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If you're serious about getting your first job on a superyacht, the best thing to do is move to one of the main yachting hubs and hiring ports of the world to start your job search.
Yachting Pages relays into where and when to find a superyacht job, helping yachties choose a 'hiring port' to suit their circumstances.
Although leaving friends and family behind may be difficult, your yacht job search will definitely be more successful with a move to a hiring port. Yes, you really do need to move there to start – temporarily at least!
There are destinations around the world known in the industry as ‘yachting hubs’ due to the large number of yachts that pass through them each year. A few of these are therefore known as prolific ‘hiring ports’, as they are the common connecting points between cruises. Crew often leave yachts at these places and captains will choose new people to relace them.
It’s important to choose the right hiring port early on in your job search. Your travel budget, visa requirements, and more importantly, the time of year will influence your choice of port. Move here as soon as possible and enroll with the relevant crew training schools and crew agencies. You'll also need to find suitable accommodation in the interim.
You can start with these steps before leaving home if you prefer, but you will ultimately need to move there (or on board) eventually. So moving now will simply make things easier. After all, the idea is to be ready to interview for an immediate start! You should keep in mind that you'll only be there temporarily, so don’t take everything you own with you!
The four main or 'first-tier' yachting hubs and hiring ports for superyacht crew hopefuls are considered to be:
Yacht jobs can of course also be found in other locations around the world, but these four in particular offer far greater access to quality job opportunities. They are considered more accessible for beginner crew just starting out in the industry.
'Second-tier' hiring ports, such as those listed below, are such as they generally have fewer superyachts passing through each year. They still make for good training and hiring port options for those who were not successful in the ports above. These are for more experienced crew looking for their second or third yacht crew jobs:
Finally, the 'third-tier' crew hiring ports are another option for more experienced crew members. They are also ideal for those who live nearby and do not have the option to travel. These include:
Crew jobs can of course come up at any time and in any part of the world, but common sense suggests you need to be where the majority of the yachts are. This means moving with the yachting seasons to be in the hiring ports listed above.
You are better off planning your yacht job search to coincide with the typical yachting seasons rather than just setting off when you feel like it. Crew changes usually happen between the summer and winter seasons, in the two ‘shoulder’ or ‘transition’ seasons, when yachts are likely undergoing location changes or heading to shipyards for refit and repair works.
So, where are the yachts during these common crewing periods? Which hiring port is best to target and when? Naturally, the yachts are usually where the weather is nice and sunny, or where the large industry events are happening.
The summer yachting season kicks off in Europe and the Mediterranean in May, with yachts usually all crewed up and ready to go by April. It then closes in with the Monaco Yacht Show (MYS) in late September, with yachts clearing out in the following weeks. The best times to yacht job hunt in the Med are therefore April (with some opportunities in the South of France as early as March) through to September and October.
Alternatively, superyachts may have spent their time summering in the north east of the USA, enjoying the sights of New England and New York. Here, Newport, Rhode Island is the ideal location for U.S. nationals (and those international candidates with the relevant visas) seeking yacht jobs, with opportunities available May through to October. Other yachts sometimes spend the summer season cruising in the U.S Northwest exploring Alaska.
By late September or early October, yachts in the Med will either head to shipyards in Europe for maintenance work, or will head back across the Atlantic to the Southern states – typically Florida. Yachts in Northeast states will also usually make their way down to the south with a stop in Florida before departing to the Caribbean. Those in Alaska will either make their way to Mexico, on to the South Pacific islands, or across to Florida also.
The winter season usually starts on the U.S. East Coast in Florida with the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) in October/November. Fort Lauderdale and Miami are good places for beginner crew to start out, and are unique in that large amounts of yachts pass through here not once, but twice a year. Yachts actually congregate here all year around to enjoy the good weather, but, in the winter season, if work is not found by December it’s often recommended to move out to the Caribbean to find work.
The Caribbean and the Bahamas are another year-round yachting destination, most popular with superyachts in the winter season. The peak season starts in November with the Antigua and St Martin Yacht Shows. Julie Perry, author of The Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess suggests that December to February are the best times for finding jobs here, but warns not to head here alone without at least connecting with a crew agent beforehand. She shared that immigration officials can often be suspicious of solo travellers, and you should therefore aim to have a return ticket booked even if you do not use it.
The winter season closes for some in the Caribbean with Antigua Race Week in April, where yachts will head back up to Florida for a month or two to staff up before heading back over to the Mediterranean to do it all again. Alternatively, some might depart earlier, arriving back in Florida to fuel and staff up before heading to the South of France early.
Those yachts following an atypical cruising season - perhaps after finishing yard work in Europe, or exploring regions off the typical yachting trail – may head to Australasia and the South Pacific islands for the winter. Superyachts typically head to Australia, New Zealand and surrounding destinations before the cyclone season hits, anchoring up on the Australian East Coast or Auckland between November and May, and may then head on to the U.S. West Coast to re-join the superyacht fleet for the summer season.
When enrolling with a crew agent or walking the docks in your chosen hiring port, first impressions are hugely important.
Crew are expected to look pristine at all times as they deal with prestigious clientele, so make sure you take out any obvious piercings, ensure your clothes are clean, your hair is brushed and you look the part for the job. Politeness and a smile also go a long way. Take your crew CV with you with contact details, so they can get in touch.
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