The Beginner’s Guide to Dockwalking

job hunting Jun 03, 2017

Every industry comes with its unique type of job searching.

In the world of superyachts, it’s not cold-calls, informational interviews, or sending resumes to job boards and human resources departments.  If you want to work on a yacht, you’ll need to start with some solid dockwalking.


So what is dockwalking?

Ultimately, it’s just what it sounds like: walking around marinas and talking to boat captains and crew in the hopes of finding yourself a job.

Dockwalking can be exhausting. It can take persistence and good luck to find the right job at the right time.

But it’s also seen as a necessary evil, a rite of passage to break into the industry. So bear in mind that you’re not likely to find a job your first time out on the docks.

That said, you can maximize your chances by following these key suggestions:


1. Be professional

This may sound like a no-brainer. However, if you’re transitioning from school or working a desk job, just what does “professional” mean on the docks?

2. Dress the part

Wear comfortable, broken-in deck shoes that won’t give you blisters. Pants or work shorts with a polo or a neat top will make you look prepared for the type of work you’re looking for. This isn’t a bank interview; don’t wear a suit.

3. Be succinct

Whoever you are speaking to is likely in the middle of working, and you may stand between them and a completed task, a deadline, or a break. Be friendly but brief, and leave a copy of your resume. You may be one of many job-hunters they’ve seen that day. Don’t pester, and always be pleasant, even if they are rude to you.

4. Customize your resume

Highlight any transferrable skills and yacht-specific certifications and training. Other things to point out: medical/survival skills, foreign languages, hospitality experience.

Include a current passport photograph so crew can recognize you and put a dockwalking face to a CV name. Spell check. Then spell check again. Yacht captains probably don’t care about your GPA.


5. Be honest

If you are new to the industry, explain your relevant skills, but don’t brag or try to claim knowledge you don’t have. Have a short explanation ready for why you want to work on a yacht. (Hint: Everyone is interested in the money & travel. Have a better reason.)

6. Be thoughtful

Especially if you are staying in crew housing, or visiting the same bars and clubs as active crew, be aware of your reputation. You don’t have to be a saint, but don’t be a problem. And this counts for your social media accounts, too!

7. Be open-minded

You may walk down to the docks hoping for a seasonal gig on a yacht where you can learn deckhand skills. Maybe you love warm weather and want to stay in the Caribbean.

Next thing you know, you’re offered a gig on an Alaskan-bound yacht that needs a stewardess.  Don’t limit yourself and stay flexible in terms of your expectations and availability.

If you’re struggling to find a position, your best bet may be to take on short term work. A day job can lead to a future offer of a longer-term position; if it doesn’t, you’ll still have gained experience, a positive reference, and gotten your name out there in front of working crew.  

Did you catch that? If you do some daywork, be certain to ask for a reference!


5. Be persistent & prepared

Go early. Go often. Vary your locations. Seek out smaller marinas and smaller boats. Notice when boats are returning from sea. Be available. If you’re a regular presence on the docks, people will start to recognize you, and when that job comes open, they may think of you first.


How Else Can You Successfully Prepare For Your First Yacht Job?  

FreshYacht will walk you through the entire process, from training to job hunting and more!

Join our community here at FreshYacht, and we’ll send you our FREE Guide to Superyacht Crew Accommodation -- an invaluable resource for planning any job-related travel.


You’ll also be the first to hear when FreshYacht’s course, How to Get a Job on a Superyacht, launches soon!

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join FY Insiders to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


Thinking about working on a superyacht?

This free guide will help you kickstart your superyacht journey so you'll be ready to start this exciting career and the life you've dreamed of.