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An American working in the Med
CaliAloha
Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 8:29 PM
Joined: 10/01/2012
Posts: 3


Hey all,

I'm looking to get on a boat (I'm paying, not getting paid) to cross the Atlantic and arrive in the UK around June (if all works out).  My question is, as an American, once I'm in the Med, what do I need to do around places like Antibes or Cannes to get into a paying position on a megayacht?

Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 10:45 PM
Is gonna be very difficult for you my friend. Like for the europeans and other countrys work in US always is a nightmare. You need to find a AMERICAN VESSEL, otherwise will be hard to got a job in european yachts. They don t like americans, go to France and you see what I talking about mate. Good lucky bro!

Cizealin
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 8:46 AM
Joined: 26/07/2008
Posts: 50


It is virtually impossible for Eurpeans to work under the US flag, as they would need a green card in most cases. So there is a little negativity about US citizens working on UK flagged vessels, since there is no such restriction. There have also been soon negative insurance issues with US crew, previous postings on that one. However it is not a case of being completly disliked! I believe that was just a general comment before. I know some of the very few Americans here and they are well liked indeed! Most of the yachts in the Med are UK flagged, this also means that your tickets will most probably be invalid too. Do try anyway, and I recommend as the above posting says, try the agencies if you have experience, and the odd US flagged yacht that happens to be in the Med might well snap you up!
Captain Andy
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 1:44 PM
Joined: 17/09/2008
Posts: 93


Looking at how things are playing out in the Med, I would consider doing one of two things: either going directly to Croatia as the Italian mega yacht tax will start on 1st May and consequently empty Italian marinas. Agents are scrambling for berths there at the moment!! Secondly, avoid Palma. Here there are very limited opportunities for junior crew: and even so, very experienced Yacht captains are working as Bosuns to feed their families ..... and then their is the matriculation tax also!! Antibes may be your best bet, but there will be a lot of yachts that do not want to employ Americans because of Insurance warranty problems. If you look at the Global economy, the USA may be the best place to try and find a job ..... but either way, I wish you lots of luck!!
junior
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 5:56 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Youre a young guy...then be a young guy. If you sail across to the UK you are arriving in home of yachting. If I were you I would skip the foul, insecure, xenophobic Mediterranean scene and concentrate on building sea time in the North. England, Ireland, Scotland, The Netherlands, The Baltic Sea. This is an experience that very few Gin Palace Janitors, suffering hemorrhoids from sitting on there ass their whole life, will ever achieve. Go for it. Build your geographic experience, very many seamanship lesson to learn. There is very little money to made. If youre a sailor, before you leave the US, visit a top class sail maker and ask for introductions to their lofts and clients in Europe.
bridgewatch
Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 8:42 PM
Joined: 28/10/2008
Posts: 26


In reference to the post by Cazealin: "Most of the yachts in the Med are UK flagged, this also means that your tickets will most probably be invalid too." This is a thoroughly untrue statement. First of all statistics show that most yachts are not flagged UK but instead Cayman or another "red flag" which are territories of the UK - there is a big difference. If you hold a USCG license it is a commercial license and is recognized to work on any of these red flag yachts, in fact the USCG license is recognized to work on almost any flag a yacht may fly and it is also acceptable for commercial employment worldwide. If the yacht is commercially registered under a red flag, (legally doing charters in the Med for instance), you may be asked to apply for that flags "endorsement", like a Cayman endorsement license, which is based upon the candidate already holding the USCG license - the endorsements are very easy to get, just fill forms, take an open book test, and pay a fee. The MCA seems to have brainwashed the yachting industry into thinking that it's "Yacht Rated" licenses are the only form of license that is acceptable to work on a red flagged yacht which is thoroughly untrue and don't let any crew agent or captain or anyone tell you otherwise.
bridgewatch
Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 10:43 PM
Joined: 28/10/2008
Posts: 26


In referecne to Cazealin and Capt Andys comments on the insurance issue with US crew: ..."but there will be a lot of yachts that do not want to employ Americans because of Insurance warranty problems.... This insurance issue concerning US crew is so misunderstood and blown out of proportion that US crew end up being turned away from yacht positions often because MANY CAPTAINS do not understand what the yacht's insurance company's position is on the hire of US crew. The facts: ALL insurance underwriters accept US citizens for employment on yachts no matter what underwriter it is and it commonly is Lloyds or another UK based underwriter on the majority of the yachts, especially the red flagged ones. The core of the issue is that sometimes the yacht owner chooses to pay a slightly lower premium which sometimes limits the hire of US crew or limits the number of US crew allowable onboard but this by no means as rampant as the rumors make it seem. The issue is because US law states that a US citizen has an unalienable right to take any dispute ( for instance if there were a dispute for non-payment of wages) to a US lawyer and court of law. This can cost the insurance underwriter more $$ than if it were taken to a European court for instance. Most captains do not bother to look deeper into the true reasons of the whys and wherefores about this subject. Many captains just look at the declaration page of a policy which does not give the whole picture - insurance underwriters cannot discriminate to omit a nationality from employment on vessel especially if the insurance company is based in an ILO signature country like the UK. Quite often the insurance issue is an excuse by captains for the real reason for US crew being turned away from being considered for jobs on yachts which is mostly due to foreign captains (who are the majority of yacht captains out there very much thanks to the MCA brainwashing) using their personal discriminatory practices and desires when hiring and it is these captains who mostly have been the culprits for the insurance rumors about US crew. It is a common practice for many of these captains to use blatant unjustifiable discrimination in general when discarding certain crew for chances to work onboard based upon all sorts of unfounded ridiculous reasons and misconceptions which have nothing to do with who is the best candidate for the job. This is the underlying reason why you will have a more difficult time getting a job on ANY yacht that is not US flagged even if the foreign flagged yacht is in US waters, it will however be even more difficult for you in Europe. There are not many US flagged yachts out there in the scheme of things anyway. So I ask all of you reading this to go directly to the source and ask ANY insurance agent/underwriters and get the FACTS from the horse’s mouth – not from the uneducated captains or crew agents.
Cizealin
Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012 12:27 PM
Joined: 26/07/2008
Posts: 50


Interesting opinion from bridgewatch, I agree with some of what you say. The MCA is the regulatory body of UK flagged yachts (yes I was including other UK flags incl Cayman). The same as USCG is for US flagged vessels. It is only reasonable that they should ask for an endoresment. So you agree with me that US tickets would be invalid until you get that endorsement and take a test. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to use an MCA ticket on a US flagged yacht with sucess? I don't think so but someone might prove me wrong. Re the insurance issue, what might be the truth dosen't seem to be making it any easier for US to get jobs on UK flagged yachts, but good to hear some clarity on that issue.
PLammens
Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012 3:19 PM
Joined: 03/05/2011
Posts: 6


I have been trolling for quite some time on the « Dockwalk » forums and I usually enjoy the show while refraining from intervening. But I feel that the recurrent topic of real or perceived “anti-American discrimination” calls for some clarification. So here a my two cents, in the currency of your choice. There is indeed some apprehension / concern amongst owners and captains when recruiting an American citizen to work on a non-US based vessel, belonging to a non-US owner and run by a non-US Captain. While the –small- increase in insurance premiums is often cited, the root causes of this reluctance should be searched elsewhere, some factual and some being “cultural”. The US is not only a nation prone to litigation, but, as previously indicated, the awards can be very significant. While the issue of national Court competence is theoretically part of your work contract, I know of instances where US crew, unhappy with the decisions of foreign courts, have followed-up with a lawsuit in the US, within their jurisdiction of residency, generally claiming “new elements”. For example, while working on a Malta flagged vessel, you break your arm in Mallorca. In case of a dispute as to compensation, the issue will be settled by a Maltese court. Now, a few months later, back in the US, you “discover” that this relatively common injury leaves you “permanently disabled”, as attested by a friendly physician. You can then try to sue locally, dragging your previous owner into a US based lawsuit. This is not helped by the fact that American Courts tend to regard with disdain foreign judicial systems and deem their decision as inherently unfair to US citizens. Why, as an owner, run the risk of getting entangled in such a process which, regardless of the outcome, will carry a heavy financial burden? Another consideration is the remarkable activism of the foreign-based US Consulates and Embassies. Should you get involved in a legally uncertain situation, the first advice you will often receive is to “flee” immediately back to the US. As the States are more than reluctant to extradite its own citizens except for the gravest of crimes, as an owner you might find yourself forced to “clean-up” for a crew member who has, for example accidently wronged a third-party through personal gross negligence… Now, on a more “cultural” note, I have often heard the European scene described as “xenophobic”, especially by American nationals. Let’s be fair: It is far easier for an American to obtain a working permit in the EU zone than for a European to get a Green Card, at least for a job that doesn’t require highly specialised skills. And as far as yachting is concerned, you jealously guard your home market when it comes to American-flagged vessels, with harsh words for those who “try to flood yours borders”, depicting foreign workers as lazy and jealous people, preying on the jobs and welfare of American citizens. These –frequent- type of comments reinforce some stereotypes and national prejudices. The nature of yachting is such that people from diverse horizons, faith, cultures, engaging in different lifestyles, must live together in close quarters and, preferably, in relative harmony. Not much room for “America First”, “Mission Accomplished” and “We are the Best”. As a French and Dutch bi-national, I know that each culture, each nation, tends to have it’s own idiosyncrasies… Understanding other cultures, learning other languages, discovering a little more of the world are the reasons why I have chosen to engage in the –relatively expensive- hobby of sailing. A Star Spangled Banner- waving crew member –or any other strongly national-minded individual- does not add to my experience. Ironically, it’s precisely those Americans who dare / enjoy venturing beyond their borders, appreciate foreign cultures, love to discover new tastes and perfumes, take a keen interest in history, regard Creationism with the necessary scepticism and who feel neither fear nor contempt for all things foreign who are the first victims. Fortunately, there are many of you and an experienced Captain or Management Company will take into account more than your nationality. But as this is likely to involve a close look at your past career, your individual choices and your overall “foreign compatibility”, first jobs may be hard to come by. Oh ! And learn to speak a few foreign words! Proficiency is not the issue here. But fifty common words and twenty verbs will work miracles. Fair enough, skip Dutch, as it is not precisely an acquired taste !) I hope that this ridiculously long post will not have offended too many readers and that no-one choked on his/her freedom fries. Kind regards, P.
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012 4:38 PM
in yachting industry is lots of money around,and ewrybody knows even segals,BRITS LIKE MONEY,were is money brits is there,look dubai for examp and wath where is human rights,where is fredom in market labour,my friend come and get the job in antibes dont be afraid,and dont lisen,FISH,CHIPS,AND VIDEO CLIPS.
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012 6:12 PM
To PLammers: HEAR, HEAR. Well said.

Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2012 5:46 PM
Alot of B.S for such a simply question, go for it mate,you have to start somewhere, just like every one else, just get up early in the morning for the dock walking, you will be able to get one up on all of the other drunken and high slobs from all nationalities. Best of luck
soniayeager
Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 6:58 AM
Joined: 14/02/2012
Posts: 1


I would like to say, well said Plammens. For CaliAloha, I am American by Passport and have been in Greece for a few years now. I have been continously applying for Positions on Yachts online everyday for a month, and have received possibilites, but I needed  to be in Antibes, I am going to do my license then hope for the best. In the end, American, Philipino, Chinese, Australian, Syrian, Pakistanian, all you need is 1 job! Try your hardest, be persistent, keep your cool, Dockwalk all the time as early as possible, you will be noticed!! Every nationality has there faults all over the world, its what you show that matters! Do it!

Henning
Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 7:10 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Actually Sonia, you need a lot more than 'one job' in this industry as the turnover over rate is quite significant, especially on charter boats. Some boats go through entire crews more than once in a year. The positions rarely have longevity which means your market access and ability to be hired wherever in the world you happen to be is an important part of the stability of your career. It's not unusual for a stew to work 2 or 3 boats in a year. Truly 'permanent' positions (typically permanent last a year or two) are rare as hens teeth in this business.

Henning
Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 7:24 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


PLammens, good observation and it is common logic, however it is faulty. It is based on the premise that Americans are more prone to sue when it actually proves out the opposite. I lost the link I had to it but the article put British mariners on the top of the list for starting litigation. The reality was that there was a very small difference in the litigation rates in the marine sector based on nationality of the plaintiff and the US didn't even score in the top 3, British were at the top and then were French and Spanish.

As for crazy awards, the Europeans are just as over the top and ridiculous as any American, here the largest civil award that was presented in France:

The Largest Civil Settlement Awards in France, and He Got Off Easy

By switching venues, one of the world’s richest men, Aga Khan, has saved himself millions while still having to pay out a staggering £54 million to divorce his wife, Begum Inaara.

Christopher Leake and Peter Allen in MailOnline reported in “54m divorce for Aga Khan...and he’s got off lightly as it could have been 500m,” that the billionaire’s move to have the divorce adjudicated in France, rather than in the U.K., was a financially savvy decision. French courts typically issue much lower civil awards than in England.

Khan, who has residences on five continents, married the former Gabriele zu Leningen at one of his estates in France in 1998. Although he is a British subject, Khan apparently spends most of his time in France, and French authorities apparently did not object to having his divorce case administered there. Still, the settlement set a record for the largest of its kind in France.

Leiningen, or Aga Khan, will also receive the Berkshire estate where she lives with the couple’s 11-year son, Prince Aly.

Khan is a spiritual leader among Ismaili Muslims who give him vast sums of money and worship him as their god. Revelations that Khan was having an extramarital affair with an air hostess may not be received favorably by his followers.

The Aga Khan previously divorced a British model, Sally Croker-Poole, in 1995, paying her £20 million.




PLammens
Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012 10:39 AM
Joined: 03/05/2011
Posts: 6


Henning, while I respect your opinion on all things maritime, you seem to have a more tenuous grasp on legal issues. The United States are, by far, the most litigious nation, with over 15 million cases initiated each year. This is not so much due to American culture as to the very specific system governing tort actions and punitive damagesin the US. Furthermore, without wanting to sound pedantic, the French case you refer to is not the result of a court decision but was a civil settlement, i.e. an agreement between both parties, officialised by a civil court. It makes nice headlines but is as relevant to the case I mentioned as the recent $900 trillion lawsuit against NYC authorities. I understand that you are German born and later naturalised American and I appreciate your spirited defence of all things American. I am not that zealous and my point was not to proclaim one judicial system “superior” to another bur rather to present some hard facts in relation the OP’s issue, namely an apparent reluctance at times to hire US citizens on board non-US flagged yachts. In that regard, Sir, I rest my case ! Best regards, P.
Henning
Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012 3:00 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


I really don't think either system is superior because both are basically the same. My point is that the nationality of the seaman isn't really that relevant in our industry as to what the end result of who sues whom is. Besides, hiring foreign crew on a foreign flag boat does not make the operator immune from crew action in a US Court if the boat is in the US. I'm sure you have better knowledge on this, but I'm pretty sure that as long as the boat is in the US then a seaman has access to the US Court system to address their issues; is that not correct?

The point I was addressing though was not about the systems, but rather the propensity of the individual to file suit, and per capita that went to the British.

 
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