It’s not uncommon that I receive emails from crewmembers in the commercial sector, asking how to make the move into the superyacht industry. On most occasions I’ll reply explaining that the superyacht industry is always keen for more skilled and qualified crew; the only barrier they might come across is their lack of superyacht-specific experience. So, my advice is always this: go and meet the industry and prove that you'll transfer smoothly into this niche world. Meet the captains, deckhands, engineers, stewardesses. Meet the management companies and, of course, meet the recruitment companies.
Over the past six months I’ve seen two examples of this, with very different results.
The first, a crewmember confident he had the skills needed in this industry (based on a number of industry-wide complaints that I had echoed to him) as well as the social etiquette needed to work on board. Despite months of email communications with recruitment agents and captains, applying for jobs and getting advice, this crewmember has found himself frustrated with the lack of progress and seemingly hypocritical industry, complaining of a lack of qualifications but declining them when offered.
This crewmember turned up; I actually bumped into him at one of the Acrew seminars and at the PYA seminar the following day.
The second, a crewmember from another department, who also felt he had the skills needed in this industry. This crewmember happened to email me in the run up to the Monaco Yacht Show and, with the increased crew focus at the 2015 show, I recommended, if he had the time, to head to Monaco. After all, at what other time or at which other event is every industry professional you’d want to network with all in one place? This crewmember turned up; I actually bumped into him at one of the Acrew seminars and at the Professional Yachting Association (PYA) seminar the following day. This crewmember really took my advice of networking to the full and, consequently, as a result of going to the Monaco Yacht Show, has landed a job as second officer on a 100m-plus superyacht, with a New Year promotion in sight.
Two very different approaches and two very different results. One key difference here is one crewmember’s face-to-face networking. I did recommend the former attend events where industry professionals would be present but this crewmember's particular situation did not allow for this. But regardless of constraints, these two comparable experiences prove the power of networking in this industry (which, let’s remember, need not require alcohol), when it comes to employment, remains as valuable as ever. It looks like if you get out there, you’ll get somewhere.