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Antibes in July or FL in Sept/Oct?
Lance
Posted: Friday, April 23, 2010 10:55 PM
Joined: 31/05/2009
Posts: 5


Hello wonderful yachties, Love the forum - have been reading it a good couple months and I have learned a great deal. Thanks to the regulars, Henning and Co. especially. I have a quick question though, I am a South African by birth, although I also hold a British Passport. I am 23 year-old Male and recent US graduate. I am currently in SA saving to do STCW '95 and the like, but can't decide where it will be best for me to start my yachting endeavors. Obviously Europe would be ideal, with my not needing a visa in the EU, but I will probably only have enough saved and have done my qualifications by July, so I don't know what my chances will be like as a greenie in mid-season, looking for a job. My girlfriend is a US citizen, so I am also considering just waiting for the new season to start in FL in sept/oct and looking for a job with her then. Otherwise she wants to join me in France in July to start the wonderful dockwalk. If anyone can suggest, which of the two options they think I should take and why, I would greatly appreciate it. Many thanks guys and girls, Best Regards, Lance
Henning
Posted: Saturday, April 24, 2010 4:11 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


No real reason not to try mid season in France. There is crew turn over mid season, some greenhorns picked up at the beginning of the season either quit, get injured or just aren't fitting in with the rest of the crew/owner/program and need to be replaced. These days a lot of boats are being run with minimal crew and are picking up temps for charters, and July is when that really starts picking up. There really never is a time "not to try".

Lance
Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 9:52 PM
Joined: 31/05/2009
Posts: 5


Thanks very much Henning. I really appreciate the input. Do you think the foreign flagged restriction in the States should sway my decision in France's favour or is the effect rather negligble in FL. Because I am still a tad apprehensive to try my luck mid-season in the med. Thanks, Lance.
Henning
Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 4:05 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


The vast majority of vessels in Ft L that hire crew are foreign flagged. We won't get into the legal ramifications of looking for work in Ft L or Debbie and Slacker will turn this thread into a s-t fest. The real issue for you to consider is when do you want to get started looking, because when is the answer to where. I'm assuming you have already contacted all the crew agents and registered on all the crew websites and check them daily. You really need to get your STCW-95 basic done ASAP as without it, your chances of getting hired go down drastically. There is a lot of networking that can be done on the internet as well. It's always best to show up where you show up with a job/interview offers or at least some good contacts already made. Often the schools that do the courses have bulletin boards with offers and contacts in their break rooms, and you may make a good contact or two going through the course with someone who already has a job/offer or contacts. It's all a "who you know" business.

captcct
Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 2:58 PM
Joined: 28/02/2010
Posts: 18


I concur. If you have enough cash, Lance, to tide you by (excuse the pun) then the South of France is the way to go for the months of May through September. Juan le Pins and Antibes and maybe even St. Tropez to seef if anyone is hiring. Also consider Valencia in Spain. Fort Lauderdale is pretty much quite here during the Summer. In September and October the yachts leave the Med en-route for the Caribbean so you will either get lucky there or Fort Lauderdale in November - provided you have the required documents. Very essential nowadays. Do not p*ss off TSA, ICE or others. What is the scene in Cape Town? Maybe you could find a newbie trans-atlantic as a means to enter if you are prepared to worl hard, work smart. See my comment earlier... and do check out my Blog. If one is persistent and determined to succeed on e can then achieve anything even in this messed up economy, somewhat faltering yachting industry today. Good luck and safe seas.
Lance
Posted: Sunday, May 2, 2010 1:59 PM
Joined: 31/05/2009
Posts: 5


That's great thank you. I am just booking to do my STCW in Durban in the first week of June. I have one other question though, the place I am going to do it at, Professional Yacht Training (pyt.co.za) offers a 4-week international career crew training course which includes, the STCW, YRC, RIB master and the basics of sailing, for $1950. Would you recommend a course like this as being somewhat essential in making a start in the industry or would a STCW be sufficient initially. Because while I'd love to do the latter 4-week course, I am not sure if my budget will allow it. Would it maybe be better to do an Approved Engine Course and ultimately head in the Engineer direction, with demand for engineers generally being higher than for deck crew? Thanks again for your input guys - I really appreciate. Best Regards, Lance
Henning
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 2:30 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


As for the "complete course", ehhh, how much can they really teach you in 4 weeks? If you are budget constrained, I would save the money and just do the basic STCW and keep the extra funds for extending my searching abilities.

As for "going the engineering route", well, you have to answer the questions, "Do I want to go there?" and "Do I have the natural ability and inclination to go there?" I grew up in the mechanical fields and worked turning wrenches on a wide variety of machines as well as fabricating them, I stay away from it as much as possible anymore. When people ask me "How do you learn to become a mechanic?" my answer is "You don't." It is an aptitude you are born with or not. The test is a simple 2 question one, "Did you get your but spanked when you were 6 for taking apart some household appliance or machine?" "Did your mom quit calling the repairman and start calling you when you were around 12 to fix household appliances and machines?" If you answer both those questions "yes", you were born with the mechanic gene. Now you may read that and think I'm nuts, but I can promise you that there are others who read that and laugh with those memories of their childhood. As for the "approved engines course" I've never taken one, but I know plenty of people who have and they were all to a person, less than impressed saying they didn't really learn bugger all, YMMV. Reality is, if you are starting ab initio, a course would have to be several months long to get a person up to speed on anything more than the basic "check and change the fluids" level of ability, real systems knowledge in order to be able to diagnose issues takes considerably longer to learn. The only condensed engine courses I've seen that are of real value are the manufacturers engine specific technicians courses, and they are geared to experienced mechanics who already have a firm grasp on all the general theory and mechanics of how things can work, and are being run through the specifics as they apply to that particular engine.

rodsteel
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 4:11 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


Henning,

 

Given the current demographics (more entry-level candidates than positions), are you really saying that (in the Med yacht crew recruiting environment - i.e., certs more important than experience) , all other skills and experience being equal, a candidate with three extra certs (YRC, RIB, Sailing or AEC) would not have a significant advantage over a candidate with only the STCW basic?

 

Rod


Henning
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 12:04 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


Well, it's a crap shoot, but when you look over a resume/CV with a bunch of certification and no experience, what's the first thought that comes to your mind? Personally, I think "clueless gambler and/or BSer". None of the other certifications are requirements, I prefer to see someone who is conservative. Have what is required until you know what else you need by experience. I hire greenhorns by how they think and act, not by credentials, because credentials without experience don't mean anything and tells me they don't have the ability to realize when they are being sold a bill of goods. The only certification I have really observed to be of actual value to a deckie is a Yachtmaster, seems that 2/3rds of everyone advertising for a deckie now is looking for them to have a Yachtmaster ticket. Show up to me with a YM and no experience and most likely I'll send you on your way. I have yet to see one of these other courses that teaches a green deckie what I need them to know. One of the first things I do is toss them a line and ask for a few basic knots and most of them look at me like I'm from Mars. If he wasn't budget constrained I'd say go ahead and take the classes if he wanted, but he is and I think that the cash reserves and ability to stay in the hunt an extra month will be of greater value. He can learn much of what needs to be learned from less than $100 worth of books and hanging around day working. He could also hang around the local yacht club for mid week beer can races. I can't count how many times I recruited someone that was hanging around the dock as additional crew, lots of people do.

That's just the way I look at it, others may like seeing a bunch of money investment and certification, like I said, it's a crap shoot. To me though, certification comes after the experience to learn. Certification courses should be to cover any gaps in your knowledge and to test that you actually have learned what you need to know. I've seen the RIB courses where the they have a dozen or more "students" that get maybe an hour of helm time. That's fine for testing, that's woefully inadequate for teaching.

junior
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 2:31 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


STCW, YRC, RIB master and the basics of sailing ??? Who knows. !!! all these school curriculum's. Yachting is a funny game. In the West Med charter scene to be a deckhand you must be a hard worker with a good attitude and have the safety course STCW. To be a useful deckhand ,the ability to legally drive the yacht tender is critical. I don't know what RIB nor YRC school is . To learn basic sailing simply purchase a 20 euro book and read it. I would prefer a deckhand with the yachtmaster ticket. If I remember correctly the yachtmaster requires very minimum seatime , the knowledge of basic navigation, rules of the road, lights, bouys, Gmdss restricted radio operator. I regularly have competent crew sail with me on a delivery , then sit for the whole yachtmasters in a week or so. Its a better way to spend your money and will make you versatile when you look for work. The best way to become an engineer is to join as a deckhand, take interest in engineering , then ask the yachts engineer what route to follow.
Lance
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 5:37 PM
Joined: 31/05/2009
Posts: 5


Thanks very much for the insight guys. That is the second time today I have gotten the exact same advice regarding the 4 in 1 course vs. the STCW, hard work, determination, and a bit extra cash to allow for staying in the hunt longer. A friend of mine, you guys might know him - Matt Brown, said the exact same thing when I spoke to him on the phone this morning. Obviously it's in the interests of the training schools to try and sell you as much of their "product" as possible, as is the case in any business. I am just glad to hear that with effort, determination, and the ability to show prospective captains that one is serious about making a go of yachting that one stands a decent chance. I am determined to make a career out of yachting as I feel a a career this would match my personality better than any other prospective career might - so I will work my socks off to succeed despite a bit of a budget constraint. I think I am going to go for what Henning and Matt suggest - get my STCW and ENG1 and possibly a powerboat lvl II if I can find it as an independent course in South Africa that offers it, and then head over to Antibes and Juan les Pins in mid-July to start the hunt. Matt, suggests trying to get a position on a trans-atlantic crossing if all else fails at the end of the season, as many crew would prefer to fly over to the States. And then obviously to pick up as much daywork and temp stuff prior to that as possible, and maybe even a full-time position if I get lucky One other quick-question, I have done a lot of research on couples job-hunting and it seems the opinions are quite varied. In your opinion, what do you reckon my chances are of getting a position on a yacht as a deckhand and then having my girlfriend join at a later date as a stew? What is the general consensus among captains regarding long-term relationships onboard? I have read that some like the stability such a relationship brings and the fact that couples generally mean less hooliganism (binge-drinking, wild-partying, etc.) but that others are firmly against relationships, as a provision against the event of a break-up and the respective turbulence such an event can have on crew dynamics and morale. I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks Again, Lance
Henning
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 1:50 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


Unless there is a large $$$ difference, it may be in your interest to do the STCW and Powerboat courses in Antibes or where ever you are looking for work, just because of the networking it gives you with others who may have contacts/opportunities to pass along to you, plus there is always a bulletin board in the break rooms where people will come in and tag up job offers. Just something to consider. Remember, this industry is like most others, it's a matter of who you know and who you meet. Most jobs are filled by word of mouth and personal referral.

As far as relationships go and having "teams" working, it's a split really. The good thing is you generally have a content crew that doesn't go out drinking as much. The bad is when the relationship has problems, it really gets bad and often effects the attitudes and performance of the people and those surrounding them and that filters down to the guests, not a good thing. If people are advertising for a team, offer as a team. If not, don't bring it up until your position is secure and you relationship is secure as well. There are some other issues involved as well for you and your relationship. Shoot me an email at caphenning@yahoo.com and I'll discuss it with you, it's a very tricky business for relationships.

Lance
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 9:40 PM
Joined: 31/05/2009
Posts: 5


There is quite a large $$$ difference in the cost of courses here versus with Bluewater in Antibes or somewhere of the like. It less than half the price here given the exchange rate. That is why I originally planned on doing my courses over here - it will allow me for more funding for my actual job-hunting. As far as the relationships go, thanks very much for the insight. I will definitely email you when I am looking to cross that bridge. One other thing Henning, would you recommend doing a VHF radio day course prior to starting the job hunt. I have read some captains like prospective crew to hold such a ticket. What are your thoughts on it?
Henning
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 11:08 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


A VHF radio course? Never heard of one. The information you need to get a Marine Radio Operators Certificate (not sure what nations still require one for operating a VHF) is typically found in a small free pamphlet that is given out by whomever handles the licensing of such things in your country. Typically it's a very very very simple test and operating a VHF really requires no special training, and most any "Basic Boating Safety" brochure covers VHF usage. When you get to the point where you need GMDSS certification, you will need to take an 80hr class, but you are no where close to needing that.

 
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