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Languages for Stews ?
kiki
Posted: Friday, March 12, 2010 11:55 AM
Joined: 12/03/2010
Posts: 8


Hi I am looking at getting into the superyacht industry starting off as an entry level stew. I know the competition is hectic but I am willing to take the risk of investing money into the required courses and tickets to Antibes as well as selling my car and possessions where I live now. I currently live in South Africa but I am originally from Ukraine and have a Ukrainian passport. I am a 25 year old female. Could you advise me on a few things below: -Will my fluency in English, Russian, Ukrainian and intermediate knowledge of French give me any advantages over other inexperienced job seekers (for stew position)? -Will the captains be willing to help with the visa requirements for a non-EU resident whether for working in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean? -Is there any chance of finding work in Antibes in the beginning of October (before the yachts head to the Caribbean) instead of March (when the crowds are flocking the marinas)? As this is a decision involving many sacrifices I would really appreciate as much input as possible especially from the veterans of the industry. Thanks
Henning
Posted: Friday, March 12, 2010 4:38 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1053


Your language skills will be an asset, but you won't be unique. Some captains may help you with a visa, but most will expect you to have one already. The way the market has been, if you show up in March, you'll be lucky to have a job by November. What is it you are sacrificing for this career move and why?

KMiller
Posted: Saturday, March 13, 2010 1:05 PM
Joined: 07/07/2009
Posts: 6


I have to agree with Henning here.......

There are a LOT of crew in general who speak 2 or more languages (I speak English, French and Italian fluently and basic German) so it won't be that big of a deal that you speak English.  Crew SHOULD speak English and generally the good boats will only hire people who have English as mother tongue or fluent.   Russian would be an asset so I would highlight that in your CV.

I am seeking a Second Stewardess for my boat and given that it is only March, I have an awful lot of CVs from people with zero experience, all in the same situation as yourself......and unfortunately I need someone who knows what they are doing as my Second......there is no time on my boat to teach someone mid-season.  A lot of CVs from South Africans and eastern europeans......a couple of Brits and one or 2 Aussies.

I'm sorry not to be more positive, but you asked for advice.  I have been a Chief Stewardess for 6 years, joining the industry 9 years ago.....please don't sell your possessions for this unless you have already have a job to come to.  Henning is correct - you will be far from unique.  I'm sorry.

junior
Posted: Saturday, March 13, 2010 1:55 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Hey, French is a handy language for West Med work... German is also very good. Russian ? not sure...but there are two Russian yachts on my quay. If I were you, I wouldn't listen to any yacht crews opinion concerning required sea time or experience for 25 year old crew.. The Med. Yachting industry is HUGE, depends on young hard working people and has positions available for all different skill levels. Don't fall for the ..."Experienced Only" negative vibes. If you would like to work on yachts...DO IT. Your best advised to secure your Tourist Visa, do your best to make contact with crew already on the ground in Europe, then get yourself on site and start day working on the yachts. Very many South Africans up here and they always look after fellow SA's. My view on the ground in Europe is that this will be a good year for yachts. At present I see yachts crewing up for Easter cruises. And while your up checking out the West Med yacht scene, pay particular attetion to the Modis Operendi and money spending patteerns of the yachts. Every time I sail into the Black Sea I see more and more yachts. Sochi Olypics just around the corner. This ever increasing yacht traffic is going to require street wise local agents to provide services. As a Russian speaker, also remember to keep your eyes on and make contact with yacht crew on the ground in http://www.portomontenegro.com/
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, March 13, 2010 3:05 PM
There's a lot of crew out there claiming to speak languages, when really they can say only a few words. If you are truly polyglot then the right boat will find you invaluable. Hell if you can even get by in a couple then you'll do well. Most people in this business speak English only and are totally ignorant of the language and culture of all the places they visit and those of their clients. Except the seppos, let's not go there. That said, agreeing with previous advice, be very careful giving everything up to do this. If you've got the brains to speak languages and integrate, you probably won't want to clean toilets for some dumb Derek/Doris that thinks sky tv is the ultimate in social education. Shoot me for saying that but for every good, intelligent, educated crew member, male and female, there are 100 idiots. Deckie or Stew at entry level are both pretty brain dead jobs.
kiki
Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2010 5:28 PM
Joined: 12/03/2010
Posts: 8


Thanks to everyone for your honest responses. It helps a lot! To Henning: Thanks for your reply. Maybe I didn't make myself clear about the visas: I will be arriving in France with a 3 months Shengen visa but if I find a permanent position, then it will obviously need to be extended (for the Med season) or a new visa will need to be in place (for the Caribbean season) so that is mainly where captain's help will be required...Do captains help to get the Seaman's discharge book? I am planning on selling off my household posessions, my car (which I am still paying off), and leaving my current job which I can't exactly call a dream job but it still pays the bills. I understand that the season has already started so I wasn't planning on arriving in March this year... Any thoughts on finding work in October? To KMiller: thanks for your reply. I appreciate your honesty. If I understand you correctly, you would only take on a person with experience? Does that mean proper experience on a yacht or does daywork count as well? I certainly understand your reasons but there must be a way for new people to get into the industry? To Junior: thanks for your positive feedback. I will definitely check out that link. Any thought on finding work in October for the Caribbean season in Antibes? To Anonymous: I do indeed speak fluently all the languages mentioned (French - only about 40%). Unfortunately, being intelligent doesn't always mean being successful financially. If cleaning the toilets gets me there, why not? Plus, if all goes well I would like to advance further in the industry as time goes by. Look forward to hearing from you!
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2010 6:10 PM
If you are getting into yachting for the money you are here for the wrong reasons and you won't make it. PS. No one makes as much as they say they do anyway, Kinda like waiters bragging about how much they make cause they had a really good night, once. Anyhow, good luck, try bringing some passion to the table and you might want to find out if you get sea sick before you sell your car.
kiki
Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2010 6:34 PM
Joined: 12/03/2010
Posts: 8


There are a lot of different reasons why I would like to get into yachting but when you are scrubbing that toilet for SoAndSo like you mentioned earlier - at least you can remind yourself that you getting paid for that!
rodsteel
Posted: Monday, March 15, 2010 5:42 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


kiki wrote:
...Will my fluency in English, Russian, Ukrainian and intermediate knowledge of French give me any advantages over other inexperienced job seekers (for stew position)? ...


Kiki,

 

According to Forbes, the Russian oligarchs recovered a lot of their billions this year, and they keep buying more and bigger and bigger yachts. I noticed three recent job postings on the Dockwalk page looking for Russian language skills (unfortunately one of them required "native" English). You can always apply for these types of listings via email from SA and maybe get lucky before you leave.

 

Good luck,

 

Rod


Henning
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 12:33 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1053


rodsteel wrote:
kiki wrote:
...Will my fluency in English, Russian, Ukrainian and intermediate knowledge of French give me any advantages over other inexperienced job seekers (for stew position)? ...


Kiki,

 

According to Forbes, the Russian oligarchs recovered a lot of their billions this year, and they keep buying more and bigger and bigger yachts. I noticed three recent job postings on the Dockwalk page looking for Russian language skills (unfortunately one of them required "native" English). You can always apply for these types of listings via email from SA and maybe get lucky before you leave.

 

Good luck,

 

Rod

Yeah, there's the flip side to that as well. My Russian speaking buddy missed out on a good job because the Russian owner doesn't want any Russian speaking crew. BTW Rod, you have a great porn name...

kiki
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 6:12 AM
Joined: 12/03/2010
Posts: 8


I actually had a feeling that might be the case - Russians not wanting to have Russian crew. The reason for that would be that having international English speaking crew is a sign of higher level of luxury for them. Rich Russians are all about status! From my experience in South Africa, the Russians I met had no idea I was Russian speaking until I spoke Russian to them (and they were normally shocked LOL) 8 years in South Africa without family around made English my native language - but in the end of the day it all depends on the strict requirements of the employers...
rodsteel
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 3:11 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


Henning wrote:
BTW Rod, you have a great porn name...


 

Thanks Henning... (I think ) - by the way, I wonder, in you buddy's case, if that particular owner was concerned about "security/privacy" - not being understood when having "business" conversations is useful sometimes ;o)).

 

Kiki,

 

If the job posting asks for Russian lanaguage skills, then it would probably worth your while to at least drop them an email ;o))

 

Rod


kiki
Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 5:38 AM
Joined: 12/03/2010
Posts: 8


Thanks! I will definitely do that!
rodsteel
Posted: Thursday, March 18, 2010 6:47 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


kiki wrote:
Thanks! I will definitely do that!


Kiki,

 

Here's one of the job listings - they have two caveats (however, if they haven't filled it, they may respond to an email that "doesn't quite fit" ;o))

 

Rod

 

RUSSIAN SPEAKING STEW X 35 M M/Y PRIVATE

Qualifications: STCW – fluent Russian

Start Date: Immediate

Location: Med

Duration: Seasonal

Information: Immediate start. Yacht private and based in France. Cruising Med for the season: Greece-Croatia, Italy. Salary 2500-3000€ according to exp. Please only candidates native English speaker and based in south of France apply.

To enquire email: cv@cosmo-crew.com

 


Anonymous
Posted: Friday, March 19, 2010 12:26 AM
They were shocked because they were speaking freely in front of you because they thought you did not understand their language! It's not funny and pretending to not understand the language and then, after significant time, suddenly demonstrating your fluency is not only rude, it's considered dangerous by many Russian people (and for good reason). You never should have uttered a word in Russian unless you had made it clear from the outset that you are fluent in Russian. You are quite naive to have thought of this as funny. On a yacht you could have been summarily dismissed. It's not funny and it's deceitful.
kiki
Posted: Friday, March 19, 2010 6:03 AM
Joined: 12/03/2010
Posts: 8


Anonymous, you are being way over dramatic (after going through all the different threads on this forum I noticed a lot of other people are as well!!) It never happened in the context you are describing - you are just too quick to assume and attack. The reason people were shocked is that they heard me speaking to my partner (who is a native English speaker) in the shop for instance and as soon as I hear that the people are Russian I normally come up to them to greet them. It has always been in a public setting where any reasonable person should be cautious about saying anything secret/offensive in their native language. The world is a small place now and there are always plenty of foreigners around that you wouldn't suspect to be (especially in tourist destinations). What you describe happens all the time in many places in the world. Are you suggesting that every time I am on Table Mountain in Cape Town (full of tourists from any country on any given day) or Eiffel Tower in Paris and I happen to hear Russian, Ukrainian, French - then I am supposed to run to them to let them know I understand what they are saying? I think that is way more rude and actually ridiculous! I am not talking about working with someone closely or being in a closed setting and "pretending" anything. Just relax a little bit and have a nice day!
junior
Posted: Friday, March 19, 2010 8:50 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Its a valuable lesson for you to monitor sights like Dockwalk. As you see from the Anonymous posting recommending that you should fall on your sword, Yachties are a deeply insecure bunch. Many captains actually anethasize crew before owners arrive. Onceon the ground You will meet crew whose " dream job " is to work on a 100 percent Australian or British or whatever crewed yacht then learn new things like... French crew are going to steal from you, Italian crew are lazy, American crew will sue you, Russians are Dangerous and might shut down your fuel supply for the slightest insult...... Perhaps a good strategy for breaking into the scene is two separate resumes. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.....Crew Agent "A" receives your 100 percent Biltong chomping, Great White shark wrestling, SA resume for forwarding to Yachts who need one of these. Crew Agent " B " receives your multinational resume and forwards it to yachts who need one of these..
kiki
Posted: Friday, March 19, 2010 9:19 AM
Joined: 12/03/2010
Posts: 8


I agree with Junior here. Not to offend anyone on this forum - but there is plenty of insecurity around. People forget that not everyone lives on yacht with its specific problems etc and not all situations happen in yachting environment!!! It might come as a shock to some - but there is a big world out there!!! Stop judging all the people based on your experience on a yacht and be a bit more welcoming to new comers. Everyone wants new crew with fantastic attitude but many people who are oldies give out such hostile vibes that some might actually reconsider getting into this industry (maybe that is exactly what the oldies are trying to achieve .
junior
Posted: Friday, March 19, 2010 10:02 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


The yacht scene on the South of France is huge....the general rule of thumb is that anyone who can walk and talk will secure a decent summer job. You dont need a heavy ,multi lingual resume to find work.... You're the right age , come off as hard working, good attitude, well presented and it should do the trick. The normal cycle is.... you hit the ground in spring, find one of these intro. summer yacht positions, get to work and while your working...zipping back and forth between Cannes and St Tropez doing the charter run, meet the people and look hard for the next level position.
KMiller
Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2010 1:18 AM
Joined: 07/07/2009
Posts: 6


Hi Kiki, The reason for my not hiring a Stewardess who is green to yachting is that the position is only seasonal - as Chief I am kept on year round. I would not like to train someone to the high standards we set on the boat knowing that they will be leaving and putting those teachings to good use.....but not for the yacht's Owner's benefit. Also, as an 'in' to Stewardessing I advise people to work on a larger boat - around 50m minimum - so that the Chief onboard has time to teach as the position will probably be full time too due to the boat doing 2 seasons a year....mine only does one...but I wouldn't change it for the world!! Best of luck to you - I'm sure you'll do fine if you set your mind to it.
Manolo
Posted: Friday, March 26, 2010 9:19 AM
Joined: 20/03/2010
Posts: 4


Hi kiki,i will be with you positive,you may be lucky When i started in this industry,10 years ago i didnt speak English,my first capt and the crew were Italians,now im working with English crew under the MCA,the English is the must important lenguage in this industry and you speak sooo well,i wish i could speak English like you,good luck and follow your dreams...Manolo
rodsteel
Posted: Sunday, May 2, 2010 8:23 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


kiki wrote:
Thanks! I will definitely do that!


Kiki,

 

If you are still looking, here is another one.

 

http://www.superyachtjobs.com/jobs.asp?contact=N&search=Y&id=8887

 

Rod

 


 
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