensive and highly embarrassing.
Always warn your Captain and Chief officer well in advance of your visa expiring (this is your responsibility don’t make it other people’s problem)
Try save 2/3 of your salary and put it away as savings.
Invest in yourself and pay for yourself to do courses at every opportunity (you will climb the ladder much faster)
Always travel with a travel letter from your management company or Captain (it will avoid unnecessary delays should someone question you)
If you are traveling on a Schengen visa make sure you get you shipping agent to stamp you out of the country when you join a vessel. This freezes your 90days
Log into all your recruitment agency accounts daily it will keep you active on their sites and make your chances of employment higher.
When you are in the crew area make sure you keep it tidy, don’t leave crumbs on the table – it is everyone’s pet hate!
If you open cold meats or cheese make sure you put it in a zip lock bag or Tupperware (Hygiene is important)
Keep you cabin clean, don’t be that disgusting crew member that no-one wants to share a cabin with
Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper done the toilets, it will be embarrassing if you do, as it will block the system and the engineer will pull it out and present it to the crew!
If you are unsure of something ask before you do the job as it may result in an expensive mistake!
Always say good morning to your guests and crew it paves the way for a healthy environment.
Avoid drinking coffee if you are expecting bad weather and heavy seas.. it raises your heart rate and will result in a more sever sea sickness.
When washing down a boat remember to start from the top down and work with the wind rather than against it. Try from the top down to avoid water runs and remember to dry under the rails!
Always rinse your chamois so they ari clean and wet, a dry or dirty one is useless!
Interior girls don’t be scared to use vinegar in your cleaning of windows and stainless… a window blade is your friend and can save you loads of time.
Use vinegar to clean your ships kettles half a cup with one cup of water and boil for 1 min you will be amazed at the results!
Deck boys a secret potion for cleaning oily spots on deck is a spray bottle with 1cm of step 2 teak cleaner and 1 cm of boat soap then fill with water and shake. Spray with a can of K2R then use a piece of scotch pad to work the magic potion in and wipe off with a wet chamois and water BOOM!
Girls if you happen to spill candle wax on the teak grab a kettle of boiling water and pour it over the wax… it will float and solidify making it easy to remove!
In yachting remember there is a tool for everything so find the right tool for the job don’t just use your Leatherman:-)
Show off to your crew member and when you have skewers (kababs) take an empty 1.5l bottle of water and place your sharp little stick in there and close the lid… watch the crew follow! This is to avoid holes and leaks in garbage bag removal.
Mark your bottle of water by writing your initials on your lid, this helps avoid wastage of abandoned bottles and lends its self well to good hygiene on board.
Make sure you know where the fire extinguishers in your immediate work area are (you never know when you might need one in a rush)
Trust your senses more than alarms. Hearing, smell and listening can detect emergencies such as fire before a smoke detector will.
Make sure you take your watch duties seriously as this reflects directly on you as a person. I suggest setting alarms to remind you of your duties thought the day.
Look after your uniform and make sure you look the part of a Super Yacht crew member. If you doing dirty work wear a coverall.
Make sure you USE the correct PPE for every job (Personal protective equipment) It will show you are professional and avoid accidents or injuries.
When handling lines, fenders or leaving lines make sure you do not wrap the line around your hand as a sudden fall or tension in the line can result in you losing a limb!
Boys in heavy weather or underway sit while using the toilet to avoid unnecessary splashes everywhere but in the toilet:-)
Girls make sure you clean out the filters on your drying machines in the laundry if keep the machine working well and will avoid risk of fire.
Never open a porthole unless you are in a shipyard, the porthole make up the watertight integrity of the vessel and if left open while at sea can result in the vessel taking on water.
On hearing a fire or general alarm make sure you muster no matter what time of the day or night it is… these need to be treated as emergencies and it poses a danger to you and your crew.
Take your in and out board on the boat seriously as if there is an emergency and we see you as marked off and you are not we won’t come looking for you. And if you say you’re on board and you not we might risk our lives looking for you!