Life after yachting: How to plan your next steps

It can be tough to call time on your yachting career. Being a crew member is all consuming and the idea of transferring away from that lifestyle to a land-based job is daunting.

Where do you go next? What jobs can you go into? How do you get started?

Young woman gazing at city

There are so many questions and things can seem confusing. But it doesn’t have to be.

We run through some of the key things to ask yourself as you step off board, helping you to establish what the next chapter of your life could look like. Your experiences as crew can stand you in great stead for the future – find out how.

Where do you want to be?

It’s often said by former crew members that it’s easy to identify when the time is right to leave your life on board. For many it’s the perfect career as a young adult, travelling the world and earning good money, but it’s not necessarily conducive to the settled lifestyle people crave as they get older. When you start questioning the job, it’s likely to be time to stop.

Making that decision is generally the easy part… it’s the decisions that come next that can prove tricky to navigate.

Before getting too concerned about everything else, the first thing to establish is where you want to live. Do you want to go back home? Perhaps you want to set up base in a city or town you visited as a crew member?

For many retiring crew members, settling somewhere is a priority after leaving life on board. They crave all the things that they haven’t had up to this point in their adult life.

Once you know where you can see yourself living, you can then begin to consider your next steps.

In most cases, retiring crew members will have saved enough money to rent somewhere to live. They may also have the option of living with someone they know, be it family or friends. This gives them the time and space to think about potential jobs and careers.

Paved street in Cannes

What are former yacht crew qualified to do?

It can be easy to think that as a former crew member, you aren’t qualified for any on-land jobs given the niche nature of working on a superyacht. Having said that, you may have gone to university or college prior to embarking on a yacht job, so you may indeed have a degree, diploma or apprenticeship behind you. This counts for a lot and could give you a good starting point.

Even if you don’t have any qualifications or background in higher education, it’s not to say that you’re not able to tackle new roles. There are a number of transferrable skills from your stint on board that are essential in other roles.

As standard, yacht crew develop great communication and time management skills, as well as the flexibility to adapt to ever-changing situations. These are skills that all employers value. They will also appreciate your varied life experiences and how this could be applied to a future role – this will help to set you apart from other candidates.

The transferrable skills don’t stop there. If you were a chief stew or captain, for example, you will have management experience, people management experience, exceptional attention to detail, great customer service skills and maybe even the ability to speak a second language.

Write an updated CV

When you unpick your crew role and strip back to the basics of your daily duties and responsibilities, you can work out what abilities you’ve honed that may make you an asset to employers. Think about what made you good as a crew member and focus your energies into creating a CV that best represents you.

Top tip: Check out our guide on how to write a yacht crew CV. There are many tips that can be applied to the CV you create to apply for new jobs, including how to list your past experience and the importance of formatting your document.

Employees chatting in office

Of course, you may have gone to university or college prior to embarking on a yacht job, so you may indeed have a degree, diploma or apprenticeship behind you. This will still count for a lot even if it was from a number of years ago.

What sort of job can I go into after yachting?

If you’re struggling to pinpoint the type of job you’d like to do, think back to your experiences on board and recall what you enjoyed doing most. Perhaps you liked the hospitality aspect of serving guests, in which case the huge on-land hospitality sector would be perfect, or maybe you had an eye for interior detailing, making interior design a good choice.

These things could be key to working out what sort of role you’d be best suited to on dry land – or at the very least it can give you a steer in the right direction.

There are some crew roles that can immediately lead to similar jobs on dry land. Chefs, for example, are well placed to move into the hospitality industry to take on another chef role. Electrical engineers and software specialists can do likewise, switching jobs for a similar role on dry land.

Our friends at YPI Crew compiled a list of some of the jobs former crew can consider when on dry land. It includes roles outside the superyacht sector, of which there are many, but also roles inside the sector that you may not have considered (including yacht brokerage, crew recruitment and sales). Many employers actively look for candidates with practical real-world experience.

A new role within the yachting industry doesn’t necessarily require you to live in a typical superyacht hotspot; as the world embraces a more flexible ‘work from home’ culture as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it opens up a number of new opportunities that may previously have been beyond reach. If an employer offers remote work, you could live almost anywhere (as long as you can perform the role efficiently). This may be a route worth exploring.

Yachting Pages is always on the lookout for former crew members that are looking to embark on a new career. If you’ve got drive, enthusiasm and a desire to make a difference in the superyacht industry, get in touch with us. We’d be happy to hear from you!

Employees chatting in office

Utilise your network

There are other advantages to being a former crew member, especially if you’re not sure what job you want to go into. Over the course of your yachting career, you will have come into contact with a lot of people. These connections could prove useful.

Perhaps someone you know has started a business or maybe they know somebody who is hiring? It’s always worth reaching out to your network for this very reason; you never know what opportunities may be out there.

Top tip: If you don’t have one already, create a LinkedIn profile and connect with as many people you know as possible. Not only is it good for networking and keeping on top of your contacts’ job status, but it’s also valuable to have an online CV for potential recruiters/employers to view.

Enhance your CV: Further training and work experience

You may know what career path you’d like to go down but don’t currently have the requisite qualification or experience. In this situation, there are a few things you can do: Education, training and/or work experience.

Despite what you might fear, it’s never too late to undertake further education or training courses. If it’s what you want to do, do it. Don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way. It may seem like a backwards step, but it’s actually the catalyst to a future career. You’ll feel very proud of yourself afterwards.

Sometimes you don’t even need a qualification. Combined with the skills you’ve obtained in your yachting career, relevant work experience could be all you need to land your dream role.

Apply for work experience or internships with relevant businesses. This gives you the real-world insight you need to impress prospective employers. Often, the experience obtained in an internship is as beneficial as any training course – it’s something a lot of employers appreciate.

Top tip: Unpaid work experience and internships, while not ideal, are still beneficial. It shows employers how keen you are to land the right job.

Work training session

What next?

As daunting as it is, the next step is putting things into action.

If you know where you want to live and what sort of job you want (and how to achieve it), then your next focus should be on making it a reality. Hopefully your financial situation allows you to go about your search without any major time constraints.

Approach the process with confidence and you’ll end up with the lifestyle and job you crave.

If you’re looking for further inspiration and insight into suitable post-crew jobs, read Yachting Pages’ dedicated guide, contributed by YPI Crew. If you have any questions about post-crew life that you would like support with, contact us today.


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