Making The Leap To A Superyacht Career

interviews Mar 13, 2018
Do you ever look at your current job and wonder how you could start a new career in yachting?

Well, many people just like you have made the switch. Even if your background has nothing to do with travel or yachting, you can still apply your knowledge to launching your new career.

Today, we’re excited to share an interview with Wade Bordian.

He went to business school and worked in sales and marketing for several years before he decided to make the jump to working on a superyacht, and he’s not looked back.

Here’s Wade’s story:


Hi Wade - thanks for chatting. Can you tell us how you found your way onboard a yacht?

Wade:  I grew up in Halifax, Canada a port city, and saw yachts coming through in the summer, so the seed was planted early - I was always intrigued by the people who lived this lifestyle.

I went to university and got my business degree, but I wasn’t sure it was a good fit for me. Initially, I actually looked at cruise ships, but most jobs required 3-6 years experience working in hospitality, which didn’t really interest me. Then, I met a guy who was on vacation from working on a yacht, and his story caught my attention.

I thought about making the shift to working on yachts for about a year before I decided it was what I wanted to do. Then I started to make my plan.

Your approach to job hunting sounds like you gave it a lot of thought, and ultimately you were successful! Would you share your process with our readers?

Wade: Well, I treated applying for yachting jobs as a job itself. I looked at it as sales job -- just like what I’d done in my previous career.

I started by creating a digital profile. I had a digital business card on my phone that I sent to everyone I met, and I kept a website with a current CV, so I didn’t have to carry around paper.  Networking via Facebook was also a huge part of my process.

I traveled to one of the main yachting centers, took my introductory classes as well as a few supplemental courses in security and Powerboat Level 2 to make me a more competitive candidate and show I was serious.

I attended a big boat show - it was a tremendous networking opportunity, even though it was more focused on boat sales than hiring, and ultimately found myself some daywork.

But, the best thing I did was to join a crew house. Joining this network led me to another daywork position, where I was extended, and ended up with a very good reference letter from the first officer.

Keeping and extending that daywork position came down to two things -- saying yes anytime I was asked to work, and then working hard. And the reference letter I got from that job ended up being the key to getting some interviews and then finding my current position.

When I started my job search, I set a goal to have a job by a certain date, and with a lot of work and focus, I ended up getting hired only 4 days after my deadline.

Ultimately, my sales experience taught me the importance of getting my name out there.

If you’re focused. thoughtful of your behavior, and find the balance between being social and being professional, you’ll find opportunities start to come your way.

What’s your position onboard, and what do you like best about it?  


Wade: I’m a deckhand -- currently I’m the only deckhand on my boat. My favorite part of the work is the constant learning.

There are so many parts of this job that are still new to me, and there’s always something else to know.  

For instance, if I’m on watch, I’m focused on learning the different day shapes (different shapes boats put on their bow or on their mast) and night lights so that I know the status of other boats, and what they are doing. This is important to know for safety and navigation purposes.

What’s the hardest part of this work or the transition from your old career?

Wade: The hardest thing for me in making the transition was leaving Canada to look for work without a guarantee. It was a gamble for me to quit my job and then live for over a month without income. But it all worked out okay!


What advice would you share with others looking to get started in yachting?

Wade: I’d tell them to just do it.

Just go for it, and take the plunge. You’re fortunate to have the Superyacht Jobs Program - it's an incredible tool for people to get into this industry. When I was searching there wasn’t anything out there to help me like this. Take advantage of this course  - then work hard.


Then once you get there, you have to jump in and do it and learn by doing - dayworking, networking, and building your skills.

I know it may sound easier said than done. Along the way, I’ve met friends from South Africa, from the U.S., and from Colombia -- three different passports, different languages, and different journeys to finding their positions -- but people help each other out in this industry, and they were all able to find jobs within a few months.

Financially, it’s best to prepare yourself for 2-3 months of being without steady work. Hopefully, you’ll do some dayworking, but there are times when things can be slow and you need to be prepared for that.

Also, it’s critical to brand yourself. Create a strong CV, business cards, and an online presence.

If you need to, clean up your social media accounts and be sure you are presenting yourself properly.

Employers will look at your Facebook and social media accounts, so you’ll you’ll need to look employable online if you want a chance at a job.

Any last words of encouragement?

Wade: Superyachts are a great job for anyone who has the interest. I have a university background and was working a desk job, but I made the switch and it’s been the best decision of my life.

Don’t be afraid to make a change. You don’t need to work the same job for decades like it used to be - everything is changing. 

The yachting industry is growing and what we need are good, hard-working crew - so now is a great time to just dive in and start.

Thanks Wade! Good luck to you as your career unfolds.

If you’re inspired by Wade’s story, be sure you sign up for our newsletter --  and if you want to go even deeper - our course Superyacht Jobs will have you on the fast track to launching your superyacht career.

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