Working as a yacht crew member is a unique and exciting career that will hopefully reward you with opportunities to explore the world, meet influential new people, and learn new skills, all while earning a living.
However, it is not necessarily all plain sailing , and a “successful life” on board requires an ability to adapt to very different ways of working; deal with diverse personalities and to cope with living for lengthy periods in close confinement with no ‘clock off’ time and no means of escape.
The following tips should help you integrate to crew life more easily:
KEEP YOUR LIVING SPACE AND PERSON SHIPSHAPE
- Be prudent when you pack, as space on board will be limited and most day to day essentials will be provided for you. Leave space for some key personal items, such as photos, or a tablet to mail home on during precious downtime, and a few more glam outfits for those occasions when you get time to socialise with the crew on dry land.
- Keep your immediate living space tidy and organised and ensure that your own personal habits, particularly any unsociable habits, such as smoking, do not impact on others
- Foresee any potential health problems such as sea sickness and ensure you take a supply of any required medications
be an effective worker
- Communicate effectively and assertively with your crew mates, deal with issues as they arise. Living in a small space, as any boat is, with the same people every day means there is no time and no space for silly disagreements so get them sorted quickly before they become something else.
- Be respectful of ranks, rules, privacy and boundaries. On board you have a mixture of personalities, backgrounds, cultures and professional experience to name but a few. So be prepared for this and celebrate it rather than fight it.
- Some boats will not look kindly on “interboat” relationships while others will not mind, just make sure you know which boat you are on before making to much noise. The overused but ultimately univerally accepted saying is “don’t screw the crew”
- Have a good work ethic: accept that the working hours and patterns may be erratic and do what is necessary to ensure that tasks are completed. The biggest tip that I can offer, whether you are trying to secure a job or keep one, is to work longer if the work entails you to but do so without complaining, if anything go that extra mile when no one is expecting it.
- Be supportive: help your fellow crew members particularly during busier or more stressful periods; be flexible and prepared to adopt different roles at different times. A crew member will always remember that time you helped unpacking the dishwasher when everyone else scattered.
- Stay positive and enthusiastic. It is important to have this mentality when dealing with guests’ needs at all times, even if they send back what they have just asked for. We all know this happens a lot.
- Being sociable goes with the job, and you will need an ability to build a rapport with workmates, clients and guests whether on board or on shore – being part of a crew is a way of life and not something you can switch on and off when you want. But don’t forget that it becomes easy, your crew become your flat mates, your good mates, your mate mates. You will be hanging out with them on the weekends, if you are lucky to get some, eventually you will probably even spend time with some of them on your holidays.
- Make the most of your spare time. You visit some of the most beautiful places on Earth and you are on a super yacht so needless to say enjoy yourself. Swim when you can, go and explore wherever you are, soak up some sun, learn a new skill… This is a job where you make it what you want.