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City to the Ocean - Another advice request from a newbie!
toadsurfer
Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010 2:52 PM
Joined: 21/10/2010
Posts: 1


Hi All

I am currently saving up to do my fast track yachtmaster in about a year's time. I'm not doing it for an attempt to short cut 20 years of seafaring experience by shelling out a few ££ - the yachtmaster qualification is just one of those things in life I've always wanted to get, so am going to take a career break and get it done. I've grown up around boats and done a few short passages but never got any qualifications.
 
I am currently completely disillusioned in my current job and am seriously considering a career change after I have saved up some support money. Problem may be that by the time I would be ready to look for work to get into yachting, I will have just turned 36.
 
Question is, is it likely I will struggle for work as a deckhand at my age with the yachtmaster and STCW qualifications behind me but much less waterborne experience than many others seem to have? My current job is a lawyer in the UK for a large city firm so at least I am used to working hard, long hours and giving a first rate service to very demanding clients (all of whom are banks).
 
You read on the internet wonderful stories about the yachting industry and the opportunities available, but then on forums like this there seem to be a lot of people saying there are far more crew than jobs and the impression is better experienced people than me are struggling. My current industry has been very hard hit by the recession so I know what a competitive market is like but wondered if yachting is so competitive at the bottom you can often find yourself heading home from various ports after a couple of months of finding no work other than the odd day or two.
 
Also, people seem quite happy to point out all the negatives about yachting - how hard work it is, how deckhands end up with phobias of varnish etc, but I would love to hear a couple of stories from people who actually really enjoy what they do!
 
Thanks for any advice people may have!

junior
Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010 6:23 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Well Toad, no need to quit your job to gain a yachtmasters or STCW, Gravesend National Maritime training center is just down the road from you and no need to quit your job to seek opportunities. When you have a few days free this winter , Hop an EasyJet to Antibes or Palma , absorb some sunshine, eat some good food, then do the rounds with crew agents in person. Best to present yourself to the people with jobs , then listen to their views. You wont get much encouragement around dockwalk , everyone is anonymous, to much insecurity . As for experience...yacht experience counts little . Yachts are toys and they dont need a crew of experienced greybeards to haul guests over to St Tropez for lunch. Life experience is always more important. I see many resumes from newbie crew, your competion , who have never held a meaninful job, never had to hustle, never had to get it done..... zero life experience, zero yacht experience, but they seem to find work.. . Also remember to check out the Boat Shows and yacht refit facilities in the UK....could be great yacht jobs right under your nose.
Henning
Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010 8:28 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


A 36 year old lawyer looking for a job as a deckhand... yeah, you'll have problems finding a position, but that doesn't mean there isn't one out there for you.

junior
Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010 10:40 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


You re wrong Henning. On private yachts any position...deckhand, stewardess...whatever... is much more than a yacht cleaning job...its a people job.. Dealing face to face with real people. Age and yacht experience become insignificant....life experience and attitude is everything. The ability to intelligently engage, one on one , seven days a week,with quests while on a cruise is the gold standard for a private yacht crew. The average age of our guests is mid seventies...thats right....mid seventies. 36 is just a whippersnapper. Speak to the crew agents Toad. Many positions, particularly the "just clean it " cannon fodder yacht charter, positions will not be suitable for you...many positions are tailor made for you. Remember , their is a whole yachting world under the superyacht, dockwalk , crew agent radar screen. When you receive negative answers to your inquiries...review your approach, then dig in and keep looking. There are hundreds, thousands , of crew needed each year...they cant all be pimple faced 20 something year olds and they can all be old greybeards or the whole system will collapse .
Henning
Posted: Friday, October 22, 2010 11:25 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


Of those "hundreds, thousands" of jobs every year you claim are out there, how many are for private yachts? Especially good positions? How many owners will be scared away by him being a lawyer? As I said, there is a job out there for him, but it will not be a "quick easy" find and may take a while. The way I see it, he'll be applicable to a small percentage of the available jobs.

junior
Posted: Friday, October 22, 2010 12:37 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


You may be correct. The only way for Toad to investigate is to ask. and ask the CORRECT PEOPLE. Also remember that in the yacht industry there a countless , yachtmaster captain required , plastic charter yachts. These yachts need mature thinking ,beginner captains who have not been polluted by superyacht glory and politics. A very effective way to get out of the city , enjoy the sea , dip your toe into yachting , while being paid.
14Freedom
Posted: Friday, October 22, 2010 3:37 PM
Joined: 16/04/2009
Posts: 155


Hey Toad,
 I would think that an owner would love to have a deckhand/lawyer, especially with banking experience. Just make sure he puts your attorney services on retainer so there will be no conflict of interest!
ATB-
The Slacker

Henning
Posted: Friday, October 22, 2010 4:43 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


junior wrote:
You may be correct. The only way for Toad to investigate is to ask. and ask the CORRECT PEOPLE. Also remember that in the yacht industry there a countless , yachtmaster captain required , plastic charter yachts. These yachts need mature thinking ,beginner captains who have not been polluted by superyacht glory and politics. A very effective way to get out of the city , enjoy the sea , dip your toe into yachting , while being paid.

Or even to run small private yachts, but that's not a deckhands position. Deckhand gets tougher when you get in your 30s because more is expected out of you. You bring me a guy with a graduate degree looking for either a beginners or flunkies job and I gotta ask "Why? What's wrong with him?".

Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 12:03 AM
I agree with Henning, YES you will have trouble finding work at 36.. I entered the industry at 35 and after 5 years still haven't found a GOOD full time yachting job... a few part time jobs or helping out on a refit and with great references from them but full time, no way.. I to have a law background and have been called all sorts of adverse things in relation to my previous employment... Toady, if you leave the Yachtmaster off your CV they will want it, if you add it to your CV they will add the YM and your age together and say that you are "too experienced"... or just be rude/honest and say you are too old.. 'Most' captains and Mates don't want junior crew who are older then they are, it is not natural apparently for a older person to take directions from a junior superior.... and I have that in writing from numerous captains in reply to my applications... they want the experience of someone who has been around and has all the tickets but want it in someone who is 21... and I am not sure how you get all those qualifications and experience in a few short years... my advice, don't push the lawyer thing on the CV and be prepared for a very long hard struggle to find a job, especially a good job..and bear in mind I was about during the boom time, unlike now.. that is not being negative, just totally honest.. I personally think, like Junior, that the industry needs good guys like you so I wish you all the best... (as for me, the commercial industry doesn't care how old you are, and prefer that you are older and experienced, so that is where I fell back into, commercial boating)... as for yachting, if anyone wants a good experienced mature crew member with all the extra skills (carpentry, dive, fishing etc) drop me a line... I am still about).. good luck Toad.. and add a post on here in the future and let us know how you go.
Henning
Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 8:41 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


Anonymous wrote:
if anyone wants a good experienced mature crew member with all the extra skills (carpentry, dive, fishing etc) drop me a line... I am still about.

Hmmmmmm... do you see the problem with the above?

junior
Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 10:59 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


As Henning states.....at 36 why be a deckhand ? Deckhands on yachts are usually pimple face kids used for washing things down. Crew agents have a simple view of the marine industry and dont know what to do with non standard 36 year old lawyer yachtmaster crew . Newcomers arrive to the superyacht ports, follow the crowd of other newcomer yachties and cant see the forest for the trees. Yesterday at Beer Oclock ,in the shipyard cafe, the reality of the yacht world was evident. First rolls in an Engineering contractor with bruised knuckles after a day breaking a blown transmission out of an almost new 20meter highpower motoryacht whose operator ... an irresponsible seasonal CAPTAIN... failed to monitor the alarm system and ran it to destruction. There is absolutely nothing technical or anything that requires 5 years superyachting seatime about operating one of these yachts, only being serious, answering the alarm, shutting down the powerplant, returning on one engine and investigating. Next rolls in a retired British yacht owner operator . Nice guy with a clean tidy 20 plus meter plastic trawler. The British guy normally runs the yacht himself but this year he is Dockexpessing it to the Caribbean and needed a responsible, serious yachtmaster crew to keep the program under control. Its been near impossible for him to find someone responsible to do the job. Superyacht guys demand free dental, pensions...bla bla bla. and laugh at the 3500 euros a month cash that the guy was offering for the six month cruise. The other applicants all seem to be toasted yachties with substance or attitude problems. Nothing in between. It was very hard for him to find a crew. Remember this if your a serious person, then zero in on these sub SUPERYACHTING positions. As for 36 year old newcomers to the industry looking for introductry postions being regaurded as Flunkies...thats bullshit...many people go thru the career break, change of life scenario and must start somewhere.
Salvador
Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 12:23 PM
Joined: 22/07/2009
Posts: 97


 Junior, Did the British guy found the crew to do it?

It seems an interesting job. It's again the being in the right time in the right place. As well as for,  Toad, i believe that it' a question of where to look. Same with me , I'm 33, grew up around boats, and at 28 started to do it as a way of living, because I found out it was good for me, being in the sea. I've listenned to a lot of "No" and a few "Yes", some better then the others and it all keeps going. I hope to keep sailing around and hope you find a job too.

Sea, wind, salt, lines and winches, people and charts, bearings, sun, rain, repairing, fixing, relaxing...  it's like a package that comes together!!

      : )

 

Good Luck


Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 3:12 PM
Hi, I was 29 and working in Advertising when I decided to join the yachting world. My previous experience included a job as a bank-manager. I had no sailing experience what so ever. I fell in love (with my now husband) and decided to give a career in yachting a go as it would eventually mean that my husband and I could work together. It wasnt the easiest thing in the world breaking in, but like you I did some courses, including my SCTW, RYA comp crew, and level 2 powerboat licence. And then I stuck it out, did what ever was going for over a year and eventually got a job as a crew chef on a 58m, where my husband was the bosun. I had 2 fantastic years onboard, where I got to travel all over the world and have amazing experiences. Those 'first cup of coffee in the mornings, on the aft deck watching the sunrise over a completely empty atlantic ocean' moments meant every neurotic guest chef, every 23hour day, every mad provisioning trip, was worth it. My advice to you, is if you REALLY want something, do it. No matter what people tell you, if you want it badly enough you will succeed. But do leave the door open to return to your previous career, life does change, and in 5 years time you may want the option to be able to pick up ashore. Good luck. Hope you get what you want.
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010 11:39 AM
What problem would that be Henning?
Henning
Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010 2:35 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


Anonymous wrote:
What problem would that be Henning?


How is someone supposed to contact you when you post anonymously? When you're anonymous no one knows who you are to contact you.

Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010 7:08 PM
Dude, the Aussie surfer bum yachties will rip you a new one just for being a lawyer, maybe keep that out of it...36 isn't the issue, being a Lawyer is. People will also wonder why you want to go from Court rooms to polishing stainless with a toothbrush. Makes me wonder what is wrong with you, re-invent yourself as a sailor, not an ex-lawyer, your co-workers will resent you. Good luck.
14Freedom
Posted: Monday, October 25, 2010 5:26 AM
Joined: 16/04/2009
Posts: 155


[removed by modertor]

Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 8:46 AM
Henning, I deliberately left my contact details out.. it was just an expression... I don't really want to say that Captains are discriminatory towards older crew then advertise my name about.. it was hard enough as it was back then.. and you actually have my CV on file from last year when you were hiring a Mate.. not sure why you didn't hire me but anyway... cheers
Henning
Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010 8:16 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


I hired a guy with 10 years of local knowledge or our operating area.

 
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