Want to get into yachting? Here’s how…
Young, single, hard-working and passionate about cooking? Others need not apply… no I’m serious. If you think someone is going to pay you a shitload of money to sit on your ass, hang out with celebrities and drink your way around the world then you are seriously misguided. If you have a strong work ethic and are driven then you will make a lot of money and have some fun while doing it.
It’s the old saying of work hard play hard. It never gets old. I spend less than six months of the year working. Yup, less than six. The rest of the year I spend travelling around the world and well… doing whatever the fuck I want. This isn’t a post to brag about how great my life is, it’s to help motivate you to chase your own dreams!!!!
If cooking is something you love doing then you could well be the next Head Chef on a megayacht. So where do we start? Oh right… first you’ve got to fully commit to this goal and fly to one of three places:
- Antibes, France
- Palma Mallorca, Spain
- Fort Lauderdale, USA
You have very limited options without getting experience here first.
Next up is a FUN filled week doing your STCW95 course. (I’m not being sarcastic, it’s actually really kick ass!!!). This is a Fire, Water and First Aid safety course that is required by every professional yacht in the industry. It can be done in loads of ports around the world. Do some research. I did mine at BOP Polytechnic, Tauranga, New Zealand and it was $700 NZD. Don’t pay more than $1000USD for it if you can do it elsewhere for cheaper. It ends up being a really fun week. You meet other like-minded young people and you get to loads of cool stuff like put out oil fires with extinguishers and surviving a fake storm on a life raft. The highlight of the week for me was crawling into a simulated burning boat. The room was completely blacked out, we had full fire fighting equipment on, BA’s and all. Up and down tunnels, searching in every corner and trying not to kill ourselves while searching for an unconsious person hidden away. You’ll also need to go in for a medical check at your doctors and get a Maritime approved ENG1, Seafarers Medical Certification. It will be valid for two years. That’ll cost you another $200. Your paperwork will all need to be in order before contacting any Yacht Crew Agencies. Once this is done though, they do all the hard work for you (in getting you an interview anyway!). You’ll need to have scanned copies of your passport, drivers licence, STCW95, ENG 1, current resume, solid character references and if you’re applying as a Chef, your 7 day Menu Samples. Below I’ve included the cover page of my resume for you to use as an example. Your CV should be no longer than two pages, one for deck/stew positions. Don’t pad it out with useless information. You are competing with 1000’s of other applicants around the world and you need to be clear about your objectives, experience and qualifications. You will also need to include a professional photo of yourself wearing Chef whites or a polo. Mine is pretty terrible, let’s be honest but you get the idea. You can worry about your B1/B2 visa, Discharge Book and Off-shore bank accounts later. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you have any experience on any type of boat include it but mostly focus on the strongest restaurant experience that you have.
Agencies, they can make or break you. Every time you approach one think of it as a job interview. You may only have to visit them one time and they can send all kinds of incredible offers your way. Before making an appointment with them you will have to fill out all of their pesky paperwork online. Here is a comprehensive list of all the yachting agencies in the business.
The ones I work with the most and who have served me best are:
Sign up with them, go in for an interview if you can and then ‘check in’ online with them weekly.
You will need to be clear about your objectives, motivation and hopes for your ideal position. If you enjoy working with a lot of people then I would suggest going for a boat 50 metres plus because you’ll have more crew to hang with. If you are an avid Sailor then put that down. If you have no idea… um still? You need to sort your shit out and get your priorities in check. Agents are ruthless and will typically only put three resumes in front of a Captain from the hundreds, thousands that cross their monitors. You need to be at the top of that pile. Chefs? You will need to compile a menu with seven days worth of suggestions. Highlight your strengths, different cuisines and specialties as best you can and include some pics of your food. Here is the first page of mine.
So I’ve just pretty much bossed you around for the entire post but I hope you can find some of this helpful!! Good luck, have fun and please feel free to ask me any other questions about the industry that you may have.
http://www.dockwalk.com is also a good online magazine to read. It includes a forum answering loads of questions for new yachties as well as the latest and greatest happenings for those who are already established.
You could also check out, ‘The Cruising Chef Cookbook’ by Michael Greenwald for tips on storage, ordering and all kinds of things to expect while working or living onboard a boat. Yacht Chef Vicoria Allman has a couple of books out telling of disaster charters and tales of mega-demanding guests in impossible locations.
Here is a link to all of the Crew Agencies