Mayday To Payday: Pre-Season Advice To Yacht Crew

Yachting hubs across the globe are ramping up for what is looking to be a lively season. As aspiring yacht crew fill the marinas and ports, we have gathered critical insider advice from our team across all five divisions of Bluewater (Training, Management, Recruitment and beyond). Below we share insight and essential advice you need to know as you dock walk, network, and put yourself out there for the first time.

By Sam Jurgensen • 11 May 2023

Advice From the Team of Specialists at Bluewater

Take ownership of your learning. Find a ship where the captain trains their crew in a way that you feel pushed upwards. Be the best part of a team. Enforce a strong safety culture around you. Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Be curious but prudent. Ask questions but verify the information at the source. Enjoy every second while at sea. You will miss it one day!  

Vincent Lévesque-Martel, Chief Instructor

Regardless of your department (interior, galley, deck, etc.), talk to your seniors and look at the prerequisites for the job you aim to have one day. Deck and Engineer? Get your testimonials and log sea time. Set money aside for future courses – training dates fill up before the season starts. Check your expiration dates before the season begins. You may be in big trouble if caught on board with expired paperwork. 

A piece of advice for captains: check your vessel’s staffing requirements to ensure your crew can fulfil them. Spaces on courses such as AEC1 and AEC2 fill up VERY quickly. 

Pippa Wastell, Training Coordinator

Be organised – keep all your documents (Passport, Visas, Seaman’s Book, CV, STCW Certs, Professional Qualifications etc.) up to date and safe. Store them in their original form in a folder and digitally where they are accessible and secure. Logically label the digital documents so they are immediately evident to anyone reviewing them. This will help you in your career and make you easier to employ.  

Phillip Holden, Director of Yacht Management

Working onboard a Superyacht allows you to learn new skills during every charter. Your ability to adapt and remain calm is tested in a high-pressure and constantly changing environment. I recommend learning from fellow yachting peers via social media during your off-season. New drink combinations, tablescapes, recipes, napkin folds, water toys, anything to impress guests... The possibilities are truly endless.  

Sam Jurgensen, Digital Marketing Executive

Stay healthy and hydrated. Be careful with the use of alcohol. Respect your colleagues and higher-ups. Address bullying if it arises; It can be a stressful environment. Be considerate to colleagues, owners, guests and their wishes. Be a team player. If you do not know how to do your tasks, do not pretend. Be aware of your surroundings - it is for your safety both on and off-board. Try not to be alone late at night, especially in new locations. Report any health issues as soon as you notice them.

Fully take part in safety training. Do you need help? Ask questions. Be aware of the crew safety training manuals. Understand security levels, alarms and procedures applicable to the yacht you are working on. How to escape from a vessel in the event of an emergency. Understand maritime environmental issues. Single-use plastic. Marine pollution issues.  

Ken Dales, Company Security Officer and DPA (Designated Person Ashore)

Much the same on land as when I worked onboard, I like to embark on a new season feeling like I have grown, with new tools in my toolbox, focusing on people skills. I always recommend up-skilling before the season. Interested in managing yourself better? Attend our upcoming mind management webinars. Going into a senior or management role? Attend the HELM (Human Element Leadership and Management) course. High-end hospitality done well is truly an art, and the skillset required goes far beyond what one would expect. With a skillset developed over the years, plus the work ethic needed onboard yachts, it is no wonder why Superyacht crew tend to be so successful when transferring skills to other industries.  

Lizzie Ross, Digital Marketing Manager

Perspective is a beautiful thing. Do you have some insight that you would like to share? Reach out to the digital team & make sure that we consider your point of view.