While many watersports instructors have professional aspirations to work on a luxury superyacht, few pursue their dreams because they lack experience, knowledge and opportunity. Few realise that it is possible for qualified kitesurfing instructors and other watersports instructors to not only travel the world on a luxury superyacht, sharing their passion, but to forge a successful career doing what they love.
YPI CREW's Fiona Murray offers advice on what it takes to become a professional kitesurfing instructor on a luxury superyacht, and describes the best course of action for achieving your professional ambitions.
Is it true that kitesurfers and other water sports instructors can find work on a luxury yacht?
Fiona: yes, absolutely!
How might a qualified kitesurfer go about finding work on a yacht if they have no yachting qualifications or experience?
Fiona: I would advise them to go onto the MCA website and look up their list of accredited training centres. They will need to complete their STCW 10, Powerboat Level 2 and obtain a Seafarers Medical Certificate. These are the basics for working on a yacht.
Is it really essential to get the STCW 10 first or can you find work without it?
Fiona: yes, it is essential. You wont be considered for a position without it. However it is relatively easy to do and will set you back approximately 1,200 which is an investment in your future. You will quickly make up the costs with your first months salary. There are training colleges worldwide, in the South of France, UK, as well as Fort Lauderdale, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Do you get many requests for candidates with kitesurfing skills?
Fiona: Obviously the majority of my job openings are for deckhands but I am finding that I am getting asked more and more for crew with a background in kitesurfing and the pool of candidates I have at the moment is not that large.
What other responsibilities are included in the job description?
Fiona: Whilst you may spend some time teaching guests how to kitesurf your main duties will still be regular deckhand tasks such as washdowns, setting up the deck, line handling and tender driving.
What would you say makes a great candidate looking to enter the yachting industry as a deckhand/kite instructor?
Fiona: I think if you're outgoing, smiley, likeable, engaging, easy to talk to and well-presented, you stand the best chance. Personality is really important for deckhands. No big egos, easy-going somebody that people wouldn't mind sharing a cabin with, remember you cant go home at night and lock the door behind you!
Generally speaking, what kind of vessels might a kitesurfer find work on?
Fiona: Probably larger motoryachts. A 60m+ is more likely to have somebody dedicated to kitesurfing. They could end up anywhere in the world. Some of my clients are on expedition vessels and spend all their time around the Pacific. However, you could find yourself on a boat that never leaves the Med, there are many possibilities.
What are some of the advantages of working on a yacht?
Fiona: The yachting industry is very diverse and exciting, a job like this would allow you to live your passion and travel the world! No day is the same, you will be travelling and experiencing different cultures and people. There is also the financial aspect which is very appealing.
What kind of salary could a kitesurfer or water sports instructor hope to earn on a yacht?
Fiona: A deckhand/kitesurfer entering the industry without experience could expect to earn 2,500 a month as a starting salary.
Are there other watersports orientated roles on yachts?
Fiona: I have been asked for waterskiing and wakeboarding instructors, and as some of the larger boats carry smaller dinghies if you've got dinghy sailing qualifications that can be particularly helpful.
What advice would you give to somebody that has these qualifications and would like to go about transferring his skills to the yachting industry?
Fiona: Once you have completed the basic training come to Antibes around March/April and base yourself here. It might take you a couple of months to find work as there is a lot competition for jobs however don't give up, with a watersports instructor qualification you will definitely stand out from the crowd.
Don't wait until you have arrived in the South of France to register with YPI CREW, do it as soon as you have your qualifications and once you get here make your first stop our office! I will do my very best to help you find you a great job that sets you on the path to achieving your professional dreams!