Surviving Your First Year in Yachting

Uncategorized Nov 17, 2020

You’re so excited about getting hired for your first real yacht job! You’ve done the interviews, you’ve got a start date, and you’re able to step onboard. It’s about to get real.


Here’s how to survive your very first yacht job!


1. Pack Wisely


We know you know that space is limited, so think about what you’re taking and ask yourself if you really need it. Chances are you’ll still overpack - and don’t forget you’ll want to pick up some new things along the way as you visit exotic destinations!


Packing goes beyond what’s in the bag, though - think about space and storage and pack your goods in a collapsable or soft bag like a duffel or a backpack. No one wants to worry about where to stow a hard-sided suitcase in a crew cabin!


2. Respect the System


If you haven’t worked in a job like yachting before, you might not understand why it’s important to have a chain of command, or why things need to be done in a certain sequence each and every time.


From systems of personnel to systems of operation, it’s likely there’s a good reason why it’s in place. You may be confused at first, so give it a little time and we’ll bet you’ll start to see why things happen the way they do.



3. Train Thoughtfully


What training is actually helpful? If you’re not sure, ask! Don’t spend lots of money on training that won’t be useful for you.


Courses on food and hygiene can be big value-adds for interior crew, while deckhands can benefit from Personal Watercraft Instruction certification.




4. Work Hard and Be Humble


You’re the newest crew member which means there will definitely be things you don’t know or don’t understand.


Don’t be afraid to ask. By asking questions or clarifying, you’ll actually save time for yourself and whoever might otherwise have to fix your work!


A yacht is not a democracy, so doing things the preferred way may not come naturally at first.


If the Captain or a more experienced crew member asks you to do something in a way you truly don’t understand or think you could do faster/better, try it their way first before you ask or suggest an alternative.



Your way could be better - but they might also have a really good reason for their preferred approach. Learn to listen and observe. Once you understand more of what you’re doing, you’ll be in a position to (possibly) offer suggestions!


Also, working hard is important. Everyone has to pitch in to keep a yacht operating smoothly, and you’re being paid well to do the work well.


A reputation for poor work or laziness is one of the easiest ways to fail in this industry.


5. Be Considerate


You’ll be working hard long hours, in a small space, with a crew of diverse individuals you’ve never met before. Being kind and considerate will go a long way to keeping yourself and those around you happy.


Think the best, not the worst, if something goes awry. Give your crewmates the benefit of the doubt - perhaps they’re cranky because they just had a challenging interaction with a guest and had to use all of their patience so they’ve got none left to use with you.


Maybe they’re missing home or had a fight with a partner. On a yacht, there’s not really anywhere to go when you need to clear your head, so giving each other as much space as you can will help you co-exist and even thrive as a tight-knit crew!


6. Be Focused


Scrubbing down the deck or cleaning silverware can get tedious at times, but stay on task. Few things give a worse impression than the Captain coming across the newest crew member taking a TikTok video instead of doing their work.



Put the phone away while you’re on duty, and keep your mind and attention on what’s at hand. In some cases, it’s not just a performance issue - it’s actually your safety at stake!


We’re all surrounded by a million distractions, but try not to let them distract you when you’re on the job.


7. Be a Professional


Don’t let your days off develop into a bad reputation. Make good choices about drinking, dating, and how you act when you’re onshore.


Keep quiet and avoid gossip and rumors. The yachting world is an incredibly small community and word travels fast.


The best thing you can do to have a long and successful career is to remember that it’s just that - not a vacation, but your job. Act accordingly and you’ll be moving up the ranks to advise the newbies in no time!


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