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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra O’Connell

If you are looking to start a career as a yacht deckhand, research, planning, and perseverance are key to success.

Here at YPI CREW, we recommend taking the time to fully understand the industry and what it takes to get your foot in the door. This includes researching the responsibilities of a deckhand, as well as the working conditions and lifestyle of the industry.

To help you out a bit, here are my top tips for junior deckhands looking to join the yachting industry:

Research the industry

Before you jump into the yachting industry, it's important do your research and see if it's the right fit for you. Look into the responsibilities of a deckhand, as well as the working conditions and lifestyle. This will help you determine if the industry is a good match for your skills and interests.

You can have a look at our guide on the role and how to become a deckhand, as well as our tips for seeing if yachting is the right industry for you.

Make a plan

I always suggest making a plan when starting out. Your starting out goal is to land that first job and gain experience, but there is more that goes into it than just that. Plan to do your basic courses – you will need to get an STCW certificate as well as a Seafarer’s Medical Certificate to be able to work on board any yacht. Find a few reputable yacht crew recruitment agencies to register with as they will guide you through your job search.

You should always be thinking 2 steps ahead as that will put you ahead of the curve and ahead of other potential candidates.

Think about where you would like to be in 5 years. Do you see yourself progressing through the ranks? If so, you will need to plan for your courses.

Making a plan might be tricky at the beginning but after your first season you will start getting an idea of the route that best suites you.

Explore additional courses

Apart from the mandatory STCW and your Seafarer’s Medical Certificate there is also a number of other certificates you could get as a junior deckhand.

Our clients often look for crew with additional certificates so it’s always a great Idea to expand your horizons and try and get other courses.

Some recommended courses for junior deckhands include:

RYA Powerboat Level 2: A two-day course provides the skills and theory required for driving powerboats. It includes practicing low-speed and close-quarters handling, man overboard recovery and an introduction to basic high-speed manoeuvres.

RYA PWC: A one-day course teaching you how to drive Jet-Skis, including essential navigation, safety, launching, rules of the road.

PDSD: Proficiency in Designated Security Duties is a course providing maritime security awareness required for all seafarers who have designated security duties onboard a vessel that complies with ISPS.

AEC1: A basic engineering course that provides the practical basic training and theoretical knowledge of diesel engines.

PST: Personal Survival Techniques course provides students with the knowledge and practical skills required in the event of an emergency at sea along with the necessary steps to take in order to ensure survival.

Point out your skills on your CV

When writing your CV, always make sure to play on your strengths. A lot of people leave out their land-based experience and might even get told it is irrelevant to yachting but this is simply not true. If you have extensive water sports background, carpentry background, electrical engineering, these will all stand out, as will any type of hospitality background as well.

We like to see that you have gotten out there and gained some skills as these all play a critical part in working in the industry. Roles demonstrating you have a good work ethic, that you are a team player and have the ability to take direction will definitely be beneficial to point out.

Network and keep researching

We get a lot of vessels saying to us that they are willing to take on a greener crew member, once they have drive and are a hard worker the rest can be taught once you are switched on.

Be motivated to network with other crew and keep being curious and researching about the industry. Look for the next course you could be doing in the winter or during some quiet time, do not be afraid to ask for help, call your recruiter and speak to them, join the relevant Facebook groups, google articles and guides that might be helpful, etc.

Remember, we all had to start everywhere, and that captain or chief officer you are aspiring to be, they all started out just where you are now.

Patience, research, perseverance and drive are what will help you succeed and be successful and an instrumental part of any crew onboard.

Listen to your recruiter

One last tip I have is to listen to your recruiter. We are here to help and guide you. Once you start your job search, your recruiter will become your key point of contact. We will guide you through the process and help you find the right role for you. We know the industry and are able to offer you valuable advice and insight.

Are you ready to land a Deckhand position onboard a yacht?

Become a member of YPI CREW and connect with our recruiters so they can guide you through your job search and secure you your next yachting adventure.

Each of our recruiters is specialised in crew placement for a particular department and they will do their best to get you an interview on board a yacht. They will also advise you on how to best present your experience and skills and prepare for a yacht job interview.

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