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What should I do to get that big BREAK??
Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2009 3:40 PM
Joined: 01/05/2009
Posts: 6

Hi everyone! My name is Dex, 32 years old, no tattoo, non smoker from Canada and I'm coming down to Fort Lauderdale in September to start training to be able to work in Yatchting industry, starting as a Deckhand. I can't afford to get all the certification I would want so I need to make a choice, WHAT SHOULD I DO TO REALLY IMPROVE MY CHANCES ON GETTING A BREAKTROUGH??? Here are some infos about my background: I have about 700 hours of driving experience over 6 years on my own boat (20 feet, inboard). For the past 2 years I worked as a professional waterski/wakeboard instructor, so I was driving an outboard 18' boat 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. I was also 3 months a year on my family boat(33' SeaRay) for over 10 years during my childhood. I also have an Open water PADI dive certification. I will start my training with the STCW95, but what else do I really need, to get attention of captains an owners??? Should I imrpove my diving skills to get the DIVE MASTER certification? or Should I do the Yacht Rating Course, is this course really worthed or should I invest more into the AEC (Approved Engine Course) to improve my mechanical skills??? or any others suggestion you might have. I'm ready to invest every single penny I have saved, which one of these certification would you let go for now, and which one should I really go for??? With my budget, I can only do 2 out of those 3 certifications. All comments are welcome, thank you very much for helping me out. Cheers,

Mike French
Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2009 4:35 PM
Joined: 06/05/2008
Posts: 57

Dex STCW95 is vital it is a de facto requirement. But, if you have general boating experience and you are on a budget then the rib course, which a two day certified course would be a good investment. That said positive attitude and graft is your best qualification. Good luck!
Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:27 PM
Joined: 01/05/2009
Posts: 6


Thank you very much for your advice. I guess my post is a bit confusing!!! I have enough money for the stcw95, and I'm looking to do on top of the stcw at least 2 out of those 3 certificates/course: YRC - AEC - PADI dive master(I already have Open Water PADI) or anything else that captains and/or owners are really looking for.Which one should I go for if I can take 2 out of those 3 (YRC-AEC and dive master PADI). I might be completely wrong about that, and please don't be affraid to correct me, but the way I see it is that do I really need the YRC with all my boating experience?? would investing in a dive master certificate would be better? Does the AEC really gives an edge for getting some work as a junior deckhand? I'm ready to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to start a carrer in this industry, I mean it, whatever it takes.

Thanks again for helping out. Maybe I will bump into you at IYT in September...

Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 10:16 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Yo Dex...your already overqualified for a deckhand. Do the safety at sea coarse then get down on ground zero and sell yourself. This industry is staffed by deckhands who only recently parked their MONSTER trucks and hit the waterfront. They know zero about the sea. Remember, this mass of Stinkpot fodder will be clouding your view when you search for a good position. Bypass the clutter on your screen by introducing yourself directly to the yachts. Avoid the crew agent world, their whole buisness model is based on stinkpot fodder.. Stand clear of places like Ft Lauderdale...its all dinner cruisers and dock yachts. Check out the British scene. The other side of the Atlantic values skills more.
Posted: Monday, July 13, 2009 3:33 PM
Welcome to the wonderful world of yachting. If I were you( and I once was) I would forget all about the Yacht Rating course, you could probably teach it with your experience and it is pretty much a joke. I would go straight for the yachtmaster offshore. It has become the entry level requirement in this industry and provides a great base for your career. At 32 you obviously want to run the gauntlet and be a Captain someday so start off with the right education; you will advance quicker. Unless you want to be an engineer or have a lot of money and spare time, stay away from the engineering courses for now. They are good to have, but not at this stage of your development. I respect alot of what junior has to say most of the time, but Fort Lauderdale has given a lot of deckhands their start and it also seems to have thinned out. Competition is heavier in Europe right now. I normally don't offer so much advice but I was a 32 Canadian deckhand with similar experience when I started my yachting career, and now I am First Officer on a 170' Feadship, just preparing to to do my Master 3000t so I know what path to take. Good luck, and remember alot of people are going to tell you alot of different things, take the good from all the advice you get but be skeptical, everyone had a different path and experience level when they started in this industry and the people who have been here the longest are generally biased or jaded towards one aspect or another based on Their negative experiences.
Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 4:17 PM
Joined: 01/05/2009
Posts: 6

Mr Anonymous and Junior,

Thank you very much for your wise advice. Going straight for the yachmaster offshore is an excellent idea!!but it is an option that I can't afford right now, but I will do it as soon as my budget will let me! and I will be saving some $$ on not doing the Yacht Rating Course.

One of the questions that nobody answered yet is this one: How important is it to have a high level diving certification to work as a junior deckand. I only have the PADI open water, going up to the Advenced certification or even the Dive Master would that really going to make a difference in the eye of captains/owners?? It is something that I wouldn't mind investing in, if it is going to help me to get into the Yachting I said earlier, I will do whatever it takes. ( I wish I could afford the Yachtmaster Offshore)!!


Thanks again for all your advice, best to all of you.

Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 6:53 PM
Joined: 18/11/2008
Posts: 66

Yes the yacht rating thing is a watste of time another courses to grab peoples money! Yachmster is the way foward one you have that it all goes up from there faye x

Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 1:22 AM

To answer your question about dive certs, I have been in the industry for 7 years and taught SCUBA classes(PADI and NAUI)  for 3 years before that in the Caribbean and I've found it hasn't really come into play.  Don't get me wrong, since I have it owners, captains and guests have taken advantage of it, but it has never really been a factor in hiring.  I usually don't even say that I'm divemaster or instructor rated.  Plus I've found that most of the charter yachts don't want to deal with the liability issue.   It's too easy to send people with a local dive boat.

stephen banks
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 8:51 AM
Joined: 31/05/2009
Posts: 14

The way i got in was shipyards. Prior to that i went to Antibes, but way too many people more qualified and younger. So a year later i flew from NZ to Spain with 700 in the bank and luckily there was alot of boats and i was offered 3 jobs in a day. Dayworked for 3 months and was offered a few jobs as crew. took a job and worked on it for a few years. Ft lauderdale sounds like it could be good. it aint too expensive to be there. but id def reccomend shipyards as there is alot of work on a boat in a shipyard!!
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 5:23 PM
Joined: 01/05/2009
Posts: 6

Faye, Stephen and Mr. Anonymous,

Again thank you so much for taking some of your time to help me out with all your precious advices.

I deeply appreciated it.

Now in Montreal for the summer, saving as much cash as I can, I will hit Ft Lauderdale mid September and start right away with the STCW95 and the Powerboat Level II. After a few weeks, if I realized that without a Yachtmaster Offshore I can't get any work, I'll have no choice to find a way to get the extra cash to pay for the Yachmaster Offshore ticket.

See you out there!


Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 10:14 PM
Several years ago it was a lot easier to get a job through shipyards than it is today. Since the ISPS is now in effect, especially in USA, all yards are gated and have security that wont let you freely pass to gain access to the yachts. The yards also frown on "Daywork" in general because of insurance issues. Most yards charge the yacht the a percentage of a dayworkers total wages and consider them contractors unless the person dayworking is actually signed on the vessels crew list, which would mean they know you in advance. Not trying to scare you off, just giving you the heads up. Times have changed alot in the past two years. I would forget the pbII and do the yachtmaster theory and stcw if that is all you can afford. It shows commitment to the industry, but if you are that serious ,you will find a way to pay for the whole course. Your life will be easier. I see people keep telling you this, they are saying it for a reason. You can easily spend the price of the course in two months while you are looking and have to head home to a Canadian winter broke, but with the yachtmaster under your belt and after all your interviews with the crew agents you still can get picked up from home (and yes you dont have to be in Lauderdale all the time to find a job) by agents. I flew to Lauderdale once from Vancouver and because of my yachtmaster I got flown to a job that was in Seattle. Waste of a flight. I was just right there. It was my first big yacht gig.
stephen banks
Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2009 12:27 AM
Joined: 31/05/2009
Posts: 14

I agree with Anon above regarding obtaining the yachtmasters. life will be much easier for sure. Alot of decky jobs want that these days, expensive but , hey maybe if you are that strapped for cash you can try the shipyard advice here!! Thats true about the shipyard politics but there is a way around it and it should work in the U.S too. I understand the U.S is probably gonna be harder to get into a shipyard. However so was spain. there is gated security there too and you werent allowed in unless you were on a yachts crew list. The way around this is to know someone inside on a yacht or to go where yachties are (a pub) the other way is to wait outside the yard at breaks, after work or better still, in the morning. you ask for daywork and of course there´ll be many rejections but it only takes one yes and youre in. once you get the yes the yacht will put you on the crew list and although youll be dayworking youll be a temporary crew member for legal reasons. Good shipyards i know of are Genoa in Italy and MB92 Barcelona. Those two are good cause its pretty cheap to live in those places. I did hear they were gonna tighten up a bit in Spain. As Anon above said, Some yards wish to take a percentage of your wages etc. Its definately worth a try. I think proving yourself , working on a yacht in a yard is a good way to go.
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