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Curious Captain here...your crew agency, broker experience?
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2009 10:18 PM
I am just curious to see what other people's experience has been like regarding finding work, crew agencies, brokers, etc. I've been in the industry for 8 years and it's been 8 years of "scratch and claw" just to find work, even in good times. Now, I'm sure some of you reading this are probably saying to yourself that there must be something wrong with me.....NO!!   I've certainly made my share of mistakes and continue to learn on every level. I'm honest, sober, hard-working, highly skilled, and treat people with respect. Throughout my time in this industry I've done the dance with crew agencies, brokers, etc. I've been very creative in trying to market myself in many ways. For example, I use to work as a graphic designer in my other life. For the last two FTL boat shows, I created a beautiful flyer with my resume on the backside and distributed it throughout the show. It produced absolutely nothing!  Yet when people saw it, they almost always commented on how sharp and professional it looked, along with substance. I have created email marketing campaigns using "ConstantContact.com. I would go buy an issue of Boats International and write down every brokerage....then go to their website and compile a list of every broker's email. I put together a sharp, professional-looking email "card" and sent it to every one of them (100).  None of this has ever produced so much as a phone call or email.  Not one crew agency has ever done anything for me.  I've never been one of those people that's just "connected".  I don't do Waxy's or any of the other social networking crap!!!  I've gone to two Triton networking events and finally said to myself, "no more of this".  It is so contrived, phony, and everyone is looking for something from eveyone else. I think it's a waste of time, especially at the captain level.  This industry can be humiliating and many times I feel as though I'm selling my soul kissing their ass and still ending up with nothing.  So, are they others out there that go through this, especially captains?  Thanks for your response.

Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 12:38 AM
Well, first things first... 8 years isn't a long time in the industry, especially if you are now captain (or trying to be) unless of course you work on much smaller yachts. The most important aspects that I have come across are; Longevity... does your CV show this? (8 years... well not more than 4 - 5 yachts in that time, max). The paper trail... excellent references from owners and captains both written and telephone, Yachts on your CV that stand out, that are 'high standard, well run'. Tickets, do you have a 3000t ticket? surely after 8 years you would have this, most important. If you have kept to the smaller yachts moving up in size will be much more difficult, have you got the experience of Mate on a larger vessel, ISM, ISPS, possibly delivery experience. I find the larger yachts bring you into contact with more people and offer much more opportunity, as well as being linked to brokers and charter agents, much better than cold calling.... Lastly, you have to have the personality, confidence and the drive. If you can honestly look back at the last eight years and tick all the above, then its just a matter of time.....
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 7:21 PM

Longevity is key for agencies and crew to consider.  It certainly demonstrates one's ability to do well in his or her duties along with getting on well with guests and crew. But there are those who aren't [initially] given as much of a chance as others based upon a criteria: i.e. age, looks, nationality, networking ability. 

Some recruiters have told me that I started out being "too picky".  However, who wants to take any job and stay on if you're not a good fit or if it doesn't suit yourself?  No amount of  money can make me pretend to like a certain crew and stick with the boat.  Why should I take a job that many wouldn't want anyway? Who wants to be around a bunch of obnoxious, drunk/drug using, immature, unprofessional "crew" members?  I can not tell you how many captains and crew I've met who have the foulest, dirtiest mouths, and attitude including when they complain about guests! Usually, they're guys..even if some of them are "nice" to me. There some women out there who are willing to take up for these clowns while slandering you like a dog or a crook. As if I want to be stuck 24/7 with those people.

 I'm sure recruiters understand that these occurences are rampant.  I bet some even understand that their own judgements [at times] have been more hurtful than helpful in this industry.  It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that good crew sometimes fall into "bad" boats.  Based on my experience, I can not under-estimate the reality of bad crew staying on bad boats for years at a time. I've seen my fair share of that kind of "longevity".  Sometimes it's a good reflection of the yacht owner. Sometimes, the owner is unaware of the crew dynamics.

I started out in my thirties and signed with some of these agencies.  I have a college background and by now extensive experience with the interior/exterior.  While I was staying at what would be considered a "shady" crew house [which nosey recruiters WILL find out about if you stay at these places], I was living with other girls [mostly foreign national]  some were around my age who were getting permanent positions on "nicer" or bigger yachts. Some of these "ladies" weren't nicest bunch or very professional or attractive in my opinion.   As far as "scavenging" for work, it took me a while to get the hint--that apparently, I'm not good enough to obtain employment on "certain" yachts even if "they" are.  I don't believe I'm chop liver, but I guess nationality and age does add more "quality" to candidates according to others in this industry.   

I would eventually email a couple recruiters and politely ask them as to why I was seeing more women with a lack of experience obtaining what seemed to be "good" positions. One recruiter brought me in to "talk" about my concerns.  Nice conversation it seemed. She never called me in for an interview or job submission after that day. Bad idea, anyone? 

I think more recruiters stay clear from people who show the slightest propensity to raise issues over this biz over any matter. They don't want to hire and potential "whistle blowers".  And they'd rather hire "quiet" illegal aliens instead in order to stay in business. 


Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 8:20 PM
Very difficult to pass on advice to those searching for a job around the yachts, its a weird , venal place.   I see people arrive on the waterfront, park their tractors and turn into captains overnight, I know highly skilled captains that struggle to find a good program.  
 Ive been at this yachting stuff very many years and personally know many of the agents. Many of these agents were poor quality crew or captains when I first met them and are now positioned as gatekeepers to the industry. No easy way out of this mess. I stress out when I think that within the next few years I will also have to find a new job and stand face to face with one of these gatekeepers..
  Keep your ears open, read between the lines and cultivate relations with people who move easily around the waterfront is all I can pass on.

Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 9:20 PM

It amazes me beyond a fathomable depth on how shallow and transparent this industry is.

Every single crew agent I have spoke with has lied through there teeth, except for one, and I must say it was the most refreshing bad news I have every heard, it was honest to the point and I respected her for that.  If only all the agents could try the truth now and again there may not be so much bitterness.

 

  I think there are a lot of good qualified people that are in this for a career and not a quick jump on college loans, getting smashed every night or supporting there drug addiction.  I also believe the career minded truly enjoy there job, there proud of what they due, they are working diligently towards there ultimate goal of Captain, Engineer, Purser or Chef and want to see this through.  Meanwhile the agencies and brokers continue to comment on the lack of qualified applicants for the 20 or so miles of new yachts and there is a crew shortage.  What a farce!!!  There are enough licensed captains on 17th street any given Sunday to man most of the officers positions.

 

To the career minded out there, there is no magic to the madness, tighten the gut pull your head up and continue to do your best and it will pay off, us old guys have to retire eventually  


Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 10:49 PM

Crew agents are only effective if you have what the current job market is looking for, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran finding the perfect job is always a challenge.

Patience, persistence and geographical mobility are key, when searching for a job.

Longevity is useful, but solid references and god networking skills are your most effective tools

Staving off the completion is best achieved through effective communication, presentation and location, location, location.

I’ve found my best jobs through my network of yachting friends and only seem to have luck with crew agents when the season is in full swing.

As an engineer I've never been out of work and feel very lucky to have gone down the engineering route and not follwed the crowd and become a Captain.


Debbie
Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2009 2:45 AM
Anonymous wrote:
Very difficult to pass on advice to those searching for a job around the yachts, its a weird , venal place.   I see people arrive on the waterfront, park their tractors and turn into captains overnight, I know highly skilled captains that struggle to find a good program.  
 Ive been at this yachting stuff very many years and personally know many of the agents. Many of these agents were poor quality crew or captains when I first met them and are now positioned as gatekeepers to the industry. No easy way out of this mess. I stress out when I think that within the next few years I will also have to find a new job and stand face to face with one of these gatekeepers..
  Keep your ears open, read between the lines and cultivate relations with people who move easily around the waterfront is all I can pass on.
 
 
very refreshing for me to read.
thank you, thank you...and thank you.


Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2009 3:08 PM

Well - don't feel lonely! My experience is similar. Fortunately, I have a good Captain's job at the moment  but it came through a long standing associate retiring who thought I would be the right person and the right fit. That was 4 years ago and it has worked out very well.

I've been listed for a Captain's position with over a dozen major crew agencies for over 22 years! Never once contacted or "invited" to an interview. And yes - before all you experts start expounding on CV's, personality, longevity and experience etc - My CV has been re-written a dozen times by industry 'experts', some re-writes by non industry professional recruitment agents and a few re-hashes of my own. It's a CV that describes 30 years at sea in all the world's oceans as a professional mariner, unlimited Master, all the tickets, peerless credentials, a degree in Maritime Business, unblemished record, great references etc, etc - nothing, nought, zip! As for "Industry Experience" - Trials Master for 7 different Yards, trials on 23 Yachts to 300 ft, deliveries everywhere and most humbling of all - doing the handover and training of already appointed Captains of those Boats, some I quickly recognised, as being out of their depth in a puddle! Certainly some I wouldn't have hired as deck hands. And as for pizazz and personality - how would they know? never had so much as a phone call. Now I have been here in the Med for 4 years and had a good look at the opposition - well - in short - Crew Agents aren't doing anything (with respect to Captains) for their money. It appears to be all about who you know, who you palm and the growing influence of insiduous Management Companies (and I have wondered if they are growing because of incompetent Captains?)

Advice for you? I think you should walk the docks and introduce yourself to the Captain's - let them know you are available for a relief gig - even for the Chief Officer and hope they remember you when they are thinking retirement or are moving on. I certainly wouldn't bet your future on a Crew Agent. Good Luck Hombre!

Pugwash. 


Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2009 3:40 PM

Crew agents are just terrible.  About ten years ago the yacht that I was captain of was sold in Ft Lauderdale.   I had been out of the social loop for several years and had to start from scratch walking around the agents.  The yacht I had just gotten off was world class, I had sailed her around the world and received a first class reference from the owners.  My resume was bulging with 2 successful  new builds and very much sea service.  I hung out for several months in Ft Lauderdale without ONE call back.  I was depressed, broken and decided to get the heck out of the place.  On my way back to RI Im  sitting in the airport reading a Seahorse Magazine and a German gentleman next to me noticed the sailing magazine, we began to talk.  This man turned out to be a senior European project manager, he  took my resume and  called me back two weeks later.  I flew to the Netherlands and picked up a new boat.  I pity crew that must rely on Crew agents.


Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2009 4:23 PM
I think about the same as you guys.  I seldom use agents and most times they supply bulk. In 2004 we were lying in St Johns, Newfoundland after a summer arctic cruise, preparing to sail across to Denmark. It was Sept, a very bad month for a transatlantic. The Atlantic was full of tropical lows.  I had 5 permanent crew but began to think it would be wise to pick up an additional pro seaman. I contacted a well known Florida agent and requested a 350 dollar a day seaman.  They sent me a boy who got to see his first flying fish.  I suggest the next time you approach an agent.. DEMAND a copy of the agents resume. 

Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2009 4:24 PM
It sounds to me like you may need a change of tack.  If you want to earn MUCH better money than even the best paid superyacht Captain and take proper control of YOUR life, rather than selling your soul to other people, take a look at my website www.life-changes.biz  I look forward to hearing from you. Lynne Edwards
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2009 5:14 PM
I am in control of my life you bubblehead.   Hey Dockwalk !!   keep these bottomfeeders out 
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 3:14 PM

Well it seems as if this is not a discussion about looking for work but one of slandering Crew Agents. Christ guys there is good and bad in every industry in the world but according to you lot every Crew Agent should be taken out and shot. Every captain's job I have had in the last 15 years I got through a crew agent. I have had numerous other job offers from them when I have been in work which for obvious reasons I have turned down. Even now I know of at least two jobs that are out there and agents are having a hard time placing the right (I stress right) Captain/Couple on board. So stop your whining and take a long look at yourselves and ask yourself "Am I the problem?"

A Bad workman blames his tools and that is what a Crew Agent is "a tool" for you to use to get work. One of many tool that you have at your disposal from CVs, Personality, Brokers, Work ethic, Contacts, Knowledge, Tickets etc the list goes on. So to get anywhere you must use them all and use them wisely.

Maybe if people spent less time on the net whinging then maybe just maybe that dream job will come. It has for me and I put the hard yards in on boats that were maybe not quite the right one.

Dùghall


Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 4:06 PM
We all make mistakes and I have certainly made my share, which I try to learn from. I believe I'm a very self-aware person and I'm always looking at myself with self-reflection to improve.  But I am so tired of people on this forum making the comment, "well maybe you should look at yourself because you may be the problem." That's true to a point, but I say again.....NO, I  AM NOT THE PROBLEM!   Just because you are "plugged in" and "connected" doesn't mean that there's something wrong with the rest of us.  I'm a highly skilled, decent, honest, hard-working captain/person.  The frustration turns to anger and bitterness when you give your best doing what you love to do, and you get thrown out like a piece of trash with no notice, no thank you, nothing.  Ability, decency, honesty, compassion for people...if that's the problem, then yeah, I'm the problem!

Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 4:38 PM
Chill my friend...chill.    Look in many places for the job you seek.    Crew agents are not the sole keeper of the flame.  Scan the whole marine industry.  Personally Ive never used a crew agent for securing a job as captain.  There are better ways.  My observation is that agents handle the bad boats, the yachts that eat crew .  Two yachts in the marina were I am lying are presently listed by agents .....they are dogs !  My current owner would not  need to go to a crew agent, he has owned yachts for 40 years.  I have worked for him for near 15 years and have a gentlemans agreement with him to never leave the yacht  until I can forward suitable candidates for him to consider.  He also  has the phone number of many shipyards and managemnet companys.
    Another observation is the conflict of interest exhibited by many agents .   Have a look at Blue Water Crew agent and on the same page Blue Water Crew Training.   Does this imply that if you accumulate a bunch of Blue Water tickets you stand clear of the crowd at the Blue Water Crew Agency ?   If as captain, you purchase all your crew from the agent, does this mean that you are best qualified for the next captains job that comes in ?  The whole scene makes me think of a used car salesman issuing drivers licenses.  Dont become discouraged.....work harder and best of luck.
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 4:57 PM
Anonymous wrote:

Well it seems as if this is not a discussion about looking for work but one of slandering Crew Agents. Christ guys there is good and bad in every industry in the world but according to you lot every Crew Agent should be taken out and shot. Every captain's job I have had in the last 15 years I got through a crew agent. I have had numerous other job offers from them when I have been in work which for obvious reasons I have turned down. Even now I know of at least two jobs that are out there and agents are having a hard time placing the right (I stress right) Captain/Couple on board. So stop your whining and take a long look at yourselves and ask yourself "Am I the problem?"

A Bad workman blames his tools and that is what a Crew Agent is "a tool" for you to use to get work. One of many tool that you have at your disposal from CVs, Personality, Brokers, Work ethic, Contacts, Knowledge, Tickets etc the list goes on. So to get anywhere you must use them all and use them wisely.

Maybe if people spent less time on the net whinging then maybe just maybe that dream job will come. It has for me and I put the hard yards in on boats that were maybe not quite the right one.

Dùghall

 

 

ah, but WHERE are you from?

 


Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 5:00 PM
Anonymous wrote:
We all make mistakes and I have certainly made my share, which I try to learn from. I believe I'm a very self-aware person and I'm always looking at myself with self-reflection to improve.  But I am so tired of people on this forum making the comment, "well maybe you should look at yourself because you may be the problem." That's true to a point, but I say again.....NO, I  AM NOT THE PROBLEM!   Just because you are "plugged in" and "connected" doesn't mean that there's something wrong with the rest of us.  I'm a highly skilled, decent, honest, hard-working captain/person.  The frustration turns to anger and bitterness when you give your best doing what you love to do, and you get thrown out like a piece of trash with no notice, no thank you, nothing.  Ability, decency, honesty, compassion for people...if that's the problem, then yeah, I'm the problem!


 

 

dude, i mean, cpt,  you deserve a million bucks.

thanks for sharing your smart opinion!  you are so right when it comes to MANY of us.

 


Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 5:07 PM

i wish crew agents who act like this would lose big...like thier job or their business. 

maybe they will learn a lesson and learn to be more insightful and dignified when recruiting candidates for jobs.

why can't there be better and more dignified crew agencies out there?  most seem to be the same.

 

i thought it was against the law for crew agents to faciliate jobs/positions for those candidates without proper work visas.

is it not against the law? or is just my misunderstanding?


Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 5:13 PM

forgot to mention that many crew agents exude that same old "car saleman" persona when they're pitching crew or jobs to candidates? it's so icky.

 and that just about any industry, not just yachting. 


Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 5:57 PM
Must be some respectable agents out there, they cant all be good ole boys ..... you just have to find them !!   And a piece of million dollar advice.  Once you finally secure a job....do not just sit back and enjoy the life.  When you are on the inside always be setting yourself up for the next project.  It may take years to wiggle into a new group..... but who cares,,,you have a job.    And remeber nationality really doesnt have any influence on my personal choice of crew.  Id be very happy if I was in Florida on my way to France and could pick  up a handy French crew right off the dock in Florida.   Yachting is international.  I cant see how this would be breaking any rules ?
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, March 2, 2009 7:56 PM
Just walked past a crew agency over here in Palma.  You can tell the spring crew gold rush is just around the corner. They were cleaning the grubby, dirt covered, windows and shooing the cobwebs out.  Saw a big delivery van outside off loading cardboard box,s marked RESUME.  The two Agents looked  a bit thin, but happy...kinda like starving mosquito's at the spring opening of a nudist beach.....looks to be a normal season underway
Henning
Posted: Friday, March 6, 2009 3:20 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


In 8 or so years, I have had exactly one job put forward to me by a crew agent, one, a one week delivery job. That's it. What has brought me more work than anything is my placement on findacrew.net. If you've been around the industry for 8 years, you'll remember the old Dockwalk website which was also a great resource, but for some reason they haven't brought back the classifieds section. Every time I'm at a Dockwalk event I enquire about it and I get a "Yeah, it's coming". Last time was at the Miami Boat Show and I got "Give us 2 weeks" as the answer. Well, 2 weeks has come and gone again and still no classifieds. I guess it's just like everything else in this industry, lame people who can't deliver on their word or make a schedule stick.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, March 6, 2009 4:02 PM
Your correct Henning...whenever I have needed a crew while on the road I have simply used Findacrew.  Great service.  Cheap.
Nick
Posted: Friday, March 6, 2009 6:11 PM
Joined: 25/05/2008
Posts: 27


Hi Henning

It is coming and we're very nearly ready, if you can just bear with us for a few more days.

Thanks

Nick

nick@dockwalk.com

 
 Average 5 out of 5