Crew Advice

Ask Captain Kelly: How Do I Best Get Started in the Industry?

11 October 2022By Staff Report

Have a tricky onboard situation you’d like an outsider’s perspective on? Have a burning career question? We can help!

Welcome to Dockwalk’s Ask Captain Kelly advice column, where we post your questions and get insight from a current captain, Capt. Kelly J. Gordon. Capt. Kelly currently works aboard M/Y Freddy but grew up in a small town in Indiana. Her path into yachting began in Beaufort, North Carolina, where she now claims as home base. She’s a former chemistry professor and loves to teach — while she takes pride in her ability as a motor yacht captain, she has a soft spot for young adults, especially those that come with questions.

This week‘s question deals with a situation all crew had to handle at one point — being new to the industry.

Q. I’m struggling to get started. I’ve been dockwalking daily from 7 to 11 a.m. Monday to Friday, and when I’m not on the docks, I’m scrolling Facebook and agency websites applying for jobs. But with almost no experience, I get turned down. I’m really eager to work, a fast learner, and a motivated worker. I’m used to long hours but am wondering at the best way to get my foot in the door in yachting. What would your tips or advice be for how and where to get daywork/experience? 

A. This is a great question and a very common one! It’s great that you are dockwalking and that you are keeping up with the job sites. One that you didn’t mention was Daywork123. Have you utilized that, too? With the social media-type job sites, you have to be quick, so I get that can be frustrating sometimes. Honestly, you just can’t give up, but I think there are a couple of things that you can do to stand out above the rest of the greenies.

First, make sure your CV is on point. You need a good, professional-looking headshot and an overall tidy look to your CV. Second, don’t sell yourself short. If you have acquired skills from previous non-yachting jobs, put it on there — there is some crossover, for sure. Third, call the recruiting agencies once a week. Check in and say hello. Let them know you’re serious and try to develop a relationship with them. Even better, stop by their office and let them put a face with a name. But make sure to look the part when you do stop in. Nothing can beat old-fashioned face-to-face interaction.

Lastly, don’t be picky! I have literally worked in every department (except the galley and you don’t want me there!) and done all of the crap jobs, but it got me noticed. I am not sure what position you are looking to fill, but let’s say you want to work the interior, but see an engine room or garage cleaning job pop up — take it! Once you’re in and we see your work ethic and willingness, we will put you where you want to be.

Wait, one more thing … network! Make friends with other greenies and not so greenies. They are so willing to help and share knowledge of jobs. I literally just hired two greenies for daywork and occasional charters based on them talking to another greenie that I had given an opportunity to on my boat. Good luck and don’t give up!

If you want to get her advice, please email AskCaptainKelly@dockwalk.com and you could see your questions and her answers featured here. All personal information will remain anonymous.

More related content:
Ask Captain Kelly: How Should I Deal With Guests That Cross the Line?
Ask Captain Kelly: How Should I Deal with Conflict in the Crew?
Ask Captain Kelly: Advice for Handling Crew Dating
Capt. Kelly Gordon: From Chemistry Professor to Superyacht Captain

More from Dockwalk