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Advice for South African James
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 10:04 AM
Joined: 02/11/2009
Posts: 79

James there is no shortage of South Africans in yachting and you’re not the first young person to struggle a little whilst trying to break into a specific field of employment. The majority of greenhorns passing out resumes are unqualified scruffily dressed, broke and desperate for work. Joining job seekers dock walking in Europe and North American does only one thing, it gives you the advantage of geographical location. If you truly want to make yachting a career the best advice I can give right now is don’t give up, give yourself a mental break, define precisely what you want out of a career, formulate a plan and execute this plan. An essential element of your plan will include education and work experience that makes you more attractive to yachting and shore side employers. Useful work experience could include; • Dive boat / tourist boat / commercial fishing • Fireman • Hospitality industry • Medic • Navy • Police • Technical apprenticeship (carpenter, painter, sail maker, shipwright, electrical, electronics, mechanical, IT etc) Useful education; • AEC • Chef • Engineering or management degree • Hospitality management • Languages • Medical (nurse, medic) • PADI or NAUI diving (open water, advanced, dive master, dive instructor) • Sailing, boat handling (RYA) • STCW95 • Technical trade Rising above the sea of wannabe applicants requires commitment and realistic expectations. I see far too many people come into yacht only to leave with no viable qualifications, work skills or savings. A maritime career requires you to think long term, because you never know how long a nomadic career will last. Yachting is much tougher than you think, believe me I know. At 44 I’ve seen the highs and lows of yachting, survived all manner of circumstances and never been in a situation where I could not find work. Throughout my career I’ve reinvented my working ethos, attained progressively higher qualifications and broadened my horizons by taking on new challenges as this industry has grown. Skill, wisdom and reputation will enable you to start and continue your career at sea and ashore. Diversity is the key to continued employment throughout one’s life. • I’ll tell you a story about an elderly South African that I used to see in Ft Lauderdale and Palma. For years his carefree lifestyle relied on regular day work and deliveries between Ft Lauderdale and Palma, in 2003 I stopped seeing him in Florida and assumed he must have retired or died. Last week I saw him sipping an alcoholic beverage whilst seated at his customary bar stool in Club de Mar, Palma Mallorca. The moment he saw me, a raised hand summoned me towards him for our usual a chat. I was pleased to see my old mate was still living the nomadic life of a sailor, but each step closer answered why I’d not seen him for seven years. A walking stick, strapping around his left ankle, severely bowed legs and weaker version my old mate Charles Van De Merver was stooped before me. As we reintroduced ourselves a usually joyful conversation filled with useful tips and juicy gossip turned into an awkward explanation of how he survived a stroke, lived off a miniscule pension and suffered through ailing health and long periods of unemployment. Everyone gets old, everyone retires and everyone needs a backup plan. Don’t be a loser and take each day as it comes. Grab life by the horns and make something of yourself, build your assets and retire well. People with hustle and marketable skills always get what they want, everyone else just gets crumbs.
Daniel Levine
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 9:37 AM
Joined: 05/05/2010
Posts: 10

Hi there, My name is Daniel and I am a single 24 year South African male with passion, determination and zest for life. I have always wanted to see the world and see what it has to offer outside of my comfort zone (this being South Africa). I am a person who is always keen to push boundaries, not afraid to 'step out' and love meeting new and exciting people from all walks of life. I recently have been exploring a career change, and have been very interested in the yachting industry. As a result, I have spoken to many people(friends) who have worked on yachts as stews and deckhands. This has made me more keen to explore this industry and its opportunities. Furthermore, I am going down to Durban early on in July to do my STCW'95 training and possible one or two other courses to gain further experience so I have more of a solid ground to stand on for when I do go overseas and start the dockwalk. The reason for my post is to find out if I am going about this venture in the correct manner and if this is a viable option as a career move. Any advice, suggestions or information is much appreciated. I look forward to hearing your feedback Thank you and best regards, Daniel Levine
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 12:47 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

Daniel, you might consider going out crewing on a trip on a fishing boat. You'll gain some money, experience and sea legs to help get you started.

Daniel Levine
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 2:19 PM
Joined: 05/05/2010
Posts: 10

Hi there, Thank you very much for your advice Henning. This is much appreciated. I have been out on a fishing trip before, however I didn't crew it. I am assuming that going out as a 'guest' is totally different from actually being a part of the crew of the fishing boat? I will definitely consider doing this after I do my STCW, as isn't this the first step to work on a marine vessel? Would it be better if I crew a fishing trip overseas or locally? I understand that my friend Lance has been in contact with you as well. Both him and myself are going to do our STCW'95 in early July down in Durban. We are also considering doing other additional courses to further aid us in the job hunt. One question, I do know that accredited training centers will try sell you as much as they can, and often they say that the STCW course is not enough. What are your views on this? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Daniel
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 5:06 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277



Look at the thread Lance started in this category.


Most of your questions have been answered there.




Daniel Levine
Posted: Thursday, October 7, 2010 4:48 PM
Joined: 05/05/2010
Posts: 10

Hi All, I trust that you are well. I am a 25 year old South African who has recently taken a big interest to yachting and possibly going to pursue it at a full time career. I did try pursue this whole yachting venture a year ago, but due to personal circumstances I wasn't able to go further with it. Now it is a year later and I am going to go for it. Ive been reading books on yachting as well as reading this forum extensively. Ive found my reading to be very intriguing and interesting. Further, I have been traveling back and forth to Cape Town over the past month to complete my relevant tickets to work in this industry. I have currently have my RYA Powerboat, Competent Crew and STCW'95 tickets, and am going down to Cape Town soon to do my Day Skipper Theory and Practical as well as my Deckhand course. I am a newbie in this industry, so any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated - Or a steer in the right direction I look forward to hearing from you. Best Regards, Daniel Levine
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