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How to Get a Yacht Job Without Prior Experience!

It may seem an impenetrable industry to infiltrate, but for those of you wondering how to get a yacht job without experience, take h...

It may seem an impenetrable industry to infiltrate, but for those of you wondering how to get a yacht job without experience, take heart. It is possible for a virgin yachtie to find employment as a yacht crew.

Although seemingly few and far between, a number of entry-level positions such as a junior deckhand, stew/stewardess or cook are available at the beginning of each season for worthy candidates.

But there is understandably much competition for these sought-after junior yacht jobs, so if you want to find out how to become a yacht crew, we suggest you read our top 10 tips on securing that perfect position.

How to become a yacht crew: A newbie’s guide

1.     Get qualified

One of the first things the crew agencies will tell you is to get all the basic crew qualifications that you need to work on a yacht. The first piece of paper to get is the STCW certificate, which consists of four parts (fire prevention and firefighting, personal survival techniques, personal safety and social responsibility, and first aid) and takes a week to complete. You’ll also need a national seafarer medical certificate, such as the ENG1, which you can get from an approved doctor.

2.     Get your crew CV ship-shape

While you may not have prior experience in the yachting industry, previous experience in the service and hospitality industries will also go a way toward securing an interview.

The important information to get across in your crew CV is that you are a team player who is used to hard work. Make sure there are no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, as the experts in how to get a job on a yacht will tell you that yacht captains are looking for fastidious people with great attention to detail. Ensure that you add a recent photo in which you are looking smart and smiley! 

3.     Brush up on your skillset 

To stand out from the crowd, it is important to be able to offer something extra, which is where specialty skills and additional qualifications come in. 

Yachts typically have a maximum number of crew allowed onboard, so if crew agencies can find one member with multiple skills to put forward as a candidate, then they will likely choose that person. Perhaps you have qualifications as a masseuse, a beauty therapist, or a qualified scuba diver? All these additional skills will ultimately make you more employable as a member of a yacht’s crew.

4.     Be in the right place at the right time

There’s no good applying for yachting positions from the comfort of your own home, especially when that may be far from the beating yachting track. You need to be where the yachts are, which is in the Mediterranean in springtime, or Florida and the US East Coast in the Autumn. Walk around the ports and talk to people - you never know who might be desperate to fill a position to set sail that very day.

5.     Register with crew agencies

There are a number of crew agencies in the major international yachting hubs around the world, such as Antibes in the South of France where you can get advice on how to find work on a yacht and register for any positions that come up. Staff are friendly and a font of knowledge when it comes to how to become a yacht crew, so it really is advisable to check in and sign on as soon as you arrive.

6.     Get online

In our increasingly digital age it is vital that you also follow crew agencies and other yachting websites with job opportunities on social media. Jobs will often be advertised here so make sure you get alerts set up and are ready to go. 

7.     Build references with day work

If you ask many yachting industry old-timers how to become a yacht crew member, they will say by dock walking around the ports, enquiring about day work. This is a fantastic way to get to know the yachts moored there, to get vital experience and to secure some references for permanent work when it comes up, but it is not recommended in all ports around the world. Where dockwalking is the norm, it is often a case of first come, first served, so make sure you are at the dock bright and early with a smile on your face! 

8.     Network, network, network

There can’t be many jobs where you might well bump into your prospective employer in a bar! But in the yachting world, this often happens. Yacht crew including captains tend to head to the same restaurants and bars when the owners are not on board, so it is recommended you socialise in these crew haunts. Make sure you stay on your best behaviour though, as you never know who you might be standing next to!

9.     Keep your phone on

Captains often need to fill positions very quickly. A member of the crew might have fallen ill just hours before the owner turns up, for example, and if your phone is off, you’ll miss the call. So how to get a yacht job? Follow up all the contacts you make, and be persistent.

10. Never give up attitude

Never give up. Working on a yacht is a wonderfully fulfilling job but it takes commitment, hard grind and determination. Good luck!